House hunting? What to inspect outside that home you have your eye on

Chad Banken
Chad Banken
Published on December 13, 2021

When it comes to choosing a home to buy, there are exterior people and then there are interior people.

Exterior/interior describes what turns them on most about any particular home. It’s the gardener vs. the chef, the spring and summer outdoor entertainer vs. the I-need-a-fireplace-in-my bedroom person.

The latter group is far larger than the former, which is why when it comes to advice online, you’ll find lots of it geared toward what to look for inside a home.

Even the number of MLS photos of a home’s exterior pale in comparison to those of the interior.

Which is why today we turn our attention to the home shopper who jumps out of the care and breezes up the walkway to a home-for-sale’s front door with nary a look at the exterior.

Slow down. Take your time when you get out of the car. If the home is appealing to you, check out the exterior before getting back into the car.

Check out the landscaping

Sure, you can always change a home’s landscaping. It can be pricey, but it’s certainly doable.

It’s most important to check out the number of trees on the property. Trees, large or small, can be considered good or bad.

Let me explain.

Large, older trees can be problematic if they have invasive roots and are grown too close to the home’s foundation, swimming pool or other sensitive areas.

Then there are the big trees that were planted too close to the home and now look as if they’re ready to eat the home’s roof.

On the other hand, large, older trees that aren’t posing a risk to the home’s structure actually add value to the home and may even help you save on home energy costs.


See those cracks in the foundation? Before you get nervous about them, keep in mind that they may mean nothing.

Or, they may mean you should run, quickly, back to your car.

Of the five types of foundation cracks, if the one you notice runs vertically on the foundation, there’s nothing to be concerned about, according to the pros at Complete Basement Systems in Colorado.

“… they’re a common sight in many homes and non-threatening.,” they claim. “Vertical cracks tend to slant slightly (within 30 degrees). To seal them, water-resistant epoxy or polyurethane injection is applied to the cracks.”

Diagonal cracks are also among the least dangerous. They are caused by what is known as “differential settlement.”

Although they aren’t among the scariest of foundation cracks, “… cracks that run diagonally at 30 to 75 degrees …” should be checked by a professional.

When buying a home, the most important cracks to have inspected are those that run at a horizontally.

“Several types exist and all indicate serious structural problems,” the folks at Basement Systems warn.

Check out their website for more information.

Ah, a sparkling swimming pool!

Listing descriptions of homes for sale are often tantalizing, right? If the home features a swimming pool, the adjectives come fast and furious.

If you’ve never owned a home with a swimming pool, brush up on their upkeep. From getting the chemicals balanced to skimming leaves and scrubbing the walls, there is a lot that goes into maintaining a clean and hygienic swimming pool.

And how will you know if a pool and its equipment at a home for sale has been properly maintained?

Ask your agent to obtain maintenance records from the seller. At the very least, find out the age of the pool and the equipment.

Look for cracks and, if you find any, have the pool inspected by a professional.

Yes, it’s an additional expense to hire a pool pro. But, consider this:

“A new, energy-efficient heat pump cost $4,500. We bought a pool-cleaning robot for about $800. Just to get the pool running, we spent about $10,000,” Sally Herigstad says of her buying-a-home-with-a-pool experience.

“Last summer, we spent about $500 on repairs, plus another $200 on chemicals,” she continued.

Her advice?

“If you have your heart set on using a pool, consider having a pool expert inspect your property before you buy the house. Be reasonably confident you can afford to fix the pool and maintain it, or no one will be having any fun with it.”

We’re happy to help you find the specialists required to give you peace-of-mind during your home purchase. Reach out anytime.



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