What Are "Good Bones" and How to Recognize Them

We've all heard it before: that house has good bones! But what are good bones? Today you're going to find out. 

First, what does it mean when someone refers to a home having good bones? Moving.com defines it as this: "In general, a home with “good bones” is considered to be a good home with the potential to be a great home. It typically describes a fixer-upper or some sort of neglected house (think: diamond in the rough) that features quality, well-made construction – hence the good bones meaning."

A home having good bones is a great thing! You certainly shouldn't buy a home with bad bones. However, you need to proceed with caution. A home having good bones can sometimes be another way of saying that the home needs a lot of work; the bones are good, but to follow the metaphor, the skin, hair and nails need some attention. For people who enjoy home flipping or undertaking renovations, this can be exactly what they are looking for. 

What specific bones should you ensure are in good condition? Architectural Digest highlights 3 main things:

  1. Structural Integrity: "One of the major tenets of a home with good bones is that its structural, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems are in good condition—or that they’re there, period. These systems may seem invisible, but think of them as the vital organs of your home: You rarely notice them when everything is fine, but when there’s a problem it can be dire and often costly to repair."
  2. Blueprint: "Consider the flow of rooms, their size and proportion, and any inefficiencies or wasted space. This is often easiest to do by looking at a floor plan, because you can quickly see adjacencies, funky-shaped rooms, and potential ways to recapture unused square footage. Finding these tricky spaces will have you feeling like a design pro in no time."
  3. Natural Light Sources: "Another important element to consider is the location, size, and number of windows. Typically, windows that face south get lots of light throughout the day, while north-facing windows receive less daylight, and windows on the east and west get strong morning or afternoon light, respectively. Because it can be difficult and expensive (if not downright impossible, in some buildings) to add windows, think carefully about spaces that have few or no windows."

Good bones: essential, but may require some extra TLC.

(Image created via Canva)

Posted by Ken Richter on


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