What to Look For In a Desert Home
A desert can be a harsh place, with scorching hot summers and freezing cold winters. The lack of water and wild temperature extremes can make home desert ownership complicated. Home buyers seeking desert property will need to know what building materials fare best in the desert, what kind of landscaping is easiest to maintain and which homes are most efficient.
Stucco Exteriors, Tile Roof
Wooden homes may be common in other parts of the country, but for a variety of reasons, many of the best desert homes are made of stucco or adobe. Stucco and adobe have many advantages over wood. Adobe’s thermal mass heats up and cools down slowly. This characteristic helps prevent temperature swings in the house and can help the homeowner save money on heating and cooling expenses. Adobe can also be less expensive than wood because it’s made from natural materials found in the desert.
Finally, some adobe can be fireproof. Since wildfires are a danger in many desert landscapes, this is an important feature. Likewise, clay roofs are also fireproof and can protect the house in the event of a wildfire. Home buyers seeking a safe home that will fare well against the harsh desert climate should consider a home made of adobe and clay.
Drought-Tolerant Shrubbery or In-Ground Sprinkler System
Some desert homeowners choose to plant grass on their lawns and maintain flower gardens on their property. While grass and flowers are beautiful, they require a great deal of water and maintenance in a desert climate. The easiest-to-maintain landscapes will feature drought-tolerant desert plants like cacti, succulents and native wildflowers.
Look for landscapes that feature a lot of sand and decorative gravel, rock gardens and natural desert plants. If a buyer's household includes small children, keep in mind that sharp, pointed cacti may be a danger requiring use of fencing to keep the kids safe.
Home buyers who choose to purchase a property with grass, flowers and shrubs that require regular watering will need an in-ground sprinkler and timer system to help them keep up with the constant watering that the landscape will require. The functionality of the existing in-ground sprinkler system may or may not be covered by the home inspection, but if it is not, this should be checked by the home buyer. If the sprinkler system is broken in any way, this may be a negotiating point before lifting the repair contingencies.
Powerful Air Conditioner
A powerful air conditioner and furnace is important for keeping a desert home comfortable during the heat of the summer and the chill of the winter. The functionality of the HVAC system should be covered by the home inspection, and home buyers should pay close attention to this portion of the home inspection report. Old air conditioners and old furnaces can be inefficient and expensive to maintain, so home buyers may consider negotiating a lower price for the home if upgrades are necessary.
Alternative Means of CoolingAn air conditioner isn’t the only way to cool down a desert home. Green building techniques may use shade, ventilation and window tinting to keep homes cool in the heat of the day. Ceiling fans are also very helpful for home buyers. These alternative methods for regulating the internal temperature of the home can help save the home buyer money, and should be considered a big bonus.
Contact A Local Real Estate Agent
Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent can make the home buying process easier and less stressful. In addition, your real estate agent should be able to identify the advantages and disadvantages of each desert property. If you’re thinking about buying a desert home, contact an experienced real estate agent today.