As mentioned on Page 1, none of the factors discussed here will necessarily be deal-breakers for you when buying real estate. But they do, nonetheless, pertain to quality of life and are therefore worth considering.
2. Japanese Knotweed: The "Super Weed"
On Page 1 I talked about the red flag raised by the presence of wetland plants. On the current page I discuss a different type of plant -- one that holds a different sort of problem for a prospective real estate buyer.
For those of you unfamiliar with the widespread yard weed, Japanese knotweed (see picture), the alarming tone with which I mention it in this context may be met with considerable skepticism. "What's the big deal about a weed?" perhaps you ask. Unfortunately, it's often only after it's too late that one discovers the truth: Japanese knotweed is no ordinary weed, it is a "super" weed.
Allow me to explain, then, why Japanese knotweed deserves the status of "super weed":
- Sure to make any thorough list of invasive plants, Japanese knotweed will spread to form a monoculture, effectively suppressing all competition.
- Japanese knotweed is not a small, inconspicuous weed: it can reach a height of 10 feet tall!
- When the current year's vegetation dies back in autumn, it leaves behind ugly canes that can persist for years. Each new year's crop adds to this unsightly jungle, as new canes push up to fill the spaces in between the old ones.
- Oh yeah, and for good measure, Japanese knotweed is tougher to get rid of than just about any other weed.
So when I warn you to be on the lookout for Japanese knotweed on a piece of real estate you're considering buying, don't think in terms of ordinary weeds such as dandelions, creeping charlie or crabgrass. Even the dreaded poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac pale in comparison, in terms of being a stubborn nuisance. Yes, it's possible to eradicate Japanese knotweed, but only if you're willing to take the task on as a new hobby! To beat Japanese knotweed, you have to practice control measures with a persistence equal to that of the "super weed" itself.
If you already own a property plagued by Japanese knotweed and wish to attempt eradication, please consult my article on getting rid of Japanese knotweed.
I use Japanese knotweed as my example of a "super" weed, because I have personal experience with it. But unfortunately, one could cite other examples to be on the lookout for, too, including kudzu vine, known in the U.S. as "the weed that ate the South." The way I figure it, the presence of such weeds on a property raises its purchase price for me, as a prospective buyer. Why? Because in calculating the total cost for the property, I would be including the time, trouble and money required to eradicate the "super weeds" once I move in.
On Page 3 we'll consider another landscaping-related caveat of which you should be aware when buying a house....