Many lot owners preparing to build at Smith Mountain Lake ask these questions. Some folks come here from areas such as Raleigh, where garages are a must and basements are virtually unheard of, so they assume it is the same here. It is critical for these individuals to consult with locals in the know to compare the market realities here to where they live.
Walk out Basement
A few years ago there were two beautiful neighboring new homes on the market in Franklin County. For the size and price range, these homes were exquisite in their detail and style. I would have been happy to live in either of them. They were priced well and their prices had dropped a few times in the year or so they had sat on the market. What’s wrong?
Both homes have a nice two-car garage but both are built on slabs. This is generally a big no-no in this area. It is not that slabs or crawl spaces are bad, but most new or resale homes on a full unfinished basement cost just a little bit more than the same homes on a slab. The vast majority of homes here, even some double-wides, are on basements. So given the choice, virtually no one would choose not to have a basement.
Even if you don’t want a basement, please consider building one and leaving it unfinished so you don’t harm the future resale on your home. I just sold a lot for more than $800,000 to a family who just didn’t want or need a basement. I think I convinced them that for the minimal increased cost, it will dramatically help them to have a basement rather than a crawl space if they decide to sell the home. This is especially in that price range (the lot plus home will be in the $1.5 million arena).
With regard to the basement, the rolling terrain here often makes it ideal to build a walkout basement. Perhaps this is called a daylight basement where you live. This is a basement that opens straight out into the yard. It allows for views through sliding glass doors and windows. If done well, a basement like this can look much like the regular level of the home, not like the dungeons you may picture from days gone by.
Even if you don’t finish your basement, please consider putting in large egress windows in the sides and large sliding glass doors on the back. This will allow the next owners to picture the possibility of finishing the basement to their tastes. You should also consider plumbing the basement for a bathroom in the event that you or the next owner wishes to finish it. By the way, if you have an unfinished basement and are trying to sell your home, it may be a good idea to go in with chalk and mark off outlines of where bedrooms, bathroom or family room could be placed. This will help potential buyers envision the possibilities. Get a local REALTOR®, interior designer or builder to assist you in this process.