For a house with extra space, find a seller with a basement

3 Wedderburn House, West St Winifreds Avenue, Harrogate – £950,000 with Knight Frank, 01423 530088.

In fact, basements have been around since someone first dug a storage pit and covered it with a house.

They became more formalized as the rich and powerful built more expensive homes, and for centuries were the domain of the wealthier classes, who used them to store food, wine and – in the case of dungeons – prisoners.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the basement became commonplace in ordinary houses, and part of it was usually reserved for coal. A typical middle-class family would burn a ton of this in a month, so it had to be kept somewhere safe.

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Jasmine Cottage, 224 High Street, Boston Spa – £650,000 with Beadnall Copley, 01937 580850.

In many apartments, the basement was used in a similar way to the attic – as a secluded place to store old belongings: perishables – papers, clothes and books – in the attic and small items such as prams, bicycles and tools in the basement.

Because cellars are not only dark and cool, but also often damp, which is why an entire industry has developed around drying them. A fully stocked basement can provide useful additional space, and many of these are now playrooms, movie theaters, offices, gyms, and extra bedrooms.

Despite their many uses, few houses are built with basements these days. That’s largely because it can cost 50 percent more per square foot to build below ground than above, but the selling price per square foot is significantly lower than that of above-ground housing.

It’s a shame, because basements can add so much to a property in terms of utility and character, and that means that if you really want a home with a basement, you’ll probably need to look for something older than new construction.

1 The Cross Keys, Church Street, Pateley Bridge – £265,000 from Verity Frearson, 01423 562531.

The following three properties all have different size basements and are all currently for sale in our area.

in Harrogate, 3 Wedderburn House was built for the Scottish barrister Alexander Wedderburn MP, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain at the turn of the 19th century. The Grade II listed house was built in 1786 by John Carr, the York architect of Harewood House, and has since been divided into three smaller lots.

This has three bedrooms, one leading off a fourth, two bathrooms, an eat-in kitchen, a utility room, two reception rooms and a basement accessible from the hallway. Outside, the property has off-street parking, a single garage and a sunny west facing walled garden.

at the boston spa, Jasmine Cottage is a Grade II listed Georgian house with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, pantries, three reception rooms and cellars. There are gardens to the front and rear and an attached two storey former granary with external stone steps and two individual garages below.

Finally, 1 The cross keys Dating from the mid 17th century, it is part of a former coaching inn that was used as a pub until 1957 when it was converted into three houses. This has two bedrooms, two shower rooms, dining kitchen, living room and a large dry basement which could be used for a number of purposes.

Outside there is a stone paved private car park with wood storage.

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