Should you buy a house with slab construction. I found once such house in Natick which is rare to see in North.

Asked by Sanjeevk, Needham, MA Sat Dec 19, 2009

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Debra (Debbie) Rose’s answer
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sat Dec 19, 2009
I don't know about MA.......but there are a number of homes built on a slab in my area (NJ). It's very common. Many of them are ranches, but some splits and capes also have slab construction.
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As some have commented above, a slab foundation has it benefits too. However, the Natick area has many slabs, built after WW 2. Winter plays little role, I grew up in super cold Montreal, Canada. Hundreds of Slabs were built and still are there. The only problem was that they were build with radiant floor heating and the pipes started corroding inside the slab, almost everyone just sealed them up, and replaced them with baseboard heating as they have done in Framingham and Natick.
Peter Barnes, Realtor = South Natick
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
Mariyaluci, Home Buyer, South Miami, FL
Fri Sep 9, 2016
Slab construction and crawl space construction.

The most important thing with a crawl space type foundation is to make sure it was installed properly to begin with. Different types of soils and grades of lots make it important to waterproof properly, prep ground under home and getting the grading right is a must. Some crawl spaces provide some storage. Not for wood though.

Easy access under the home is the best part of a crawl space and the height if the home off the ground. Some older people may prefer a lower entrance door.

Slabs seem to be very energy efficient but can seem hard with out correct flooring and padding. But, no moisture issues under home like a crawl space could have. As long as the slab was installed correctly and has no major cracks after settling, it is a good set up. There are many different types of slabs like raised slabs and slabs with brick or stone veneer. .

Both types of foundations are common and good construction. They do have some cost differences.
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Krps82, Home Buyer, Natick, MA
Sat Jun 24, 2017
I'm thinking of buying a house that's on a slab but worried about if there are ever problems that it will be hard to fix what do you think?
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Parker02138, Home Buyer, Raleigh, NC
Sat Mar 11, 2017
The best advice is from local homeowners who may live in the area you want. Brokers are less credible, unless they live on a slab, which I have never seen. Hmmm.
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Annbrownsky, Home Buyer, Natick, MA
Mon Sep 12, 2016
I would not buy a home on a slab. They are magnets for termites and if water builds up out side the home it will find a way to get into the home. I have bought and flipped at least 5 homes and viewed at least 60 during the process. The worst one was the slab. The house was infested with termites.…
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Lou, Home Buyer, Fayetteville, NY
Thu Sep 8, 2016
The scary part about having a slab foundation is that the pipes are buried under the slab. If you ever have any issues with leaking pipes, including sewer lines, it is MAJOR. You literally have to drill/hack through the slab to get at the problem to fix it. YIKES!
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Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Mon Dec 28, 2009
Home Buyer:

I agree that slab homes are rare in the North, but there is no reason not to buy one. Many were built in the 1950-60's to save money in the construction so that demands of the populace could be met. I would recommend seeing more and then making a decision for yourself.
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Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Fri Dec 25, 2009
There are some upsides to slab, the biggest being you dont need to worry about a sublevel basement that is prone to issues like water damage. That said, people like basement spaces so it will have aslight affect on value but if the rest of the home is built well that is really what matters.
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Janet and Er…, Agent, North Attleboro, MA
Tue Dec 22, 2009
Technically there is nothing wrong with a house on a slab. It is done all the time in the south and west. However in New England people like to have a basement. It does affect the value of the home here. This being said, if the house is nice and there is storage elsewhere in the home it could be a good deal for you. There will always be buyers (especially from the south) who do not think that the lack of a basement is an issue. You need to consider whether the utilities are in a space that does not take room from the living area of the home and whether the layout makes it work for you.
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Ken Lambert, , Exeter, NH
Tue Dec 22, 2009
Hello Sanjeevk- I used to build homes, so I have some different thoughts on this.
Clearly a home on a slab is not worth quite as much as one with a full height basement- even an unfinished basement. As far as true market value out there.
Think about storage- if the property has a slab, no large attic and no shed or 2 car garage, you really don't have much room to "put" anything. Keep that in mind.
Also, your furnace/ boiler will have to be on the main level somewhere. That can be a little noisier than in the basement.
I agree with the other writer- drainage is key- away from the building.
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me. Thanks, and good luck,

Ken L.
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So do you think a slab house is just a big head ache?
Flag Sat Jun 24, 2017
I recently had a home inspection done on a house built on a slab. There is a significant 'crack' / 'shift' in the slab in the master bdrm. I haven't torn up the carpet, so I do not know the depth of the 'damage' nor do I know why it happened ~ but I am very curious to know a range of how much it might cost to fix it!! Any ideas??
Flag Mon Sep 21, 2015
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Sun Dec 20, 2009
You need to be careful. Have a good house inspection done that includes the roof drainage and slope of land away from the house. I once looked at a house that was built on a slab. The bottom 1-2' was rotted off. It was about 20-30 years old. I am sure that not painting it enough was partly to blame, but so was the way the rain and water were not kept away from the bottom of the house. Maybe the roof did not go far enough away from the walls. Maybe the site work was not done to pull water from the house instead of pushing it towards it. A slab done right (in my opinion) should be above the rest of the lot by a few inches. That way it rises above the water and hopefully would not have problems.

A lot of houses have slab foundations and seem to be ok. I still prefer a cellar with walls that hold a house up above any splash that may happen. That is of course, a preference. Brick houses may not have any issue at all not having a foundation.
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Kevin Santos, Agent, Hudson, MA
Sun Dec 20, 2009
I live just outside of Natick. There are actually multiple neighborhoods in the metrowest area that are built on slab foundations. I find that New Englanders typically stay away from slab foundations. However they do so out of habit and an expectation of having a basement because so much of the housing inventory has full basements. I personally don't have any issue with homes built on slabs. In fact I find that they suit many persons needs quite well. Homes with basements typically only collect junk or as storage for those items we really don't need in our lives but we put i the basement as a collection area until the next trip to the recycling center. (For some reason that trip usually occurs only several year later!)
The other factor to consider is that many people in our area view basements as potential expansion areas. While this is true there are some serious misconceptions regarding finished basements. In some cases homeowners believe that finishing a basement is going to add to the value of their property, however that is not necessarily true. According to a recent conversations with an appraiser colleague, basement expansion areas will only be added to the homes value calculation if it is not subterranean i.e. underground. For instance a basement that is finished and is a walk out with full size doors on grade directly to the exterior will apply to the total living area. (note basements with bulkheads do not qualify under this premise). Also basement conversions only receive a rate of return on the initial investment of roughly 63% in our according to recent reports.
Lastly there is the question in inherent value. If you were comparing two homes with similar style, living area, and features; the home full basement would typically have a value of $10-15K more than a home on a slab foundation. When purchasing a home built on a slab in our area you should theoretically be seeing some cost savings. Conversely when you sell the property in the future your homes value will also be $10-15k less expensive when compared to comparable properties on the market at that time.
I hope that this helps you come to a better decsion and I wish you the best of luck.
K. L. Santos
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