10 Questions You MUST Ask Before You Buy a Home!

Stop Thinking You Have an Ugly House!

Let’s take a step back from decorating and thrift stores for a second….and let’s talk HOME BUYING.

When you buy a house without asking yourself the right questions, you sometimes end up making costly mistakes. And isn’t the whole point of Thrift Diving to save money?? Definitely!

It’s been 4 years since we moved into this 4-BR single family house, and if I could have done it all over again, these items below are the questions I wish someone would have told me to ask before jumping in with 2 feet. Here, I’m sharing these tips with you in hopes of helping other people make better decisions about home buying!

So, for any of you that are home-shopping, or know someone that is buying a home, make sure you ask these 10 questions before you buy a home:


Keep Reading Below For More Explanation About Each of These Questions!

10 Questions You MUST Ask BEFORE Buying a House - Buying a house without asking the right questions can end up a costly problem. Download all 30 questions in a FREE checklist


1. Will the windows need to be replaced? 

Did you know that new windows can set you back upwards of $10,000…..$15,000, or more? I know: GASP! How often do you walk into a house and inspect the windows? Windows are boring. If anything, we swoon over the shape of them, the position of them, the scenery outside of them, but rarely do we consider the condition of the windows. But, have you ever had to deal with poor windows? Windows that don’t stay shut? Windows that are so drafty you’ve got to apply ugly plastic over them to keep the cold out? Old windows that have peeling, chipped paint (which may even have lead in them if the house was built before 1973)? Windows are costly and they’re one of the most costly home repairs and upgrades that you’ll ever pay for.

When we moved into this house, the last thing I was paying attention to was the windows. I was thinking about how pretty the house would look with my favorite colors of paint…and how much space we’d have. The last thing I needed to know was if the windows were drafty. We soon found out. And they all needed to be replaced. All 22 of them. Yes, 22. This is not the kind of expense you want to pay when you move into a house. Spend $14,000 on something worth while, like–a car–perhaps?? lol. Get a house with solid windows that will keep keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.


2. What’s the position and quality of the trees around this house?

In a bad storm, can those trees fall on your new house? Do any of them look rotted? Do any of them need to be cut down? Do those trees block the sunrise? What about the sunset? When we bought this house, it was winter of 2010. There were no leaves on the trees. Who even notices bare trees in the winter? We sure didn’t. But let me tell you–when those leaves came….they sucked out all the sunlight, making our home feel like a cave.


UPDATE July 2015:

We had one of these trees removed at a cost of $1,250! This is what looked like BEFORE. Notice how dark it was, even on the sunniest day?


Tree removal in the backyard - Thrift Diving Blog



With one tree gone, we now have sunlight! I’m slowly learning to not be so unhappy about our home :).

Tree removal - AFTER


TIP: Be cognizant of where trees are in relation to the house you want to buy. Consider the fact that if you want to remove a tree, the cost is usually anywhere from $400 – $1,500 or more to have the stump removed!



3. Do you see any signs of pests?

Could you imagine buying a house and finding–ICK!–roaches?? Thank God we didn’t have this problem! But you need to be vigilant about pests when you’re looking for a place. Look for mouse turds. Ask the sellers for more information about it. Look inside cabinets, and moist places where pests like to hide. Heck–pull the refrigerator or stove out, and make sure there’s nothing there! Thankfully, we didn’t see roaches, but we did find centipedes after moving in. And OH MY GOSH, we were slammed with an infestation of ANTS. Yikes! We had them in nearly every room of the house, and I was having nightmares about them! Thankfully, as the season went on, I was able to get rid of them. But the following year, I had to spring for a pest control plan. We pay about $40 a month now and haven’t had any major problem with ants. But it was still an expense we hadn’t planned on.


4.  Are there sidewalks in the neighborhood?

Maybe you were too excited about the awesome house, but somehow, you didn’t even realize that there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. Oh–yeah, this happened to US! Because of this, our kids can’t just go outside and ride bikes or scooters; they might get hit by a car! If you’ve got kids, or nieces and nephews that come to visit, get a house with some sidewalks. Even if you have no children, for your own safety when walking or jogging, buy a home in a neighborhood where there are sidewalks. I find that older homes and neighborhoods tend to have no sidewalks.

