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View Poll Results: Do you presently have a basement?
Yes, I have a basement and like having one. 44 52.38%
Yes, I have a basement but wish I didn't. 4 4.76%
No, I do not have a basement and don't want one. 16 19.05%
No, I do not have a basement but I think it would be neat to have one. 16 19.05%
The previous four choices just don't fit for some reason but I wanted to vote. 4 4.76%
Voters: 84. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-21-2009, 11:23 PM   #41
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.... there was no house around them.

Another time, another island, he was chased by a woman with a machete. Another time, yet another island, he got bit a bug and came back with a hand twice the size as normal.
How does the math work on this? If he were a cat and that is all that's ever happened to him, he has six lives left.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:14 AM   #42
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Do you have a basement? Do you wish you had one, or wish you didn't? How do you (or would you) use your basement?

Raised ranch with walk-in finished (by previous owners) basement through garage, with 2 sets of 6 steps to get to lower floor from inside. There is a beautiful stone fireplace and a 1/2 bathroom down there. I run a dehumidifier 24/7, 2 hours on, 2 hours off. No mustiness.
It makes a great place for overnight guests to have total privacy. Casement windows at chest level allow light into lower floor, so it doesn't have that closed-in gloomy feel. Neighboring houses all have basements and all have water and mildew problems. The house builders smartly sloped the ground from the foundation outward to the lawn, so heavy rain runs off naturally.
I'm glad I don't have a fully below ground basement. As long as my legs hold up, going up and down those stairs for laundry and getting into the garage is a good thing. In later years, those stairs may be a reason we have to move to a single level ranch with no basement.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:55 AM   #43
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Houston: No basements there at all.
Chicago & Ia./Il. border towns: Basements = storage space.

If the basement leaks (as where I live now on the Ia./Il. border you just hang things up or store them high), but overall I vote yes! to the storage space a basement gives.

**Personally, I envy those people who have a (dry) basement and fix part of it up for a play/family/bar/etc. room. Very cool.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:05 AM   #44
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I have a lawyer friend that always seems to have near miss experiences. He was in the Caribbean during a hurricane. He and his wife went into an interior bathroom in the house with a couple of mattresses. He saw the walls heave back and forth. When the storm was over and they got out of the bathroom there was no house around them.

Another time, another island, he was chased by a woman with a machete. Another time, yet another island, he got bit a bug and came back with a hand twice the size as normal.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:28 AM   #45
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We have a walk-out basement - 60 miles sw of Chicago, 75% is finished, the rest is mechanical, storage. The finished area includes the family room, bar, office, laundry and bathroom.

Its great - we spend 95% of our non-sleeping time in the basement.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:33 AM   #46
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One thing I used to see people do is build the basement on their house first, live there, and gradually build the house on top of it. Sometimes it would take years and years. I don't seem to see that anymore.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:44 AM   #47
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Where I grew up houses without basements were almost unheard of. We used it for the same things W2R did, including roller skating, but it was a bit small for that.

I almost didn't buy the house we lived in for 16 years because the basement workshop area was so small, but it did have a finished off family room with a fireplace, which was nice. We spent a lot of time there, especially during the "house poor" years.

The house we have now has a walk out basement, about half is finished off as a very large family room, where I go to watch TV as DW has entirely different tastes and she plays with the remote too much.

There is also a huge workshop area with a 15 foot long workbench, air compressor, drill press, etc. and there is enough room to build a 20-foot boat, although getting it out would be a serious problem. I do have to run a dehumidifier, but there is no need for a sump pump. So yes, we like having a basement. I'm not sure I could buy a house without one.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:48 AM   #48
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I remember looking for homes and telling my realtor that I will absolutely not buy anything that has a basement....he just looked at me like I had two heads
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:48 AM   #49
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One thing I used to see people do is build the basement on their house first, live there, and gradually build the house on top of it. Sometimes it would take years and years. I don't seem to see that anymore.
Is that a Midwestern thing? I remember that too from the '50s. We called them "basement houses." Wonder if it had something to do with the post-WWII housing shortage. My parents moved way out into the exurbs to find housing, dad was discharged from the army in late '46 and it was slim pickings. I never saw a basement house get a house to go with it. They were abandoned and were in the woods owned by the farmer. My second cousins call one of them, "the secret farm."

Citrine, I remember visiting some friends in their basement house after trick-or-treating on Halloween; I thought the spider webs & monsters were fake?
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:13 AM   #50
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Is that a Midwestern thing? I remember that too from the '50s. We called them "basement houses." Wonder if it had something to do with the post-WWII housing shortage. My parents moved way out into the exurbs to find housing, dad was discharged from the army in late '46 and it was slim pickings. I never saw a basement house get a house to go with it. They were abandoned and were in the woods owned by the farmer. My second cousins call one of them, "the secret farm."
The 'basement first' thing was also done in the NE back in the '50s. There was one family that built the basement and moved in and liked it so much they completed it as a partly underground home.
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:32 AM   #51
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Building a basement first, moving in, and then building the rest of the house on top while living there, is something I had never heard of. How interesting!

