What should buyers look for when touring homes? All the things you can't quite "see" but may be lurking behind that coat of shiny paint, or the new counter. When sellers have followed my advice in prepping the house for sale, it will be super clean, often have fresh paint and will have most of the small fixes done. You know the ones that you stop seeing when you walk by them hundreds of times. Maybe it's the light switch cover plate that cracked when you drove the screw in too far?
Look past the layout and the updated kitchen to things like doors that don't hang quite straight or rub on the frame, cabinet doors that don't quite shut, patches in the walls or ceilings that don't blend with the surrounding areas, and floors that aren't level or sound different from one area to the next as you walk across them.
Look for large cracks in the sides of the foundation or garage floor although minor cracks there or in the sidewalks or patios may not be a big deal.
So are any of these things deal breakers? Not necessarily. You should just be noticing them so that you can choose whether to have any specialized inspections done during the inspection phase.
Takeaway? Look at a potential home more critically than the surface features. This applies to new construction too. Just because it's new doesn't mean it's perfect.