Daughter in MO is buying, has questions

marti8aMarch 15, 2010

1. She is planning to live in the house about 5 years before selling and moving up. Her friends have all told her not to even consider a house without a basement. Why? Most of the basements she has looked at have either had mold or water in them and her realtor told her not to consider any like that. Also, do basements count in square footage or not? Don't have basements here so I can't advise her.

2. The houses she is looking at either have 4 bedrooms and 2 baths (one in master, one in hall) or 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and another living area instead of the 4th bedroom. Square footage and everything else about equal. Which is more desireable, a 4th bedroom or a 2nd living area?


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Hi, a fourth bedroom can be used as a 2nd living area, but a (possibly) doorless space with no closet cannot be a bedroom. As far as basements go, they're usually not figured into main sq. footage, but you need to ask a local RE agent to be sure as some may be. Bsmts are desirable because of the above, but also as play areas, home theatres, guest quarters, laundry areas, and more, lots of things 'just' another room upstairs can't do as well, but if she cannot one that's been well built enough to avoid water problems, she may have to look at ones without bsmts. Really talking to locals (agents and others) would help.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 5:39AM
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IT depends on what is most common in her area. IF most of the homes have basements, buying one without it can make it extremely difficult to sell in the future. I wouldnt rule out the perfect house because it had a wet basement. B-dry systems can be installed and they are guaranteed for life. (I would just make sure she negotiates the home down far enough to cover this).

I'm not sure what you mean about the 2nd living area? Are you talking about a family room or den/office?

Most people that are looking for a 4 bdrm home are looking for that extra bedroom to have the office or computer room, so I dont think it would make that much of a difference with either choice.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 8:07AM
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I live in Missouri (MO) and basements are very desirable here for two reasons:

#1 - Many folks utilize the space for a rec room, family room or add another bedroom and bath. Usually, if the basement is not finished it isn't counted in the total square feet. If it is completely finished then it is counted.

#2 - From time to time we have tornado warnings. I have lived in the St. Louis area and am now in the Kansas City area and have never had a tornado hit anywhere near our home but there were 2 times in 10 years when it was suggested that we take the family down to the basement because there was a tornado that touched down in the city.

I am looking to downsize within the next 6 months and will not consider a home unless it does have a basement.

True story: I have family in Minnesota and there was a neighbor of my cousin who asked to come and find refuge in their home during the time a tornado touched down in Cambridge. My cousin's home had a basement and theirs did not. It turned out that the location was fairly rural so it was fortunate that they could get to my cousin's home.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 12:14PM
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Thanks for the advice about basements. I guess she'll be looking for awhile. She did find one house she liked but it had mold in a closet in the basement and her realtor told her not to consider it because stuff like that has to be disclosed even if it has been fixed and they are hard to sell.

About the bedrooms and living areas. They are either a typical 4 bedroom 2 bath house, or 2 separate living areas. Like you walk into a hall and the formal living is open on the right and the combination kitchen den is straight ahead. Would be very hard to make a bedroom out of the formal living room I think, but could easily be an office if you didn't mind it being open to the front door.

She's just wondering if it is best to have 4 bedroom or 2 living areas when it comes to resell. She has no children and no need to have either an office at home or a second living area, so all she cares about is which will sell better in 5 years.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 2:06PM
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She did find one house she liked but it had mold in a closet in the basement and her realtor told her not to consider it because stuff like that has to be disclosed even if it has been fixed and they are hard to sell.

This sounds ridiculous to me. How does the realtor know it was mold? Maybe it was mildew? Mold has to be tested and only certain molds are dangerous. You can't tell by looking at it if its dangerous. If she likes the house, do a home inspection, have the so called "mold" tested.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 3:26PM
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If I had to choose between a 4 bedroom home or a 3 bedroom but 2 living areas I would prefer the 4 bedroom. There are just more choices available to do with that extra room. I could make it a small den or office or bedroom. My choice. I could change it over time as needs change. If I had 2 living areas that pretty much determines what it will be used for. I would have to make structural changes if I needed to add a closet and that could be costly.

She could just close the door to the room she isn't going to need or make it a guest room. I still think having 4 bedrooms opens up the resale market to a larger part of the population.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 3:27PM
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I live just north in Iowa. Termites are really common in our area. The termite inspector told me that their company would not guarantee the treatments in houses without basements.

I need to get treatment every 5 years and yearly inspections of the basement. Also, the tornado issue very real in Missouri.

good luck


    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 4:09PM
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We live in tornado alley here too. I've been told that our soil has too much movement to build basements, but commercial buildings often have them. Where I grew up, there were a few basements but mostly storm cellars out in the backyard. Without a cement roof over the basement/storm shelter/cellar, won't the house just fall into the basement if it gets hit by a tornado?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 6:16PM
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I have lived in MO all my life and selling a home here without a basement is really difficult. Everyone wants a basement that they can finish out for additional space later on.

That being said, it should be a DRY basement. Stay away from damp, musty smells and mold. Also, make sure windows in daylight basements do not show evidence of leaking. Be sure to check the slope of the ground outside leading up to the basement windows. Water always runs downhill, so if the window is in a low spot of the yard, you can bet water will leak into the basement come spring.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 10:52PM
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