Touring a home is incredibly exciting. You’re probably looking for a nice kitchen, hardwood floors, and an updated master suite. There are other things that you should be looking for too during your house tour, and here are just a few of them.

homeEntertaining space

The desire for great entertaining space has grown significantly in the last few years. Millions of homeowners around the country are changing their homes to make them better for entertaining. In fact, a recent Houzz study found that 56% of respondents who were updating their yards wanted to make them more entertainment-friendly. If you can buy a home that already has stellar gathering spaces, then you don’t have to do any work after you move in.

New windows

Most first-time buyers don’t realize how important the home’s windows are. When touring a home, pay attention to how the windows allow natural light to come streaming in — or don’t. In addition to aesthetic purposes, new windows also prevent energy loss. If the home has old, drafty windows, that can seriously affect how much you’re going to pay in energy bills. Try to ascertain the condition of the windows before you buy. If they haven’t already been updated, you can update them yourself after you move in and get as much as 80% back on your investment, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sturdy roof

Roofs typically last quite a while, but when you need to replace them, it can get pricey. So here’s a good rule of thumb: Always check the condition of the roof before you make an offer on the house. If the roof is older, see if the seller will update it before you close on the home. Because it will make your new home safer, it can lower your homeowner’s insurance rate, too.

Foundation condition

Foundations can be tricky, and it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Typically, a small hairline crack in the foundation simply means the house is settling and there’s nothing seriously wrong. However, a larger gap in the foundation can indicate serious issues. How can you tell if there are foundation problems? You can check to see if the door and windows are sticking, if there are cracks above the window frames, or if the floors are uneven.

Updated electrical

The condition of the electrical system in the home you’re looking at can mean the difference between thousands of dollars. On top of that, bad wiring is just downright dangerous. Older homes dating back to the 1930s and 1940s typically have knob and tube wiring, which is dangerous and expensive to replace. While you can’t stop and check the wiring during an open house, you can find out the condition of the electrical system during the home inspection.

Drainage issues

You don’t want water damage in your new home, so the drainage is really something to look out for. It’s not always easy to detect poor drainage though. You can look for signs like overflowing gutters, standing water in the yard, migrating mulch in flower beds, water stains on the basement walls, and cracks in the foundations. If you’re looking at a home that has poor drainage and improper grading, you might want to move onto the next house because those problems are difficult and expensive to fix.

Modular construction

While this one is not a necessity, it certainly is a perk. A modular home is one that is built in an offsite factory and assembled on site. Because they are built much quicker than conventional homes, they are often much cheaper. Plus, modular constructions reduce energy consumption by roughly 67%. They can even reduce energy costs for the occupants later on.

A real estate agent

If you’re looking for a house to purchase, then you should be looking for a Realtor or real estate agent too. Realtors are incredibly helpful and resourceful, from touring a home to negotiating a great deal. Plus, nearly 78% of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very useful source of information. It’s safe to say that they make the entire process that much easier; however, during the initial walk through, they can tell you what to look for.

When you’re touring a home, make sure you really look at almost every square-inch of the house. The new countertops in the kitchen aren’t as important as the shifting foundation. Make sure you check with your Realtor and get an inspection done before closing. That’s the only way to truly know what you’re getting into.

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