20 Things to Pay Attention to When Buying (or Building) Your New Home

There are things to pay attention to when you are buying a new house. Even if you are building these things will apply.

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Beyond how much you love the space or exterior of your next home there are some things you should pay attention to when buying a new home.  This is a list of those things to help make sure when you move into your next home there are hopefully no surprises.  At least, not immediately.

Purchasing a new home can be an incredibly exciting time.  But also super stressful at the same time.  Each time we have bought a home, it was never any less stressful for me than the time before.

A new home means a start to a new chapter in your life. But before you can start that chapter there are things to watch out for.

And if you are building your next home you may think these don’t apply to you, but some of them do.  So read on!

20 Things To Pay Attention To When Buying A New Home

20 Things To Pay Attention To When Buying A New Home

The Neighborhood

Would you feel comfortable coming home alone, late at night?

If not, mark the house off of your list. You never know when you may end up staying out later than expected and you always want to feel safe coming and going.

Visiting the neighborhood one time is not enough.  If you are house shopping and are trying to get a feel for what neighborhood or area you want to live in, check out the neighborhood a couple of times and a couple of ways too.

Drive through the neighborhood at different times of the day.  What the neighborhood is like in the day time, may be different from night.  Go on a weekend and a weekday.  And hit up the internets and see what the web has to say about the neighborhood too.  Cause the web be talking…

Here is a list of things to look for in a new neighborhood from Realtor.com.

Basement Issues

There is no worse surprise than the first rainfall after you have moved into a new house, to find that the cracks in the basement walls are actually allowing water to seep in. Always pay attention to potential water damage and basement issues when buying a new home.

It is totally worth it to fork out a couple of hundred dollars on a home inspection to have a pro look for these kinds of things.  It could save you thousands, or more, in the long run.


Scope out the basement and bathrooms thoroughly for any signs of mold. If you have seen mold or think there might be mold, run. Fast. That is most likely not the home for you.

inspect the roof when buying a new home

Roof Condition

Having to replace a roof can be costly. If the roof is in poor condition, you may want to see if the previous homeowners would be willing to knock down their asking price or pay for a new roof entirely.

According to Home Guide, the average cost of a new roof is between $4,707 and $10,460 depending on the roof size and materials used.  When purchasing a new home, unless you are prepared and have that ready in savings, you may not want to take that on.

Sunken Land Near Septic Tank

If the home has its own septic system, be sure to locate it and check out the grass nearby. If the ground is sinking nearby, the system could be failing.

While sinking land is a red flag, this is another example of something a trained professional home inspector would be able to look for and warn you about.

the school system is really important when buying a new home

School District

If you have kids or are planning on kids in the near future, check out the local school system. Having to drive your kiddos further away to a different school district or paying for a private school, may make you think differently about a particular home.

I moved away from my first home because of the school district declining.  And believe it or not, in most cases, property values will be reflective of the school district.  Those with failing school districts will see declines in value, while those that are well-performing will have higher home values attached.

Convenience Factor

If you are settled into a nice job, or frequent certain places, make sure that your new home is located within a reasonable distance.

Another reason I was ready to move from my first house was that while it was pretty close to both my husband’s and my job, I found myself having to travel far to go to a decent grocery store, Walmart or Target.

I realized that having those things nearby was important to me.

Functioning Fireplace

If your new home has a fireplace be sure to inquire about whether or not the flue works if it wood burning.  If it is a gas burning fireplace, make sure it is regularly serviced and fully operational before closing on the house.


Be on the lookout for pests during your walkthrough. Big bugs and rodents are a no go for a lot of people. This is something that will need addressing ASAP if it’s a problem.

Additionally a pest inspection if not part of your regular home inspection is worth the dollars you will spend for assurance.

Pests such as termites can cause serious and costly problems.  You want to know before you are all in.

kitchen appliances are important in a new home


Some people leave their appliances when moving, while others take them when they move.

Some lenders require that a home has an oven installed before they will approve a loan.  But this is not true for all other appliances.

It's up to the seller to decide what they will take,  and what they will offer as part of the home. And this should be thoroughly outlined in the signed and accepted offer agreement.

The cost of replacing appliances needs to be considered before moving into a new home.

Costly Extras

Everyone thinks they want a pool until they get one and end up having to maintain it!

Do you have the time and funds to care for extras such as a pool?

Plumbing Issues

Flush the toilets and check the water pressure to give you clues on possible plumbing issues.

Also, check out the ceilings for potential leaks that could have already occurred and been covered up.

Water can cause major and massive damage.  Make sure to do your due diligence in checking those things out.

Indoor Temperature

HVAC systems and furnaces are costly! Make sure the heating and air are working properly.

old windows can be costly to replace

Window Condition

As yourself, will the windows need to be replaced in the near future?

If so, this is another topic that needs to be considered and mentioned in the closing agreement.

According to Home Advisor, the average cost to replace windows is roughly $300 to $700 per window.


Homes with 3 bedrooms sell easier than 2 bedroom homes. If this is your starter home, keep that in mind.

Although it could feel as though you want to stay in a house forever, right now, that doesn’t mean it’ll be how you’ll feel later down the road.

While you may get a deal on a house price-wise, it could be because it is in a district with underperforming schools which could make it harder to sell down the line.

Think about what resale would look like for the area you are buying in.

Large Trees

Does the home have large trees next to it? The roots of large trees can do damage!

Not to mention, large trees may not seem like an issue now. However, as they grow or when potential storms hit, they could mean BIG damage later down the road.

check the foundation of the home when you are home shopping

Cracks in the Foundation

Need I say more? Always check out the condition of the foundation when you are buying a new home. Cracks in the foundation can cause A LOT more issues than you’ll want to deal with.


Older vacant homes are known to have copper pipes stolen from them. Always make sure everything is attached and nothing has been stolen.


Don’t forget to scope out the attic to see how well it is insulated. Lots of heat and air can be lost from an attic that’s not well insulated.


Does the land look like it may be prone to flooding? Evaluate the surroundings.

Does it sit lower than the houses around it?  Are there hills that would make rainwater head toward the house rather than away?  Survey the land the house sits on to make sure everything is all good.

There are some home repairs that just about anyone can do, but these are all some of the big things to pay attention to when buying a new home.  Keeping these things in your thoughts as you navigate your next home purchase will prove to be beneficial.  I promise.

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing these home buying tips! We are looking at houses right now just to get an idea of what is out there. I like the idea of getting a fixer upper and painting the kitchen cabinets! Thanks again for the good advice!

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