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Old 07-20-2006, 06:58 PM
 
9 posts, read 45,689 times
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I've been looking at homes in the Yuma, Tucson, & Phoenix areas, and noticed that they don't have any basements or cellars. Does anyone know why that is? Is it illegal, too expensive, etc.? I'm curious, as I'm from NYC and EVERYONE seems to have these here. They're also the coolest area of the house in the summer so I'm rather perplexed. I also haven't seen any apartment buildings higher than three stories? Any one know why? I'd like to assume that it has to do with preserving the beautiful views of the area with the mountains, sunsets, etc., as I myself hate a "concrete jungle". Unfortunately, my skepticism keeps me from believing that there isn't an alternative reason. So if has any info, write away...
Thanks!!!
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:13 PM
 
273 posts, read 1,590,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erick7
I've been looking at homes in the Yuma, Tucson, & Phoenix areas, and noticed that they don't have any basements or cellars.
[url=http://phoenix.about.com/cs/real/a/basements01.htm[/URL]

Can't help you with your question about apartment buildings.
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Old 07-21-2006, 01:37 PM
 
435 posts, read 1,507,149 times
Reputation: 329
Quote:
Originally Posted by erick7
I've been looking at homes in the Yuma, Tucson, & Phoenix areas, and noticed that they don't have any basements or cellars. Does anyone know why that is? Is it illegal, too expensive, etc.? I'm curious, as I'm from NYC and EVERYONE seems to have these here. They're also the coolest area of the house in the summer so I'm rather perplexed. I also haven't seen any apartment buildings higher than three stories? Any one know why? I'd like to assume that it has to do with preserving the beautiful views of the area with the mountains, sunsets, etc., as I myself hate a "concrete jungle". Unfortunately, my skepticism keeps me from believing that there isn't an alternative reason. So if has any info, write away...
Thanks!!!

About the basement question: to put it simply, as it was put to me when I moved here (I'm a midwestern transplant myself, and was also used to all homes having basements): "the dirt don't work". Phoenix is a desert, and desert soil is too loose and sandy to support a basement. it would simply cave in on itself, and even if it didn't do that, any significant rainfall would flood it b/c the sand doesn't trap and hold water.

Houses tend to be 2 stories at most, and it's preferable to have a one-story house. You'll have trouble selling your home as quickly here if it's 2+ stories. Many of the newer, huge 5000+ square-foot homes in North Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, for instance, are actually gigantic ranch homes. Why? Simple: Hot air rises. It's far easier to keep a ranch home cool. And much more comfortable to sleep in a bedroom in the summer that's not upstairs, the way that traditional midwestern & east coast colonials are designed.

By the way, about the concrete jungle: too late. This city is larger in total land area now than L.A. If you want to see preserved desert, you'd need to travel pretty far to the outskirts, anymore. A concrete jungle is exactly what it is.
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Old 07-22-2006, 12:01 AM
 
1,313 posts, read 6,126,055 times
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Those from the northeast and midwest are often surprised to find that less than 30% of American homes have basements. It's not just Phoenix. You don't find them in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco or Los Angeles, either.
In some cases, there is bedrock close to the surface, caliche or water drainage issues. But it might be helpful to put the burden of reason on the other foot.
Why do so many homes in the northern tier have basements?
A home's foundation must extend well below the deepest frost line ever experienced in that area. How deep does the soil freeze? In Phoenix, about 6" would do it. In Seattle, you'd have to go down about 12" to be safe from the rare freeze. In Minneapolis, you might have to go deeper than six feet to avoid frost heave from a six-month winter that might go to 50-below during an advective freeze out of the Arctic. It doesn't really make sense to do all that excavation and then fill the whole back up again -- it's more cost effective to leave it open and utilize it as living space, especially since subterranean spaces are naturally energy-efficient in cold climates.
So in short, basements are characteristic of climates where the frost line is at a significant depth because temperatures below zero may occur.
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Old 07-22-2006, 01:58 AM
 
Location: 河南郑州, Kansas City, Iowa, Fargo
268 posts, read 1,559,907 times
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No basements, indeed. Yuma, it seems, makes up for it by building huge garages. A lot of people have 2-car garages, yet park on the street because the garage is used for storage. Smart, I guess, but doesn't do much for looks.
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Old 07-22-2006, 04:38 AM
 
273 posts, read 1,590,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Surrender
A lot of people have 2-car garages, yet park on the street because the garage is used for storage. Smart, I guess, but doesn't do much for looks.
LOL! Ya, people will lock all the junk they should have gotten rid of in their garage and then park their $25,000+ vehicle in the driveway. Smart indeed!
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
6 posts, read 25,533 times
Reputation: 13
erick7,
There are basements and more builders are starting to offering them as an upgrade. They are different from back east though (I grew up in NH). Most of them that you will find are open stairs as if going from upstairs to down. They aren't closed off. The reason that they aren't built often is that the ground is like cement. It is very difficult to dig which makes them very expensive. If offered, a builder will easily charge a minimum of 50K as an upgrade to a house. K. Hovnanian Builders does offer them in some of their comminities. Not sure of specific other builders though. Hope this helps!
-azmommy
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:55 AM
 
148 posts, read 811,079 times
Reputation: 72
Default I have a basement

There are definitely homes in the Phoenix area that have basements as I am in one of them. We had a two story house and were tired of it getting so hot upstairs and our high air conditioning bills so we found a one story with a basement. You just have to know which areas have those homes. I am in Peoria at 83rd ave and Deer Valley in a subdivision called Fletcher Heights. There is a subdivision at 75th and Deer Valley called Sierra Verde that has basement homes also. And then there is a neighborhood in Litchfield park that offers the same basement homes that we are in. Vistancia, a new subdivision way out west offers new build basement homes. They are definitely not the norm but so much nicer as the basement stays so much cooler. That is where we have our kids play rooms.
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Old 08-02-2006, 11:45 AM
 
702 posts, read 3,016,872 times
Reputation: 462
Default You CAN have a basement!

Quote:
Originally Posted by erick7
I've been looking at homes in the Yuma, Tucson, & Phoenix areas, and noticed that they don't have any basements or cellars. Does anyone know why that is? Is it illegal, too expensive, etc.? I'm curious, as I'm from NYC and EVERYONE seems to have these here. They're also the coolest area of the house in the summer so I'm rather perplexed. I also haven't seen any apartment buildings higher than three stories? Any one know why? I'd like to assume that it has to do with preserving the beautiful views of the area with the mountains, sunsets, etc., as I myself hate a "concrete jungle". Unfortunately, my skepticism keeps me from believing that there isn't an alternative reason. So if has any info, write away...
Thanks!!!
We have seen many Arizona basements. There is nothing wrong with a basement in Arizona. The row-house builders just don't want to sell a house with a basement because it would raise the price and scare buyers away. The custom builders will build a basement but you have to be willing to pay the price. There is nothing wrong with our ground that will prohibit a basement. We came from the midwest where a basement was automatic. When we first looked at houses here, we felt that the prices were about $10,000 less than where we lived. Then we realized that the average house comes on a concrete slab without a basement. That is the $10,000 difference! If you want a basement, just be willing to go with a custom builder and be prepared for that $$$ difference. The Arizona basements that I have been in have been even nicer than in the midwest. They are not only the coolest part of the home but also the dryest basements compared to other parts of the country, unlike some musty, damp basements in the midwest. If you want a basement, just get the right builder.

ps That $10,000 figure comes from when we first came here, twenty years ago. I am sure that a basement would cost a lot more today!
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