Driveway slopes down into basement garage

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This is your family's first home purchase. The answer is simple -- Do not buy it. You would be buying a bad news property no matter what the price is. I have a feeling that the price is what is attracting you to this property. You are not buying a property that is below market value, even if the price is a lot less than other homes in the area. You are buying a home that is worth a lot less than the homes around it due to this HUGE and obvious problem. When you go to sell the property, you will get less for it for the same reason. So, you are not saving money. You are just taking on someone else's nightmare.
Keep looking.

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You'll be shoveling snow uphill. Not fun.
Which direction does the house point? I have a driveway at least as steep as that (downhill, though) but it gets the morning sun. That makes a huge difference. As long as the bulk of the snow is shoveled at night, whatever is left will melt and dry before I get up in the morning. The other side of the house is permafrost.
One way or another, you WILL find out where that drain goes. It needs to be kept clear and clean or it will clog up with leaves and dirt. You'll find out at the worst possible time and there won't be anything you can do about it then.
That's quite a drop from the lawn to the bottom of the driveway. Wonder what your insurance company will think about that.
Anyways, as long as that drain leads to a storm sewer or daylight by gravity only, it wouldn't stop me from buying the house. Especially if the alternative was a house without a garage.
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On Jun 18, 3:35 pm, The Reverend Natural Light

Oh, and make sure there isn't an abandoned oil tank somewhere out in the yard. That would be a bigger problem than the driveway.
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Driveway faces north, so unfortunately there won't be much benefit there.
It definitely sounds like we're in a tough position here with buying this house. The price may be discounted when compared to houses in the area, but it's still a very expensive house (for our wallet) and it feels like there's enough uncertainty that buying it will be difficult.
Best case scenario, water drains perfectly and the basement never floods. That doesn't help that it will be difficult to exit the driveway when there's considerable snow, even if we get someone to professionally clear the driveway with every snow storm.
I appreciate all the comments you've provided. I'll probably wait one more cycle to see what the owner says about water/snow in the driveway (he's a religious leader in the community, so my guess is that he'll try to be honest). But in all likelihood this will now be a pass for us.
PB
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PB2 wrote: ...

It isn't other houses in the area that are pertinent; it's what are other house in the area _with this particular feature_ you need to compare to. If there are none or this is fairly prevalent practice each give you an answer.
Nothing says you can't make an offer of whatever you think the discount should be and contingent upon any number of conditions...
...

I'm a church member and one would wish that would be sufficient but alas, experience often shows it isn't... :(
--
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Yeh, the local mayor/pastor was just kicked out of office. He was a convicted felon for extortion. duh!
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The only way that I can see saving this house from future decline is to fill in the current driveway and build a new garage over it. But, you'd have to get zoning approvals and etc..which is highly unlikely. Sad, but true. TomC
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on 6/18/2008 7:18 PM TomC said the following:

can support a garage addition next to the house. Block up the garage door opening, and fill the hole. My two car garage is just storage anyway. I have to move stuff out of the way just to get my tractor mounted snowblower in there in the winter, otherwise I have to store it in the outside shed and I can't start it when it is freezing out. The throttle and choke cables freeze up.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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The 2 walls on the side of the driveway make it look like a swimming pool waiting to happen. The drop off from the yard to the bottom of the drive looks like a nasty place for a child to fall from after not looking where they were going..
The condition of the garage door is worse at the bottom and improves as you go up (kind of like a big ol' tired sponge)...
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