John Cooper, Cooper Homes, Roswell, Georgia
Raised front porches provide historic character to John Cooper’s homes. “The main thing is selling houses, and I’ve found that raised floors sell quicker.”
Since 1982, John Cooper of Cooper Homes has built homes and communities inspired by the architecture and style of Atlanta’s historic neighborhoods. He prefers raised wood floors because they provide historic character to a house – a feature that is attractive to home buyers.
“The main thing for me is the aesthetics and streetscape,” says Cooper. “When a home is raised, people come up to it – and they may not really figure out exactly what it is – but they just know it is a better looking house. And the streetscape – having a raised front porch and stairs in front – is just much more comfortable for a community. You can sit out front and say hello to your neighbors. If you are flat on the ground, it just doesn’t have the same feel. People notice that. If they don’t pay more for (the aesthetics) – which I think they do – the house will sell faster than a house that is on a slab.”
Cooper’s closed crawlspaces are semi-conditioned, keeping them dry and mildew-free, and can house mechanical equipment and ductwork for improved energy efficiency. Cooper says that finish siding over the foundation walls, such as brick or stone, is the kind of detailing that can have a significant visual impact. “That’s a big dimension to cover the base, as opposed to a house that just comes down to the ground with siding. You can picture how much more pleasing it is to people who are looking for houses.”
Cooper builds closed crawlspaces to better condition the main floor of the house and minimize moisture infiltration. He covers the dirt floor of the crawlspace with concrete for a more finished look. “You don’t have to do a full 4-inch concrete floor,” explains Cooper. “You can do 2 inches of concrete, which cuts your cost in half. You still get the same effect because you are not putting any weight on that floor. And that crawlspace is now dry and clean so it can be used for storage.”
The finishing touches of a high-end raised floor home may cost a little more up front, but, according to Cooper, the builder will more than make up for it on the sale. “I've figured it out,” Cooper says. “While it may cost me roughly $5,000 more to build it, in a normal market I will definitely get $10,000 to $15,000 more for a raised home.”