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Teenie

04:32AM | 11/29/01
Member Since: 11/28/01
4 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
I am considering buying a center hall colonial- but it doesnt have a basement. The rest of the house is very nice, but it seems odd to me that it was built without a basement. I was told it was built "slab on grade". Is this a house I should steer clear of? What problems could I encounter?

Jay J

05:16AM | 11/29/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
HI Teenie,

It's possible that a basement wasn't permitted to be build on the soil. Things that drive this are: 1) near a wetland, 2) sandy soil, 3) high water table, or 4) below sea level, 5) and so on. WIth this, the house COULD be just fine. (Hang with me ...)

It's also quite possible that the original Owner didn't want a basement. In this case, it's just a personal preference. Now, ... If you WANT this particular home and want a basement, it will be very, VERY costly to have one built. Consider an addition or a storage garage/shed instead.

What you should do in EITHER case is hire an ASHI Approved Home Inspector. This is a person YOU hire who works in YOUR interests. Not the seller's interest, and not the seller's Realtor's interest. A thorough home inspection is paramont! I would also suggest you hire your OWN Real Estate Attorney. Retain one now because later on you may pay BIG bucks to retain one then. By passing all papers in front of an Attorney now may save you a LOT of grief later on. Again, it's someone working in YOUR interest. If you don't think this is 'good advice', then ask a bank or any home mortgage institution if they have lawyers review the paperwork of the homes they're going to mortgage. Believe, I know for a fact, that the paperwork for EVERY sale is passed by them before they're signed! And understand - These folks do it more times in a day then we do it in a lifetime!!!

A decent home inspector costs between $300-600, depending on where you live and how they charge. The same for an Attorney, give or take, for the same reasons and what they do for you. This is $$$ well spent because if you figure out what you'll pay over 15 or 30 years during the life of the mortgage, it's a drop in the bucket.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: The Inspector will alert you of any 'problems' w/the home ...

PPS: God Bless America!

Teenie

05:30AM | 11/29/01
Member Since: 11/28/01
4 lifetime posts
Just one more question - Would you know what keeps this slab from moving or shifting? Especially in the case of a heavy rainfall.

Thanks so much for all the good advice. I am definitely going to have it inspected and will use a lawyer.
Thanks again.

Jay J

09:37AM | 11/29/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi Teenie,

There could be a number of different 'mechanisms' that are keeping the slab from moving.

1) Gravity. (Case Closed.) 2) Piers. They're underground concrete 'posts' that are 'tied' into the slab. The piers are set on bedrock (who knows how deep underground), and then tied into the slab. 3) Depth/Settling. If the slab is 'thick' enough, depending on how far it extends below the 'grade', that will help keep it in place.

These are the types of questions you should ask your Home Inspector. I suggest you do a walk-through BEFORE your Inspector arrives, and then accompany him during HIS inspection too. On your walk-through, you can make notes, then ask the INspector as you do the walk-through with him.

Happy house hunting! My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: God Bless America!

Teenie

09:42AM | 11/29/01
Member Since: 11/28/01
4 lifetime posts
Thanks again! This info is certainly helpful.

Bill_of_LA

05:29PM | 01/26/02
Member Since: 01/25/02
6 lifetime posts
Hi Teenie,

Way out west, where I live, the slab on grade is common for new construction. The slab rest on poured concrete footing that have rebar reinforcement. All the concrete is poured at once on forms to provide a solid foundation that is considered monolithic and stable even in earthquake country. Also the slab has steel mesh embedded in it to give it increase strength to minimize cracking from live loads.

Teenie

03:21AM | 01/28/02
Member Since: 11/28/01
4 lifetime posts
I appreciate the information. I am finding out more and more houses are built without a basement. After much consideration, even though it seems this is a normal practice, I would prefer a house with a basement for storage and a playroom for the kids. Thanks again.
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