Home Improvement Blog

Egress windows; 7 key reasons not to hold up the sale of your home

Posted by william bateman on Sun, Jan 09, 2011 @ 06:40 PM

Most of us with homes have a basement and I'm sure most of these basements have little or no windows for natural light or ventilation. Now a window in your basement probably isn't at the top of your priority list but if you put it in a life and death situation you might have a different outlook on it. In the case of a fire you or your loved ones could be left with no escape and incinerated alive. Many instances of these cases have occurred in the past which has forced the national building code administration to enforce violations to protect people from danger. In any finished basement you must install a egress window as a fire escape. The window must have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet, minimum net clear opening height of 24", minimum net clear opening width of 20" and a maximum 44" sill height from finished floor. Outside the window you must construct a window well with a minimum net clear area of 9 square feet with horizontal projection width of 36 inches. If the window well depth is greater than 44" a permanently affixed ladder needs to be installed. Exit through a garage is not accepted. Basement egress window installation is an excellent precaution to take before it is too late. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!

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What you gain by installing a basement egress window:

  • Peace in mind that you and your loved ones will be safe during a fire.
  • Added natural lighting.
  • Ventilation.
  • Less mold and mildew problems in moist basements.
  • Get your basement up to current building codes.


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I find that most of my customers wait until they sell their home, only to be hit in the face with the reality that they are required to have one. When you perform a finished basement now is the time to install an egress window. The installation is way more complex down the road.

Problems when you go to sell:

  • 90 percent of customers call me for an egress window because they are in the process of closing. This creates massive holdups that can take up to months to resolve if you are in violation of code.

  • If looking to sell and transfer to another home, you may lose your lock in mortgage rate.

  • You already closed on your future dream home but need the money from your old home to stay a float.

  • Your purchaser may be in the same boat and needs to close to get into their next dream home.

  • Inspectors do not care, you are in violation of code and your priorities are not theirs. 

  • Buyer backing out of the deal

  • Loss of money layed out already


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Topics: construction-general-painting-monroe, orange county ny, General Contractor, Construction, Creations, egress windows