Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Assessing a House's Landscape while Buying and Selling

Buying a home is not all about inspecting just the structure. You should also assess various aspects of the landscape if you want to get value for money. Here are some factors, which if kept in mind, will help you get a good deal:
  • Know the soil: The type of soil your potential home has will have a crucial effect on your water bills and landscaping efforts. For example, if you are looking forward to owning a lush landscape, but have a sandy soil, water will drain quickly, making your water bills climb higher in your effort to have that green patch. Again, if the region often gets heavy rains and the landscape is made up of clay soil, your yard may be under puddles of water for hours or days if your drainage system is not up to the mark.
  • Check the drainage: As mentioned earlier, poor drainage can lead to flooding problems, which in turn will create other problems like cracked foundations etc. In case you find any problems with the drainage system, make sure to ask the sellers to fix the problem before discussing the deal any further.
  • Test the type of mulch: Depending on how much effort and money you are ready to invest for your landscape once you have bought the home, it pays to check the type of mulch used. For example, though rock mulch needs less maintenance, it can be extremely expensive once it does as a lot of labor will be involved. So, decide whether you want to think about the long-term benefits, or just the short term savings are good enough to make a choice.
  • Size and position of the trees: Did you know that strategic placement of trees can direct winds and offer shade during the summer months, while allowing enough sunlight to seep into during the winter? If not, its time to take note. Remember that favorable placement of the trees would help you keep your AC and thermostat bills down. However, make sure that the trees aren’t too close to your doors and windows, or that their roots don’t run too deep into the grounds to pose a threat to the house’s foundation. Checking other factors like whether the trees are healthy, if their roots and stems pose any danger or discomfort to the people taking the sidewalks etc are also important. Plants and trees that need a lot of effort to prune and maintain, or harbor allergenic pollens are better avoided.
  • Water features: Though ponds, fountains, and other water features are a beautiful sight to behold, you shouldn’t forget about taking a close look at them. Starting from checking if pumps and lights work the right way, and whether the fountains are able to hold water without any seepage, to how well the electric components are installed, everything should be assessed, preferably by an experienced landscape professional.
  • Landscape lighting: In case you plan to use the outdoors during the evening or at night, it’s important to check the lighting system, and find how functional it is. In case you are not too sure about assessing them on your own, you can hire a landscape contractor to do the job on your behalf.
While these factors should be assessed by all home buyers, sellers too can use them as yardsticks to find if anything is wrong with their landscape or there’s some scope for improvement. By fixing things up, and improving the landscape, sellers can get a much better value for their abode.

So, do your homework well, make a list of the landscape features you should assess, and then investigate with hawk eyes before signing the deal.

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