02:44PM | 04/14/04
Member Since: 04/13/04
3 lifetime posts
I am a real estate appraiser in southern california. I just started a new job where I am reviewing appraisals from all over the country. I need to know what a "Yankee Basement" is? Also a "Michigan Basement"?


06:47PM | 04/15/04
Member Since: 01/28/03
693 lifetime posts
If you are in SoCal, who should care? :)


07:37AM | 04/16/04
Member Since: 04/13/04
3 lifetime posts
Well, thanks for that! If it weren't for your smiley, I might unload. Yes, I suppose there are many "who should (not) care" because I am in "SoCal". I told you why I wanted to know. Even though "yankee basements" are unknown here, I have a need to know. I infer from your comment that you have a disdain for "SoCal". So be it. You are obviously one "who should care"(?), so why post that flippant remark at all? I suppose you just have a need to flame. OK, flame away! But if you know the answer to my question, I would appreciate a serious reply. ;-)


09:48AM | 04/16/04
Member Since: 01/14/03
264 lifetime posts
Interesting. I've lived my whole life in New England and can't say that I've ever heard the term. Nor can I find (yet) a definition on the web. I assume the term has some relation to New England, but I could be missing the mark by a mile.

The traditional 'old' basement in these parts was a dirt floor with fieldstone walls, either dry set or, later, set in mortar. These days they're pretty much all concrete, so I'd guess that doesn't apply. The old basement style (dirt floor) was hardly ever 'dry', and always had a bit of moisture in the air. Sometimes a great deal more moisture than you could swim in it.

Great, now you've got me wondering...


12:29PM | 06/23/04
Member Since: 06/22/04
1 lifetime posts
A yankee basement is a basement that does not have a daylight side. That is, all four sides are underground. There may or may not be small windows or window wells. Sometimes there is an external entrance via a trapdoor or walkdown. These basements are popular up North, but rare elsewhere. They are useful for storage, workshops, etc. and much much nicer than a crawlspace or slab. More expensive than a crawl or slab, but less expensive than a walkout basement or "terrace" level.


12:41PM | 06/23/04
Member Since: 04/13/04
3 lifetime posts
Thanks!... It's been so long since I posted that query I didn't think I'd ever get the answer. Now I know... Quite a coincidence actually, I also found out just today what a "Michigan basement" is!


04:39PM | 05/08/05
Member Since: 05/07/05
1 lifetime posts
Hi, I am a real estate appraiser as well in New Jersey and I just came across a comp that the listing stated it had a Yankee Basement. I never heard that expression before and went to ask jeeves after trying a few other sources, jeeves linked me to this site and walah- another appraiser with the same


10:11AM | 08/01/05
Member Since: 07/31/05
10 lifetime posts
Great thread. Had to reply.

Coming from Florida, the quicksand state, I really had very little information on basements. If you dig there, you find yourself on a fast track to life in a sink hole. I had lived in the Midwest as a small child, and only remember basements being for storage or pool tables--and of course the occasional flooding. Having moved to the mountains to cool off as an adult, rock and many natural springs in the area tended to prevent basements from being found as commonplace. For these reasons, when searching for my new home on the east coast and trying to determine how much space I would have to move the contents of my home, I needed to learn about the basement stuff. [Coming from acreage, a barn, and a three car garage really sucks.]

If you are a realtor in Southern Cali--well, it seems practical and logical to ask what these types of foreign "basement" structures entail--if for no other reason than to define for your clients how much more or less storage room they will have in their new Sunny homes! [Good call.]Here is what I have found out to the best of my ability through common conversation with realtors and exploration of potential new homes.

All basements have some element of the sub-terranian. The "Yankee basement", from everything I have found, appears to be akin to a "root cellar". Dark, musty places where your grandmother used to keep her canned goods--the typical "light bulb hanging from a string" concept seen in most scary movies comes to mind to describe the darkness. A sub-basement is one that is partially underground; think about in the movies when you see kids breaking into the ground level basement windows? That is probably what your clients are referring to; it might have a stairwell that comes down into the backyard ground for an enterance. A "walkout basement" is a basement that has some sort of a terraced enterance that is equal to ground level. Normally, this could be done when the lot ground levels are anything but flat. Instead, dirt may partially wrap around the structure (three sides perhaps).

Of course, I am no contractor. I may be dead wrong. I have my brokers license, but have not used it to any degree of profit--so technically, I am unqualified to answer. All my information comes from common discussions of houses and properties (as my family has been involved with the real estate industry for 50+ years).

Again, my thoughts on basements are about understanding storage and alternate recreational spaces--especially when a client is sacrificing space. Garage storage (as opposed to carport), basements, and attics all add usable storage value to a home. As a realtor, do not forget to include mention of these for calculation in cost; "Rent-It-Yourself" spaces for storage costs add up faster than you realize!

Best to all...

Good Luck!

The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes. ~~Frank Lloyd Wright
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