The features that attract buyers to a home are as individual as the prospective buyers themselves. Some are fairly universal, like kitchens and the number of bedrooms. Others are more individual, like the architectural style of the home, its age, and the size of the yard.
When you come across a home that seems like a dream come true, it’s tempting to make an offer on the spot, especially in a highly competitive market where buyers must act fast to get the home they want. If you’re determined to make an offer the minute you see the home, at least check for these landscaping issues to consider before you buy a house.
If the yard doesn’t direct water downhill away from the foundation, that house will have water problems. Even the most aggressive seepage control measures may not be able to overcome the power of water constantly running toward foundation walls. Walk around and note the slope of the landscape and whether the yard properly allows water to drain.
Healthy, mature trees add beauty and value to the landscape. But if they are diseased, dead, or too close to the house, they’ll cause problems. Roots can grow into cracks in the foundation, turning small flaws into big ones.
Also, dead or diseased trees are dangerous. They can drop branches even when the wind is calm, and they can fall during or after storms if the disease has compromised their root systems. Learn the signs a tree may fall and check the landscape for trees that look troubled before buying a house.
Brick and stone walkways and patios can be attractive. However, if they are heaving (stones or bricks rising up unevenly) or cracked, they’ll continue to deteriorate and create a tripping hazard. Try to discern whether the problem is drainage or if the owners poorly installed the walkway in the first place.
Additionally, insufficiently deep bedding can cause heaving when the ground freezes, and sogginess from excess water that doesn’t drain away can cause a walkway to sink or buckle. These problems can be expensive to repair, so catch them before buying the house.
Consider the Views
If you’ve found your dream house and have decided to buy it, think about what the present landscape will look like in 10 or 20 years. How much maintenance will it need to maintain the view of a lake or hills in the distance?
From inside the house, look out over the landscape to see what the views are like. If your kids were outside playing, could you see them at all times from inside the home? Are any hazards hidden from view? You must either maintain your views on your own or hire a professional landscaping company to ensure your property is free of obstructions, invasive species, or poisonous plants.
Landscaping issues should be part of your thought process when buying a house. Even if you decide to forge ahead with your purchase, you’ll at least have an idea of what you’re up against so that you can enjoy your new home.