There’s nothing quite like finding a home that’s just right for you when you’re out house-hunting. It’s got the perfect layout, it’s the perfect size, it’s in the perfect neighborhood, and it’s listed for the perfect price. Everything’s perfect, right? Yes – unless you’ve failed to look closely at the home’s landscape. Homebuyers tend to overlook landscaping issues that can turn into big problems after you’ve moved into a home. To help ensure that you don’t suddenly have to deal with an unexpected and expensive problem, then check for these landscaping issues before you buy.
Standing water can be a big problem for homeowners. That’s why you need to check for drainage issues before you buy a home. Pooling water can cause major damage and attract pests like mosquitoes – no fun if you want to enjoy your outdoor space. Check to see if the land around the home slopes away from the foundation. If so, then you likely won’t have any drainage problems. But if the ground slopes toward the home, then look for water damage. This can alert you to bigger problems down the line.
Mature trees can be a wonderful feature of any garden. They provide shade and habitats for birds and squirrels and other creatures. Unfortunately, they can also cause many problems for homeowners. Check the health of old trees before buying, especially those that are close to the home. A dead or dying tree is in danger of falling during a storm and can be a real hazard to everyone living there. Also, look for neighboring trees that hang over your property line. Even if the tree belongs to someone else, it could still make your yard messy or cause damage. If so, consider that you’ll need to work something out with a neighbor about the tree’s maintenance when you move in.
Invasive plants may be tough to spot at first, but they can cause you many headaches after you move in. Non-native plants that spread aggressively can quickly and easily take over your entire yard. As a homeowner, you may end up spending a significant amount of time and money to eradicate them. Get familiar with invasive plants that are common in your area and be on the lookout for them when house-hunting. This can include English ivy, garlic mustard, tree of heaven, and kudzu.
Poorly installed walkways or patios
If the previous homeowner liked to DIY, then you should check the landscape for poorly installed patio pavers and other outdoor walkways. These can easily become uneven over time. You may inherit a tripping hazard that needs to be totally redone before you can safely enjoy your outdoor spaces.
Finally, if you’re purchasing a home that is part of a homeowners association (HOA), then understand what landscaping guidelines you will be expected to follow when you move in. If you’re an avid gardener, then you don’t want to find out too late that you’re prohibited from removing your lawn and planting the native garden you dreamed about.
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