Measuring grading with a golf ball is not an exact science and won’t get you precise numbers, but it’s a great preliminary step as you tour various homes. This trick doesn’t replace the need for a professional inspection once you’re under contract for a home. Rather, use it as a way to help you narrow down your buying options and become aware of potential concerns to ask about later on.
Simply place a golf ball on the ground anywhere you want to better understand the slope, and watch which way and how fast it rolls. On the exterior of a home, pay special attention to areas underneath drainage spouts where lots of moisture could accumulate on high-precipitation days. You’re looking for the golf ball to roll decidedly away from the house. On the inside of the house, check that the floor of any room with a drain slopes consistently toward that drain. This will ensure that you won’t get random puddles of water in odd shower divots or corners of your laundry room.
In the basement or crawlspace, the golf ball trick can help make you aware of any rolling or uneven floors. In some cases, uneven basement concrete can be evidence of a sinking foundation or other foundational issues. If your golf ball reveals a gradual slope, this is likely normal, but divots or a rolling slope might point to something more concerning.