What Lurks Outside Those Walls

In this article from Realtor Magazine, Jim Houston, vice president of midwest operations, tells readers why it's smart to have a landscape inspection done before buying a home.

Posted: Sept. 22, 2015 

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey 

Mature trees towering over a yard may draw house hunters, but failing to inspect the health and location of those trees could prove a costly mistake. The same goes for inspecting a home's irrigation system, soil and grading, and decks and patios. Prudent home shoppers are looking beyond the aesthetics of a home’s exterior and doing careful preinspections of the landscape in order to stave off buyers’ remorse and better understand maintenance needs.

Relying solely on a home inspector's advice may not suffice for outdoor issues. "A lot of home inspectors don’t focus on the landscape, yet it can have a big adverse impact on a home," says Jeremy Johnson, president of CRI Home Inspections in Riverside, Calif. "Landscapes are a huge issue both financially for a home owner and structurally for the house." Johnson began offering a landscape inspection as part of his standard home inspection after seeing a need for a more inclusive look at a home's exterior. He’s discovered a number of problems that can lurk: oversaturation of soil; tree branches hanging over a home that can damage roofs and allow pests access; broken or misaligned sprinklers that can lead to dry rot or termites; inefficient rain gutters that cause drainage problems; and lawn slopes that drain toward the house rather than away, setting the scene for flooding issues.

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