When looking for your new home, it can feel like you’ve hit the jackpot when you finally find one that has what you need. You’ve looked for signs of mold and water damage, and checked the age of the roof, air conditioner/heater, and appliances, as most people know to do, but does the home have any more hidden issues? Here are 5 things you may not know to look for when buying a home:

Water Drainage

No matter where you buy your home, it will eventually rain. Especially in areas where it rains more often, you will need to figure out where all of that rainwater will end up. 

Check the drains and gutters on the outside of the house – will the water be channeled to the appropriate drainage system? Or will your backyard flood? Looking at the lawn may help you figure this out, especially if the grass looks patchy. Just be aware that new grass could be an indication of a drainage issue. 

*Pro tip: to help check the water pressure and any potential water issues indoors, with permission, turn on all the faucets, including showers, and flush all the toilets. How’s the water pressure? Does anything happen when you flush aside from what’s supposed to happen? Also, check the faucets on the outside of the home as well.

What’s That Smell?

One of the first things you should take note of when visiting an open house or a home tour is how many scent maskers are operating at the same time. We’re not talking about the scent of fresh cookies or a single candle, but if there are multiple scent maskers all on at the same time (for example multiple candles, plug-ins, cookies, etc), this could be cause for concern. 

This may seem odd, but smell all of the rooms to check for any off smells. This includes the outside as well. Does the neighborhood have a weird smell? Is the house located near a landfill? Sometimes outside scents appear only at certain times during the day and it’s definitely worth a conversation with your real estate agent.

Those Beautiful Tiles

Tile floors can be gorgeous and many people love to have them throughout their homes. However, you will need to take a closer look at them when determining if this really is your new home. 

Are the tiles slightly uneven? Are there gaps between them? If so, these could be indicating a quick, DIY job. Many house-flipping companies opt to do this so they can offload their home quickly, but you may be footing the bill for retiling your home in the long run.

Foundation Problems

While hairline cracks are normal as the home settles, large gaps indicate there are some big issues with the foundation of the home. When looking through the home, make sure to look out for these things to see if there are any indications that there may be bigger foundation problems:

  • Sticking windows (open all of them – how do they move? Do they glide or stick?)
  • Cracks above/around the window frames
  • Sloping floors (*Pro tip: bring along a small ball, like a marble or golf ball, and when you have a moment, set it on the floor to see if it rolls or not)

Location, Location, Location

You’ve already checked your commute times, looked at the schools around the home (if this applies to you), and even checked how the traffic flows. While these are all excellent things to be aware of, and we definitely recommend checking all of these, there are some other things to consider about the location of your potential new home.

Is it near a lake or located in a flood zone? These homes can be prone to flooding and it’s not always easy to secure flood insurance, which can mean expensive out-of-pocket costs for you if your home floods. And depending on where you’re looking to buy, standing water, like lakes, can be a breeding ground for many insects, like mosquitoes, which may make that dream backyard a little more difficult to enjoy.

*Pro tip: you can request a copy of the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (or CLUE Report) to see if there have been any insurance claims within the last 7 years and for what. This can be a great help in seeing what has happened to the home and what to look for when inspecting.


Finding your dream home in any market can feel like you’ve won the lottery. However, you’ll want to ensure that your potential new home isn’t hiding any secret issues. Before you proceed with the process and have an inspection, there are some things you can look out for to see if they are an immediate deal breaker for you.

If this all seems overwhelming, we’d love to help! Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!

Preparing to buy and negotiate a good price for your property is easier with professional help. At the Zion Group, our team of experienced professionals will make the time to listen, plan, and execute your vision for your real estate goals. Schedule a free consultation with us today.