When the likes of Chicago basement remodeling projects are being talked about, it’s not uncommon to hear about otherwise unused basements turning into “man caves”—special rooms which are essentially male sanctuaries. If they’re not being converted to man caves per se, they’re turned into extra bedrooms, storage rooms or some other functional space.



There would also be times, however, when a basement can’t be a new storage room, man cave, or game room. So how can the unused space be utilized? Others asking the same question have come up with this idea: what if the basement is converted into a rental unit? Not only will it be put to good use, but it’ll also provide additional income in the long run.


If you’re one of those people looking to convert your basement into a rental unit, you must take note of a few important things before calling professionals who offer basement remodeling in Chicago. Here are a few of them.


Sort Out Legal Concerns – The City of Chicago requires a property owner to acquire a Certificate of Zoning Compliance, which authorizes the conversion of a basement. The document certifies the number of dwellings permitted on a property, as well as the legality of the remodeled basement itself. For instance, if the certificate mandates that your property is zoned for only two units and you still opted to convert your basement into a third unit, it is considered illegaland you may be penalized.


Provide Adequate Outdoor Access – Once the legalities are sorted out, it’s time to get down and dirty. Since basements are only typically accessible from the inside of the home, you (and your future tenant) would do well if you get a contractor like DAL Builders to install an outdoor entrance. Since most basements are set beneath a home’s foundation, this can be done by digging down and adding a staircase afterwards.


Don’t Forget Aesthetics – Your foremost goal is to create a space which looks and feels as good as the main floor. Your objective is to entice your future tenants by making them think that the space doesn’t look and feel like a basement at all and that it, in fact, feels like home. For this, you’d have to put premium on fixing issues like leaks and faulty wires, as well as adding insulation (while also conforming to building codes, of course).


Safety First – Someone is going to live down in your basement, so it’s your job to keep that person safe as well. A lot of the rules which apply to regular residences also ring true for basement apartments, such as electrical and plumbing specifications to prevent fires and floods.


(Source: Converting A Basement Into A Rental Unit, HGTV.com)

Other Sources:

What The F*ck Is A man Cave? Huffington Post, June 8, 2010

What Are The Legal Requirements For Basement Apartments In Chicago? eHow.com

Finished Basement Ideas: Convert Into Apartment For Rent, Homeclick Community

Tips On Converting Your Basement Into A Rental Unit, MillenialLiving.com, February 14, 2009

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