Last night, we measured our basement and drew out a rough sketch of how we want it to look once it’s finished. I got all the information from our town regarding getting a permit, and we’ll be submitting our permit application this week. We have to provide them with a drawing of the plans, so we’ll be finalizing that soon too.
A permit is going to cost us just over $1/square foot. For our basement, that’s going to come in somewhere north of $1300. Ouch. I’ll admit that it did cross our minds to just proceed without a permit, but we knew that in the long run, it’s better to be on the up-and-up with projects like this. We’ll make back some of the permit money when we buy supplies for the basement, as we won’t be charged city or county tax on them when we show our permit. And in general, my husband and I are supporters of regulation and taxation. We know that our town needs the money it gets from building permits, and although $1300 is a lot of money just to get a piece of paper and some inspections, we don’t really mind paying it. Having to have each step of the process checked out by inspectors will be a bit of a pain, but it will also provide peace of mind that everything is done the way it should be. We’re looking at this sort of the way we looked at incorporation for our business five years ago (and the resulting additional work that comes around each year at tax time): yes, it was expensive and a bit of a hassle, but it made everything feel much more legitimate, and that pays off in the long run.
Right now, our basement is just one huge room. Eventually, we’re going to have a large office space, an unfinished pantry, a living room/playroom area, a bathroom, a guest room, and a large workout room. The basement is currently used for storage of craft supplies, hydroponic/garden supplies, and baby stuff (which is slowly making its way upstairs in preparation for our new little one’s arrival), but mostly as an office for my husband and a place for us to exercise. So it makes sense that those will be the two largest areas of the finished basement. We’re planning to do most of the work ourselves, although we’ll likely hire out some things.
It feels good to get going on this project. We knew when we bought the house that we wanted to finish the basement, but the time and money involved made us put it off for a while. We’re in no real hurry, and we’ll be working on this project in around our jobs and taking care of our son (and the baby that will arriving soon). In another few months, garden season will be here again, and we know from last summer’s experience that it will take up a good deal of our time. In addition, we want to spread out the financial cost associated with finishing the basement. But for now, we’re taking the first steps, and it feels good.