Many homes throughout the Great Lakes State are built on something other than a basement or slab. The standard choice for contractors is often a crawl space in Ann Arbor and the surrounding regions. It allows air to move throughout the home, but it's much lower, sometimes only a foot tall. The surface you hit at the bottom of the stairs is bare earth, and you may find things like your furnace, water heater, and other appliances that would typically be put in a basement.
Just because your crawl space isn't usable for entertaining or living, it doesn't mean that you should ignore the necessary maintenance required to keep your home structurally sound.