NEW OLEAR BANNERYou’ve spotted a “for sale” sign in front of a house that you really like, and suddenly you have the urge to talk to the homeowner or listing Realtor. But before you go knocking on the door, take a few minutes to pay close attention to the exterior of the home. Why the exterior? Because exterior repairs can be expensive.

First, take note of how the home is positioned on the lot. Is it flat and at an elevation that’s comparable to the neighbors, or does it appear to be sitting low or high? Does it appear that moisture will flow away from the foundation?

Next, take a look at the roof and compare it’s condition to other homes in the neighborhood. Are shingles curling up or missing? If so, that should be a warning sign for potential trouble.

While your eyes are looking high, what’s the condition of the chimney? Can you see any loose bricks? How about the downspouts and gutters? Are they properly positioned? And what about the electrical service cable? Is it cracked or frayed?

Finally, turn you attention to the windows and driveway. Do the windows appear to be newer and low-maintenance, or are they decades old? As for the driveway, is it flat and smooth or cracked and heaving? If you’re still interested in the house, remember that a licensed home inspector can be key to helping you discover any additional issues or problems. 

The moral of this story: Look carefully — and ask questions — before you buy!