Author Topic: Egress window or not?  (Read 3883 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Egress window or not?
« on: October 11, 2013, 07:46:11 AM »
We are going to renting out a part of our house to my wife's friend coming home from the Navy soon for $400 a month.

Our house is a 3 BR with a half finished 600 sq ft basement.  I am wondering if it would be worth it to spend the $1000 for an egress window so that she can live downstairs or if it makes just as much sense to save that money for now (we are in aggressive debt payback mode) and just rent her the guest room.  We would probably carpet and do some sheetrock repair down in the basement as well to get it decently habitable in 8 weeks.

My only downside to the guest room is that it's across the hall from where I do my gaming/man-caving.  I'm kind of on the fence because I found a guy who will do the install for me for $1000 this weekend only, otherwise it would be $1400 any other time (which is still not a huge deal).  If we don't do the basement now it's mostly used for storage, guest sleeping area, and exercise (elliptical, weights and DDR on an old tube TV).

Any thoughts?

Another Reader

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4835
Re: Egress window or not?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 08:12:58 AM »
How much value would this add to the house?

I would not let some guy rush me into doing this.  I would need references and you probably need a building permit to do the work.


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Columbus, OH
Re: Egress window or not?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 08:37:33 AM »
Why the special deal on the window?

I think doing the work to convert the basement is definitely worth it to have your privacy. Plus if you do a little more work to it you could rent it out permanently and get a LOT more money over the long haul.

Another thing to think about is how long the friend is planning to stay. If only a month or two till she gets on her feet, and you don't plan to do any more renting in the future, might not be worth it. If she's going to be there quite some time and you might do it again in the future, I'd spend the money.

Get that window, hook up a shower, a toilet, and one of these and you have yourself a rentable studio apartment!


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Egress window or not?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 08:38:49 AM »
How long will she be renting from you?

I just added an egress window to my basement -- DIY -- and the excavation and retaining wall themselves cost $1000, just for materials.  I'd be very leery of a $1000 quote for the whole project as that won't even cover the cost of the materials (unless he uses really cheap stuff) let alone the cost of the dude's labor.

Also, factor in the cost of the carpet.  Then ask yourself if the basement's air quality is good enough that you would want to live down there.  Many basements have lousy indoor air quality and the resulting "basement smell" is unpleasant.

If it's a short term rental while she is between duty stations, it probably isn't worth it.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: Egress window or not?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2013, 09:23:49 AM »
I'm a licensed home inspector and you really need to have an egress window in a basement area that will be used for sleeping. Too many people die in fires when they can't escape...a person has literally seconds to get out. A year or two ago in my city 3 or 4 young adults died in a basement suite fire...the windows had non-removable security bars. What a tragedy.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: Egress window or not?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2013, 12:18:58 PM »
I'm planning on renting out the basement going forward, she is going to be with us for what could be 6 months or even a year.

I think I'm going to "do it right" and slow-roll my way through improving my basement and making it livable and will have her in our guest room for now and if that doesn't work (privacy wise) my wife and I will move our bedroom down there and let her have the half story upstairs (then she gets her own bathroom).

I would rent her the upstairs now but my wife loves it up there, we have a huge walk-in closet (6 by 10?).  But it's your normal .5 story, poorly insulated, barely vented, and has knee-walls.  Even with central air we need to run a window unit in the summer up there or it gets 90 degrees.