Step 1. First of all, discuss your needs with the family. It is not uncommon for your spouse to have a different set of priorities. At this point, don’t worry about the real estate market or your neighbors; just write a list of priorities without budget considerations. There are obviously some items that you “must” have and there are others that would be “nice” to have, if the money will allow.
Step 2. Do a little research on the web. One of the best places to start is Cost VS. Value report published in the Remodeling Magazine every year. www.remodeling.hw.net/2008/costvsvalue/national.aspx
When you look at the numbers, remember that the prices there are regional and may fluctuate from town to town and neighborhood to neighborhood. Also, your project may be in some ways different than others. It also depends on the design; some contractors will slap drywall on to studs and call it a finished basement. Some contractors will create a design that will WOW your friends and neighbors. It all depends on your needs.
Step 3. Now is the main part – your budget has nothing to do with what the project will actually cost. Your budget is how much money you are prepared to invest. As a design-build remodeling company, we design to your budget. If your budget is in the ballpark we will let you know, if it is too high or too low, we will also let you know. But designing a project without a budget may be a waste of your money.