Golden Valley Rambler With 5 BR/4 BA, 4,500+ FSF for $475k

What at first blush looks like a screaming value becomes less so once you factor in the house style — a one-story rambler (“Ranch” outside the Midwest).

In particular, fully half of the finished square feet is in the basement.

Basement vs. “Lower Level”*

In contrast to above ground square feet, below grade square feet — what laymen refer to as “basement” — can be discounted anywhere from 50% to more than 75%.

The exact amount depends on such variables as finish quality, ceiling height, and whether or not the basement is a walkout.

Meanwhile, at the other extreme, third-level space is also steeply discounted.

Key variables:  finish quality, overhead, etc. — plus how accessible it is.

“100% Finished”

There’s one other statistic that’s problematic for this Golden Valley rambler:  the foundation size (2,250) and the basement FSF are the same.


Unless the home doesn’t have a furnace, water heater, etc. — or they’re on the main level (highly unlikely) — the maximum FSF would be about 85% (in this case under 2,000).

See also, “Home Trends 2010:  Don’t Call it a Basement.”

In contrast to the basements in 1950’s ramblers, basements in new Ramblers — particularly north of $1.5 million in the Twin Cities — are so ‘luxe (multiple egress windows, 9’ (or higher) ceilings, hardwood floors, recessed lighting, etc.) the below grade discount shrinks dramatically.

*Realtor-ese for basement is “Lower Level.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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