Whether you’re one of the 16% of first-time homebuyers looking for property in urban areas or you want a house in the country, searching for a new place can be tough. Regardless, there are certain things every prospective home buyer needs to look for during their search. Here are a few essential health hazards to keep an eye out for during your search for a new home.


Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was commonly used in construction prior to the 1980s. And considering that over 50% of houses currently on the market are more than 40 years old, it’s safe to say that at least a few of the properties you’ll look at will have asbestos in them. Exposure to high levels of asbestos can lead to a variety of health issues, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos was most commonly used for HVAC duct insulation, but it can also be found in the following home construction materials:

  • Roofing shingles
  • Siding
  • Ceiling tile
  • Floor tile
  • Attic insulation

If you’re looking at a home built prior to the mid-1980s, it’s important that you invest in a home health inspection. If the asbestos in the building is friable, meaning it’s breaking apart and getting into the air, then you have some serious considerations to make. If you do end up purchasing the property, you’ll need to have all of that asbestos removed by a professional abatement crew, which might be more of an investment than you’re ready to make.


Whether you’re looking at suburban homes or condos in the city, looking for mold needs to be one of your top priorities. Mold might seem like a surface problem that can be wiped away, but the truth is that mold spores can get into the air and cause some serious respiratory issues. This is especially dangerous if you or someone in your family has a serious mold allergy. So when you’re looking through a property, it’s critical that you look out for any mold growth inside. Some key areas to check include:

  • The basement
  • Around the windows
  • In appliances like the fridge and dishwasher
  • In the shower
  • Underneath the sinks

Mold is typically indicative of a moisture problem in the house you’re touring, which means you may need to invest in some serious repairs. If the majority of the mold is growing in the basement, then it may be a sign that serious foundation repairs are necessary before the space is livable. Appliances can always be replaced, but foundation repair is another story entirely. And when the average price of an NYC condo is already almost $1.9 million, it’s not worth paying any more to fix such a huge problem while risking the health of your family.

Electrical Issues

When you move into a new house, electrical problems are the last thing you want. And as we’ve covered, more than half of homes currently on the market are pretty old. If you move in and there are unknown electrical issues, you could risk house fires, electrocution, or loss of power entirely. Each of these issues translates to a health hazard for you and your family. So when you’re walking through a house, make sure you test every light inside to make sure there’s no flickering or electrical shorting. In addition, it’s a good idea to ask about when the property’s electrical system was last looked at. If you’re still worried, it’s worth having an electrician take a look at the property to determine whether any of the current electrical work needs to be repaired to ensure a safe living situation for you and your family.

Looking for a new home can be incredibly exciting, but that doesn’t mean you can overlook these crucial safety checks during your walkthrough. Make sure you’re keeping a close eye out for these hazards when you’re shopping for a new house.