Here’s a sample shot from another blog post to show you what our street looks like. No sidewalks mean danger for little ones, and even yourself!



5. Is the house too out-dated?

No house is going to be perfectly upgraded, especially if it’s a steal in price. But maybe you’re mesmerized by the beauty of the bay window, or the lovely wood floors, or how nice the house could be after you’ve gotten your DIY hands on it. Sometimes a home’s potential is its selling feature, along with the price and the promise of its beauty. But you must take a hard look at how outdated the house really is. How much will it cost to upgrade your new home? How much time will be involved if you attempt some DIY projects yourself? Are you being realistic regarding what you can accomplish, in time and budget? If you have kids, consider if you’ll have enough time away from the kids to get these projects done. Otherwise, you may end up years later with rooms still donning the hideous wallpaper because there just isn’t enough time to get the house “done.”

It took a while for me to turn this old house around, but slowly I’ve been tackling each room as part of my 30-Day Room Makeover Challenge that I do as part of this blog every quarter. Here are some of the outdated rooms I have been able to complete, but there is still so much more to work on: Our outdated laundry room, with old wallpaper and peel-and-stick vinyl flooring:

My Laundry – BEFORE

Even cleaned up, it is still not the best!

It took 30 days, but I was able to turn it around! (Read more about my laundry room makeover).


1-thrift-diving-laundry-room-makeover   The same was true of my kids’ bathroom. It took nearly 4 years to finally get around to transforming this room, too! Removing wallpaper was the worse part, along with the totally outdated green toilet. I did the whole room myself!

My Kids’ Bathroom – BEFORE





Completing makeovers like these, though, take time, especially if the whole house is outdated. Just remember this rule of thumb: each room will take about 30 days to transform if you focus on one room at a time. How many months will it take for you to totally transform your new home, in that case? Factor in more time depending on budget, children, etc. How much time are you willing to do it?

6. Does the house have any weird odors?

What do you smell when you walk into the house? If you smell funk, RUN! Run far away. Because, seriously, if the house is funky, it’s either a) mold/mildew (read: water problems), b) dirty people, or c) cooking smells that may take a long time to go away. Don’t just think that you can “air a home out” after settlement.  When you walk into a house you’d like to buy, it should smell….well….like NOTHING. There shouldn’t be any odors that try to make the house smell “good.” You should smell very little. Homes that leave an odor means that you will be dealing with the odor when you move in, or it may be covering up other smells you don’t even realize are there until you move in. Sometimes this can be a costly problem to clear up, depending on its cause. This is from experience! When we came to look at our house, it had a rank odor. It was horrible. I thought we would just air the home out. And although the smell dissipated after moving in, our house still has a slightly “old” smell, probably emanating from the basement. It’s slightly stronger in the spring and summer.

7. Does the ground slope AWAY from the house?

Does the house sit at the top or bottom of a hill? Where does the water flow around the house? Grading is probably one of the few things people check when they go house-hunting. Don’t make this mistake! Grading that is poor and allows rain and water to sit at the home’s foundation is a recipe for flooding and water damage. Grading isn’t cheap to fix. Expect to pay upwards of $2,500 to have a professional landscaper or grading professional to regrade the entire perimeter of your home. We regraded our entire perimeter because of water seeping into the basement, and yep–that’s what we paid–$2,290.  OUCH. But we couldn’t take the threat of flooding anymore, and it needed to be fixed immediately!

8. What do the cars in the neighborhood look like?

Okay, we’re boarding on something probably unethical, but it’s true. Take a look around you. If you see broken-down cars, expect to find a broken-down neighborhood.The cars don’t have to be BMWs and Audis. But look for late model cars that look well-cared for. The quality of the cars, more so than the brand, that people drive in the neighborhood, really can tell you about the quality of a neighborhood.

