There are three very good reasons for upselling a finished basement on every residential contract you execute:
- You’ll increase your sales and profit margins
- The homebuyer will have a superior new-home experience as he/she will immediately have the benefit of increased living space and comfort, compared to a non-finished basement
- The house will immediately become safer in case of fire
But in this day and age, do you think it is easy to convince a homebuyer to take on the extra debt that a finished basement represents? It may be easier than you think, thanks to recent building code. Here’s why:
- The International Residential Code requires floor structures to be fire resistant. In order to achieve this, there are the options of applying fire resistant materials to the joists or enclosing them within a ceiling (using 1/2 inch gypsum board or 5/8 wood structural panel). It thus becomes a mandatory additional cost that a customer may as well leverage into finishing their basement.
- Now, in most climate zones the energy code requires basements to have insulated walls. Even if the customer doesn’t finish the basement immediately and wishes to have that option in the future, they’ll have to get the wall framed before applying the insulation. This will avoid the waste of tearing out insulation and starting over. So why not suggest to get it all done at once? Some basic wiring and additional gypsum board and the walls can be finished too.
A finished basement floor is also safer for storage of items that could accumulate humidity or mildew, as well as much more confortable to walk on. This brings the customer a whole lot closer to wanting a finished basement. Still, you may have some convincing to do. Here are a few pointers:
- Take time to explain and don’t push for a quick decision. It is a big investment, especially for someone who is about to take on the burden of a new house mortgage. Customers need to understand. If you don’t explain enough, it will feel like a hard sell, possibly damaging their perception of you.
- Encourage them to ask questions. You are in your comfort zone. You have the answers. If the customer genuinely learns something from you, he/she will appreciate it and pass it on to other people in his/her circles.
- Set aside time for upselling. The construction industry is no different than any other. It is always rush, rush, rush. It will take extra discipline to make time for customers in your busy schedule. You’ll also have to convince your superiors. Stopping to talk with customers may not register as a deliverable to your bosses, but they will see the value in it if you explain the rewards involved.
There is no doubt that upselling a basement is time well spent. People remember emotionally charged events better than boring ones and the customer, who is in the middle of a landmark decision in his/her life, will likely be receptive, retain your explanations and mull them over carefully.
For more arguments in favour of a finished basement, see the blog post called “why would a basement be left unfinished?”