Should a crawl space under a New England home be a deal breaker?

peegeeDecember 13, 2013

No basement at all. I can't imagine this, but otherwise from what I'm hearing the home could be a good fit...any thoughts?

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it might be an issue for resale, if that's a concern. Apparently people around here (NH) expect a basement! Ours doesn't have one; our real estate agent said it was on the market a long time before we bought it partly because locals would not consider a home without a basement. It made no diference that it has a root cellar attached to the house and a large workshop out back ...

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Thanks, Chim - I'm also going to see a home on a slab. I'm concerned about this also should the floors be directly on concrete unless I can install radiant floors, but have to research pricing; my guess is the cost would be through the roof...

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 9:06AM
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I live in Austin, TX where there are no basements. Somehow we manage. I didn't understand your question about flooring. Depending on the type of floor it can be directly on the concrete or have an underlayment of some kind. Are you concerned about the floor being cold? That would certainly be more of an issue in New England than Texas.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 6:45PM
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Being from New England, it would be a deal breaker for me. It is very rare for a home here not to have a basement/cellar. It does make it difficult come resale time. Besides the storage space and utilities down there, many people finish their basements for added living space. The one house for sale that we knew didn't have a basement, we didn't even bother looking at. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 5:58AM
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It is uncommon in New England but not unheard of. Resale would take a little longer and the house would sell for less than the same house with a basement. But you would able to purchase it for less. If it works for you, it will work for someone else too, just not the masses.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:31AM
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Pros and cons. Please comment to add to or correct what I list here. edited: I just saw that the house has a crawlspace. These can vary greatly in usefulness.

Pros for basement.
Provides Storage area
Utility area
Maybe provide additional living space.
Easy access to plumbing, etc.for repairs or to make changes which are lower cost than a slab.
Heating has more options, easier (not sure)

Cons for basement
More expensive to build/buy
Any others???

Pros for slab.
Lower cost to build/buy
Any others???

Cons for slab.
No storage
No possible additional living space
Heating options limited/higher cost (not sure)
Changes or repairs to plumbing are expensive

For my DH and me the main concerns would be the
easy low cost access to utilities. We've fixed broken pipes and added/moved sinks, etc all without much cost. Also have run electrical and cable lines through the basement. Also the storage. I just estimated that we would need a 500 sf addition to make up for the loss of our basement. It would include a woodshop, storage for seasonal items, camping and hunting equipment, laundry, utilities such as furnace, hot water tanks, etc. The basement is much cheaper than an addtional 500 sf of living space.

Write up your own pros and cons.

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Sun, Dec 15, 13 at 11:32

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:51AM
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If you have footings that extend below the frost line (4 feet), and a small above-grade portion you are already at 5 feet of wall.

It would make sense to dig out the rest and have a basement unless you run into bedrock.

Having HVAC equipment, pipe runs and other utilities in a low-interest space is attractive.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:07AM
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You might want to consider why they built with a slab vs a full basement in the first place. I live in MN and basements are also the norm here, however, the acreage where we are building has a very high water table. It was initially difficult for me to get past the idea of not having a basement in our new build, but the probability of dealing with wet basement issues in the future made the decision easier! So we're going with a slab and building up rather than down. Even though we won't be saving much money due to the necessity for the footings being below the frost line, we'll still have the same amount of space.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 4:40PM
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I would not. I nixed two houses that were in my most desired area to buy because they had crawl space foundations. My area gets cold, and I like that the floors are built over an area that will stay about 50 degrees in the coldest winter. Other pros are tornado protection, heating and plumbing access, storage, and the functional bathroom and shower.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:59PM
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I'm another one who would see it as a deal breaker, for all of the reasons stated here. I wouldn't even go see a house if it isn't on a basement. I've watched what sells around here (New York State), and single family homes without basements are pretty rare...but when they do come up for sale, they definitely take a financial hit for not having one.

I love having a basement.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Crawl spaces are hell if you want to access ducts / drains / water pipes / electrical. I wouldn't consider a house without a basement.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 2:01PM
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