9. What are the neighbors like?

Imagine the horror of moving into a house and you end up hating your neighbors. YIKES! Go up and knock on the doors of the nearby neighbors and tell them you’re planning to make an offer on the house next door or across the street. See what they say. Are they nice? Are they gossiping about the other neighbors that are moving out? Do they seem SANE?? What does their yard look like? Be sure to talk to all the neighbors. Do they have something negative to say about certain neighbors? Choose your neighbors wisely!  

10. How much are the utilities for that house?

Granted, your usage will be different, depending on your family size and usage. But calling ahead to the utility companies (and even identifying WHICH utilities you will need to pay–gas or electric? both?) will give you a great starting point to use when creating your budget, to make sure you can afford the property and all the things that go into moving into a new or larger home. There are tons of expenses you don’t even realize up front that you’ll need to pay when you move into a new house, but if you can nail down the utilities, you’re one step closer to making a wise decision. NOTE: Some of these things your inspector will look for and note, but that’s AFTER you’ve already put an offer on a house. Why get to that point? Why not note these things beforehand so you’re not wasting money on an inspection for a house that you may end up not buying anyhow? Be wise. Look for the right things, from the beginning :).    

Click here to read PART 2 of this series. 

Next time you’re going to check out a house, take along this FREE download that has all 30 questions!

Were you totally digging this article? Consider PINNING it!


10 questions to ask yourself




So do you have any other questions that you think are most important to ask before buying a home? Please leave a comment to let everyone know what else they need to know before buying a house! 🙂






About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 38-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (57)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Laurie says:

    I think it is important to have a list of what you must have in a house, yard, and neighborhood and try to get as close as you can to achieving that. You will need to compromise on some things, as it is rare to get everything that you want. I do strongly recommend that everyone get the home inspection prior to purchase, as this can help uncover some hidden issues with the home. Love the infographic, thanks for sharing!

  2. Rosie Gaudet says:

    In addition to asking these questions, you should also hire an inspector to go through the home. That way they will be able to spot anything that may be wrong with the home. If there is, you can have the sellers take care of it before you move in. That way you won’t have to deal with the problems yourself, and you won’t have to worry about paying to fix anything.

  3. Kate Hansen says:

    I’ll be buying my first house with my husband next month, so I really appreciate these tips. I like how you point out that when looking for a house, you should look for signs of any pests. If you do, I would imagine there are probably more where that came from and you’ll want to find a house that doesn’t have an infestation.

    • Hi, Kate! Great point–definitely look out for pests! But also know that if it’s things like ants and stuff, you can easily hire an exterminator for those. If I were to see roaches, although I know you could hire an exterminator for that, I would NOT want to buy a home where I spot roaches! 🙂 Good luck with your home search!

  4. Thomas says:

    Great informative post Serena. I would add that home buyers should look into what the average property taxes are in the area they are thinking about buying in. Property taxes can make up a large portion of the overall mortgage payment when escrowed. In some locations in the US neighboring counties property tax rates are much lower. In that case maybe it’s a good idea to consider looking for a home there as an option at least.

  5. Asking what they neighbors are like is a good idea. I wouldn’t want to move into a neighborhood where no one is friendly. I would like to live in one where I can make friends and have a good time. There is more to buying a home than the actual home itself, so make sure you choose a good location!

  6. Bob Lowe says:

    Thanks for the post. I appreciate that you talked about if the ground slopes away from the house. I agree that people often overlook the grading. My neighbor across the street has a house that pretty much sits in a hole. We had a really bad rain storm one year and the basement flooded. They ended up spending quite a bit of money getting it fixed.

    • Hey there, Bob! Yep, it’s not something that people look for when buying a house, but it matters! We paid a crapload of money to have our house re-graded. People need to know what they’re buying before they buy. Thanks for commenting!

  7. I work for a pest control company, and I can tell you that people always forget to hire a professional to make sure your prospective new home has termite infestations. It can often be hard to tell, due to their small nature. We recommend finding a free consulting meeting as this could save money in your wallet if you catch the problem early.

