Is it worth renovating your basement into a suite?

Is it worth renovating your basement into a suite?

As the cost of living increases, more homeowners are developing their basements into suites. Currently, there are 9,497 registered secondary suites in the City of Calgary. That’s 651 more than last year. 

A basement suite is a separate living space on the lower level of your home. It typically includes the same basic amenities as any home, including a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, and a separate entrance from the main house. 

Renovating your basement into a suite is a major project requiring a significant investment. So is renovating your basement into a suite worth it?

Pros & Cons of Renovating Your Basement Into a Suite

There are a lot of benefits to having a basement suite, but it’s not a good idea for every homeowner. It’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of a basement renovation of this size before you proceed. 

4 Pros of a Basement Suite

Let’s look at four of the main benefits of a basement suite in your home. 

1. Additional rental income

The most common reason for a basement suite is to generate revenue as a rental suite. Having tenants rent your suite contributes to your mortgage payments and improves your cash flow.

2. Increase in property value

If you plan to sell your home eventually, a basement suite can add to your property value. A basement renovation can recoup 70% of the cost, according to Remodeling Magazine. So if you spent $80,000 on a basement renovation, it would add $56,000 to the value of your home.

For potential homebuyers, the value of a basement suite goes beyond property value, however. It includes the value of the potential rental income they can expect from the suite. 

3. More living space for homeowners

Not all homeowners want to become landlords. For many families, a basement suite provides additional living space that’s perfect for entertaining and hosting large gatherings or parties. It’s also a comfortable way to host long-term guests by giving them the benefit of all household amenities in their own space.

4. Potential for multigenerational living arrangement

A basement suite is an ideal space for elderly parents. Independent living facilities for seniors are expensive, so a basement suite in your home can be an affordable option that provides privacy and independence while offering safety and a simpler way to stay connected.

Younger generations can benefit from a basement suite too. It can be the perfect training ground for independence for young adult children who are not ready for the financial burden of a completely separate residence. 

luxury basement suite with custom kitchen cabinets

4 Cons of a Basement Suite

All the pros of a basement suite make it sound so appealing, but it’s important to consider the cons as well. 

1. Initial cost of construction and renovation

For some homeowners, the initial cost of renovating their basement into a suite is prohibitive. Because of inflation and supply chain issues, costs have risen dramatically in recent years. Current pricing in Calgary for a basement development averages close to $50,000.

2. Additional maintenance

Adding a second kitchen and an additional bathroom to your home means more plumbing. A basement suite requires electrical and other utilities. And if you become a landlord, you’ll have additional responsibilities to maintain the space for your tenants.

3. Potential legal and zoning issues

Legalizing a basement suite is not always an easy process in Calgary. There are specific regulations your suite must follow, and there are zoning laws to comply with. These include rules about ceiling and door heights, entry and exit points, bedroom windows, stairways, and more. 

Refer to the City of Calgary’s regulations for legalizing an existing suite, adding a secondary suite in your basement, building a backyard suite, and renting out a secondary suite.  

4. Privacy concerns for both homeowners and tenants

Poorly constructed basement suites can affect the privacy and living experience of both homeowners and tenants. Without a separate entrance for basement tenants, homeowners can feel like a tenant’s coming and going are intrusions. And without proper soundproofing, each household may hear the other. 

Basement Suite Renovation & Design Experts in Calgary

If you’re interested in renovating your basement into a suite, the experts at Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations can help you assess your space to determine if it’s a worthwhile investment for you. 

Our team can design your basement suite and manage the entire renovation project, including obtaining the necessary permits and ensuring your suite meets the City’s requirements. 

If you decide a basement suite isn’t best for your home, we can provide alternative basement solutions that will still add value to your home and create an attractive and functional space for your family. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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