First-Time Homeowners Share What They Wish They’d Known Before They Bought a House


Buying a house is a huge decision, especially when you do it for the first time.

There’s a steep learning curve and a ton of information to absorb that’s coming at you from all directions — your real estate agent, the selling agent, property lawyers, you name it.

If you’re in the market for your first home, you might want to read these AskReddit stories as cautionary tales.

1. Water issues

“Pay attention to the grade of the yard.

Where is the water going to flow or pool if it rains. Water issues are the worst.”

2. Be sure to flush

“Biggest life tip I can hand over: Flush the goddamn toilet if you’re viewing a property.”

3. Get your own

“Do not engage a building inspector recommended by the agent trying to sell the house.

Go with someone independent that will be honest about all the problems.

Attend the property inspection and physically view everything the inspector brings up as an issue.”

4. Hard work

“I’m not the handyman I think I am. Fixing stuff is expensive and hard.”

5. Trade off

“That the 9 year old next door liked heavy metal.

And that he was going to get a guitar for his 10th birthday.

And that 14 he’d be in a band that practices in his garage. But his dad drives a snowplow and I haven’t touched a shovel 5 years. “Sounds great Tyler!

You guys are really coming together!” “

6.  Never hurts to ask

“Right before I put in an offer on my house…my best friend told me to ask the seller if they will leave the {refrigerator,} washer, and dryer

“It never hurts to ask” he told me

That was over 10 years ago and Im still using the fridge, washer, and dryer that was left by the seller. All 3 are still running strong (knock on wood) and it really helped me out because at the time, I would have ended up buying really shitty appliances because I put all my money into the down payment.

So like my buddy says. It never hurts to ask.”

7. Life changes

“That I wouldn’t be working for the same company 5 years later.

One of the reasons we bought our first home was because it was close to work. but was a long drive to the other jobs I had later.”

8. Close those doors

“The cost of furnishing a house can get out of control. Close the doors to the rooms you don’t use, get stuff used and in phases. You don’t need to fill every room upon move in.

Vintage furniture is often of a MUCH higher quality than new.

Curtains/drapes/blinds are expensive.”

9. Hard lesson

“Learned this one the hard way:

Seller knew the foundation was sliding down the hill (1 story on top side, 2 stories in the other, outside access to basements, yes, basements plural), and had the foresight to paint over all the cracks above windows and doors before showing. Result was no visible indication of anything wrong until well after signing.

If you see a fresh coat of paint on only a few small areas, assume they are either cracks or patched holes. Either way, not good in large amounts.

Also, find out what walls are load bearing. Usually the sound it makes when you thump it with your hand will tell you, or look for indications of extra studs or braces. It can keep you from having major issues if DIY repairs are needed.

Lastly, make sure you know the actual borders of your land and any easements or utility runs. If a utility issue happens and they send a work truck out to tear up your lawn in fixing it, you could be chasing the utility company for years to get money unless you know where they have right of way and where they won’t.

Oh, and bonus round: grab a buddy and identify which breaker controls what. One of you at the panel, the other running around with a lamp. Seriously, the breakers are probably labelled, but the time you trust that and go to replace an outlet or bulb or put in a ceiling fan, it will bite you.”

10. No shortcuts

“Avoid check list flat fee inspectors.

We hired hourly guy, found 33k problems, on 200k house, worth every penny. dont skimp on inspection. also follow inspector around so [they] can explain as they see stuff.”

11. At all costs

“Avoid HOAs’ at all costs.

They are evil, and generally run by people who are power tripping on their ability to control other people’s lives.”

12. Get ‘er done

“If you plan to slowly renovate or update over the ‘next few years’ you probably won’t. Sometimes it’s better it just get things done before you move in and then not worry about them every.single.day afterwards.

An example: we needed new carpet, decided to wait, then had to live with awful carpet until we finally decided to change it, at which point we had to remove everything from the rooms we needed to have re-carpeted. Pain in the butt. Would have been much easier to get it done before we moved in. Total cost of this major inconvenience? $1800. Wasn’t worth the wait and stress.”

13. Again, the inspection

“It’s the things you can’t see that will hit you the hardest.

The plumbing, the electrical, the furnace, the rotted rafters and the termites.

That’s why you use inspectors and don’t be afraid to take a look yourself if you’re up to it.”

14. Think ahead

“Paint it first if you want to paint it. Change the flooring, too.

Once you get everything in you’ll still want to do it, and it’ll be harder and more annoying to do because you’ll have to move all your stuff again.”

15. Damn renters

“Be aware of and ok with the number and proximity of homes for rent around you. Neighbors can be difficult in general but it sucks having to get used to having new people living next to you often.

Also, sometimes the homes are vacant for extended periods of time and the landlord might not keep up the appearance of the home in the mean time. Sometimes the renters move in without being prepared to take care of their lawn and take months to get the routine together, if ever.”

Whew! There’s a lot to process. But it’s all really important when you consider how big of an investment a house is. Usually it’s the most expensive thing people will buy in their entire life. So it’s key to get good info.

Do you have any advice you can share? Anything that you read feel like REALLY good info?

Let us know in the comments!