    Great read, just thought I would spill some wisdom on all of the potential home buyers reading this blog.

    Thanks, Flick

    • Great point, Flick! It’s definitely not something that we did (I would definitely do that next time). I think there’s a lot of value knowing what you’re getting into before you jump in with both feet, you know? Thanks for the tip!!

  8. Janice Farnsworth says:

    Run a check for sexual predators and offenders on your state’s database website. We found one house we were interested in but a predator lived 2 houses down.

    • Janice, what a GREAT TIP!!! So great that I will add that to the original post as a “bonus” tip so that people know that! Thanks for sharing! And I”m soooo glad you didn’t buy that house!!!

  9. Carlos Henao says:

    Great help! wrote down all the questions to ask and thinks to look for. I’ve an appointment this weekend to see a house I’m really interested in buying. Will definitely will look for your advise again. Thank you, much.

  10. Kayla says:

    Love this!!! Looking at buying a house and trying to find good tips. Everything seems to be about how pretty it is. This was a great blog!

  11. fran says:

    These are all great points. Also, You should also go and just listen to the neighborhood both day and night to see if you can live with the noise. If it is close to bars, you might hear loud music late at night. Is there an automated car wash nearby? You might wake up to the sound of the blowers. Are there hospitals close by? You’ll hear sirens constantly. Are you in the flight path of the air port? One of my neighboring families is the type that likes to yell at each other constantly using the “f” word. Luckily they aren’t right next to me so I don’t hear them too often but they have run of at least 3 of their next door neighbors over the years. Some noises you’ll get used to and are worth it…I live on cobble stone streets and they can be noisy when the cars go down them but I love them anyway. I don’t even notice them any more.

    • Fran, those are great points! Heck–seems like you should just pull out a chair and park it on the corner and just wait a couple hours. HA! And wow, cobble stone? That sounds awesome!!!

  12. Liza says:

    Check the HVAC *thoroughly*. Don’t just turn it on, make sure it blows both hot and cold air and consider asking for a separate inspection. I bought my house in late spring and had a full home inspection. I moved in during the summer and all was well until the first cold snap in November. Turned on the heat and nothing but cool air came through the vents. Upon inspection by a reputable heating/cooling company, I learned that the heat exchangers were seriously damaged and the pilot light had been disabled to prevent carbon monoxide from entering the house. Only five months after buying my house, I was hit with a $10,000 bill to replace the HVAC. Ouch!

    I was limited in my search for a house because I needed property for my horses. I didn’t expect the level of deception I encountered from the sellers. I have a much longer checklist for the next time I buy a house and another list of things I’m determined to fix so I don’t pass the same issues on to the next buyer.

    • OMG, Liza!! I can’t imagine the horror of getting a bill like that!! You didn’t have a home warranty? Even if you did, your out of pocket costs would still have run about $2000 – $3000. And man, I feel like first houses are the “practice” house: the house you get when you know NOTHING about buying a house. The next homes are the ones where you’re able to make a clear-minded choice because you know so much more. Thanks for that tip about the HVAC! Sorry you had to go through that. Stuff like that just kills the joy of owning a home!!!

  13. Beth says:

    I agree with all these points except about the sidewalks. We purposely looked for a neighbor hood with no sidewalks because: Unsavory persons tend to congregrate and loiter/hang out on sidewalks in front of houses (and some do the drug deals); you have to shovel the sidewalk every time it snows (which was a liability for us as we travel in the winter) and it encourages people to park alongside the sidewalk, sometimes blocking the driveway and costing you car repairs because you had to drive over a high curb to get your vehicle out during an emergency (ugh). Also, we got a lot more solicitations with a sidewalk in front of our house! Say no to sidewalks in my opinion! And the neighbor thing — I wish WISH we had that advisewhen we bought our first home, our Realtor told us the neighbors in the trashy house next door were moving out so we bought our first house based on that — they never moved out!!! One was a felon who wore an ankle bracelet for probation/house arrest, and eventually he would shoot out our windows, throw trash all over our property and vehicles, steal our water to fill up his pool when we were away, and even shot at my husband during one of my husbands early morning jogs. With three kids and fearing for their safety, we couldn’t get out of that house fast enough, and we lost our entire life savings and had to cash out some retirement in order to afford to do so (yes, we lost enough money that is equivalent to buying a new BMW in CASH) 🙁 It still hurts to think about it 🙁 But we were all the wiser when buying our second home, and we couldn’t be happier in one of the nicest neighborhoods around!!!

