Inspecting the Grounds & Exterior
From the minute you park you car in front of your home, the grounds and exterior form an important part of your home inspection. They not only include the aesthetics of your landscaping, but incorporate the condition of patios, driveways, fences, roofing and exterior surfaces. Good maintenance practice can affect a buyers perception, and your home worth.
Driveways and Walkways
Exterior surfaces of driveways are most often concrete, asphalt, gravel/dirt or brick.
- Is their cracking or settling cracks? Do the cracks represent hazards for walking? Concrete cannot be patched with concrete as bonding will not occur, however, there are products on the market that are being used for small repairs. If the cracks represent hazards for walking, a portion of the concrete may have to be removed before any patching can be performed.
- Does the driveway or walkway pitch towards the home which could cause drainage problems to the foundation of the home? Improperly pitched patios and driveways are one source of wet basements. Potential buyers will want evidence that the basement is dry.
- Asphalt driveways should be kept sealed and larger cracks or wholes filled.
- Gravel/dirt driveways can become compacted over time with worn areas. Small aggregate is a relatively inexpensive method to re-cover the driveway.
Landscaping Affecting Foundation
Grading or landscaping to create proper drainage away from the foundation walls will keep a basement dry. Re-sloping may be required to create positive grade. Other landscaping items can trap moisture and contribute to wet basements. Items such as flower beds, dense shrubs, or mulched areas that are too close to the foundation can trap moisture and contribute to wet basements.
Window wells can accumulate water if the yard is improperly graded. Care should be taken to remove leaves and debris that collect in window wells.
All surfaces of untreated wood need regular applications of paint, stain or water sealer to prevent rot. Chipped or flaking paint over any surface will catch the eye of any potential buyer as work that needs to be done. Exterior surfaces include decks, steps, fence, railings, windows, doors, soffit, fascia, trim and siding. Power washing surfaces can remove accumulated dirt or growths and beautify surfaces. When inspecting exterior surfaces, check for attachments that have come loose, and make notes for any repairs that need to be done. Caulking should appear clean and not cracked or separating.
Roof Water Control
Keeping the basement dry is controlling the water away from your home. Clean gutters, align and extend downspouts to divert water away from your foundation.
There are various types of roofing products like asphalt shingles, wood shingles, built-up roofing, clay tiles, slate, or metal roofing. The life expectancy of these products extend from 15 years on some asphalt shingles to 100 years on slate shingles. Some roofs are more vulnerable to leaking like flat roofs that can pond water if not properly drained. Inspect the roof for curling or missing asphalt shingles. Curling of asphalt shingles is an indicator of an aging roof system. Wood shakes and shingles last longer if they are kept dry. Very old roofing, or leaking roofs should be changed before your home goes on the market. Before re-roofing, the roof sheathing should be check to determine that the roof structure is in good condition.
In addition to the roofing material being maintained, these areas should be inspected.
- is their adequate ventilation
- are skylights well caulked
- is flashing in good condition or are there areas that need to be sealed
- are plumbing vents satifactory
- has chimney been cleaned; has chimney got proper flashing and caulking
Gutters and Eavestrough
Check the condition of your gutters and eavestrough.
- are eavestrough or downspouts leaking or missing
- do gutters need to be cleaned or properly sloped
- is the condition satisfactory or marginal to poor
Windows & Screens
In addition to checking the exterior surface of windows for painting, check for broken panes or ripped screens, and rotted sills. With emphasis on energy savings, many homes have upgraded windows to low-e or argon filled windows. Does your home meet the standards of your neighborhood? Check to ensure all opening devices are operable and are clean of debris.
Does Home Inspection Increase My Home Worth?
Home inspections can’t change the value of your home, but they do give you the understanding of what a potential buyer sees. Home inspections are a means for you to gather information so that you can compare your home for evaluation. Many of the items that fall in the category of maintenance can be done by yourself, or for little cost. Completing deficiencies on your home inspection affect the buyers perception and ultimately your home worth. If you want to check the value of your home, our Home Owners Market Evaluation (H.O.M.E.) Report is a do-it-yourself method that you can trust.