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5 frugal ways to expand your living space

Finish an unfinished space
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Finish an unfinished space

If you're not willing to bear the expense of building an addition, finishing an unfinished portion of your home, such as an attic, basement or attached garage, is a great way to add square footage at a reasonable cost.

Finishing interior space is often cheaper than building an addition because you already have a roof and foundation, two of the most expensive parts of a typical addition, Landis says.

Electrification, refinishing and painting typically cost around $100 per square foot, though that price can vary, depending on where you live and the type of home you own, Landis says.

Keep in mind that costs can rise if the area of the home you're looking to finish has some underlying problems you haven't noticed. Landis says garages in particular are risky.

"A lot of garages are one step away from collapsing in older neighborhoods," he says.

While finishing a basement or attic isn't as challenging as building a whole new addition, Landis says picking the right contractor is still important for achieving the best results.

"You can always shop around for the lowest price, but sometimes it can come back to bite you," he says.


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