    • OH MY GOD!! Beth!!! That’s freakin’ HORRIBLE!!! Wasn’t there some charges you could press against them? Then again, you were living next to the enemy so there was only so much you could do! Was this in H-town too? You can tell me off-line. I would be curious to know what neighborhood this was. And you make some valid points I never considered about sidewalks. So true! Oh, but we still get lots of solicitations. I don’t even answer the door when they come to the door anymore. Just because you’re in a Verizon shirt means NOTHING, pal… LOL. Anyhow, I’m so happy you’re in a safer place with good neighbors. It really makes a place feel “homey”!

  14. These are so good, Serena! We just moved from NM to OH and fortunately had a friend that used to live here give us a heads up on things like slope/grading, length of driveway (for shoveling snow!), trees, etc. We’ve never had to deal with a basement or issues surrounding that so it was a huge help. Passing this article onto to a friend who’s about to start her house hunt!

    • Deme, that’s so good you had a friend give you a heads up before moving to your neighborhood! I wish someone would have given me a heads up on these things. You’re kind to send this to your friend! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!!

  15. Johnny says:

    I’d second the neighbors thing… In fact, meet all of the neighbors! The last thing you want is some super annoying person constantly ringing your doorbell or spying on you. Also, meet the people in charge of the home owners association. If you don’t get along with them, they could make your life a living nightmare. If I accidentally already purchased a house in a neighborhood, I’d rent it.

  16. kate steeper says:

    he he ..my dear old dad was a builder and renovator , he always said just look at whats new , if your moving out you only renovate to hide something

  17. Trevor says:

    when looking for a new home make sure you have a home inspection done that includes having a plumber come in and send a sewer camera through your sewer pipes to make sure there are not any major breaks in the line.

  18. Leah says:

    we just put an offer on a short sale, that while dated and has some repairs and updating that need to be done, its in a neighbourhood that is well outside our price range and with updating will be a fantastic home. its in a cul de sac, so no sidewalks though 🙂

    I totally agree with the neighbours thing – very important!

    I think the biggest mistake people do when they are looking is they are so excited about the place they don’t think about what its going to be like when they really live there, not their dream version of living there. when we bought our condo i didn’t realize how small the kitchen was because of the open floor plan. the short sale we are buying has a kitchen that seems small because of the c shape but it has tons of storage, and room to expand, so that made a big difference to me.

    • olsonc says:

      Leah– Just curious how long your short sale took? We are signing one tonight and i’m IN LOVE with the house… .thank you

      • Leah says:

        Hey there, we submitted our offer in early March, the seller accepted and then it took until May 31 to close, which is relatively short for a short sale- we sold our condo in the meantime and moved in w my parents for 2 months because we did a month of work before we even moved in.
        The one really good thing was the sellers realtor was on top of everything- she had done 6 months of legwork prior to it going on the market and was all over the bank as well. Short sales can be worth it but they are also very trying. Good luck to you!

        • olsonc says:

          AWESOME!!! We’ll we’re up one already, before we even signed the sellers agreed to the amt we offered. 🙂 🙂 🙂 so now we’re hoping that the bank will be similar.Thank you!

