Looking For A Home With A Finished Basement? 5 Things You Should Consider

Basements are widely regarded as unpleasant and uncomfortable; they’re generally dank, damp, and smelly. According to The Washington Post, about 42% of homes in the U.S. have basements, yet not many are utilized to their full potential. Basements can be any size, even matching the square footage of the home above — providing a wealth of overlooked space. That is why, when you’re looking for a home and you find a property with a finished basement, it’s an exciting day.


But before you get too far ahead of yourself, remember that basements are temperamental environments. If you encounter a home with a finished basement while on the hunt for a new property to purchase, there are a few things that you might want to watch out for.

5 Potential Risk Factors In A Home With A Finished Basement

Have there been water intrusion issues at this property in the past, and if so, what was done to fix the problem?

Water Intrusion

Keep an eye out for evidence of previous water damage!

Because they are underground, basements are vulnerable to groundwater. While we may not often think of water as a destructive force, it’s one of the most persistent elements on the planet.


When groundwater encounters the walls of your basement, it seeks out the path of least resistance. Most foundations and basements are made of concrete. Because concrete is a porous material, water usually won’t have a hard time finding a spot to sneak inside and begin funneling through it. This can often lead to cracks, leaks, bowing walls, mold problems, and more. Be sure to ask about the home’s history of water issues and what waterproofing methods have been installed.

Is the property properly graded for water runoff?

Proper grading of a property is one of the main ways to combat water issues down the line, but due to shifting soils and soil runoff, the land shifts over the years. If the property is not correctly graded, water will pool around the edges of the foundation and eventually find a way to seep inside. Pooling, stagnant water is also a hot spot for insects and can facilitate mold growth. Make sure your checklist includes reviewing the landscape grading surrounding any home you may consider purchasing.

Are the ceilings up to code?

Ceiling Installation

Be sure to check that the ceilings are up to code and save yourself a headache later!

Despite the “cozy” feel that lower ceilings can facilitate, basement ceilings below 6 feet won’t pass code inspections in most areas of the country. When viewing a home with a finished basement, make sure to note the height of the ceilings. If you decide that you’re interested in the property, ask a home inspector about the local building codes!

Is the basement up to code if you decide to create an in-law apartment?

Not every city or town will allow you to create a living space in the basement, so it’s important to verify it before you purchase a home with that intent. Check with your home inspector and a local basement professional about the rules in your area for creating dwellings within basement spaces!

Is there already an HVAC system or heating or cooling set up in the basement?

HVAC in the Basement

Having a preexisting unit in the basement will keep costs lower.

If you’re looking to spend time in a finished basement, there needs to be some sort of temperature control in place for comfort purposes. Basements can be nice in the summer, but their cool nature can make them too cold to spend time in during the fall and winter months, as the temperature of the outside and the ground surrounding the walls begins to drop.


If a system is already in place, then there’s no need to stress. However, ductwork can be quite costly to install. For this reason, be sure to ask about the HVAC and seek out a professional's opinion if there isn’t already existing ductwork.

Finding A Basement Finishing Specialist Near You

Basement Remodeling Contractor

Reach out to your local Total Basement Finishing Dealer, today!

When you’re looking to buy a house, there are already a million and one things on your mind. Here at Total Basement Finishing, our goal is to ease the process of stressful projects for our clients. That’s why we offer free, in-home inspections and handwritten quotes! Reach out today for more information and book your free, no-obligation estimate today!

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