What to Look for When You’re Buying a House

If you are feeling stressed about the home-buying process, you are not alone. With a wealth of information to process, buying a home can feel overwhelming at times. Knowing what factors to focus on and what to ignore can make your search more simple and less stressful.

Learn What to Look for When Buying a House

When you are purchasing a new home, there are some key things you should look for when you are doing home tours to make sure the home is a good investment.

Things To Look For When Examining A Home’s Exterior

When searching for homes, you’ll want to check our the exterior of the house including the roof, HVAC and land around the home.

Does the roof look old and sad? An old roof may need to be replaced and can damage the home if it leaks. Check out any external air conditioning units to make sure they are well-maintained and up-to-date. If the unit is older, chances are your system is probably less efficient. You may need to either replace the older unit or face higher energy bills.

Look at the land around the house for any standing water. While you are outside, check any fences to make sure they are well-maintained. Is the driveway in good condition? After your visit, download the natural disaster data for the house. Your ability to get or afford home insurance can be greatly affected if your home is in an area prone to flooding or wildfires. Once you have finished checking the exterior of the home, move to the inside.

Things To Look For When Examining A Home’s Interior

Many homebuyers can get distracted by staging, fresh paint, and new appliances when checking out the inside of a home, but there are many others things to pay attention to that will give you an idea of the home’s condition.

Take note of any odd or unpleasant odors in the home. Smells of sewer gas, musty odors, or natural gas are warning signs that should not be ignored. Observe any pet stains and odors. In some cases, pet stains only require a deep cleaning, but more extreme cases may require you to replace the flooring.

In the basement, take a close look at the furnace, electrical box, and water heater. Be sure they are up-to-date and well-maintained. While in the basement, look for any large gaps in the foundation of the house. Small settling cracks are normal, but you shouldn’t see any large open cracks.

Inspect the windows in the main living areas. Newer double-pane windows are much more energy-efficient than their older single-pane counterparts. Check under sinks and look at the ceilings under bathrooms for any water damage, evidence of repair, or biological growth. Peek in the attic to ensure sufficient insulation. While looking at main living areas, always keep an eye out for poor DIY work such as uneven tile work and sticky windows and doors.

Know Your Deal-Breakers When Buying a House

When choosing a home, think about how you want to use the house. Do you like to entertain? Are you active and want to have a large yard? Is a guest bedroom necessary? When it comes to parking your car, are you comfortable with on-street parking or would you prefer a driveway or garage? Make a list of all the factors that are deal-breakers for you when choosing a home. Knowing your deal-breakers will shorten your list of homes to consider and help you get a home that fits your lifestyle.

If you are choosing a home with your spouse or significant other, make your preferences known to each other. Buying a house is an expensive, long-term commitment. You need to know what aspects are considered deal-breakers and which you can compromise on when buying a house together.

What’s Less Important to Stress Over?

Knowing what to ignore when looking at a potential home allows you to spend your time and energy focusing on what matters most to you. For example, don’t let an older home scare you. Many older homes are built with quality materials and great workmanship. Conversely, a newer home may not be built as well and be composed of cheaper materials.

Try to look past loud or crazy paint colors inside. Paint is easy and cheap to fix. Dated hardware and light fixtures can also be replaced or painted. Outdated interior features such as popcorn ceilings or shag carpeting aren’t difficult to replace. If the decor of the home is vastly different from your own, try to look past it. Think of the space when it is empty and how you will make it your own.

Put issues with curb appeal into perspective. Bushes, shrubs, and flowers can all be moved or replaced if your style doesn’t match the style of the current homeowners. Large issues such as cracked cement walkways may be more of a concern, but they can be replaced if you don’t like the layout.

Really Get Hands-On During Your Home Tours

House shopping is not the time to be shy. Getting hands-on with potential homes can protect you from any surprises after closing. If you are a first time homeowner, make sure you write down all your concerns and keep a detailed log of all your findings.

Turn on light switches and make sure they work. In bathrooms and kitchens, turn on faucets and taste the water. Flush toilets to make sure they are in working condition. To ensure floors are level, you can either use a level or carry a marble with you. A marble that rolls across the floor indicates an uneven floor that may be a result of shoddy work or a problem with the foundation.

Ask to see and open the electrical box and notice how it is organized and labeled. Finally, insist on a home inspection. Get the help of a professional to thoroughly check the foundation, wiring, and plumbing. A home inspector should also look for indicators of termites and lead paint.

Searching for a new home can be stressful if you don’t know what to look for. Knowing your absolute deal-breakers is a great first step in narrowing the list of potential homes. Also, try to ignore personal preferences like paint and decor and picture the possible potential of the home. Finally, taking a hands-on approach will help you identify any problems long before they become your issues. What matters most is choosing the home that best fits your lifestyle and making it your own.

Ready to start touring? Book free home tours online, today!


Navigating the real estate market can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the guidance of a reliable real estate agent, your journey towards homeownership can be significantly simplified. An experienced agent not only negotiates with the seller’s agent but also helps you understand complex aspects like mortgage payments, closing costs, and the importance of a thorough home inspection. They can also guide you in selecting the right mortgage broker, who can explain different home loan options, including conventional loans and those insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

Remember, buying a house is a significant financial commitment. Ensuring you have a healthy credit report and a manageable debt-to-income ratio is vital. You’ll need to consider your down payment, monthly mortgage payments, and the possibility of private mortgage insurance depending on your loan type. It’s essential to be clear about the purchase price of the house and the related mortgage loan implications. With the right team by your side, you can navigate the complexities of closing costs and down payments, leaving you free to focus on finding your dream home in this bustling real estate market.

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