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(BPT)—Basements are back. With houses at a premium, and a proliferation of DIY how-tos, more homeowners are feeling inspired to reclaim unused space.

Updating your lower level is a sound investment. REMODELING magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report put the average basement remodel at $61,303, with a 70.3 percent payback—a far better return than adding a bathroom or garage.

Depending on local regulations, the additional space can often be added to your home’s total square footage, making your listing more appealing to buyers and potentially increasing your property’s value.

To recoup the most from your remodeling efforts, make sure your design and decorating choices are attractive and functional—not too quirky or customized.

Tackle any needed repairs, including waterproofing your lower level. Seal your walls and floors first—hire a professional if you’re short on time.

Since below-grade spaces are usually cool, humid and prone to water damage, consider investing in a dehumidifier and choosing moisture-resistant products in the remodel.

Repair or replace the ceiling. Plaster any cracks and replace yellowing tiles. Look for products that are specially treated to resist the growth of mold and mildew. Savvy design choices, like coffered ceilings or wood planks, add style, and the results are easier to achieve than most people think.

Make sure your flooring choices stand up to moisture, too. Patch any cracks in the concrete floor, and consider adding a subfloor if the surface slopes or is uneven.

Many homeowners gravitate to the warmth and soundproofing effect of carpeting in basements. Low-pile or Berber carpets resist wear and are inexpensive. A moisture-barrier pad between the carpet pad and the carpet adds another level of water resistance and reassurance.

Finishing your basement is a wise investment that will reap dividends for years to come. You’ll enjoy the added living space now, and realize a healthy return in the future.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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