For many homeowners, the basement is a place for laundry, storage and cobwebs. For others, it is an additional bedroom, living room or den, full of exciting, creative features and hours of entertainment options.

This can be a reality for anyone with an underutilized basement, but it requires a little motivation and some smart ideas. A basement remodel can be the perfect way to upgrade a house and increase its value, all while adding a new, unique room for the current residents to enjoy.

Prior to starting any major improvement project, though, homeowners should make sure that everything is in great condition ahead of time. A property inspection professional can shed some light on the condition of space, and make sure there aren't any problems that could derail the entire renovation.

Prepare in advance for the ideal basement

A lot can go wrong between the planning stage and the construction portion of any basement remodel project. Therefore, due diligence is a must in order to have everything go off without a hitch, and a home inspection before anything happens is a smart choice.

According to the DIY Network, homeowners have to figure out exactly what they want to do with the space before picking up that first tool. For example, is it going to be a new living room? Or, will it instead be additional bedrooms? In many cases, the best option is to be flexible, and create a basement that can have multiple purposes with plenty of variety.

In order to do this, the room should be big on space, the news source noted. Built-in shelving and hidden storage areas can make a big difference here, where books, movies and other knick-knacks can be stashed away while still looking attractive. It is important to keep in mind that simplicity has the best re-sale value, so any improvements should made with future buyers in mind.

In addition, an open stairwell can really define a new basement. The DIY Network explained that this feature can tie together the upstairs with the down, and it can increase natural light while making the entire space feel bigger. 

With these steps in mind, it pays to have a home inspection completed. This step will ensure that everything in the basement is ready for a total renovation.

Avoid common basement remodel mistakes

The basement is a unique component of any house, both before finishing and afterward. Due to features like the HVAC system, ductwork, electrical and other utilities, it requires some added research to make sure the remodel is flawless. A property inspection professional can help with this, and figure out if there are any dangers or other problems that could get in the way.

According to Cynthia Freeney, social media and web reputation manager for Total Basement Finishing, one major mistake people make is renovating a wet, damp basement. Nearly every home has moisture problems here, simply because a basement is below ground. Therefore, homeowners should have a sump pump in place, proper drainage along the outside of the house and a dehumidifier system up and running before ever tackling a remodeling project.

What's more, do-it-yourselfers should be careful not to use traditional building materials for the basement, Freeney explained. This is because wood studs, fiberglass insulation and drywall are all moisture-absorbent. In that case, a basement remodel could end in failure. Instead, the room should be finished with waterproof materials that are designed for these types of spaces.

Overall, property owners should always talk to a home inspection professional before starting a basement improvement project. This task can get tricky, and it has to be completed correctly so everyone can enjoy the new room as soon as possible.