property with no basement

33 Replies

I came across a property for the first time without a basement. Would love to hear your thoughts about this. What are the pros and cons? Felt kinda weird. Should it have?

@Rosario Salamone

This is really something that is area-dependent. 

Does it have a crawl space or is the home built with slab on grade?

In my area, basements are certainly common but they aren't ubiquitous.

Basement square footage is always worth significantly less than above grade footage.

There are very few houses with a basement in my area.  I don’t recall seeing even 1.

@Geordy Rostad - it's slab. It seems that it shouldn't be a deterrent then

@Lauren Kormylo and @Kris L. that is so interesting to me. Guess I'm just use to seeing them all the time that I just didn't think about it. 

Thanks for the replies. Very helpful!

Less foundation issues, less need to monitor a sump pump, less chance for mold problems. 

I’ve heard of houses with basements but not seen one in Vegas. It’s certainly less than 1% maybe less than 0.1%. But I’ve also never heard of a foundation problem here. 

West Coast homes do not come with basement unless it was built before 1930s. 

Basemants all leak and create issues at some point. I would much prefer a slab over a basement.

No basements in my area, I've never heard of one in Florida, period.

No phone calls about a flooded basement . A big plus 

I'm so glad I asked. It's so funny how different regions build differently. Thanks for all the input. You all made some great points about the cons of a basement and here I am thinking about the cons of not having a basement!!

It depends on the type of home. A split level ranch or high ranch has no basement. The lowest level is legit livable space and is about 4' below exterior grade. A regular single level ranch sometimes has a basement with 7'-8' ceilings.

For me, I like basements for storage, furnace, washer/dryer/HW heater and an extra room.  If a home has no basement I want it to have enough out of the way space for for the washer/dryer/HW heater and furnace.  I don't like a washer/dryer or any utilities in a closet next to the kitchen. 

@Anthony Rosa - This was a split level ranch I was looking at so you are spot on. Great points on storage and utilities

Having dealt with basements in virtually every real estate transaction I have ever been a part of, I think it would be great to not deal with them. They are sources of a lot of potential problems for a home.

You probably wont deal with any foundation problems and if they don't have a basement that's just less room for them to hoard a bunch of junk (Obviously some storage would is necessary).

@Rosario Salamone it depends on what you plan to do with the property, in my opinion.

If it’s a buy and hold rental, no basement can be a benefit.

However, in my area, homes without a basement sell for significantly less or have significantly longer time on market. So if you plan to flip or wholesale, adjust accordingly.

Good luck!

As others have stated, no basement means less problems.  It also means less livable space, less storage, and less desirability.  I own a bunch of rentals, both with basements and without, and tend to have higher turnover on slab houses because tenants outgrow them and need more space.  That said, I have had several basements flood this year, so slab rental houses are much preferred for me - even with their drawbacks.

I have lived most of my life in Florida where we have no basements, so it’s just normal for me. Most are slab and due to our soil, we can get settling from clay expansion/contraction and also we get sinkholes in this area so when there are structural issues, it’s a must to get an engineering report to determine if they are caused by the clay or sinkhole activity. The latter is a huge black mark on the property and sometimes they just get demo’ed.

I also lived in Wisconsin for about 5 years and basements are pretty much everywhere. I have seen scary gross ones and some that are pretty much watertight. I loved having one for storage purposes and the laundry chute to just toss the dirties into (although bringing laundry back up two flights to the second floor bedrooms wasn’t fun.

This is just from a tenant/homebuyer’s perspective but in that area, it would be weird to not have one and I think it would actually make the property less desirable. Nevermind that they are less $/sf - if the person doesn’t want to rent it or buy it, that’s a bigger problem.

I have a rental property in my area that does not have a basement. It has a crawl space that is about 3 feet high. The previous owner had some water issues that they fixed. I have not had any issues since. I would advise that when getting an inspection they carefully check out the crawlspace.

@Rosario Salamone if you add your area to your profile people can give you location specific advise. In any house without a basement people will look for a storage area on property. In some areas adding a shed is enough. However storage should be proportional to the house size. So a garage or small storage shed for a small to mid size house is enough.  

@Rosario Salamone I think you get the gist by reading the comments above. Depends on the area. For example, where I invest in KC, basements are very common. Whether it is a pro or con is again going to depend on the area.

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