Corinne Guest, Barrington Lifestyles (Corinne Guest, REALTOR® | Barrington Realty Company)

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Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

I agree with Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! 

That said, slab has a downside when a pipe breaks or needs replacing. We don't see basements in new construction. 

Jul 07, 2019 01:08 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

3. Slab on grade with upstairs is more affordable to build due to less concrete and labor cost and smaller carbon footprint.

Jul 07, 2019 12:36 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Absolutely #3 - (Smaller footprint on slab with some square footage moved to second level in roof space, i.e. 1.5 story home.) Basement homes are quite expensive to build here due to the clay soil - dry-proofing and digging out are more expensive than building up and on a slab.

Jul 07, 2019 01:57 PM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

My guess would be #1 ranch on a slab.  Single story homes tend to be cheaper to remodel than two story homes for some reason.

Jul 07, 2019 05:11 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I'd check with a few builders and see what the bids come in at with the various designs.

Jul 07, 2019 05:02 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

a ranch style home is the most expensive to build because it's cheaper to go up than out.....the roof system and foundation is more expensive than a 1.5 or 2 story building....

the cape style home would be the least expensive because there's a second floor.....and it's cheaper to go up....  

it's even less expensive to build a two story home...colonial style.... the framing of a cape is more expensive than a colonial.... 

Jul 07, 2019 03:46 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

It depends on which builder you hire. Cheapest could be a modular on block crawlspace with 2nd story. But from your choices, # 3 would probably be cheapest.

Jul 07, 2019 03:28 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


It depends, I do not like slab foundation because it is hell if something needs replacing, so nothing is saved.  We have always had raised foundation/no basement.  I am not a fan of cheap anything, I believe in doing it right in the first place so that a home lasts.  In the long it is cheap...A

Jul 07, 2019 02:28 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

We do not see much new slab construction in our area.

Jul 07, 2019 12:36 PM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Cheapest way is modular construction, even cheaper is a slab over a foundation and basement. 

Jul 08, 2019 05:22 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker



Jul 08, 2019 04:24 AM
Evelina Tsigelnitskaya
SIB Realty - Sunny Isles Beach, FL

I know about condos only...

Jul 07, 2019 11:09 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

I have no construction experience to draw from to be of help.

Jul 07, 2019 07:27 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I'm going with #3 Corinne Guest .

Jul 07, 2019 07:12 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Slab with a second floor is probably the cheapest way here.

Jul 07, 2019 02:13 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Not a fan of two story anything as my family is grown and I like E-Z-P-Z...Go pure function i.e. closets galore, storage, large two car garage with work-space, garden for back yard and simple maintenance for front yard. No high end appliances and large hallways. I prefer crawlspace but slabs work. Lots of windows, good insulation and security system. Now you are all set

Jul 07, 2019 01:27 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

It could be either 1 or 2 here... land is expensive so that would be a determining factor in cost. We have no basement homes here... unless it's a walk-out basement and then you pay a huge premium for a basement lot.

Jul 07, 2019 01:11 PM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

OK Corinne.  This is a trick question.  Here in Florida we have a high water table and cannot build basements so we normally build on a slab either on grade or a few concrete block courses up and fill under the slab.

I think you might be getting to a question about taking X square footage and asking if it is less expensive taking half of it upstairs for a more compact plan and potentially less expensive construction.

Here are a few pros and cons that come to mind...

If you plan on an expensive roof then cutting half of it for a two story would save you money.  You would also save on the concrete slab.

If you put some bedrooms and baths upstairs you will need a stair and floor joists.

A two-story plan can be a little slower to build than having all trades on a single ground floor.  Cost for all subcontractors to work a second floor is theoretically more expensive as well.

A compact two-story plan will limit the total perimeter wall by 15% or more which means less siding, brick or stucco.

A compact plan tends to offer control of heating and cooling costs.  In hot and cold climates you should have a lower energy bill. If your kids leave for college and the master is downstairs you can limit costs of heating and cooling upstairs.

On a 2,500 SF home you can possibly deal with a single heat pump but zoned areas with two units are ideal.  

For stay in place use by aging homeowners the second floor is not attractive.  In Florida with so many retirees, even large mansions (especially in Naples area I have seen) are spread around on one level for this reason.

If you have an architecture of steep roofs (some bungalow styles, Tudor or French styles) you can build some space under the roof. This means though that you cannot use a full attic plenum to mitigate heat and cold and that a very effective insulation has to be installed into the space between rafters.

My bottom line: for the size of a 2,500 SF house, keep it one story.  You would have to go a few hundred square feet higher to realize overall savings as described above.

Jul 08, 2019 02:37 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

It is always cheaper to go up.

800 SF on three levels. In Florida it would be 800 SF on 4 levels with ground zero being the garage, and house constructed on peirs. Basements in coastal Florida become indoor pools.

Jul 08, 2019 06:11 AM
Valeria Mola
SIB Realty - Miami, Sunny Isles Beach - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
305-607-0709 SIB Realty Condos for Sale and Rent

No, that I won't be able to answer. Will read answers.

Jul 07, 2019 10:06 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Interesting answers.  Maybe John Henry could respond with his expert opinion to further advance your existing knowledge or to further confuse you.  Good luck. Ditto Ken Semler who could provide his professional opinion regarding modular.  


Jul 08, 2019 02:09 PM
Greg Cremia
Shore Realty of the Outer Banks - Nags Head, NC

4. Modular

Jul 08, 2019 07:05 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

We are seeing more homes without a basement to keep costs down.

Jul 27, 2019 01:19 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

We only have some slab homes here at all, both one and two storey. Most are not built on slab due to earthquakes.

Jul 08, 2019 11:15 PM