April 20th, 2015
Curb appeal refers to the way a house appears to spectators who are passing by. Good curb appeal can provide many benefits. But what are the repercussions of a house with a poor outward appearance? If the outside of the house is messy and damaged, it will obviously hurt the resale value and it will probably be unpopular with the neighbors. Here are three lesser-known consequences of owning a house with an unsightly exterior:
1. Pools of water in a yard can be a health hazard
Stagnant water forming in a lawn can be a real eye sore. Standing water could be caused by poor drainage after heavy rains, malfunctioning sprinkler systems, soil that doesn't filter water efficiently or any other number of landscaping reasons.
The aesthetic downside is apparent. It makes the front lawn look like a swamp. It is also likely to attract bugs and bacteria that can carry disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned citizens that stagnant water can cause injury or disease, particularly in warmer climates. Due to bacterial buildup, the CDC advised children and those with open wounds to avoid standing water. The CDC also warned against diseases spread by mosquitos or other insects that gather around warm water sources. A homeowner, especially one with a family, should make sure their front and back yards do not feature undrained water for too long.
2. Junk in the yard could lead to jail time
There are people who keep piles of debris, tree clippings and garbage in their front yard. This habit is usually caused by the homeowner's laziness or need to hoard items. Whatever the reason, it can cause a house to look like an abandoned junk shop.
A cluttered front lawn could also get the homeowner in trouble with the law. NBC News reported on the story of Linda Ruggles, a South Carolina resident who went to jail for a messy yard. The police had served Ruggles a fine for keeping debris on her yard. The yard mess was brought to the police's attention by neighbor complaints. When Ruggles failed to pay the fine, she received a jail sentence. She only spent six days in jail but hers is not an isolated case. CBS affiliate WVLT in Knoxville, Tennessee, shared the story of woman who spent six hours in jail for not trimming her hedges. Removing unnecessary items and waste from a yard will eliminate the need for community protests and legal action.
3. Peeling paint can raise insurance rates
As time goes on, a home will need regular maintenance. Adverse weather conditions, fluctuating temperatures and just general wear and tear will require a homeowner to repaint, reshingle and repair his or her home to keep up its appearance. If a homeowner does not deal with upkeep needs as they appear, it may cost him or her more than just aesthetics.
A home with obvious exterior problems could raise home insurance rates. Insurance agents will look over a home before drafting a policy or they might perform random inspections on policyholders. In both cases, the agent will judge a book by its cover. The outward appearance of a home, specifically maintenance of the roof and condition of the paint, will inform the policy drafter if the homeowner is responsible. If a roof has dark, unsightly stains from mold or if the paint is cracking and chipping, it indicates the homeowner is not concerned about possible sources of damage and could cost the insurance company a lot of money down the line.
To get the best quote on homeowners insurance, one should regularly maintain the curb appeal of their home. CoverHound's website is an easy-to-use tool for comparing home insurance quotes.