No Curb Appeal: 4 Red Flags Outside a Philly Home


When checking out homes in Philly, it’s what’s on the outside that counts. You’re more likely to buy a home with great curb appeal. If a home doesn’t look so hot on the outside, it could be a sign of serious problems within.


People might say that it’s what’s inside that counts. But, in the case of houses, it’s what’s outside too. That’s why real estate agents put such an emphasis on curb appeal. The way a home looks when a buyer first walks up to it can make or break that person’s decision to buy. But, curb appeal goes beyond just looks. A house that’s neglected on the outside might have some serious problems inside. When you’re on the market for a home in Philadelphia, keep your eyes open for these common exterior problems.

Poor Drainage

Who wants to buy a house with a basement that floods or with other drainage issues? Not you, that’s for sure. To see if there are drainage issues, take a look at the back yard. If there are lots of puddles back there, that could be a sign of drainage problems. If the home’s current owners have any landscaping in the yard, take a look at the mulch. If there are random piles of it in places, it’s likely that there’s an issue with drainage and that water can’t seep into the soil quickly enough. Instead, it backs up, causing the mulch to float and move around when it rains.

You can also detect drainage issues by looking at the gutters and downspouts. If the gutters are clogged or have small plants growing out of them, it’s likely that they haven’t been cleared in some time. The water that would normally flow through them and away from the house might be flowing into the house instead.

Signs of Pests

While you might see signs of pests, such as ants and mice, more easily inside the home, there might also be signs of a potential pest problem on the exterior. If there are shrubs in front of the house, note how close to the actual building they are. When shrubbery touches the house, it’s easier for bugs to get in. If you notice piles or tunnels of dirt along the outside of the house, that can be a sign of ants. Look for any strange openings or holes in the exterior walls, too, as it’s possible for raccoons, squirrels, or mice to get into those openings and make your potential house their home.

Tree Trouble

Trees might be a rare thing in some Philly neighborhoods, but if you’re looking in an area that has them in abundance, you want to be particularly cautious. Take a look at large trees and how close those trees are to your home. Even if a tree is healthy, it’s possible for it to fall over and land on your house if there’s a bad storm. Trees that are planted very close to the house can also cause foundation problems in the future.

Graffitied and Neglected Homes on the Block

Even if the curb appeal on the home you’re looking at is top-notch, it helps to look at the other houses on the block. Houses that have boarded up doors or window or graffiti on their exterior walls are typically not houses that people are living in and caring for. It might be that the area is up and coming, but if there are lots of signs of neglect, it could be some time before the neighborhood improves.

Red flags on the exterior of a home might not be deal breakers. But, you do want to know about them before you move to the final stages of buying a home, so that you can negotiate the best deal possible with the seller.

Image Source: Flickr/Paul Wilkinson


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1 Comment

  1. Frank Dolski
    March 14, 2016

    Amy, you make some very valid points. As a Realtor, when I approach a home I can usually tell what I am going to find on the inside. Examples include, peeling paint, poor caulking, overgrown landscaping, missing gutters and more. Of course, many pictures are online for buyers and Realtors to preview but they may occasionally be deceiving. It is imperative that anyone considering listing their home for sale should insure that the exterior of their home looks as good as the inside.
    It is sometimes difficult for sellers to envision what they need to do to enhance their home because they live there and may miss the obvious. It is imperative that they obtain a second set of eyes by a Realtor and a professional stager to maximize their return on investment. As you said, it must start on the outside. Remember, you can always tell a book by its cover!


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