Large trees on a property can pose a very real threat to a home—–whether it is your home or the neighbor’s home. They can represent serious liability for the homeowner—for both property damage and personal injury.
Inspectors are usually not licensed arborists, but it is a good idea for inspectors to inform their buyers of the “potential” danger of trees on the property, whether it is to the home they are looking at buying or to neighboring homes. Trees with decay, trees that have suffered wind damage, trees that are leaning precariously, or trees that are too close to the home should obviously be reported for either removal or evaluation by a licensed arborist. Of course properly maintaining trees is important as well.
While adding great beauty to a property, people need to be aware of potential problems all this beauty can pose. Trees actually falling on homes are rarer than the more continual damage they represent from falling limbs and covering roofs with vegetative debris on a yearly basis—-including filling up gutters and downspouts. Trees too close to the home also pose a risk to foundations from the tree’s roots.
This pretty much covers issues with trees on the property the buyer is looking at. Here is another, more complicated issue: trees on the neighbor’s property that are in danger of falling onto the buyer’s property. Can you imagine how difficult it might be to get that neighbor to deal with taking down a tree? Take a look at the tree in this picture to the left.
It doesn’t take an arborist to see that this tree, already severely weakened where one section of the tree has fallen away, is in danger of falling against the home. Even though this tree is on the neighbor’s property, getting it taken care of can get complicated if you don’t have a willing neighbor—-or the property is in foreclosure. Often the only practical, timely, solution would be for the property buyer to pay to have the tree taken down. In the City of Seattle it can cost several thousand dollars to take a tree like this down professionally. You certainly would not want it to be taken down unprofessionally.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
If you enjoyed this post, and would like to get notices of new posts to my blog, please subscribe via email in the little box to the right. I promise NO spamming of your email