St Louis Real Estate tips that actually help

Are you looking at houses in St Louis? I will be the first to tell you that there is not much that is sexy about a basement, but that is exactly what we are going to cover here. Yes, I know that basements can be boring, but I promise the three facts that I have about St Louis basements for you are going to be worth your time.

St Louis County Real Estate

Sexy houses in St Louis basement fact NUMBER ONE…. just kidding, there’s nothing sexy about basements. Okay, houses in St Louis basement fact number one. In St Louis, it is pretty much expected to have a basement. I have a lot of clients that move here from all over the country. In lots of other parts of the country, it’s not expected to have a basement. There are slab homes in all parts of the United States but here in the houses in St Louis, it’s mostly expected to have a basement.

This is a finished basement with a kitchen and living room area
So many possibilities in a St Louis basement

The reason why this is important to you, dear reader, is that when you go to purchase a home and if you’re looking at a slab home, you have to consider RESALE. It is going to be a lot tougher in the St Louis real estate market to sell a house that does not have a basement because St Louisans get wigged out about houses in St Louis that don’t have a basement …specifically for resale.

Yes I know that is 100% a circular argument but…that’s just how it is folks.

I’m definitely not saying that it can’t be done. There are lots of houses in St Louis that sit on slabs that are fabulous homes. A lot of the mid-century homes especially are going to be slab homes, which is great. I actually grew up in a house that was on a slab. Just consider for resale, it is a little bit out of the norm in the houses in St Louis to have a house that sits on a slab. It may freak out more buyers than make buyers happy. So just something to keep in mind.

This is a typical mid century modern home located in Crestwood Missouri
Mid Century beauty!! (also on a slab)

If you do buy a house that sits on a slab, make sure during the inspection that you get a lot of good information from an inspector that KNOWS how to inspect a slab home for the HVAC system and for the sewer system that is going to be underneath the house. It’s not going to be as easy to get to something like that in a slab home as it is in a house with a basement.

St Louis City real estate

Houses in St Louis basement fact NUMBER TWO, it is not totally realistic to expect that your basement is going to be 100% dry all the time. Most basements are going to get a little bit of moisture. If you purchase a home in St Louis City or parts of say, University City or Clayton, some of those homes are built on limestone foundations. Limestone is actually meant to breathe. It’s a porous material. The reason those houses have been around for 100 plus years is because of the way they were built. You’re going to get a little bit more moisture in the basement. It is not necessarily a basement that you’re going to want to finish, but a lot of those homes have third floor. So you have the option of some extra living space on the third floor instead of the basement.

If you’re looking at a house that has a poured concrete foundation, you’re probably going to get a little bit of water. The water is going to come in between where the floor and the wall meet. We often get water coming in from walkout basement doors if there’s a drain out there that’s been clogged. So it’s really unrealistic to expect that there’s going to be absolutely no moisture in a basement, but what you can do is prepare for it?

There are some fantastic waterproofing companies here in the houses in St Louis, and then they can install all kinds of fun things like a sump pump or a French drain. At our home in Clifton Heights, we were up on a hill and we did get a lot of moisture coming in. We installed a moisture barrier on the walls in the basement, which was great because any moisture that came in went right down into the French drain and was carried out through the sump pump. The important thing is to make sure when you find your dream home and you’re having your inspection done, that any moisture that has happened in the basement hasn’t caused any damage to anything. Most importantly, that there isn’t any mold. Mold is going to be a much bigger deal.

This is a sump pump in a basement
One of the most important things a St Louis basement can have…the sump pump

Houses in St Louis basement fun fact NUMBER THREE is all about finishing a basement. Finishing a basement is a great way to add some equity to your home as long as you have waterproofed it well enough that your drywall and flooring is not going to get ruined. Add an extra bedroom, add a bathroom, you can even add full kitchens and living rooms. It really is a great way to add equity to a home.

One thing to keep in mind when you’re adding a bedroom is if you want it to count as a bedroom for the home bedroom count it has to have egress, and it has to have a closet. So as far as egress, as long as there’s a window, you’ll need to have a large window well dug and have a ladder added…then it can be counted as a bedroom. If you cannot get out of the window or get out of the bedroom door in the event of an emergency, then it can’t be counted as a bedroom.

This is a picture of a basement egress window with a ladder
Basement egress window with a ladder

There you have it…as promised, three quick painless basement facts about houses in St Louis and their basements. Hopefully that was helpful. If you have any basement stories of your own I would love to hear them! Feel free to reach out anytime especially if you have any questions about houses in St Louis and all it’s glorious basement space.