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Will Tearing Out Basement Bedroom Decrease Property Value?

Question: Will Tearing Out Basement Bedroom Decrease Property Value?

Hello, I'm remodeling my basement and I'm considering tearing down a wall to remove a bedroom. I'm concerned that it would decrease the property value. I'm trying to make it all one big room with a wood floor, like a den or entertainment area. What do you think?


On the whole, I say "Yes." But it can go either way, and here's why.

As you might already know, whenever you're trying to sell a house, certain numbers are critical: lot size, structure size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc. To use an example, when "3 bedrooms" becomes "2 bedrooms," the ultimate property value should be lowered.

Defining a "Real" Bedroom

But are bedrooms in the basement "real" bedrooms? To be a "real" bedroom, it does need to fulfill some criteria. While I do not have a complete list, I do know that one criterium is that the bedroom have egress (or an exit point) in case of fire. This is typically a window of a certain minimal size.
Let's look at one basement bedroom. It's pretty substantial: real walls, electrical outlets, large window to the exterior, built-in closet, and so on. Despite what the owner may think, is it officially classified as a "real" bedroom? I think so. But there is still one more reason why it may not be.

But Is the Basement Itself Even Considered Living Space?

Your basement may not be classified as "living space." Even if you have a perfectly finished basement, it may not be classified as "living space."
So, it wouldn't matter how well-done the bedroom is, it could never be a "real" bedroom; anything "real" and substantial about it would be voided by the fact that it's not part of the habitable living space.

I am not a real estate professional, so I cannot advise on this. But there does seem to be lots of ideas out there, often conflicting, about how to define basement living space. Do three exposed, above-ground walls make it habitable? Does finishing the basement at the same level of quality as the upstairs make it officially a living space?

One place to start is by checking your local tax records. In most areas you can even do this on-line. If they call it a bedroom, then you would be tearing out a "real" bedroom and thus possibly lowering your property value.

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