Be a Smart Shopper: What to Look for When Purchasing a Home

Before you head out on a blind date, you’ve already created a list of “red flags” in your mind that you know to walk away from – why not do that for house shopping?

When you’re in the market to shop for a home, it’s important to have a list of features you need to keep an eye on. This way, you’ll be forced to take the love blinders off and focus on exactly what the home has to offer – and what needs to be fixed.

Purchasing a home is a big financial commitment – you’ll want to make sure to make the best decision for your investment – and avoiding major problems that need costly repairs will help.

Before making any decisions, talk with your agent about your financial situation and what repairs you’d be willing to make before signing on a home.

Here’s what to look for:


Search for signs of cracking near the foundation and pay attention to the grade of the floors for signs of unevenness. These could be signs of a sinking foundation – something you definitely don’t want to be stuck with.

Roof Condition

Before inspecting the inside of the home, make sure to look at what’s happening up top. The condition of the roof could end up costing you $8,000 or more if in need of a desperate repair. Ask about its age and when it was last repaired.  

Mold and Water Damage

When you’ve entered the kitchen and bathrooms, take a peek inside the cabinets for signs of mold around the pipes. This could indicate a leaky plumbing system or previous flooding and improper ventilation. Musty odors or peeling paint are other signs of water damage.

Energy Efficiency

How are the AC and Heater units doing? Have new windows been added to the home? Ask about the condition of the insulation of the home, and when the furnace or air conditioning was last serviced. All of these items can help lower your utility costs.

Complete a Home Inspection

Although you’ve looked at things first-hand and have your own checklist, it’s recommended that you have a home inspection performed. A professional can help you ensure the foundation is solid and everything is up to code. Home inspectors can also check for things that might be harder to spot – like whether there is lead paint or any foundational pests.

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