Baltimore Basement Remodeling

by Matt Goering

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In almost every city, state, and region in the nation, it's safe to say that there's no smarter remodeling project to undertake than bathrooms and kitchens. And to some extent, that's still true. When your home goes up on the market, those are likely the first two places potential homebuyers look when they schedule a walk through. In Baltimore and the rest of the South Atlantic region, however, there's a new sheriff in town. Based on Remodeling Magazine's most recent Cost vs. Value Report, basement remodeling has the highest return on the dollar of any major home remodeling job in Baltimore and the rest of the Southern Atlantic Coast region. That includes attic remodels, home offices, and (gasp!) kitchens and bathrooms as well.

Baltimore Basement Remodeling Returns 91.2 Cents to the Dollar
According to Remodeling Magazine's research, you can expect to recoup 91.2% of the money you invest to transform your dank, dark basement into one of the most comfortable areas in the home. You might be thinking that's not a perfect return. After all, it's not 100% or higher, which is the holy grail when it comes to Baltimore home remodels. When you consider that kitchen and bathrooms, the traditional home run hitters in the remodeling business, boast returns of 86% and 85% respectively, however, it's easy to see why basement remodeling in Baltimore is a fitting leader in the city known as the City of Firsts.

What Costs are we Talking about with Baltimore Basement Remodeling?
As with any major home improvement project, costs for basement remodels in Baltimore are going to vary project to project, but to give you a better idea of the ballpark you'll end up in (and we're not talking Camden Yards here), HomeAdvisor keeps a running tally on all the jobs performed by our contractors and what they ended up costing homeowners who took advantage of our services. While the lowest job we have in our database ran $15,000, and the high was a little over three times that amount at $50,000, an average basement remodeling project in Baltimore runs a little over $30,000.

Why the Costs of Basement Remodeling in Baltimore Vary
What drives that average of $30,000 up or down? Truthfully, the vast majority of the basement renovations in Baltimore in our books were very close to that $30,000 mark. Of those that strayed from the norm, many factors come into play. Waterproofing, for example, can be a huge factor in a coastal city like Baltimore that gets over 40 inches of rain a year. No basement remodel is safe, or smart, if you don't address pre-existing problems with excess moisture, water seepage, or outright leakage at the outset. On the other hand, if you're one of the lucky Baltimoreans whose basement stays dry as a bone even after the heaviest summer thunderstorm or soaking winter rain, you can expect to cut costs significantly. Lay down some carpet, slap up some drywall, and you'll end up with a basement that will be the envy of your neighbors at a very reasonable cost.

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What to Expect with your Baltimore Basement Renovation
Cost isn't the only factor that pops into the heads of residents of the City of Charm. Right behind budget in most homeowner's minds is the level of inconvenience they're likely to incur. HomeAdvisor also tracks project durations, and with basement remodels, you're in for a long haul. Average Baltimore basement remodels usually take about three months, give or take a week or two. Some are done in as little as one month, and the big ones can take up to four months to complete. That sounds daunting, even in a city whose residents are used to waiting for the Orioles to make their resurgence. Take into account that basement remodeling is one of the least intrusive remodeling projects there is, however, and suddenly it doesn't sound so bad. Basement contractors work out of sight and out of mind (especially if you wear ear plugs), and it's rare for a basement remodel to significantly inconvenience your day to day life in any way. Compared to other popular projects like kitchen remodeling and major additions, which can literally shut down your daily routine for days, weeks, or even months at a time, basement remodeling is about as under your radar as a major home improvement gets.

Patience and Communication Make for a Pleasant Baltimore Basement Renovation
Fair warning. Baltimore basement remodeling, like basement remodeling elsewhere in the country, is no walk in the park. But it can still be a pleasant experience if you follow a few simple guidelines. First of all, be patient and flexible. Basements are notorious for surprises, and the challenges of working around ductwork and plumbing, as well as working with low ceilings and poorly lit living spaces, often force contractors to re-think, and creatively deal with, the unexpected. The more you factor that into your plans, and the more you communicate with your contractor about the state of the project on a regular basis, the less those inevitabilities are going to cause you distress.

Take this homeowner's advice, who used HomeAdvisor to find a contractor to tackle their basement remodeling in Baltimore: "Be available, patient and allow for the unexpected. Our project was more than expected mostly due to an unanticipated complication that directly affected finishing the job. The project still finished within the expected timeframe." More than likely this homeowner's ability to deal with unanticipated problems had to do with their good relationship with the contractor and the contractor's ability to keep to the timeline. Another homeowner emphasized the importance of that level of communication when they wrote: "Just be patient and ask questions when you feel the need. [Our contractor] was excellent about responding to my questions or concerns and, in general, everyone was there when they were supposed to be, and the time frame for completing the project was very good." By rolling with the punches, and keeping lines of communication open, your new basement remodeling project will go off without a hitch, and you'll end up with one of the most enjoyable and investment wise remodels to be found in the City of Baltimore and beyond.

Basement Remodeling Project Guide
If you enjoyed this article, check out our free Basement Remodeling Guide, which features expert advice, design & material comparisons, and custom price estimates for your remodeling project.
Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.