on Jan 01, 2019 8:46:31 AM

8 Things to Consider When Looking at New Homes

Buying a new home can be both immensely exciting and intensely stressful. For most of us, our homes are the largest purchases we make in our lifetimes, so it’s critical that we choose wisely. Keep this article handy as you shop around to remind yourself of these important aspects of any home.


1. Flow

When you tour a home, walk through it as you would move through your day. Is it easy and natural to move from one room to the next? Are the rooms laid out in a functional way, or are some awkward to access? Can you easily and conveniently move between the indoor and outdoor spaces?

2. Room Size

You want ample space for the people and things in your home, but wasted space is wasted money. Take measurements of essential furniture and other items that will need to fit in the house, and consider how much living space will be left after those are in place. Make sure there is enough area to use each room the way you want without leaving a lot of extra space to fill, heat, and cool.

3. Kitchen Features

The kitchen is the most expensive room in the house to remodel, so it’s important to get as much of what you want as possible at the time of purchase. If you want a gas range, make sure there are gas lines to the house (or better yet, a gas range already installed). Make sure there is enough storage, light, counter space, and work space for you to prepare meals comfortably and efficiently.

4. Seasonal Comfort

In Iowa, it’s essential that our homes stay warm in winter and cool in summer. While you probably won’t be able to tour a home in multiple seasons, you can look at factors such as the type and quality of HVAC system in the home, the quality and placement of windows, and the adequacy of insulation. An energy-efficient home will keep you comfortable and save you money on utilities year-round. It is also important to review the HERS rating, which measures a home’s energy efficiency. 

Think about comfort outside your home as well. An attached garage makes leaving the house on cold mornings more pleasant, and covered entryways can save you from fumbling for your keys in the pouring rain.

5. Orientation and Placement on the Lot

How the house is situated on the lot can make a huge difference in comfort and functionality. South-facing homes (or those with main living areas and ample windows that face south) tend to get the most natural light indoors. Look at the size and shape of the yard, and consider how you will use it. Is there a sunny spot for your garden or an open space for the kids to play?

You will also want to look at how the placement of the house affects its privacy. Consider the proximity of the house to neighboring homes and areas of public access such as sidewalks. Are windows aligned with neighbors’ windows so that it’s easy to see from one house to the next? When you stand on the sidewalk, can you easily see inside?

6. Lot Grade 

A large lot doesn’t necessarily mean a large amount of usable space. If the lot has a steep grade, think carefully about how you will and won’t be able to use it. Also consider how difficult it will be to mow the grass, remove snow, and get your vehicle in and out of the driveway on icy days.

7. Accessibility

Even if everyone in your family can easily climb stairs, that may not be the case the entire time you live in your new home. Consider what is likely to happen in the future as well as people outside your family who are likely to spend time in your home. Is it likely that you’ll care for an aging parent? Consider how difficult it would be to get around the house using a walker or wheelchair.

8. Neighborhood

It’s only the right house if it’s in the right neighborhood. Consider what you value in a neighborhood. Do you want a quiet, suburban neighborhood with outstanding schools? Do you want easy access to public transportation, bike trails, parks, or nightlife? When you look at each potential new home, pay attention to everything in the area, including amenities, sights, sounds, and smells.

Of course, this is not nearly a complete list of what to look for when shopping for your new home. Spend some time writing down features that are important to you so you can keep them in mind each time you walk through a house for sale.

Hubbell Homes makes it easy to create the home of your dreams. Choose from urban , suburban , and small-town neighborhoods across the Des Moines metro , and from a vast array of customizable floor plans , and endless finish options