There are a ton of components that go into buying a new home. You want to find something that looks beautiful, feels homey, and can weather even the harshest storms for years to come. But whether you’re looking at new homes via your favorite real estate website or going on in-person visits, it can be hard to remember to choose the right windows in your search for a new house. Your home windows can say a lot about just how much home maintenance and improvement projects you’re going to have to do in the long run. When a home has inefficient windows, you’re going to have to do a lot of work in the winter to protect your house from drafts, as well as working to keep your home well cooled and heat all year round. If you buy a home with bad windows, you could end up spending way more money than you want to on basic repairs and heating and cooling bills. That’s why it’s so important to choose a home with great windows that will keep you, your family, and your investment protected. If you’re buying a new home, here are some things you should know about home windows.

How Old are the Windows?

Many newer homes come with a set of brand-new, state-of-the-art windows. However, if you’re looking at older homes, you’ll need to check the expiration date of those windows. No matter how well-kept up or perfectly reserved an older or historical-style home might be, too-old windows can be a huge weak spot, letting in huge drafts and leaks all year long. Most older windows were made to last for about 20 years. Newer windows with two or three panes of insulation are a bit sturdier and should last around 30 years. If your home comes with windows that are older than 20 years and are single-pane windows, you’ll need to think about getting replacements. Unfortunately, this can end up being a hugely expensive project for new homeowners, especially if you’re already paying a high price for the home. A general window replacement job for an entire two-story home starts at around 20,000 for materials and labor. Be sure to figure this factor in when negotiating your final selling price for an older home.

What is Their R-Value?

Each window comes with at least two ways to measure energy efficiency. An R-Value, which tells you about the frame’s insulation capability, and an E coating, which protects properties from UV ray exposure while blocking out the sun’s heat to keep rooms cool. Both these values are extremely important to know about before choosing a home. With single-pane windows, you won’t need to know about E-coating or R-Values, since these windows tend to be older and to have extremely poor insulation value. However, with double-pane or single-pane windows, it’s important to have a high R-Value and a Low-E coating to make sure you’re getting the most out of your windows. Even if the upfront cost is higher for homes with brand new energy-efficient windows, remember to factor in the yearly savings you’ll enjoy from drastically lowered heating and cooling bills. Sometimes, opting for the home with newer windows and a higher price tag can end up being the more circumspect decision in the long run.

How Many Panes Do They Have?

Again, keep an eye out for homes with single-pane windows. Even if they look great, they’re bound to disappoint you eventually. Since single-pane windows have virtually no insulation value, most companies stopped making them for homes within the last 20 years. If you’re viewing a home with only single-pane windows installed, chances are you’re looking at windows that are way past their expiration date.

What Types of Windows are Featured?

Finally, you’ll want to think about the types of windows you’re seeing in each home. If you have a specific style you want to create, knowing about the different window types and options available to you will help you make the most informed choice. Are you fond of big, expansive views? Check for picture windows and casement windows. Do you like a more traditional look with a nice breeze? Go for a home with lots of double-hung windows. If you’re not sure about what style you’d prefer, try a home with tons of different styles in different rooms. As long as you’re checking your windows for energy-efficiency and making sure everything is at least double-paned, you’ll be able to fill your home with any window style you choose.

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