What to Look for When Buying a New Home

So, you’re ready to buy a new home. The process can be overwhelming, even if you’re not a first-time buyer. Before you put in an offer on your “perfect” home, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Oaks Construction has put together some advice to help make sure you don’t have any unpleasant surprises after closing.

It’s Gorgeous!

Remember, it may look fantastic, but you have to look beyond the paint, carpeting, and décor. The seller will be showing it to you in the best possible light, but you need to look below the surface. Try to see past the superficial. You’ll want to examine the house’s structure from roof to foundation!

Systems & Appliances

Ask the current owner or realtor how long the current HVAC system and water heater have been in the house. An average HVAC system lifespan is 15 years, and a water heater lasts 6 to 13 years. Depending on the age of the systems in the house you’re viewing, you may want to consider the expense of replacing them in your offer.

If any appliances are included in the home, find out how old they are as well. Gas ranges tend to last about 15 years and electric ones about 13. A typical refrigerator will last approximately 13 years. Dishwashers generally last about 9 years, on average. If the appliances in the home you’re considering are nearing the end of their usefulness, keep in mind the necessary budget to replace them.


It’s important to know the age and condition of the roof. A roof can cost upwards of $10,000, so it is a major investment. An asphalt shingle roof is generally good for 20 years, but you should check for cracked or missing shingles, sagging, or leaks.


Windows 10 years old or older may not be as energy-efficient as new windows. This may mean higher utility bills. Factor this into your budget planning if necessary.

Water Damage

Any sign of water damage is a huge red flag! Water damage may signify a problem with the house’s foundation, that there is frequent flooding, or that the roof leaks. All of these problems can lead to mold in the home. This can also lead to very expensive repairs and mold remediation.

Before You Bid

Any of these issues will pile on extra expenses beyond your new mortgage. Talk to a reputable contractor about the cost of a new HVAC system, appliances, or repairs. Once you’ve totaled up the potential additional costs to the home, keep that figure in mind when placing your bid. If the total is too high, keep looking. There will be another home out there that will better fit your needs and your budget!

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