When you’re in the market for a new home, you’re going to look
for certain things: does it have the space you need and a layout you like?
Is it in a good neighborhood? Does it have out of date kitchens and baths
that need to be updated? Does it get good light? Does it have the backyard
you want? Everybody remembers these things and while they are certainly
important, just as important are some of the more subtle aspects of the
home that may affect your investment and your life, if extreme enough.
We are in the business of making the exteriors of homes beautiful and
functional so we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here’s
our list of exterior items you want to take a few minutes to check out
before you make an offer on a home.
What type of foundation is it? A block foundation is weaker and more susceptible
to leaks than a concrete foundation. If it is a concrete foundation, check
for cracks that may allow water seepage or uneven settling, which may
affect both the foundation and the structure of the house itself. Walk
the perimeter of the house to take a look at the entire foundation. Make
sure to look behind any bushes or long grasses that may be hiding foundation flaws.
Grade of Property
What is the lay of the land surrounding the house? Does it flow downward
toward the house or out away from the house? In the former case, flooding
can be a serious concern. Make sure you check each side of the house.
Even in areas where earthquakes aren’t common, like most of the Chicagoland
area, houses will inevitably settle as the ground shifts slightly and
as wood frames ever so slightly expand and contract during temperature
extremes. Some settling is inevitable, but as houses age, poorly built
houses or houses on particularly soft soil can settle in ways that damage
the structure. Telltale signs are cracks in a brick façade or uneven windows.
Downspouts should guide and deposit water far from the foundation of the
home. If they don’t, water can pool around the foundation, causing
erosion and damage that may lead to leaks.
Without even getting on a ladder, you can do a quick visual inspection
of the roof. If you see curling or missing shingles or unevenly placed
shingles that may be a sign that the shingles are slipping, make sure
to have a home inspector do a thorough inspection of the roof and the
areas directly below the roof. A compromised roof can ruin an entire home.
Many people don’t realize the problems that a damaged chimney can
cause. If you see bricks that are missing, crumbling, or out of alignment,
this is a sign that an expensive chimney repair may be needed.
Check window sills and casings from both the inside and outside. Any rotting
wood may be signs that water damage may be more extensive than what you can see.
Aside from missing or uneven siding, peeling paint can be a sign of more
than just wear and tear. While paint will sometimes peel simply due to
age, peeling paint can also be evidence that moisture is seeping behind
the siding – and this can cause damage to the internal structure
of your house.
Concrete Stoops, Patios, and Walks
Is the concrete in these areas in good repair? Cracked, crumbling, and
even uneven concrete can be evidence of ongoing water damage. Check the
property grade and downspouts to see if the source of the water is obvious
and determine whether this is an easy fix or something more complex.
This list is in no way a substitute for a professional home inspection
and, in fact, we highly recommend that you always hire a professional
to inspect any piece of property you are considering purchasing. But,
the flip side of this is that having a professional home inspection doesn’t
mean you don’t have a responsibility to inspect your investment
yourself. The damages on this list don’t necessarily mean you should
cancel a potential purchase, but you should get information on whether
or not these things will be fixed or how they might be accounted for in
If you’ve purchased a home that needs exterior repairs or if your
current home needs a little sprucing up, give us a call at
(847) 531-8960. From roofing to siding to windows and doors, we have the products and professionalism
to make your home the best it can be.