iowahomeloans

Buying with a Basement: What You Need to Know

Posted on: December 22, 2012

When you’re shopping for homes, finding a home with a basement may feel like you’ve just hit the lottery. Unfortunately, while a basement may seem like a desirable asset, they aren’t always everything that they’re cracked up to be. Basements are great from a convenience standpoint, but they should always be dry, and good lighting is an added plus. Be alert for common basement issues that could signal real problems down the road.

 

Finished vs. Unfinished Basement

A finished basement is the best possible scenario when you’re shopping for a home. A finished basement with direct outdoor access can add a lot of value to the home, and can make it easier to sell when the time comes to move to a smaller or larger home. Finished basements that are in good repair provide extra living space, and typically signal that the basement is free of common basement issues – i.e. no flooding, water or mold. And a finished basement is also a lot more pleasant, even if you’re using it just for storage. Unfinished basements still add convenience, but tend to be used more for storage and less to add living space to the home. An unfinished basement still adds value to the home, but not quite as much as the finished basement.

 

Look Out for Common Basement Problems

The flip side of basement value comes when basements have problems, and they can become a detriment to the home instead of a plus. Basements that flood, for example, can represent a huge liability – they can’t safely be used for storage, and flooded basements can cause serious issues if you’ve got electrical and heating systems down there. Flooding or water damage can also signal mold growth, which can be toxic. If you’re looking at a home with a basement, inspect it throughly for any signs of a high water mark or water damage. If the basement isn’t well lit, bring a flashlight. Other problem signs are loose bricks or stones in a basement wall, which can signal a foundation problem that could be very costly to repair.

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