Q&A / 

Building on Sloped Residential Lots

DEAR TIM: I've purchased a piece of land with a gentle slope. Friends and family have said it is a bad investment as it will cost me $40-$50K to build up the ground for a slab foundation. I do not want a slab foundation, but a house with a basement. Would it not be more cost effective to build a house with a basement versus building up the land and creating a slab foundation? Ron R., Austin, TX

DEAR RON: It is really hard for me to answer this question since I can't see the lot. I would need to have a clear idea of how much land must be trucked in and compacted to see if the $40-50,000 estimate is correct. But that number at first blush seems very high.

Sloping ground is perfect for a walkout basement. Even if you get bids that indicate that the basement costs more than the groundwork for the slab, you will double the potential living space with the space created by the basement. Ignore the advice of friends and family and build the house you want. Tell them they can't see your house from where they live.

Column EM0011

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