Are you shopping for a new home? Are you planning on buying your first home, or is it time to upgrade your current living situation? If so, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Flood Zones

The last thing you want is for your new home to get flooded for several reasons. A flood can destroy your interior property and make your home unlivable. If enough water damage sets in, you’ll have to deal with costly repairs or a completely ruined foundation. That’ll make you have to evacuate your home. So, before you buy a new home, check the area flood zones that are constantly being updated. 25% of flood damage often happens in places that aren’t even considered high-risk areas. Keep you and your family safe by buying flood insurance in addition to home insurance.

2. Garage Space

Don’t ignore the value of quality garage space. Over 80% of new homeowners consider the garage when making their final decision. Your garage protects your cars from theft and elements. It stores them and provides additional storage for your home. Check the quality of your garage door, since if it’s malfunctioning you’ll have to replace it for your safety. The last thing you want is a garage door that malfunctions and can easily fall on you or a vehicle that’s moving in or out of the space. Don’t forget about the aesthetics. Your garage exterior makes up about 1/3 of your home exterior, so a beautiful garage door can play a role in how well your curb appeal looks.

3. Plumbing Quality

Can you imagine living in a home with poor plumbing? You may be able to get a deal on a home with bad plumbing, but bear in mind that would be a bigger expense to handle later. After all, if you don’t replace bad pipes, it could be a major safety and quality of life issue for you and your family. Very old homes in certain areas run the risk of still having lead piping, which could lead to major health issues such as lead poisoning. Such poisoning has been associated with high blood pressure and mental deficiencies. If pipes haven’t been fixed in a while, they may be prone to leaks. Leaks can also cause your home to waste an excessive amount of water, which will result in costly water bills.

4. Outdoor Living Space

More homeowners understand the value of having their own quality outdoor living space. Over 60% of American single-family homes now have a patio. Having a patio adds to the overall home value during the resale and provides a space for families to enjoy nature. You can do so without leaving your residence to go to the park, beach, or forest. It provides entertainment space for parties, grills, and get-togethers without dirtying your home interior.

5. School Zones

Check the rating of the local school zone you plan to move to. Even if you don’t have children, a good school district usually implies a neighborhood may have better amenities and often a lower level of crime. If you decide to have children in the future, stay prepared by being in an area that’s safe for children to get a quality education and deal with other children and families with the same mindset.

6. Access to Stores

Even if you drive, who wants to drive miles upon miles to go to the nearest amenities if they don’t have to? Before signing a mortgage contract, ensure you find a home with things nearby that you need. See how far it is to get to a grocery store, pharmacy, local schools, shopping center, police department, and so on.

Buying a home is an exciting time. Just be aware of all the work involved so you make the right decision for you and your family. With the right due diligence and consideration, you can have a home you’ll want to stay in for years.