Egress windows in a big basement

9 Replies

I recently bought a 1500 SQFT house with 3 Bedrooms and 2 Full Baths.  This house has an unfinished 1500 SQFT basement too.  This basement has a hook up for a full bathroom and also has 9' ceilings throughout.  My plan is to put 2 Bedrooms and a full bathroom down there with 2 Egress windows (1 in each bedroom).  After all of this, the basement square footage should be counted in the overall square footage.  When this gets appraised, will they call this a 3000 SQ FT house with 5 total bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms?  Or will they call it something else?  I'm looking to add value to this home.  


In general, this would be called a 5 bed 3 bath home. If you are looking to make this officially separate it or make it a multi-family, I recommend engaging an architect in your area as well as the building department as you will need to meet certain criteria (independent entrance, another mailbox, etc.) 

I would review the local building department records and ask around a bit down there. Not only do you want to renovate to create a 3000 SF home, but you want to argue that the 3,000 SF always existed in order to minimize your property tax increase. Low probability of this but see if it can be done.

It seems that the basement is unfinished so this may be a challenge. Chances are that you'll need to pull a permit and will be subjected to the increased property taxes. Worth familiarizing yourself with that work does not require a building permit in that area. If you want to do anything beyond that list, pull the permit and keep it when you are done with construction. Otherwise, an appraiser will call the basement "unwarranted" and the space won't count in the appraisal.

@Jared Smith I literally just did the exact same thing on a rental. I started documenting my journey on BP in this sub forum but go so busy that I stopped. Long story short my appraiser counted the basement space and the house appraised very well. You will need window wells for those egress windows and proper drainage from the window wells (something my architect forgot to include).
Originally posted by @Jared W Smith :

@Peter T. you tagged Jared and I was like wait.. interesting to see another Jared on site  @Jared Smith

 Haha I know the feeling. There is another Peter T on this site and it confuses me everytime I see him post. 

@Jared Smith yes you are on right tract. Not quite 3000 if you have internal stairs (only count that sq ft once)... and if you have external stairs have you considered a duplex? I’m a California Architect and we would always look to split a 5bed house into 2, however we don’t usually have basements out here. Scott

Egress windows are also difficult to install. You need to have someone competent at cutting the concrete, excavating the well and installing the window. You may need 3 trades to do it. There are also companies that sell kits for egress windows so you can get the frame and window, the well, grate and hardware. 

I'm doing 4 rehabs now and each one has an egress window.

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