See 6 Signs That A Home Has Good Bones [Home Hunt Guide]


Homebuyers are always advised to go for a home with good bones. It is a ubiquitous term you will likely come across when home hunting for a home, but what does it mean? What are the signs that a home has good bones?

Firstly, the term “good bones” in house searching indicates that underneath the look of the home, it is in a perfectly good condition. It doesn’t necessarily mean a beautiful or ugly house, but rather just a home with no major defects that could lead to expensive repairs.

However, paint, carpeting, and other touch-ups can hide many defective materials in a house. So, when purchasing a property, you need to be able to see beyond the curated façade. You need to be able to see and discover the underlying qualities of the home, which are its bones.

Let’s share our ideas on what constitutes a good home, or in this case, good bones. So, without taking too much of your time, let’s get right at it, shall we?

What are the signs a home has good bones?

1. A good foundation

The home’s foundation is a structure designed to handle the weight of the entire house. It does so by spreading the structure’s weight evenly across the foundation itself. The home’s foundation is very crucial, if it is sound, that’s a big plus, and if it is not, it’s going to be a lot harder and more expensive to fix.

Common signs of a defective or unsound foundation include;

  • Water damage on the floor and wall of the home, specifically the basement
  • Cracks on the floor and the walls of the home, specifically in the basement
  • Sticky and misaligned doors and windows
  • Uneven floors
  • Exterior gapping and separation
  • Sinking structure

2. Completely functional and good structure

This is one of the easier signs to spot. A home with good bones has to be completely functional; it only makes common sense. Watch out for worn-out showers, kitchen and bathroom faucets, loose gutters, faulty fireplaces, etc.

You can also go the extra mile to find hidden gems, like worn-out hardwood flooring tucked underneath carpeting. Also, pay attention to recently or freshly painted walls; they could be hiding cracks in the wall, and this is a sign that the home does not have good bones.

3. Good draining systems

Another indication of a defective home is a bad plumbing system, as it can wreak havoc in a home. Always look out for possible drainage issues and signs of water damage. If possible, inspect the basement or other below-grade rooms for signs of water damage or intrusion.

Other signs of bad drainage systems include;

  • Damped or discolored walls and ceilings, especially around rooms like the bathroom, kitchen, basements, etc
  • Cracked ceiling and walls
  • Warped flooring
  • Weak water pressure from bathroom taps and showers

4. Problem-free roof

Water damage is no joke; it can ruin all furniture in the home, so don’t forget to inspect the roof of the property you plan to purchase. Check for minor and major defects in the roofing of the home, it could be a sign of serious problems.

Other signs of a defective roof include;

  • Sag in the home’s roofline
  • Discolored ceiling underneath the roof
  • Leakage
  • Missing or torn shingles
  • Damaged flashing
  • Algae growth
  • Buckling

5. Look out for original elements

Sometimes, the presence of the home’s original elements can be a defining sign that you have a home of good bones in sight. Watch out for key elements that have been changed, sometimes this indicates that the house has some defects, especially if many of the original elements have been changed.

6. Look for a sense of solidness

Even if you are not an expert, you still feel or see things in a home that give you a sense that the home is solid. Start with the exterior of the home, keeping an eye out for cracks or other forms of damage.

Also, look around door frames and window frames for cracks. A crack in these areas could indicate that the home does not have good bones. Next, do a quick sweep of the flooring and inspect for warps, uneven, and hollow spots in the home’s flooring.

Additionally, don’t forget the home’s electrical system. Look out for outdated or worn-out wiring; they could pose safety risks, and you don’t want that. It is not just about the wiring; inspect the home’s appliances. Old and worn-out appliances are vulnerable to power surges and put your home at risk of fire.

What are the signs a home has bad bones?

You can tell you have seen a home with bad bones when;

  • You see a home with unoriginal materials and elements
  • You see a foundation with cracks, discoloration, and dampness
  • You see a home with an out-of-date electrical system and an improperly installed circuit breaker
  • You see walls and flooring wet, cracked, or discolored
  • You notice signs of warped or loosed flooring being covered up by carpeting
  • You see a home that is not fully functional, and you get the sense of an unsteady home


Does cracks in the wall mean the home has bad bones?

Technically, yes. Cracks on the walls may indicate that the foundation of the building is defective.

How can you tell a home is in good shape?

Find out the age of the home, inspect water pressure, inspect faucets, inspect cabinets, look at fuse boxes, and turn on appliances to see if they work properly. All these should indicate that the home is in good shape.

The bottom line – Signs that a home has good bones

Even though the appearance is the first thing you notice in a home, don’t get too wrapped up in the decorative details. Many aspects of a bad-boned home might be hard to see at first glance. For example, a cracked wall in the home’s interior may be hard to notice if the home was recently repainted.

For this reason, you must have a keen eye for details during your home hunt, specifically, inspect walls, flooring, roofing, and foundation. These components are most important as they are key structural components of the home.

So, no matter how good a home may look, with the tips highlighted in this article, you should be able to spot a home with good bones. You can also go further to hire a home inspector to make sure those bones are as good as you hope it is.

I hope you found this article helpful. Got questions? Get in touch with us!

Thanks for reading.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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