Often when people from outside of Texas are house hunting in Austin, they include a basement in their list of features they would like to have in their potential homes. The truth is, basements are quite scarce in Austin homes. There are actually several reasons for the lack of basements in the area, and one way or another, most of them boil down to costs – construction, maintenance and repair.
Another one is the water table. It rises and falls frequently. Limestone and clay are common for this area. Water tends to run through the limestone at varying levels. It would be difficult to build a home with a basement that is leak-proof. Yes, there are some homes with dry basements in the area, but they are a hard find unless you go to the Hill Country.
Going beyond the desire for a basement, however, is a more important question. What does the basement give you that you cannot find in other parts of the home? Rather than looking for a basement, you can look for the qualities that you like about them. This is something that you can discuss with your Austin real estate agent.
• Storage – Storage space can take many forms. Look for large bedroom closets, attics, space over the garage and a shed in the back yard.
• An Escape – Claim a bedroom and turn it into a den or entertainment center. Convert your vision for the basement décor into that for the spare room. If the home has a finished attic, this could be a sure substitute.
• Lack of Windows – While some people may consider a room without windows a negative thing, many find comfort in controlling the lighting. Use blackout curtains to cover existing windows or look for an interior room without them.
As you’re doing an Austin home search, try to consider the features of the homes that you find appealing, and add those to your list. You might be pleasantly surprised at their availability.