Down economy spurring more basement remodels
Asbury Park Press - Asbury Park, N.J.

Author: Nicholas Huba
Date: Jul 5, 2012
Start Page: n/a
Section: News

A man's home might be his castle, but Susan and Joe Meehan of Middletown agreed they needed to transform their dark dreary basement to meet the growing needs of their family.

The result was a $20,000 renovation that everyone in the family can enjoy.

"When we started the process we were looking at three different things. I wanted a sanctuary, my son wanted a teenage hangout, and my husband wanted a man cave," Susan Meehan said. "Right now, we use it for all three things depending on who gets down here first and that is usually my son."

The Meehans are not alone. During the last five years, homeowners throughout the country have been increasing the livable areas of their homes, said Lori Tugman, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers.

"With the down economy a lot of people are looking to increase their livable space and having a basement is perfect for that," Tugman said. "People are staying in their homes longer now and having an upscale basement only adds to the value."

Most high-end basement projects still center on home theaters and other electronics, Tugman said.

"A couple of years ago, the big thing in basements was home theater systems and that is still the case, but it's also about having the newest toys," Tugman said. "Pool tables are still popular with people who are doing basements. It's all about the toys you have from TV's to electronics."

According to Remodeling Magazine, a trade publication that reviews home projects, the average cost to remodel a basement in the region is approximately $67,860.

For Howell resident Mike Funk, his basement serves as a shrine to his beloved Dallas Cowboys.

"We used to live in a condo and when we moved here in 2004 having a basement was the biggest part of the criteria," said Funk, a credit collection manager for CIT Group. "Back then we had a similar set-up in the garage of our townhouse; I wanted to have a basement that would hold all of this.

While some have made their basements as oasis for their families, other turn them into the rental income properties.

"In some cases, the rent that they receive can make a mortgage payment," Tugman said.

For more on the Meehans and Funks and the basement remodeling trend, see the full version of this story on Friday or in Friday's Asbury Park Press. Also see the full story for the five main factors that affect the price of a basement project, and for a video of Funk's basement.


On average, a mid-range basement remodeling project costs approximately $61,011, with an average resale value of $44,467, according to Signature Contractors, a national contracting company.

ID_Code: B3-307050025

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