I wonder, but my first thoughts are that it has the potential to be a great tactic for those who want to avoid a mortgage and who are still working. You could use what would have been the 20% down payment for the mortgage, just to build the basement. Then move in, so that you can save the rent money. You could save as much as possible during the year, and use whatever you saved to build that much more onto your home when the weather is nice. After a few years you would have a home that is paid for, with no interest charges or rent having been paid.

It would have to be done in a location with no building codes, HOA's, and so on.
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:37 AM   #52
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The 'basement first' thing was also done in the NE back in the '50s. There was one family that built the basement and moved in and liked it so much they completed it as a partly underground home.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:26 AM   #53
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Building a basement first, moving in, and then building the rest of the house on top while living there,...
It would have to be done in a location with no building codes, HOA's, and so on.
Yes the area my parents moved to was a neighborhood built by hand by one guy who apparently wasn't restricted by building codes, didn't bother to figure where the lot lines were, and had no idea what a level is.

A kid I knew who grew up in a basement house later became mayor of a nearly town; wonder how he deals with codes. I've had reason to look into city building codes and it's the same story, very interesting to see how they get around and ignore the codes. I asked a friend if he had any trouble with city hall when he did a serious remodel, no, he just pulled some strings.
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:03 PM   #54
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Building a basement first, moving in, and then building the rest of the house on top while living there, is something I had never heard of. How interesting!
I know of several in my area, but all now have upper floors built. I haven't seen a fresh one in a long time.

Another permutation of this idea is to buy some land, buy a cheap or used single wide trailer, have electric service run, dig your well, and live in the trailer while you build your house a few hundred feet away. When the house is done, move the electric service to the main house and sell the trailer. Or use it as an office for the tax break.

Life in the boondocks is interesting...
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:42 PM   #55
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In the Chicago area every 20 years or so it seems that the basement is used to dispose of murdered bodies. The unfinished crawl space types are more suited to this type of activity. Seem to recall a movie where a little boy has encounters with a women buried in the basement which was filmed in Chicago. Even Hollywood recognizes the Chicago bsmt for its uniqueness.
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:48 PM   #56
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In the Chicago area every 20 years or so it seems that the basement is used to dispose of murdered bodies. The unfinished crawl space types are more suited to this type of activity. Seem to recall a movie where a little boy has encounters with a women buried in the basement which was filmed in Chicago. Even Hollywood recognizes the Chicago bsmt for its uniqueness.
Wasn't that where Geraldo Rivera did the special on Al Capone's treasure (that didn't exist), digging in a basement? Seemed really creepy, wherever it was.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:44 PM   #57
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We have a triplex with headknocker ceiling for anyone over 6'2". Have laundry machines and water heaters down there and it's really nice seeing most of the drain and supply line plumbing out in the open and accessible. It does get wet if we have serious damp times, so we have a sump pump. Only problem was once when it flooded maybe 3" - a tenant called to alert us to that, and as we were trying to figure out why the pump had failed she mentioned that she had unplugged something in that area that kept coming on and making noise - she could hear it in her apartment. Took her a minute or two to connect running pump = noise = dry basement vs not running pump = quiet = flooded basement.

MIL has a basement in the SoCal desert - nice and cool, when huge packages of TP and paper towels (she goes through an amazing amount of both) come back from Costco they just get dumped down the stairs till the next trip down, then arranged on shelves. Fun and very liberating to dump packages down stairs! At 94 she is now instructed NOT to go down there.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:49 PM   #58
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John Wayne Gacy, Jr., (March 17, 1942 May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer. He was convicted and later executed for the rape and murder of 33 boys and young men, 29 of whom he buried in his crawl space under his house, between 1972 and his arrest in December 1978. He became notorious as the "Killer Clown" because of the many block parties he attended, entertaining children in a clown suit and makeup.


I'm thinking I'll never buy a house with a crawl space, bsmt might be ok. Anyway the movie I was thinking about was "Stir of Echos"
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:57 PM   #59
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I'm thinking I'll never buy a house with a crawl space, bsmt might be ok. Anyway the movie I was thinking about was "Stir of Echos"
Gacy is fascinating, in a macabre sort of way.

My grandmother lived in a little house built in the 1890's, and it had a crawl space, I guess. Or maybe it was more like a cellar. You'd go in this little hole at the back of the house and it would get deeper the further you went until it was about five feet high. It was like a cave - - completely underground and the walls and floor were stone and mud. She had shelves and shelves of home canned vegetables and so on down there. When we would visit her, she'd give us kids a flashlight and send us under the house for a jar of home canned green beans or whatever. It was scary-fun. Not at all scary like John Wayne Gacy, though. More like in the sense of spiders.
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Old 06-22-2009, 02:35 PM   #60
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Gacy is fascinating, in a macabre sort of way.

My grandmother lived in a little house built in the 1890's, and it had a crawl space, I guess. Or maybe it was more like a cellar. You'd go in this little hole at the back of the house and it would get deeper the further you went until it was about five feet high. It was like a cave - - completely underground and the walls and floor were stone and mud. She had shelves and shelves of home canned vegetables and so on down there. When we would visit her, she'd give us kids a flashlight and send us under the house for a jar of home canned green beans or whatever. It was scary-fun. Not at all scary like John Wayne Gacy, though. More like in the sense of spiders.
My opinion is either full basement or slab; never did grok crawl space.
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