There are few things more sobering than hearing your 3-year old come around the corner yelling, "No treble! Only bass. I'm all about the bass!"
It really makes you want to re-evaluate your parenting, and in my case, it makes me think about that bass-ment. It has come up in conversation with two separate clients in the last few days, and I thought this would be an excellent forum to discuss the pros and cons of the basement.
For a growing family, the basement can serve as another family room, a storage room, a room for out-of-town guest, and most often, the kids play room. Finished or unfinished, it is square footage that is unfeasible to replicate once the home is finished. Want to tack a den on the back of the house? That'll be 50k. It will also be smaller, lack privacy, and a whole host of other issues. The biggest pro of having a basement? Opportunity. Want a kick ass home theater? Build it. Want an awesome in-law suite your guests will refuse to leave? Construct it. If the basement is in place, you can do basically anything with it, and that provides both you, and the person who buys your home, opportunity.
Most of this will hold a bit more truth with older homes, but stay (not sure which "bare/bear" to use) with me. There are two types of basement, waterproofed and wet. Anybody who tells you their basement is dry (especially if it is cinder block), is not being truthful. They all get damp. That means the possibility of destroying valuable possessions, an opportunity for mold growth, and foundation degradation. The other disadvantage to a basement is the higher probability of a foundation collapse. By removing the earth that would have otherwise supported the home, more pressure is put on those cinder block walls. Over time, water is built up in the soil, that water places pressure on the walls, and they begin to buckle. With a crawlspace, there is a much higher earth to cinder block ratio.
Do the majority of people prefer a basement? Absolutely. Does everyone? Certainly not. It is an interesting choice, and one that is more pressing to someone who is building a home or buying new than those who are buying an older home (say, Broad Ripple.) Typically, if you are building a home the basement will run you around $25,000-$30,000. Your house will not be worth $30,000 more, so if you want a basement, go for it. Do not expect it to be a sound investment.
Have any questions about marketing your basement or building a new home? Let me know here.