The Pros and Cons of a Walkout Basement in Edmonton

Posted on: 2021-08-15

Are you looking for ways to upgrade your Edmonton home? Perhaps you have already exhausted your renovation options and are looking for a fresh and exciting way to spruce up your living space!

If you’re like most homeowners in this area, you probably don’t give much thought to the potential your basement has to completely transform your home.

Yes, you can give your basement a well-needed makeover – but have you considered taking it to the next level?

And by “next level”, we mean opening it up to its current level! That’s right, it may be possible for you to completely open up your basement on the same level as your property to create a whole new look and feel.

These are called walkout basements and their potential is endless.

Ready to learn more? Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of having a walkout basement in Edmonton:

What is a Walkout Basement?

Walkout basements are typically built when a home exists on a grade where the back of the property is lower than the front. However, you can also excavate to make a walkout basement possible.

Basically, having a walkout basement means that you can open a ground-level door and walk outside.

Walkout basements have the look and feel of the main level of the home, making it suitable for multiple uses such as additional living space or even a rental suite.

The Upsides of Creating a Walkout Basement

Bedroom with small office area and walkout basement

Provides Extra Light

Because a walkout basement can feature full-sized windows and doors, you can achieve far better lighting than in a standard sub-ground basement.

Natural light has a difficult time reaching a regular basement, which can make the space seem closed-off, small, and uncomfortable.  This makes walkout basements ideal for creating an additional living space, whether it be a living room or even windows.

Additionally, natural light and better airflow will help prevent moisture and mold from accumulating in your basement.

Provides Better Accessibility

An additional entrance to your home means easier access as well as another means to exit your home due to emergency situations such as a fire.

Likewise, if you choose to have someone rent your basement or you simply want to give your guests or teens their own space, a dedicated entrance means they can comfortably come and go without disturbing the other members of the household.

Or perhaps you simply want easy access to your amazing backyard:

Imagine having a walkout basement with a functioning kitchen where you can prepare your delicious summer meals and grill them to perfection on the barbecue! No more running up and downstairs with plates of food.

It Could Be a Potential Income Source

Depending on the rules and regulations in your municipality, you could convert your basement into an income suite and earn money from renting to tenants.

In order to do so, you will have to ensure that the space has basic living amenities such as a kitchen and bathroom. And, unless you decide to rent your basement as a studio apartment, you will also have to designate living areas and bedrooms.

Plus, in order to have tenants pay for their own utilities, you will need to have the hydro, heating, and plumbing separated from your main living area.

If you can pull off a walkout basement and aren’t using the space anyway, this is a great opportunity to make some extra money.

It Adds Value to Your Home

Since a walkout basement is considered a living space and more than just a finished basement, adding one can increase the value of your home. 

Overall, for every $1000 you put into a basement refinish, you can expect to get around $700 back. Doesn’t seem like a fair trade-off? Consider the fact that you can spend the money for a walkout basement and, when you sell your home, you’ve only ended up spending 30% of the cost!

Walkout basements are both beautiful and practical – and a definite selling point for potential homebuyers! Adding one now is definitely a future investment in the value of your property.

The Downsides of Creating a Walkout Basement

Excavator digging out lawn

The Cost of Landscaping

If your property doesn’t already have the proper slope and grade to accommodate a walkout basement, the cost of landscaping can be quite high.

And part of your basement foundation has to be excavated in order to create a walkout basement, which isn’t cheap.

Choosing to create a walkout basement is a matter of weighing the good with the bad. Are you willing to spend the money to create additional living space in your home and increase its value?

For some homeowners, it’s definitely worth it.

A Potential Increase in Property Taxes

While you are adding extra space to your home and increasing its value, the additional square footage could cause your property taxes to increase.

Even though adding a walkout basement does not add another storey to your home, it does increase the square footage which is what impacts the cost of your property taxes.

It Might Not Be Possible

As much as you would love to have a walkout basement in your home, it just may not be feasible. As we mentioned above, walkouts work best on properties where the land is already sloping down toward the back of the house.

Your basement has to be excavated to make room for the new opening and sometimes the topography of your property will not allow for it – especially if your basement is entirely underground.

Likewise, your city may have building codes that prevent you excavating your yard and having a walkout basement.

Final Thoughts

Basements walkouts are both practical and lucrative for your home but the installation is not cheap and the process is not quick and easy.

Thankfully, our crew at Parabola Developments is dedicated to providing you with cost-effective solutions to help you create the home of your dreams.

Ready to talk basement renos? Get in touch with us today!