Finished attics, basements can increase home value

May 3, 2012

By Staff

Overhauling unused attic or basement nooks and crannies can add living space, sure, but such renovations also boost home value.

The spaces also offer potential for homeowners to increase value without incurring the larger expenses of a complete addition, because the exterior walls, foundation and roof already exist.

Homeowners considering attic or basement upgrades should consider increasing the amount of natural light in the spaces, either by adding skylights or windows. Even a small or decorative window can add important light to a room.

As another bonus, using natural light means homeowners can save on utility costs to light a room.

In order to break up the claustrophobic feel of a cramped attic or basement, homeowners can add dormers to the space to increase space and open up the area. Or the roof slope can be altered to create more headroom.

The makeover should create a barely noticeable transition from the main floors of a home to the attic or basement. The quality of materials should approximate the look and feel of other rooms in the house.

The additional room frees up space for hobbies and other interests.

Homeowners can transform a remade attic or basement into a so-called man cave, a home theater, a rec room, master suite or another amenity. Only the homeowner’s budget and imagination limit the possibilities.

But additional touches can cause a budget to balloon quickly. Creating a finished attic or basement can mean adding flooring, insulation, plumbing, wiring, and heating and cooling systems.

The least expensive option, of course, is to protect the space against moisture and extreme temperatures, and use the attic or basement for storage.

Use the secure space to hold disassembled Christmas trees and other out-of-season holiday decorations, outdoor recreation equipment and other clutter-causing items.


How to get started

The initial step to remaking unused attic or basement space into a more desirable and useful spot is usually a deep cleaning.

King County experts and organizations offer numerous options to donate and dispose of.

The county Solid Waste Division offers the What do I do with…? website,, to answer questions about old appliances, household chemicals and more.

For outdated TVs and other electronics destined for the landfill, the state coordinates the E-Cycle Washington program. AtWork! in Issaquah offers electronics recycling through the program at no cost to consumers. Find detailed recycling information — including a list of accepted items — at the organization’s website, Find a complete list of locations in King County and statewide at the E-Cycle Washington website, 

Support Habitat for Humanity of East King County and donate to the Habitat Store, 13500 Bel-Red Road, Bellevue.

Customers can donate appliances, building materials, furniture, home furnishings and décor in good condition at the store. Find a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable items to donate at 

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to   5 p.m. Sunday. Call 641-2643 to schedule a donation pickup on the Eastside.

Seattle Goodwill accepts many household items, including bed frames, books, clothing, electronics, furniture, toys and more. Find a complete list of donation guidelines at 

Seattle Goodwill operates a donation center at 228th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Eighth Street in Sammamish. The center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

What to know

Issaquah homeowners interested in conducting attic or basement improvements should call the city Permitting Center at 837-3100 to inquire about necessary permits. Homeowners in unincorporated King County should call the Department of Development and Environmental Services at 206-296-6600.

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One Response to “Finished attics, basements can increase home value”

  1. Drew on May 4th, 2012 3:06 pm

    Some dormers may require an architects plans and building permit. The plans are useful especially when you call a contractor over for a price quote. This establishes that you are serious about maybe doing the project and allows the contractor to give you a more precise estimate.

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