  19. We bought our house in 2008. It was in move-in condition but problems came out one after the other; basement is so cold, some molds showed up the first winter we had and other gross things that are showing up… If we can only turn back the clock we could have been more careful in our decision specially after reading your post 🙂 🙂

  20. Sheryl says:

    Don’t just drive by the house at night–drive by during the day as well. I did a lot of my househunting after 5pm and on weekends, but if you know your house will be empty between 8a-5pm, you want to know what’s going on. Is the neighbor’s house a mecca for school-skipping teenagers? Are they any stay-at-home parents or telecommuters around or is the neighbor deserted? Is there a scuzzy guy with a big, um….”water pipe”…who sits on his porch all day “receiving guests” who “buy medicine” from him (yeah, 4 houses down from me, until the house was foreclosed on.)

    Also hang around at different times of the day and different days (if you can.) My house is on a pretty quiet street with sidewalks, but there is a U-Haul rental place 6 blocks away. Somehow, my street is a thoroughfare for people who just rented a truck and want to drive down a residential street way too fast.

    • Ladybug says:

      LOL! Great advice! Love the blog, thank you everyone! About to buy retirement home and advice is needed and taken.

  21. Kathy says:

    Funny thing is, we left that home after 2 years due to career change for hubby. But we just moved to a neighboring town. Anyway, we looked at alot of houses, and always asked about water in the basement. And then the realtors would tell us about this disclosure that the sellers had to sign – and then go into this “story” about a couple who bought a house that had major water problems, etc. We’d just say, “Ya, that was US.” So maybe our summer of hell made things better for future home buyers in the area.

  22. Kathy says:

    The first thing we did was grab the video camera and get all of the damage, the open windows, the mop handle sticking thru an open window, etc. Then of course the water the next morning. We called the company rep first thing in the morning and he was heading to an air show with his family. My husband told him he needed to get to our house ASAP. We were planning to make the tape public. And sue. We did eventually share a copy with the president of the company. The rep did come right away, watched the video, surveyed the damage and promised to make things right. They came back to redo everything and they also paid for us to hire someone of our own choosing to repair/replace everything damaged. We ended up with a nice basement again, and no water after that. BUT,…we never should have had to deal with all of that in the first place. Let’s just say I cried alot that summer. That was about 12 years and 2 houses ago.

    Also, the sellers’ realtor was great. (Unlike our realtor who we never heard from again once she got her commission check). He stopped by often to check on things. In the end, there were some bills that came in late, after things were settled with the waterproofing company, and the realtor paid for them out of pocket. We ended up using him when we sold that house, bought the next and then sold it 8-9 years later.

  23. Kathy says:

    It was quite a nightmare. We wanted to back out of buying, and then our realtor, informed us we had to be out of our house within a couple days. (At some point during the counter/counter offer process she had neglected to tell us she took out the clause that said the sale was contingent on us finding a house of our choice. So we were screwed!) Never used HER again.

    Then the waterproofing company sent an inexperienced crew. The 1 1/2 day job took 5. All while my hubby was out of town. They jackhammered about 8 hours a day – while the girls and I were home. (I cried alot.) They jackhammered thru the linoleum covered floors, had ripped off the glued on baseboards, tearing drywall, knocked down a huge section of finished ceiling – yet no one knew how it happened. When my hubby finally got home Friday night and they were still there and it looked like a bomb had gone off, he had a few words for them. Within minutes there were gone. We went down to survey the damage and it was UGLY!! Our beautiful finished basement was just trashed. Plus they left every window open – with rain in the forecast. Oh, and the best part – after it rained, we still had little rivers flowing thru the basement the next morning.

    NEVER wanna go there again!! What a nightmare!! So do your homework, people!!

    • Serena says:

      That sounds like a LAWSUIT! Please tell me you sued something? That is horrible!!! When did this happen? And what’s the condition of the basement/water problem now? The even worse problem is that whenever you go to sell that house, you’ll have to disclose all that stuff to the next person! What a way to sock it to you TWICE–once when buying the home and again when SELLING! UGh….Sorry you had to go through that!

