Smart Home Buying: What to Overlook and What to Focus On When Rates Drop

shopping for a new home

Renters and current homeowners looking to buy a home have felt stuck over the last couple of years due to high interest rates. In a market where mortgage rates are dropping, it’s an exciting time for prospective homebuyers (we know you’ve been window shopping on Zillow). However, amidst the rush to find the perfect home, it’s easy to get sidetracked by minor details or overlook significant issues.

Let’s dive into the 5 things you should overlook when buying a home and the 5 crucial aspects you should pay attention to.

5 Things to Overlook When Buying a Home

1. Outdated Decor

Wallpaper from the 80s or shaggy carpeting might be an eyesore, but they are easily fixable. Don’t let outdated decor turn you away from a house with good bones. Sellers have had the upper hand over the last few years, but outdated decor might be an opportunity to buy a home at a value price.

2. Imperfect Paint Jobs

A fresh coat of paint can transform a room. If the color scheme isn’t to your liking, remember it’s a quick and relatively inexpensive fix. Whether you DIY or hire a crew, tackling paint isn’t as tough as you think. Your realtor most likely has recommendations as well.

3. Landscaping Neglect

Overgrown gardens or lackluster landscaping might hide the potential of the outdoor space. Landscaping can be a fun and rewarding project once the house is yours.

4. Unfinished Basement

An unfinished basement might seem like a drawback, but it’s actually a blank canvas. This space can be customized to fit your needs and increase your home’s value. You can take your time to grow into the space and renovate later, or even roll the renovation into your mortgage (talk to your broker for options) in some instances.

5. Old Appliances

While shiny new appliances are appealing, older ones shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. You can always upgrade appliances over time, according to your budget.

5 Things to Care About When Buying a Home

1. Foundation and Structural Integrity

The cost of fixing foundation or structural problems can be astronomical. Look for cracks in walls, uneven floors, and doors that won’t close properly as signs of potential issues. Some cracks and settling are natural – consult with a pro.

2. Roof Condition

Replacing a roof is a significant expense. Check the age and condition of the roof, and look for signs of leaks or water damage in the attic. Homeowners insurance won’t replace your roof due to age. However, an old roof might give you room for negotiation.

3. Electrical and Plumbing Systems

Upgrading electrical and plumbing systems can be very costly. Ensure that the wiring and plumbing meet current standards and are in good working condition. Although very old homes have character, be wary of old electrical and plumbing. It can be a massive money pit.

4. Location and Neighborhood

The adage “location, location, location” holds true. Pay attention to the neighborhood’s safety, amenities, schools, and overall vibe, as these factors greatly affect your living experience and the home’s resale value. This matters whether you plan on living in your home for 10 years or 30 years.

5. Potential for Water Damage and Flood Zones

Water damage can lead to costly repairs and health issues. Check for water stains, mold, and mildew, and ensure proper drainage around the property. Homeowners insurance has been skyrocketing in flood prone areas – or downright impossible to find coverage. Many of the top real estate apps will provide flood zone mapping and scores. Consult with your homeowners insurance company before making a purchase as well to ensure that they will cover the home.


Buying a home, especially in a market with dropping rates, is an exciting venture. It’s important to keep a level head and focus on what truly matters. By overlooking minor aesthetic issues and focusing on the structural and locational aspects of a property, you can make a wise investment that feels like home. Remember, the goal is to find a space that meets your needs and offers potential without breaking the bank on unforeseen repairs. Happy house hunting!

Ready to take the next step? Compare lenders and get pre-approved for a mortgage before finding the home of your dream.



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