Homes with Basements: 4 Reasons Why Your State Bans Them

Photo of author
Written By Will Dietrich

I love gardening, building, making and fixing things. 





Do you live in the south and wonder why your state doesn’t have homes with basements? Or are you in the market for homes with basements? Then here’s a few things you will need to know first.

 Why Do Some States Not Allow Homes With Basements?

homes with basements

You’re not likely to find homes with basements in the southern and western states such as California, especially in cities such as San Francisco, San Antonio, and San Diego, this is mainly due to the climate conditions and building contractors finding ways to cut the cost of construction, which can include skipping out on building a basement.

These states include:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • New Mexico
  • Louisiana
  • Alabama
  • South Carolina
  • Arizona
  • Nevada

The criteria most states base their decision on allowing basements or not are the following:

  • Soil type
  • Climate
  • History and culture of the region
  • Risk of flooding

homes with basements

Some soil types may have too much sand or clay soil content, making it difficult to dig trenches without collapsing the foundation wall.

Climate plays a role in how long it takes for soil to dry after digging basements.

History and culture of the region determine if there are any historical buildings nearby that might need protection during excavation.

The Risk of flooding determines whether the location is prone to floods. Especially in the south where the water table is higher than other regions.

The Benefits Of Homes With Basements

So what is a basement and what are some of the advantages of basements? A basement is an area below ground level that has been dug out from underneath the house. It usually contains plumbing fixtures such as sinks, toilets, showers, etc., but may contain additional rooms like bedrooms, laundry areas, storage spaces, etc. Historically basements were used as wine cellars, but in recent times they have been used for extra storage space as well as recreational space.

  • Extra living space – Homes with basements offer more room than just the main floor. This means that you could potentially add another bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room renovation, family room, office, playroom, exercise room, etc. into this new addition. You would then no longer have to worry about overcrowding your current living quarters.
  • Increased value – The fact that most people want to live near water makes sense when thinking about real estate values.
  • Energy Efficiency – If you’re looking at real estate listings, consider looking at homes with basements for sale, chances are you’d love to make sure that it has an efficient energy tier rating. Having a basement helps because it provides insulation between the outside air temperature and the inside temperatures. In other words, the basement walls act as a buffer zone against extreme heat or cold.
  • Basements serve as good emergency shelter – however not in the event of flooding.

Where Can I Find Homes With Basements?

As many as 90% of homes with basements can be found above the Mason-Dixon Line, which is why you mainly find them in northern regions.

homes with basements

Whether you’re looking for a finished basement or an unfinished basement,  you should start by looking in the midwestern states, which include:

  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Nebraska
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • North Dakota
  • Missouri
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Kansas

It’s also not uncommon to find homes with basements in these northeastern states:

  • West Virginia
  • Maine
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey

You’re not likely to find homes with basements in California and other western states , especially in cities such as San Francisco, San Antonio, and San Diego, this is mainly due to the climate conditions.

What’s the Price Difference Between Basement and No Basement?

A house with a basement costs anywhere from $10-20k less than one without a basement. However, depending on what kind of house you buy, the price difference varies greatly. For example, houses built before 1980 typically don’t require a basement while newer ones do. Also, some areas charge extra fees for having a basement. So, check around!

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Home With A Basement? The average cost to build a home with a basement ranges from about $15-$30 per square foot. This includes everything from the land purchase to the framing process. You’ll want to factor in all your expenses when deciding on a budget.

If you decide to go ahead and get a permit to start excavating, expect to pay another fee ranging from $50-$100 per day.

 Should I Do it?

Basements are a wonderful feature to increase your living space and total square footage without sacrificing any of your outdoor living space, as well as adding to the value of your home.

Just because the majority of homes with basements are located in the midwest, and other northern regions, doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t a market for homes with basements in the other regions of the United States.

It mainly indicates that homes with basements are generally more high up on the median home values estimate scale within those southern and western regions, said properties also being harder to find. If you’re building your own home it would also will dramatically change your blueprints size.

Ultimately it is up to you and your needs to decide if a home with a basement is the right move for you and your family.







Leave a Comment