Basement Renovations Home Buyers Want

That tired basement decor of yours is doing you no favours — basement renovations are on most home buyers’ shopping list.

Check it out. Stacks of kids’ bikes, or garden hoses piled up under the stairs, won’t get you a premium price on Ontario’s resale home market. (There’s that old set of Nordic skis that were such a steal on eBay.) 

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What home buyers want

See award-winning renos

How to budget basement renovations

When to get permits

What Home Buyers Want in a Basement

Home buyers are looking for space to kick back, or income suites to make their mortgage payments. Basement renovations could put your home over the top. RE/MAX realtors coast to coast reveal basement renovations are #5 on home buyers’ most wanted checklist.  

Contractors report home seller can get back around 70%-75% of what they put into basement renovations. Buyers are looking for multi-purpose rooms to watch TV, play space for the kids, guest accommodation or in-law suites with an adjoining bath, and office space.  

So don’t let your cold, neglected concrete floors drag down your otherwise trendy home. Seal up those leaky windows, shore up the creaky staircase, and apply some decorating magic to the most underutilized space in your home. 

The time is right for basement renovations.

Not getting permits could hamper your sale – here’s why.

Houses with wide spaces

Inspiration for Basement Renovations

Have a look at the stone countertops and natural rock fireplace in the BILD 2022 Renovation & Custom Home Awards for top basement renovation over $125,000. 

How much it costs to renovate a basement in Toronto is up to you. It can cost a little, or it can cost a lot. Here’s a rule of thumb from an Ontario renovation contractor (2022 prices):

  • $42,000 to $68,500 for 37.1 to 74.3 m²
  • $77,000 to $85,700 for 83.61 to 92.9 m²
  • $94,000 to $120,000 for 102.19 to 130.06 m².

Qualify for CMHC high ratio refinancing plus improvement mortgages. 

How Do I Redo My Basement on a Budget?

Simple: decide how much you want to spend, and start shopping around for estimates. Materials and labour are major expenses, and the more you do yourself, the less you pay. 

Budget for basement renovations in Toronto by only doing the essentials. 

  • Leave out a spa/guest ensuite unless it can be hooked into your upstairs plumbing (check out YouTube or ask contractors how). That can lop $19,000 to $34,000 off a basement renovations budget. 
  • Make it easy to access the upstairs by adding a great staircase instead. 
  • Use wide open spaces as a flex room for watching TV, a playroom, and overnight accommodation. 
  • The clever use of a shared hallway can allow renters to use a common outdoor entrance.

Refinancing your mortgage could give you the extra cash you need for a basic update. Find a refinance lawyer in Ontario for your renovations project. 

When You Need Permits

Here’s a question to keep in mind: do I need a permit to renovate my basement in Ontario? You may, depending on where you live, and what renovations you have planned. Toronto’s Building Code Act, for example, requires building permits for “material alterations.” 

What’s that? Permits ensure you’ve hired qualified contractors for basement renovations, or have the handyman skills needed to make your home’s structure  secure. Anything that affects your home’s basic structural integrity requires permits:

  • altering the foundation 
  • adding a room or moving walls
  • making heating, plumbing, or electrical changes
  • enlarging or moving windows or doors
  • relocating staircases
  • and more.

Get a construction lien off a property title. 

Contact the building permits office of your local government to apply, or ask to see your contractor’s copies. Permits and inspections aren’t free, but “forgetting” permits can seriously stall your basement renovations. It could get you a stop work order from a local inspector, request to remove your renos, and a $25,000 fine or worse. See City of Toronto building permit fees.

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Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Excited about selling your home, but not sure what to include in your offer to purchase? 

Axess Law’s professional real estate lawyers protect your legal and financial interests. We review the fine print in agreements of purchase and sale for subject-to conditions that give you the right to cancel if home inspections reveal flaws, or mortgage financing is impossible to secure.

What’s involved in the real estate closing process in Ontario. 

Offers to purchase are legal contracts that commit you to certain terms, conditions, and completion dates. We inspect your draft or signed offer, and suggest amendments that may be needed to allow you to back away with mutual consent.  

Axess Law liaises with your realtor and mortgage lender to finalize the documents you need to make your purchase or sale complete. We answer your questions, like how to add family members to title to a property, or if your former spouse needs to give you permission to sell. 

If unforeseen delays occur, we negotiate to extend closing deadlines and keep your purchase or sale moving forward.

Qualify for a private mortgage in Ontario. 

Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are 

Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario  when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it. 

Hiring a real estate closing lawyer.

Virtual Lawyers for Any Real Estate Transaction 

Axess Law’s virtual real estate lawyers meet with you online, anywhere you are. If you’ve never used remote video conferencing for legal services before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how convenient it can be. Our secure, confidential video conferencing software protects your privacy. Sign online without leaving home or office, and get a final copy for your records. 

How to close real estate transactions remotely

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Phone our 647-479-0118 lawyer line, toll free to 1-877-522-9377, to make appointments in minutes. You can use our easy online booking form to select dates and times that suit your schedule or, if that’s more convenient, drop by any of our conveniently located Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices to confirm appointment times. Axess Law has onsite parking and easy transit access.

Click here to discharge a mortgage when you sell your Ontario home.