  24. Kathy says:

    Ask if there is ever water in the basement. Look for signs of mold, water damage, fresh paint. We bought a home about 12 years ago – asked if it got water (finished basement). Home owner said no. We did a final walk thru with realtor 24 hours before closing. Water puddles everywhere in basement!! Mold growing up the walls. Discovered that when they painted the storage room – they painted around the stuff on the shelves. Wasn’t even the same color paint. So the walls that didn’t get painted, and had been previously hidden by their stuff also had mold. Fortunately THEIR realtor stepped up and got things done. Our own realtor dropped the ball – just wanted to make the sale and get her commission. Their realtor had them move $11,000 into an escrow fund to be used for waterproofing and repairs within 6 months if the basement did get water. The owners tried saying the basement shower must’ve had a leak. Their realtor ripped the shower apart and had plumbers come and replace things – all the same day. Next day was closing and it was pouring buckets. Their realtor said he’d meet us at the house. There was a river flowing thru the basement!! But since they lied they had to pay the $11,00 to get things fixed and waterproofed. Was a horrible experience, that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

    After our experience, all the realtors in our town made their clients sign some kind of disclosure form. If they had been honest upfront and we were dumb enough to buy anyway, we’d be liable. Since they lied – they paid.

    • Serena says:

      Kathy, the water in the basement is critical! We knew there was water that came through our basement door in the house we bought, but we had no clue that he came into the actual living area. We thought it was just the basement door stairwell area (we have one of those “Wizard of Oz” type doors). We soon found out that the water was coming into much more than we realized, and to get the basement door fixed, it as a good $2,000 to have it replaced. UGH! So yes, ask tons of questions!!!! Thanks for your tip!

  25. Tracy G says:

    Serena thanks again for all of the tips! I sure wouldn’t have looked for a lot of these things but I will now! You always have great advice!

  26. Kelly R says:

    These are really good tips. I will pass them on.. Thank you

  27. Sonya says:

    These are great tips! Most of them I probably would not have thought of on my own.

  28. Great tips! I have one to add if you’re moving into a different city/area… before you put in your contract do a ‘dry run’ of your morning and evening commute. I knew moving out into the country that my commute was going to be bad, but I guessed it at about an hour and 15 minutes. It’s actually closer to 2 hours most days (each way). We LOVE our house and I wouldn’t change it, but I will NOT be doing this commute for years on end!

    • Serena says:

      That is such a great tip, Joules! I know you’re in Maryland, too, and traffic here is awful. I work at Walter Reed in Bethesda, and from my house it’s only 11 miles, I believe. But it takes upwards of 1 hour to get to work some days! I totally agree–TRIAL RUN before you even get so deep into a contract!!!!

  29. Ashley says:

    I know when I bought my home, one of my major questions was what is the neighborhood like at night. There were times when I knew I had to walk the dogs by myself at night. A neighborhood can look nice during the day, but it is always important to check it out at night too.

  30. Wonderful tips! I think most people just see a house, and do not take other things into consideration! Right now, we have 3 empty houses ours. It always makes me nervous when I see people coming to look at the houses! I worry what kind of neighbors we will be getting….

    • Serena says:

      I can tell you, that was ME, Liberty! We were also hard-pressed to find a house because our condo had just sold and we were living with my mother-in-law. When you’re rushed, that also creates more room for error!
      Thanks for sharing!

  31. Good tips! I agree with driving buy at night. If at all possible, talk to the neighbours. That will offer insite from someone who won’t profit from the sale.

    • Serena says:

      In fact, let’s make it a rule: talk to at LEAST 3 neighbors before you buy a house in the neighborhood! LOL. Two of them must live on either side of you, and one much be across the street. 🙂

  32. Serena says:

    Oh my! I can tell you about teens hanging out! Where my mother-in-law lives, at one time, there would be at least 10 teenagers just hanging out in the townhouse complex, until all hours of the night! It was crazy!! Thankfully, those teens have all grown up, but that is a perfect example of how you just can’t tell a neighborhood from one part of the day. You MUST go at night, AND on the weekends! Great point, Anna!

  33. anna says:

    Drive through the neighborhood after dark. Some neighborhoods change … loud music, teenagers hanging out, etc. Also remember that those pretty trees and bushes in the yard will get BIGGER.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to my newsletter!