When you’re house hunting it’s very easy to focus in on certain attributes of a house that you find appealing. Sometimes, when you narrow your focus in on the things that are perfect about the house, you’ll often overlook some important things in the process. You will want to thoroughly examine the exterior of your “dream home” (as well as hire a licensed inspector to inspect all aspects of the home) before you go through with your purchase.
Here is a specific list of key elements to examine while inspecting your potential home’s exterior. None of these issues have to be a “deal breaker”, but rather something to possibly negotiate with the seller before proceeding beyond the option period.
Trees & Foliage
Does the property have any trees? Trees can and to the overall beauty of the home but they can also create problems for your foundation if they get to be too big. Be sure to examine how close these trees are to the home’s foundation. If the trees are large enough to encounter the roof of the house, this should be a consideration as well. Trees that come in contact with the roof can leave certain areas exposed and open to rodents or even birds to build nests. Rodents, especially, could use an overhanging branch to make their way onto the roof.
In addition to trees surrounding your home take note of any other foliage that comes in contact with the home. If the seller hasn’t done an adequate job maintaining the shrubs that surround the house, then you may encounter problems with insects later down the line. Inspectors call this “conducive conditions” for wood destroying insets. Foliage upkeep, in general, is usually an indicator of the type of attention the seller gave the overall exterior of the house. If things look a little lackluster from afar, it should certainly be cause for a closer inspection.
The vast majority of foundations in North Texas are concrete slabs. Many buyers will see cracks in the concrete floors in the garage, driveway or sidewalk, and will freak out. For the most part, hairline cracks in these areas are nothing to be alarmed about. However, significant cracks in the slab could allow for moisture to penetrate your foundation and could also be a sign of structural challenges. Your inspector will advise you to consult a specialist if other signs of structural movement are present. You’ll also want to ensure that you can see 4 to 6 inches of the slab all the way around the home, as well as a gradual slope of dirt away from your house to prevent water from collecting and pooling near the foundation for extended periods of time.
Pools are super desirable in north Texas for a variety of reasons (our ridiculous hot summers, for one!). Just because you’ve always wanted a pool doesn’t mean you should forget to have it inspected as well. Pools, like other mechanicals in the home, must be maintained. Inquire about the age of the pool and the equipment, and also ask if it has ever been resurfaced. Your general inspector may be able to inspect the pool, or you may want to have a professional pool inspector render a professional opinion.
All houses have issues, and all issues can be fixed — it’s just a matter of who is going to pay for it. One or two problems with the exterior doesn’t have to break the deal. If you and the seller can reach an agreement that solves the problem (either they are willing to fix it at their expense or concede an allowance that will enable you to have it fixed), proceed with purchasing the house. If the issues are excessive and the seller is unwilling to work with you, consider passing on the house.
If you have any further questions about inspecting your property, please contact me for referrals to excellent licensed inspectors in our area.
The above information regarding “Home Exterior Considerations to Make Before You Buy or Sell” was provided by Nicole Smith with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. Nicole has over 20 years of experience helping families buy and sell homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. If you’re thinking of selling or buying, she’d love to share her knowledge and expertise.