When you’re shopping for a new home, it’s challenging to tell when a house is actually in good condition. Quick fixes and cosmetic band-aids can easily pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting home buyers. Before you know it, you’ve bought a house with underlying issues like mold or worse. No prospective homeowners want that reality.

    So, what’s essential to look for when shopping for a new home? Here are five things to look for before buying. 

    Healthy Foundation

    You hear people talk about foundation all the time, and that’s because it’s important. It is one of the home buyers biggest concerns out there. The home’s foundation is the base of the home. It bears the weight of the entire house. Issues with foundation can lead to severe structural damage to the home, including cracks in the wall, broken flooring, plumbing damages, insect infestation, and more.

    You want to make sure to check for foundation and issues with the home’s studs when looking for your dream home. Look for cracks in the walls or doors and windows that won’t close or open properly. Sinking flooring, mildew issues, basement cold spots, and unpleasant odors from beneath the home are all signs of foundation issues. Check the walls for signs of rot or moisture to ensure that the studs aren’t in disrepair either.  

    Layout and Floor Plan

    The layout of the home is an essential component to consider as well. If the house doesn’t flow well, you aren’t going to be happy there long term. Think about the logistics of each room and how the home flows together. Make sure there aren’t any weird things that can’t be easily fixed, like rooms opening into other rooms, or hard to reach bathrooms. 

    Don’t underthink the layout of the home and how that will impact your happiness once you move in. 

    Download the Griffin Gold app today!

    Take charge of your financial wellness and achieve your homeownership goals

    Use invitation code: GRIFGOLD to register.

    Air Duct and Plumbing Health

    You’ll want to check both air duct and plumbing health. While unrelated to each other, they’re both internal issues that can spell significant problems later. Dirty air ducts can cause health issues, like chronic cold symptoms, low-grade fevers, trouble breathing, and headaches. 

    To test the air duct quality, check the vents while the system is running. If any debris flows out, there’s likely a clog. If possible, take the face off of a vent, and shine a flashlight into the duct. Check for insect or rodent droppings, mildew build-up, or any other problematic signs. While you can get an air duct cleaned, you want to ensure that the house’s air duct isn’t beyond repair. 

    Plumbing is another issue that is incredibly expensive to fix. You can check for plumbing issues by listening for strange sounds originating from the faucets. Additionally, low water pressure, bad smells in the drains, slow draining drains, and stained walls are all signs of plumbing issues. You’ll want to check for plumbing problems before you think about signing a contract. In addition to an appraisal and a standard inspection, homebuyers should consider a plumbing specific inspection and a mold inspection – you can never be too thorough – especially when it is one of the most important investments of your life. These are the extra things to know when buying a house.

    Condition of Insulation 

    Insulation is important because without proper insulation, you’re going to pay premiums to heat and cool your home. You’ll want to do a comprehensive check of the floor, wall, and roof insulation. Since you can’t easily rip off walls, the simplest way to check this is to place your hand on the floors, ceiling, and walls. If the walls feel damp or cold, there is likely not enough insulation. You can also check for leaks in the attic, as poor insulation can let in water as well. Additionally, homes without proper insulation tend to have cold rooms and higher amounts of rodents and pests. Make sure to do a thorough insulation test. 

    Additionally, you want to ensure there aren’t any other areas that could hurt your energy costs. Make sure to check the sealing around windows, the type of windows installed, and do a quick look at the current HVAC system. You just want to make sure that you aren’t purchasing a home that’s going to cost a fortune to heat and cool.   

    State of the Flooring

    Flooring issues are easier to spot than any of the other things listed here. However, it can still be challenging to catch, especially in wood flooring. Poor installation, improper care, and environmental issues can all lead to hardwood floor issues. You don’t want to pay the premium ticket price for hardwood floors if they’re showing signs of wear. Look for gaps, buckling, cupping, stains, and peeling finishes on any hardwood floor. If it’s apparent in one area of the floor, the chances are that the entire floor will begin exhibiting the same issues later on. 

    Aside from wood, take time to examine any flooring. Take note of stains or any places where the floor is sinking or feels uneven. These signs could spell huge structural issues and expensive repairs.

    Buying a New House Should Be Fun

    Getting a new home is an exciting prospect. You want to do everything that you can to ensure that you end up in a space that you’re happy in long term. Aside from falling in love with the look of a home, you want to take the time to know what to look for when buying a house. Doing so will save you tons of money, time, and stress in the long run.

    Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value. 


    Interested in learning more?

    Get Started
    Bill Lyons

    Bill Lyons is the Founder, CEO & President of Griffin Funding. Founded in 2013, Griffin Funding is a national boutique mortgage lender focusing on delivering 5-star service to its clients. Mr. Lyons has 22 years of experience in the mortgage business. Lyons is seen as an industry leader and expert in real estate finance. Lyons has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Wall Street Journal, HousingWire, and more. As a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association, Lyons is able to keep up with important changes in the industry to deliver the most value to Griffin's clients. Under Lyons' leadership, Griffin Funding has made the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies list five times in its 10 years in business.