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5 Things to Check Outside Before You Buy a Home

When it comes to buying a home, it’s easy to see certain things right away. However, there are a lot of things that aren’t as easily identified. Of course, that dream kitchen you’ve always wanted? Check. Spacious bedrooms and a great walk-in closet? Check. Finished basement that could double as a play room for the little ones? Check. Even outside, you know that gorgeous patio will be perfect for your family cookouts and that towering oak tree will make the perfect spot for your baby’s swing. 

But what’s going on outside the home is just as important as what’s inside. No matter how awesome that patio is, if the home has major red flags that you’re missing on the outside, you’ll never be able to sit back and relax with an ice cold brew like you’ve been imagining for years.

Eliminate red flags at the source by making sure to check for these five important things outside your potential new home: 


Gutters & Drains

Among the most important things to check outside before you buy a home is the current state of the home’s gutters and drainage system.

First and foremost, be sure the home’s gutters are in good shape and aren’t rusty. Don’t just check the externally facing portions of the gutters; be sure to check the interior parts as well. Rusty gutters can be a sign that they’ll need to be replaced soon, so keep that in mind from the get-go. 

Be sure that all gutters and downspouts are appropriately connected and that downspouts are draining into a drainage system beneath the home that leads to a storm sewer and not out into your yard.

There is an exception to that rule, however. Some homes in rural areas may not have storm sewer drainage, so rural homes may have downspouts that do, indeed, drain into the yard. If this is the case, be sure the gutters and spouts are aimed at least 12-15 feet away from the home so that the water isn’t deposited around the home’s foundation. 

The Roof…The Roof…

Ask questions about the roof, as the roof is another vitally important thing to check outside before you buy a home. Don’t think that just because a home’s roof looks OK that it truly is.

Check for straight, clean lines around the pitches of the roof, and be sure the drainage of rain water is going to be properly diverted to gutters. Standing or improperly draining water is the number one reason for roof leaks, so inspect the roof and, if possible, have a professional roofer check out the state of the home’s roof. 

The Right Slope

In addition to have properly draining and functioning gutters and downspouts, be sure the earth around the home is properly sloped away from the home’s exterior walls.

The ground should slope slightly away from the wall; that is, it should be about 12 inches (or more) higher near the home’s perimeter than it is two feet away. This allows and overflowing water from the roof to drain out into the yard and flow down rather than drip and sit right up next to the walls, leading to foundation leaks. 

Check the Direction

If you’re an avid gardener, or if the home has a lot of windows, be sure to check the direction the home faces so you know when you’ll be getting the most sun.

Homes with ample windows that face either the east or west can have a bit of a greenhouse effect on sunny days, thus leading to the potential for increased air conditioning costs and faded upholstery unless you take preventative steps in advance. 

If you’re a gardener, be sure that there is an area in the yard that will see enough sunshine so that your favorite veggies and fruits will grow to their fullest potential. 

The Grass

Don’t forget to inspect the status of the lawn when you look for things to check outside before your buy a home.

Is the lawn healthy throughout? Are there areas of burnt out grass? Are there strange looking rings in the yard or areas where it’s muddy or where it appears that grass won’t grow? All of these things can be signs of potential problems, so it’s one of the most important things to check outside before you buy a home. 


Ready to buy?

If this list of things to check outside before you buy a home makes you think you just might be ready to buy a home yourself, give one of our NLC Loans Personal Mortgage Advisors a call for a free mortgage consultation today at 1-877-480-8050