How much to discount for no basement? - Posted by Perron

Posted by comps on June 22, 2005 at 14:22:38:

I never said they “add it to sqft.” In fact, I explained how they broke out the square footage and counted and valued it accordingly.

A two story could be of equal value to a bilevel even though an appraiser says the two story has 2400 sqft and the bilevel has only 1200 sqft. And if there were no other two stories in the area to comp with, they would have to comp against bilevels of the same square footage, wouldn’t they?

How much to discount for no basement? - Posted by Perron

Posted by Perron on June 17, 2005 at 16:42:12:

I’m looking at a 3 bed 1.5 bath ranch with about 2000 square feet. The house is built on a slab, and has no garage for storage. The other comps in the area are in the $225K-$240K range, but all have basements. How much should I discount the ARV because it doesn’t have a basement?


Re: How much to discount for no basement? - Posted by slab

Posted by slab on June 18, 2005 at 13:37:28:

Do your comps include square footage for basements? You might find buyers who would be tickled pink to have the same square footage but none of it located in a musty remodeled basement. That is, IF the heat system was not alot more expensive to run because of the slab, depending on where you are located.

Re: How much to discount for no basement? - Posted by Don Dion

Posted by Don Dion on June 17, 2005 at 22:48:45:

What is the sq ft of the first floor of the home?
What city and state is it located in?
How old is the home?
With these three questions I can give you a pretty good idea of what the basement is valued at.
The forth way is to do research in the area for homes that sold in the past year with and without basements then reconciling but both will get you in about the same range in an avg market.

Re: How much to discount for no basement? - Posted by Sean

Posted by Sean on June 17, 2005 at 21:57:25:

In some areas Basements are the norm, and a crawlspace or slab is an exception… in other areas its the inverse…

I would say, no basement and no garage in an area that basements are expect is going to affect your sale price… how much? That will be market driven, but it will have an effect.

Talk to an Agent or Appraisor, they’ll be able to give you a rough idea for your area.

Re: How much to discount for no basement? - Posted by Killer Joe

Posted by Killer Joe on June 17, 2005 at 21:20:38:

Just FYI,

In many parts of the country basements are the norm due to the fact that the foundation must go down below the frost line. In most cases this works out to be about 42" below ground level. So to dig a little deeper and remove the dirt to create a basement is not out of the ordinary.

In places like Florida and SoCal a basement is unusual because the house is either slabbed, or is built over a crawl space with the dirt remaining in place at ground level. Digging a hole for the basement can sometimes put the space at or below the watertable, or at least cause problems related to the same.

It is common for ranch houses to have partial basements in some parts of the country. This is generally a cost saving measure on the part of the builder. I would check to see if all those other houses had full basements, and how may of them had finished basements.


(A basement in an ‘out’ house is called a ‘Mother-in-Law’ apartment, or so I’ve been told)

ski is right… - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on June 17, 2005 at 19:28:27:

depends where you are. In Fl, basement is uncommon, in northeast basements are common. You need to comp other houses without basements. If the house was in my area and the other recent sales are $225, I would discount it significantly because of no basement. But that’s in my area not yours. Get more comps, basements vary according to the area as well as the price range of the properties.

Re: How much to discount for no basement? - Posted by ski

Posted by ski on June 17, 2005 at 18:58:51:

Here in sunny SWFLA in the good 'ole US of A a basement is called a “POOL”.

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Re: How much to discount for no basement? - Posted by michaela=-ATL

Posted by michaela=-ATL on June 18, 2005 at 14:20:52:

appraisers do not consider basement square footage as livable space, even, if it’s renovated. So, if you want to add on, it’s usually better to finish the attic than the basement.


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100% correct… - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on June 19, 2005 at 07:06:29:

appraisers can not count any square footage below grade (ground) even if only a foot or two below grade.

