Posted by: Nick Fundytus

Question of the week:

Basement bedroom or bigger basement? 

We are going to be developing our basement soon and eventually within the next 5 to ten years we are going to be selling this house. We live in a two story, detached, 1400sq foot home with attached garage. Three bedrooms upstairs, 2.5 baths.


For selling value, it is better to have a basement that has a 250sq foot family room plus about a 150sq foot bedroom, or should we rather have a +/- 400 lsq foot family room with no bedroom.

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Nick's Response

Hey u/TitleRoyal1685,


If you’re looking purely for sale value, a bedroom is worth it as a few have mentioned, but there are a few factors that could affect that:

  • What’s typical and expected in your area (will you eventually competing against mostly other homes with basements?)

  • The cost to install.

  • Whether the bedroom is legal. My advice is to have the window enlarged (if required in your area) to make a legal egress so you avoid potential problems or liability down the road.

  • Whether you will make use of it in the meantime. Although it doesn’t add to sale value, it is worthwhile to consider whether you will have “dead” space in your basement that you don’t really need and are keeping around to eventually sell.

The last thing to keep in mind is that down the road when selling, assuming that you’ve added a bedroom, that you will not be directly competing with “true” four-bedroom homes (ones that have all four bedrooms above grade). Basement bedrooms are a positive for resale but not to the extent of having a home built with four bedrooms in the first place.

Good luck on the development, whichever route you go!

Source: I’m a Realtor in Ottawa, Ontario.

3 Bonus Tips for improving value


Ask your Realtor. We don’t mind; in fact we love it when past clients reach out to ask these questions, and we know what sells in your local marketplace.


Start with paint. There’s a saying in Real Estate: “Fifty dollars in the can, or thousands on the wall.” Dollar for dollar it’s proven to be the best investment that you can make in a home, even paying a professional to do it.


When buying, focus on the fundamentals of location, lot and layout. Finishes fade, but those “three L’s” are forever.

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