Don’t make this mistake when remodeling your basement

Have you ever wanted to build out your basement into some good livable space? How about a great home theater or a home office? These types of improvements can definitely add value to your home and give you more room to spread out and utilize the area in your home, if done the right way. I was in a home recently where the owners did this very thing but I’m not sure they thought ahead when drawing up their plans for the remodeling project.

The basement in the home was finished out into a recreation room and an office. While taking measurements in the basement I noticed that one car space was quite a bit shorter that the other one. Take a look at the sketch and picture to see what I mean.

garage too small

basement garage too small for car

A staggered garage space is not uncommon, however the smaller one only had a clearance of 11.5 feet, which is too small for most cars to fit in. I own a compact car myself and it measures about 14.5 feet, so for a car to fit in this space it would have to be pretty small. My whole point in sharing this story with you is to make you aware of functional problems that may be created when you remodel or make home improvements. The additional area will add value to the home, however the owner that made these improvements also took away some functionality to their home by decreasing their parking spaces to only one.

I did not write this post to tell you how much value was added with the finished basement, or taken away with only one garage space, but to make you aware of such situations if you ever have a similar project. With some extra planning the owners could have added additional space to their basement and kept both parking spaces. In some neighborhoods two car garage parking in the basement may be expected, so this could effect the ability to sell the home in a timely manner or result in the price being lower than expected. What are your thoughts on this problem? Do you have any similar questions about an upcoming project you may be planning? If so leave me a comment below, I would be glad to hear from you.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on Facebook., Twitter, or Youtube.


  1. I liked when you talked about how remodeling your basement can increase your home’s value. It makes sense that understanding this can help you come up with the best plan of action that will be worth it the most. I can see how anyone looking into this would want to consult with a professional and make sure they do things right and avoid accidents.

  2. I loved your tips and the information you have given in the article. I have a storage room in my basement. I would love to try home theater in my basement. Thanks for your valuable information.

  3. Lawrence says

    Some great advice Tom and that car space does look very small. Basement conversions are such a great idea to add more space and value to a home. I think professional help should be sought after to avoid such mistakes because they can be catastrophic and even more costly to repair once the space has been built. Basements are already costly investments but if they are made correctly and the space utilised, it can add so much value.

    • Thanks for your response Lawrence. You are right, that car space was small! I’m sure it would have cost just as much to do it the right way. You are right about it being expensive to repair after the fact so it is important to think through what you are doing at the start. Have an awesome day.

  4. This would be perfect for anyone who owns a Mini Cooper…. 🙂

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