I am not sure about this… - Posted by Stan

Posted by Stan on June 20, 2005 at 09:54:22:

Are you sure? There are some houses that are built enitrely below grade (built into mountain sides, hills, etc). I am sure that their sqft would be listed. Also, if it is heated/AC’d I have seen it counted. Here in Ga (an through out the country) split-levels arevery popular. Many times you will see the bottom area living area below grade and it is counted as well.

So to say, categorically, that all living space below grade does not get counted toward sqft, I am not sure would be totally accurate.

This thread would be interesting to carry out a bit further.

Wrong - Posted by comps

Posted by comps on June 19, 2005 at 13:37:08:

Got to thinking more about this issue because I’m rarely called 100% incorrect :wink: so I pulled out a mortgage appraisal on a property of mine which has a basement/below grade area to look at it in detail. This was done on a Complete Appraisal Analysis-Summary Appraisal Report/ Uniform Residential Appraisal Report which I believe is the same one used all over the U.S.

I did not find anywhere on the appraisal where it gave the TOTAL living area of the house, much like you would find on the MLS. However, it DID list and value basement/below grade areas that were finished - just as I indicated.

In the sales comparison analysis of the appraisal it breaks out the two areas of the house into 1) above grade/room count/gross living area and 2) basement and finished rooms below grade. In the below grade category the finished and unfinished areas were broken out even further into square footages for each. It lists the Total/Bdms/Baths in each of the above grade and basement/below grade categories. Appropriate +/- dollar valuations are given in the comparison with other homes which also have finished/unfinished basements/below grade areas. For example, one comparable house has part of the basement/below grade square footage listed as finished and part as unfinished. Both the finished and unfinished basement/below grade areas of that house were each were assigned comparable values.

I believe a basement area/below grade area that has no concrete floor, half the normal height, etc. would not be counted in an appraisal. This may be true of many houses. Or, if you are comparing a home with an unfinished basement to similar homes with unfinished basements, they may not be an issue in the appraisal.

So to conclude: Basement and finished rooms below grade and their square footage CAN be counted in an appraisal.

Re: 100% correct… - Posted by comps

Posted by comps on June 19, 2005 at 11:50:58:

Perhaps appraisers don’t, or they break it out differently, but we are talking about sales comps. If it is liveable space, it is counted towards total liveable square footage. I’ve even worked with realtors where I have turned basements into living spaces and they increase the total square footage on the MLS which, in turn, increases the sales price.

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I am sure - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on June 20, 2005 at 14:58:56:

assessor look at it differently, and many buyers do also, but the Uniform standards of appraiser is below grade doesn’t count in square footage figures, but a finsihed basement/any area below grade does add some value, but doesn’t add to the square footage.

Bilevels are the most obvious, the assessment office will list it as 2400 square feet, then the appraiser lists it as 1200 square feet. Same house measured for 2 DIFFERENT purposes. for taxes they count the finished basement, for appraisal they will not.

Re: I am not sure about this… - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on June 20, 2005 at 10:14:52:

actually, we had a little presentation by an appraiser a few years ago at ga reia and he said something to the effect, that sqf can not be counted if more than 2 sides are below grade or something similar. Yes, there are exceptions like that, but in general basements aren’t counted.


assessors count basement finished space, BUT… - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on June 19, 2005 at 15:52:13:

appraisers don’t count below grade in the square footage calculation. A finished basement will add value over an unfinished basement, of course, but the square footage doesn’t count. In a ranch house, a cape cod or a two story house with a basement the level below grade doesn’t count in the square footage calculation. Even in a bi-level house the lower level doesn’t add to the square footage calcultation if it is even the slightest below grade. These are uniform rules of all licensed appraiser in the US.

Appraisals DO count/value below grade footage - Posted by comps

Posted by comps on June 20, 2005 at 16:59:31:

What do you mean appraisers don’t “count” below grade areas? This is getting silly. If they calculate value for a finished below grade area, I’d say they are “counting” it. I just gave you an actual real life example to prove it. Was this appraiser breaking the rules? What “square footage calculation” are you referring to?