Sometimes, buying an existing home feels like the easier option. It’s move in ready, and buyers think they know what to expect. However, the devil lies in the details. Don’t find yourself paying thousands for renovations you never knew you needed. Watch out for these unexpected issues new homebuyers may miss.


If a home has seen many winters, there’s a chance that damage has accumulated. Water damage is costly and, if unprepared, can ruin your home in a matter of months. When examining a home, its paramount to ask about potential water damage.

Look for: A solid top and bottom. Most moisture problems come from the roof (poor drainage) or the foundation (no water-tight seal). At the top, look for a roof that is sloped to make room for proper drainage. For the foundation, ensure there’s a downward slope away from the home within the first six feet of the foundation. Make sure the water runs away from the house, not into it.


Regardless of the quality of your home, the original wood will shrink over time. Lumber straight out of the dealership will contain about 19% moisture. Over time, the wood will dry out about 9 or 10 percent. This shift in density is what causes settling.

Look for: A home warranty. All homes should cover settling under their warranty to repair any cracks or damage that can form within the first year of purchase. Shrinkage in not your fault, and it’s not the builder’s fault either. But as a buyer, you have the power to ensure your home is prepared. When viewing a home, note that no gap in the floor should be thicker than the width of a quarter.


Upon inspection, some new homeowners think they need to change a lightbulb, only to find the outlet itself needs repair. Outlets can cost about $150 to fix, and even more to install new ones. Don’t let an old home leave you in the dark.

Look for: Working outlets. Check each room to see where the outlets are and test their functionality. Turn the lights on in multiple rooms to see how the circuit reacts. Don’t forget to check the outdoor lights.


You may fall in love with a large Victorian window only to find it painted shut. A home should not only have functioning windows, but should have a solid foundation. Letting cool and hot air escape throughout the year is a money suck you don’t need.

Look for: Window quality. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves to test out windows and other features in a home. Is the window double pane for insulation, or is it only a single pane? Can you feel air flow going in or out of your home? Ensuring window quality is a great way to save money or time.

With these tips in mind, you can go with confidence to buy a home that really lasts. Or, you can avoid surprises all together by considering building a home instead. If you’re interested in new construction browse our floorplans or visit our model home and see for yourself!