When you purchase a home, many buyers will opt to have a home inspection done on the property. This inspection can be very helpful in discovering any possible issues with wiring, plumbing, structure, foundation, roofing etc. But many times the inspection stops there. While these are very important aspects of the inspection, the exterior aspects of the property also matter. In this case, we are not talking about the foundation, roof, windows, etc. but landscaping features.
Laneway, Walk Ways, fencing and pools are just some examples of the exterior features that can be checked out. At times these aspects can bring issues to the home owner’s attention otherwise they would have never known about it. These exterior items can also help determine if there will be unexpected costs post-closing.
When looking at the landscaping, some things you should inspect are:
Generally, when a laneway or driveway is in need of serious repair, it is obvious. The asphalt might be crumbling, the curb appeal is gone and there may be large potholes. If the laneway needs resurfacing, this can be a costly repair.
Cracked and uneven walkways can be a tripping hazard. They can also lead to water infiltration and damage to the home’s foundation. Check for loose paving stones, retaining walls, stairs and hand railings. These are issues that can cause more than just a physical injury, as there may be liability issues if a guest or mail person were to slip and hurt themselves on your property.
Ensure that there are no gaps between the boards and that the fence is not leaning. Look at the condition of the gate (make sure it opens and closes properly) and see if there is any evidence of rot around the posts. There are many reasons why a fence in bad shape can cause problems for buyers. Whether it be a beloved pet escaping, a child being injured or damage to your own or your neighbor’s property, it is important to look at the condition of the fence and plan accordingly.
Many buyers are excited to purchase a home with a swimming pool, however, if there are unnoticed problems or issues with the pool, they may be in over their heads when it comes to fixing it. Look at the condition of the pool, paying particular attention to peeling paint, cracks in the surface and rust. These are all signs that there is more to this swimming pool than just an element of luxury.
For inground pools, one will want to check the pool liner, pumps, filters and more to ensure that they are in good working order. For above-ground pools, look for any rust on the supports or surface, cracked pool shells and faded colors.
There are other factors to consider when inspecting pools which include the surrounding area. If built into a deck, you will want to ensure there is no water damage. It is also a good idea to check for standing water around the pool if it is not covered, as this can lead to mosquitoes and other pests being attracted to your property.
Inground pools are often surrounded by concrete, some of which can be decorative. Cracks in the concrete may not seem like a big deal at first, but can quickly lead to the need for expensive repairs.
All of these features can be great for enjoying the outdoors, but if they are not well maintained, they can quickly turn into a major headache. Check for loose boards, rotting wood and insect damage. If any repairs are needed, it is best to address them before you close on the property.
Another thing to consider when inspecting decks is the local codes and restrictions. While a deck may be in good shape, it may not have been built with an appropriate permit, or outside of allowable perimeters. This could lead to a deck being taken down, even if it was not the cause of any issues.
Just like decks, patios can be a great place to relax and entertain guests. If they are not well maintained, however, they can quickly become an eyesore. Look for cracks in the surface, weeds growing through the cracks and shifting patio stones. Any of these issues may require more than just throwing some weed killer down. They can lead to larger issues, both with the patio itself and the structure it is built on.
Water features such as ponds and fountains can add value to the home, but may require more than just a pump. Check that any equipment is in good working order and that it is easy to access for cleaning if necessary. Issues with pond liners, pumps, filters or heaters could lead to expensive repairs in the future.
An irrigation system is an extremely attractive selling feature, but can also be a costly concern. Caring for an irrigation system is more than just turning it on once or twice a week. Inspect hoses, heads and heads for leaks. Check the timer to ensure it is working properly. Look for areas where the grass is greener or taller than the rest of the yard, as this is a sign that the water is not being applied evenly.
Make sure to ask the seller if there is an irrigation system and, if so, how to turn it on and off. This can help avoid any surprises down the road.
Sheds/Other Storage Areas
Finally, look for any sheds or storage areas. While these are great features to help keep things out of the way, they can quickly become a junk workout if they are not properly maintained. Check for signs of water damage, particularly on outdoor sheds which can lead to fungal growth. Check for rodents and other pests who may have taken up residence in the shed. If there is any damage, it is best to address it before you buy.
When looking at a property, it is important to not just look at the house itself, but also the surrounding area. There are many features, big and small, that can be important to consider when deciding if a property is right for you.