Springtime is here and a lot of people start looking for their new home starting now.

The Lawhead Team would like to share some tips on what to look for when you are searching for your next new home.

Many people can stage a house to look good from the surface but once their belongings are gone, the bones of the house still remain.  Here are some things to look for when you are considering buying a new home to make sure it is worth your investment.

Check out your neighborhood: Yes, your house is important, but the safety, location, and proximity to several amenities should be considered as well. Research nearby schools if you have children, as well as travel time to work, stores, and how your neighborhood is laid out. Feel just as comfortable with your neighborhood as your new home.

Finishes and materials: Once you know your price range, know what finishes are expected in your price point.  A less expensive home will use vinyl flooring, lower end carpet and possible plastic laminate counters in kitchen and baths. While higher end homes may use more resilient flooring such as tile and wood, and solid surfacing in kitchens, such as granite or slate. Knowing what is expected in your price category will help you determine if the home you’re looking at is a deal or not.

Kitchen appliances: One of the most expensive parts of homes are the appliances. The age, care, and condition of the kitchen appliances in the home will have a direct impact as to whether you will need to buy new ones, or if they will need to be serviced anytime soon. Go ahead… open the dishwasher!

Check out the ceiling: The ceiling is a telltale place for water spots to show from possible leaks and cracks from structural damage. Pay attention to cracks in drywall, wall surfaces, and where the ceiling meets the wall for warning signs.

Outdoor area of the home: Don’t forget to look at the roof, gutters, downspouts, and inspect the outdoor condition of the home. Especially older homes, try to find out from your Realtor or the previous homeowner when maintenance or replacements have been conducted in the past.

Bathroom amenities: Similarly to the kitchen, look at the bathroom plumbing fixtures, shower/tub to see what condition these amenities are in. For older homes, if you know you will need to do a remodel or renovation in the future, you should be prepared to know this reality when looking at the new home, not after you move in.

Major systems: Take a look at the heating/air conditioner unit, hot water heater, and other major systems in the house when looking at homes. These systems can be costly if they are left in disrepair for too long. While you may not need to look at these until you are settling on one specific house, its good to keep on your checklist.

New HomeHomeowner added amenities: For resale homes, many homeowners have already upgraded the home on their own. From adding a swimming pool and deck in the backyard to crown molding and built in cabinets in the living room. Most homeowners will state what upgrades they have put into the house, and what the approximate cost it was to upgrade. Use this information when comparing like properties in a similar neighborhood, city, etc…

Paper trail: Especially when buying a resale home, seek a paper trail, or a list of receipts and/or documents of repairs, upgrades, and services added to the home over the years. Similarly to buying a used car, the more informed you are, the more ideal buying a home from that individual will feel. Amenities in a home can be attractive, but if the homeowner can’t tell you who upgraded it and when, you may want to move on to the next house.

Looking for a new home is exciting but it can also be stressful and nerve racking.  Taking the time and care to make sure you find the perfect fit for you and your family will benefit you in the long run.  After all, a home is one of the best investments you can make.  Decide what amenities are most important and go from there when house hunting.