Buying a New Home? Here’s What to Look Out For

It’s no secret—looking for a new home is no easy task. The process of buying a house can be long and overwhelming at times when there are so many things to consider. This often leads to a culmination of different thoughts and emotions that inhibit your ability to identify potential warning signs when viewing properties. Ultimately, your new home should enhance your quality of life for the decades to come, so you’re going to want to make sure you do your homework in order to make the best decision. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for to help get you started.

The Cost

The house hunting process is usually a long one—and it should be. The earlier you start your search, the more time you have to view properties and set aside enough money to cover the initial down payment. Although It may be tempting to follow through on a house that requires no money down, it’s recommended to put as much money as you can down for two reasons. One, doing so will reduce your monthly mortgage payment, and two, putting down 20 percent means you won’t have to apply for private mortgage insurance (PMI)—an added monthly cost that solely protects the mortgage lending company. Needless to say, coming up with 20 percent of the total cost can take time. Thankfully, useful saving apps like Chime will allow you to save automatically every month prior to your big purchase. Once you have a plan in place for financing your new home, you can start thinking about the nitty gritty.

Offensive Odors

When you enter a new property, are you greeted with an intense whiff of Tropical Breeze? Air fresheners are commonly used to mask offensive odors that may have resulted from pets, smoking, and even mold. In the case of mold, you’ll definitely want to be careful. As you probably know, some types of mold can be toxic, and may point to problems with leaky plumbing, gutter issues, poor ventilation, and condensation build up from window frames that are old or installed improperly.

Tiling and Foundation Problems

You’ll also want to check out the tiling job of the previous owner. Gaps or slightly uneven tiling may signify that the tiles weren’t installed professionally, and as such, may require significant maintenance over the years. Gaps in the actual house may indicate an issue with the foundation. Hairline cracks are common among most houses as they settle into their position. Large gaps, however, are not. One quick way to tell if the foundation is level is by rolling a marble across the floor.

Poor Roof Condition

When looking at a new house, it’s not just the condition of the interior and appliances that matter—it’s also the condition of the roof. Roofs are one of, if not the most, important structures of the house and are therefore vital in providing your home with adequate shelter and preventing water damage. Roofs typically last an average of 20 years. However, should you need to replace one, you’re looking at about $12,000 (or even up to $25,000+) of extra costs. Therefore, it’s recommended to pay close attention to the age and condition of the roof before purchasing.

Poor Location

The location of your new home should be one of your primary concerns. You may be fortunate enough to find a property within your desired school district, or one that resides amongst a scenic backdrop; however, a word of caution is advised. A location near water may be prone to flooding, which could end up costing thousands in repairs. Furthermore, homeowners in areas notorious for flooding may find it difficult to find an insurance company willing to protect their home against the inevitable to begin with; ultimately resulting in disastrous repair bills on a consistent basis.

Spatial Limitations

According to a Trulia survey, the number one mistake homebuyers feel they made is choosing the wrong size. Are you planning on having more children or considering hosting your family for the holidays? Many properties will suit your short-term needs, but you’re going to want to purchase a house that you can grow into. Deciding that you require more room after you’ve taken out a 30-year mortgage will take a considerable amount of time, effort, and money to land you back at square one.

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