What To Look For When Buying A House – Guide For First-Time Buyers

Happy Couple With Cardboard Boxes in New House at Moving Day.

We all have our list of desired things when looking for a home to buy. We all have a good idea regarding the style, size, location, and price. We all have our preferences when we look at houses on the market.

Still, no matter our preferences, there are specific criteria that might matter a bit more than others, and every expert will agree on this. 

When you see a stunning house that’s all you’ve ever wanted, it’s easy to get sidetracked and forget to assess every aspect of the home. This can leave you going head-first into a purchase that might prove not to be the best investment you’ve ever opted for, no matter how perfect the house seemed at first.

As such, if you’re looking for a home to buy, take a look at this guide to get a better idea of how to look for a house.

Know Your Budget

If you ask us what to look for when buying a house, the first advice would be to establish a budget first and then look for the best option that fits that budget. 

Understanding your financials is crucial for making a good purchase. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect home and realizing that it’s out of your budget’s range.

On that end, before even you are looking at a home, get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. This way, they will look at your financials (debt, credit score, etc.) and will determine what you are able to afford. Getting pre-approved will also help you to be taken seriously when you finally make an offer.

Getting a good price after you look at a house and ultimately buy it is of utmost importance. It’s essential that you get a good monthly mortgage payment that you can comfortably pay off each month.


Happy Couple Is Taking Keys From Their New House From Broker and Smiling.

How to look for a house? Well, most experts will tell you that location is among the most crucial aspects of home buying since this is something that you cannot change in the property. When looking at a home, it’s crucial that it’s in an area that agrees with you. Think about your daily commute to work, schooling options in the area, entertainment, shopping, and all the things that are important to you.

Assess The Style and The Size

Opt for a style and layout that will be able to accommodate the changes if your household grows. Consider your needs both for the short- and long-term, and don’t forget to assess overall practicality when looking at a home. 

It’s vital that the home has enough room that allows for your family’s convenient expansion. Also, you may want to look for a particular style that you may be able to expand as well. Adding an extra level with another bedroom and bathroom, if needed, can go a long way if you find out that you need more room as time goes by.


The list of amenities around and inside a particular home are also great things to know before buying a house. Knowing a bit more about the kitchen appliances, bathroom finishes, lighting fixtures, backyard features, and flooring solutions are all critical.

Ultimately, are you looking for a house with a larger garage or a pool? Looking at these additional features is essential, especially when the house has something that you have your eyes set on but would be way too expensive if you choose to add it on your own. 

Still, when looking for a home to buy, amenities shouldn’t be the only thing you are looking for because they can easily be changed. Prioritize them rationally. 

Check out The Schools Nearby

If you are thinking about starting a family, take a thorough look at are’s the school district where you’re interested in making a purchase.  

If you are looking for a home to buy, do your research online regarding public and private schooling in that particular area, or better yet, make a personal visit to see what you and your child or future child can expect.

Cost of Living

What to look for when buying a house? The location can also affect your living expenses and taxes. As such, it’s a good idea to take a look at the following:

  • Property taxes
  • Utility bills
  • Local sales taxes
  • Car and homeowners insurance

Having a vast yard will probably mean you’ll have to pay higher property taxes, and if you live in a flood zone, insurance will be likely higher. These things can potentially increase your monthly expenses and overall cost of living, so make sure to assess all of them.

What to Look for When Buying a House: The Less Important Criteria

Happy Couple Husband and Wife Sit On Sofa With Boxes

Experts usually agree that those things that can ultimately be changed in the home shouldn’t be so much of a concern. The lighting fixtures and kitchen countertops can all be changed, but the home’s layout and the school options in the area probably won’t.

It’s essential to set your priorities right when you are looking at a home. You don’t want to overpay for a property, and you definitely want to buy a place with all the must-haves that you’ve previously established.

On that end, make sure that you’re not settling on a deal just because you feel like you have no other options. It can be the right size and price, but if it’s in an expensive or distant location, you might be doing a disservice to yourself. 

Rushing into a purchase is never a good idea, especially if you fail to take into consideration everything you are looking for. This way, you can even make yourself miserable, leading you to ultimately sell the home and potentially lose a large amount of money.

The Bottom Line

While we all have different preferences and needs, this list above can be an excellent starting point to set up your own checklist before you set off home hunting. 

Just remember that this purchase is highly personal, and you need to prioritize certain features based on your and your family’s needs and budget. 

On that end, getting professional help from organizations and realtors can go a long way in finding the right option. Somebody with experience can help you create the right priority checklist, so you don’t accidentally miss anything.

Making sure that you enter the market prepared is essential to finding a home that you will be happy with. You can also check out other options as well. For instance, you can take a look at our projects as well. If nothing else, you can always give something back to your community and join a great cause.

About Habitat for Humanity of Broward

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Broward brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Habitat Broward offers a “hand up” not a “hand out” to families who are unable to qualify for conventional home financing but are willing to work hard to improve their family’s lives and achieve the economic empowerment of homeownership. For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Broward please call (954) 396-3030 or visit habitatbroward.org or check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HabitatBroward.

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