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How to Tell if a House has "Good Bones"

Sep 30, 2020 6:45:00 AM / by Matt Lee

How to Tell if a House has "Good Bones"

‘Good bones’ is a term that you’ll often hear in the real estate industry in reference to houses. It means that a home possesses certain characteristics and features that will make it easy to live in or remodel, and that the home isn’t going to run into any major problems down the line. 


A home with good bones is a house that will stand the test of time and make for a great generational home. It’s one you can pass down to your kids. In case you want to know what qualifies a home as having ‘good bones’ here’s a list of some qualities you should look for.


  1. A Strong Foundation


The foundation of a home includes the subgrade, the foundational material, and the wall system as well. You want a home with a level foundation that isn’t going to shift or settle as the years go by. 


Concrete cinder blocks make up the foundation of most homes, with wooden framing being built on top to make up the walls. You should check to see that the studs in the walls are in the right places and that there are no signs of damage or deterioration anywhere in the foundation. 


For a home built with an ICF foundation, the walls themselves will also be framed with concrete blocks. Tilt up wall construction is one example of a construction method that works well with ICF’s, and an ICF foundation is going to be much more durable and energy-efficient than a regular wooden-framed home.


  1. Door Trims



Door trims are a feature of your home that you shouldn’t have to replace or maintain. Check to see if the door trims in a home are secured firmly in place without any gaps or cracks between the frame and the trim. Exterior door trim can last for decades and is one small part of a home with good bones. 


  1. Surfaces


Surfaces are areas like countertops and other large, flat locations. You want your surfaces to be durable so that you never have to maintain or replace them. If you’re looking for durable surfaces, acrylic solid surfaces are some of the toughest. 


Not only does acrylic look beautiful, it tends to stand up to typical wear and tear much better than other materials. Acrylic solid surface countertops are a sign of a home with good bones. 


  1. Surroundings


This is an often overlooked aspect of finding a home with good bones. You want surroundings that are at least somewhat aesthetically pleasing. Flood-prone areas, sloping land, noisy roads, and crime-ridden neighborhoods are all things that can disqualify a home from having good bones. 


Good Bones Should Last for Generations


A house with ‘good bones’ should have a simple, easy-to-navigate layout and make for easy remodeling if need be. If you can find a home with these qualities as well as all of the ones listed here, you can rest assured it has good bones and the potential to last you and your family for generations.



Tags: Fix and Flip

Matt Lee

Written by Matt Lee

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.