Buying a New Home

Purchasing a home, especially as a first-time homebuyer, can be an exciting and rewarding experience. For some, a home search may take only a matter of days before finding the perfect home, while others may spend weeks or months picking out their new home. Whatever the circumstances are, purchasing a home is a big decision that has no lack of hoops to jump through. Here are 10 Things to Look Out For When Buying a New Home:

Do Your Research

During your home search, however, you’ll want to keep an eye out for anything that may cause problems after finalizing your purchase. Some things can be major red flags, so it’s important to know what to look out for during your search.

After you finalize your decision, make sure to ask if a home warranty plan is available to you, whether it be through the seller or through your own purchase. Having a home warranty protects your home from any breaks, such as a faulty fridge or toilet. If any repairs are needed after you purchase a home, you can save a lot of money by having a home warranty company.

To learn more about some of the most important things to look out for when conducting a home search, keep reading.

Smells or sounds

Any unusual sounds or smells may indicate a large problem within the house. Concerning smells can range from smells that are reminiscent of must, chemicals, urine, ammonia, sewage, and more. Many of these smells can be due to a wide variety of issues, such as dead animals, electrical issues, sewage issues, or mold.

If you notice a lingering smell while touring a house that isn’t coming from something like food or fresh paint, you may want to ask the realtor what it could be coming from. Also, take notice if there are any artificial smells coming from candles or room fresheners. Realtors may want to mask a lingering smell with this, so take note.

Problematic roof

When outside a home you’re considering buying, take a good look at the roof. A roof that is in need of repair is very expensive to replace. A new roof can cost upwards of $10,000 or more. If you aren’t ready to make those repairs, don’t buy the house.

When looking for signs of a faulty roof, you’ll want to look for these things:

  • Leaks or water damage in ceiling
  • Broken tiles or missing roof pieces
  • Dirt build-up on roof
  • Rusty or broken gutters
  • Overgrown plants or moss on roof

External and internal damage

Damage in and outside of the home can be anything from a minor issue to a serious issue. As you look at the exterior of the home, keep an eye out for any cracks in the foundation. Large cracks can indicate a problem with the foundation, which is a very serious problem to have. In addition to this, look for any cracks around windows or door frames, broken windows, and other exterior damage. While some may simply be cosmetic damage, others can lead to bigger problems.

Signs of damage on the inside of the home are similar to damage in the exterior of the home, but are just as important. Take notice of any cracks, chips, water stains, and anything that may seem hidden or covered up.

Age of appliances and systems

Just like replacing a roof, replacing appliances in a home can also be extremely expensive. If the home is not newly built, ask the realtor how old certain appliances and systems may be. This is especially true for older, historical homes.

Replacing pipes, electrical systems, plumbing, and appliances is expensive, and many homebuyers don’t have the extra budget to do major replacements as such. By asking how old certain things are, you’ll be able to gauge how long it will be before you need to replace things or if purchasing the home is cost-efficient.

Neighbors and the neighborhood

While you may like a specific home, you may not like the area it’s located in. If you’re interested in a home, take a trip around the neighborhood to get a feel for how it is. Don’t limit yourself to the neighborhood itself, though. If you’re in a completely new area, determine how far this home may be from your place of work, what restaurants and businesses are around, and the accessibility you have to things that may matter most to you (grocery stores, doctors, parks, etc). 

Inspect the lawn

The lawn and natural area of a home can indicate potential problems as well. Take note of the proximity to your home certain trees and plants may have. Sometimes, trees, shrubs, and other plants that are too close to the home can allow some pests easy access to infiltrate your home.

An unkempt lawn is not only unpleasing to the eye, but it can also harbor pests and be difficult to restore. In the end, however, a lawn may not be the biggest factor for many homeowners. Pick and choose your battles — if lawn is one of them, know what to notice.

Turnover rate

If a house is put up for sale every year or few years, this indicates a high turnover rate. If a home has a high turnover rate, be wary of why previous homeowners may be choosing to put the home up for sale. Chances are, if you buy the home, you’ll be putting it up for sale in a few years too.


Mold can cause both health and structural problems. While some types of mold are harmless, there are also toxic molds that can invade your home. Some mold can cause respiratory problems, such as coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, and more. Mold can also cause and aggravate asthma.

If you notice a musty or wet smell within a home, this may be indicative of mold present in the home. Mold can be hard to find and difficult to remove once it spreads, so keep this in mind when touring a home.

Extra Rooms (garage, attic, basement)

Take a peek into any extra rooms within the house. If the house has an attic or a basement, it may be worth it to see the state of the room as well as the amount of space available in it. This goes for garages as well. Depending on your own preferences and situation, you may want to have enough storage space and garage space. 

Squeaky or uneven floors

Squeaky or uneven floors can not only be annoying, but can mean foundation problems in the home. Most of the time, a squeaky floor isn’t enough to worry about the floor falling through. However, in some instances, it can be a sign of termite damage, structure problems, or more. If you notice squeaky or uneven floors, ask the realtor or mention it to a home inspector.

Once you find a home to purchase, don’t forget to do a home inspection. A home inspection will help you identify any other issues that may not be noticeable to the naked eye (or nose). In the end, though, you just want a house that is safe and comfortable to live in. Good luck in your search!

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