More often than not, most people spend more time inspecting the interior of the home instead of the exterior. However, the exterior of a home can present a lot of expensive issues. Luckily, most of these issues could be avoided if you know what to look for.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re likely paying close attention to how updated the kitchen or bathroom is, if the home has recessed lighting, and the condition of the floors throughout the home. Without question, an outdated bathroom or kitchen could be extremely costly to update and modernize, but there are other areas you should also pay close attention to that could be equally, if not more, expensive to fix. Fixing issues on the exterior of your home can be the largest expense a homeowner pays – and a lot of that expense can be avoided if you know what to look for before purchasing a home. Let’s dive into what you should examine outside of your home before you submit an offer.
The foundation of your home is likely something that you don’t think about. After all, it’s not an attractive part of the house, nor is it something you’d show off to family/friends when they gather at your home. However, the foundation of your home is critically important to the structural integrity of the home. If the foundation has cracks, numerous problems will occur. Water could start entering your home, which could cause damage on the inside. Additionally, the crack in the foundation can grow overtime, and the foundation may become weak – to that point where it needs to be replaced or the house could be at risk of falling.
Considering all the work involved in replacing or repairing a foundation, you could easily spend $10,000 + if you ever had to fix your foundation. Be sure to walk around the foundation of your property numerous times. Inspect the foundation from the inside of your home as well to look for water damage or water stains. You may be able to see a problem from the basement that was not visible from the exterior of the home.
Masonry work is another area you’ll want to pay close attention to. If the home has a retaining wall, inspect the integrity of the retaining wall and ensure it’s not falling apart. That wall was likely put there for a reason, perhaps to protect the property from stormwater, and if the wall fails – you’ll now have a bigger issue on your hands.
Additionally, a driveway would fall under the masonry bucket. Depending on the size of the driveway, and the material of the driveway, it could be very expensive to repair and/or replace the existing driveway. A cracked driveway in an area that experiences 4 seasons will quickly become more damaged, as the snow/ice will expand those cracks and weaken the asphalt. If the driveway is in bad condition, look to negotiate with the seller of the home to have the driveway completely repaired before you submit an offer.
Everybody loves a nice deck! Not only does a deck provide additional square footage for entertainment, it could be a place to relax, grow plants, and spend time with family. However, a deck could also be hiding a big expense – termites! If the deck doesn’t have proper spacing between the boards, or if the deck has rotted wood, you could be facing a severe termite problem. Termites never just stay on the outside of the home. Once they’ve destroyed the exterior wood, they’ll make their ways inside and begin eating the framing. When inspecting the deck, make sure to get under the deck and inspect the bottom of the boards/the area that doesn’t see the sun. More often than not, that is where the problem is.
The landscaping on the property is also one of the most important considerations. Although having nice flowers and mulched flower beds is pleasing on the eyes, that is not the type of landscaping we’re referring to. There are numerous landscaping expenses that could be a nightmare.
First and foremost, visit the property after a rainstorm. You’ll want to feel how soggy the yard is after a rainstorm, or if the yard has standing water. A soggy yard, or a yard with standing water, can be very expensive to correct. This typically involves pulling a permit, digging up the yard, and installing a proper drainage system. This is brutal work, and it comes at an expensive price.
Secondly, you’ll want to look at the trees. Are the trees alive, or are there dead trees on the property? Dead trees not only attract termites and bugs, they also present an insurance risk. Are there any large tree branches hanging over the home that could easily fall on the next big storm? If so, that would be an unpleasant expense to pay if you ever had to pay it. **Note – A lack of trees or shrubs could also be an issue as that may suggest yard flooding – which as mentioned above, is very costly to fix.
Last but not least, look to see how healthy the yard is. Is the yard filled with weeds, or is the grass dead? Sometimes this process could be fixed with a little grass seed and weed killer, but other times there is a bigger issue lingering. That issue is grubs and other insects underground that are killing your grass. Recorrecting bad soil, and getting rid of all the bugs that are killing your property, is not only a time intensive process, it could also be an expensive one.
Start on the Outside
When buying a home, be sure to spend enough time inspecting the exterior of the home. The exterior of the home can have a lot of hidden expenses, most of which could be avoided before you actually purchased the home. If you’re in Fairfield or New Haven county, and need someone to inspect trees on a specific property, please give us a call. We’re happy to verify the health of a tree, or provide you with a quote for a specific tree or limb removal. This information could be very helpful when negotiating the purchase price of a home, and can save you quite a bit of money, and headache, years down the road. Additionally, if you have any tree related emergency, we’re ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.