For those folks that are considering finishing their basement, you should expect to invest significant time and effort in the planning and design phase (prior to construction). One of the things that we have learned over the years in having done this many times (also having clients/contacts done this many times) is that, improper planning leads to costly change orders and/or ultimately an un-happy client.
So, what is it that you're looking to use your basement for?:
Is it a extra space for the kids to play? (kids or teenagers) Would it be for entertaining guests? For the family to spend extra time etc... All these possible uses can drastically change the plan, layout and design of your finished space. From electrical outlet placement to lighting options or from whether to add a bathroom or include extra storage space, there is definitely lots to think about.
Once you've thought of the desired use for the space, it begins to narrow down the recommended finishes for the space. For example, if entertaining many guests in the basement, a high traffic flooring choice may be the better option, rather than the plush carpeting that is trendy in high end basements these days. Be careful not to spend too much on your "dream" basement!!! They can get VERY pricey and the return on your investment may not be what you think.
Ultimately, all these choices impact the value and saleability of the property, so consulting a Realtor and using an interior designer is a wise choice.