Have you got an unused basement in your house? If your answer to that is yes, converting the basement into an apartment is a really great move because it’ll increase your home value. When you convert base apartments, you increase additional space that can be used as an extra room.

However, if you decide to rent it out, a basement conversion is a good way to earn extra money. It is a profitable venture because the investment costs are usually recovered in less than 2 years.

In this post, we’ll dive into what it takes to convert the basement into an apartment.

Evaluate Your Budget.

The reason for this is quite obvious: You definitely don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the basement conversion project due to exhausted funds. Having a budget for the renovation cost also because it will help you determine if the investment’s worth it. Financial planning will enable you to put things into perspective. It will help you set the extent of the renovation required. It will also help you know the time required before you break even.

Basement Inspection

A basement inspection is used to determine if you require the service of an expert for your basement conversion. For instance, if your basement already meets the local building standard for local homes, then you don’t need any professional service. However, if your basement doesn’t meet it, you might need a contractor. Examples of situations that might require a contractor include; low ceiling, pests and rot damage, lack of plumbing or wiring and the likes.

Basement conversion

Get a Qualified Contractor

If you’ve established that you need a contractor, then you need to get a reliable one. Referrals from friends and family is a good way to get well-vetted contractors. Similarly, real estate agents and remodeling consultants can recommend great contractors. In California, the authenticity of a contractor can easily be verified from the online database of the California Contractors State License Board.

Get a Building Permit

Before you convert basement apartments in California, you require a building permit. You can easily obtain the necessary documents you need for your building permit from your local building department. A good alternative is to apply for a permit online on the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection’s website.

Get into the Conversion Phase of the Major Issues.

Now that you have the money, a contractor and a permit, you’re all set to begin your basement conversion. Here are some of the priority issues you might have to address;

Structural Weaknesses

Structural weakness often comes from weak foundations, ventilation and moisture regulation issues. They must be properly tackled to ensure the high structural integrity of the basement apartment.

Wiring and Plumbing Systems

You’ll have to check if all wiring and plumbing systems are working in order. If not, a repair or an upgrade might be necessary.

Safety concerns

Due to the way basements are inherently constructed, several modifications have to be made to ensure they are safe for occupancy. Firstly, the installation of windows and exits that meet up to the fire code is a must. Minor safety equipment like smoke detectors, fire extinguishers must be working properly.

Finish off the Basement Conversion

Once major renovations have been completed, minor renovations can be carried out to improve the atheistic of the converted basement. First and foremost, you have to do the flooring. Using vinyl flooring is recommended because it offers maximum moisture protection.

Painting the wall is also necessary to beautify the apartment. As a rule of thumb, stick with neutral colors because they reflect most of the sunlight and also because they appeal to a large number of potential tenants.

Replace faulty fittings like bulbs, broken door handles, or faulty connections. Thereafter, a proper inspection must be carried out to ensure you aren’t missing anything. Staying in the place yourself for a couple of days can be a good way to identify any fault that you might have missed.

Finally, you can add finishing to give your basement apartment that perfect look.


The process of a basement conversion is quite stressful, however, it is a thrilling process that will add substantial value to your house. By following these step-to-step guide, you’re on the path of a successful basement conversion project. Good luck!