First Time Homeowners Reveal What They Wish They Knew Before They Moved In


If we're being honest with ourselves, no one really enjoys owning a home. There's so much responsibility and effort you need to put in to try to maintain the value, and let's not even get started on the terrorist cell known as HOAs. Instead, let's try to advise the next generation about what they're in for when it's their first time to buy.

Reddit user, u/liftlikegaston, asked for advice from experienced homeowners when they asked:

Homeowners of Reddit, what's the biggest thing you wish you would've known before you bought and moved into your first house?

Avoid Flooding 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.


Water can be so expensive and destructive before you even know that there's a problem.

And if water wants to go somewhere, like into your basement, or eroding your foundation, it is so shockingly hard to get it to do anything else. You can fix the problem and it's going to happen again and again because the water wants to go there.


Check Them Pipes, Son

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


Also - run the shower

We bought our house, moved in. first time I used the shower we realised there was a bad bit of piping under the shower and water was coming out into the space between floors. It was above our kitchen and we'd just paid to have the ceiling plastered. Had to rip down the plaster to fix the shower.


Go The Independent Route

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.


I'm not the handyman I think I am. Fixing stuff is expensive and hard.


And really time consuming if you don't know what you're doing. I spend just as much time doing research, and I hate every second of it. I don't like fixing thing and it's the last thing I want to do after my long ass commute. But the dumb vent hood over the stove is broken and I don't have a clue how to fix it, so...


Oh Yeah...People Have Kids...

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 havent touched a shovel 5 years. "Sounds great Tyler! You guys are really coming together!"


All great musicians had a neighbor who put up with them.


Never Hurts To Ask

Right before I put in an offer on 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.


Think Of The 5-Year Plan

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.


Stuff Is Expensive, Man

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.


Paint = Cracks

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 bsdements, 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.


Take. The. Time.

Aviod 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.


They're Supposed To Be For Good. Right?

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.


Get It Done Up Front, Or Not At All

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 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.


Guys, Seriously. Don't Skimp On 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.


Make Changes Before You Bring In The Furniture

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.


Be On The Lookout For "For Rent" Signs

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


Get On Your Taxes


I know that things are slightly different after the 2017 tax law, but know that your mortgage interest is tax deductible. Mortgage interest is most of what you'll be paying for the first several years.

A lot of people are talking about the unknown expenses, but you should know that there's an unknown benefit too. My advice is rather than wait for the year-end tax return to reap the benefits, use an online withholding calculator, adjust your withholding allowances and get fatter paychecks every time.


Ask Yourself, "Am I Near An Airport?"

We live in Sydney. Purchased a house 4.5km from the airport. The first night we were in the house there was a god-awful roaring noise. Went out into the backyard to discover we had nailed it! Right under the approach for the East-West runway. When the planes came over we couldn't see the windows on either side and because the house was on a hill the flashing lights on the plane illuminated the backyard at night.

It wasn't so bad. The dog got over it eventually. It only took about three years. Man, did that dog door get a workout. The dog made more noise that the planes, seeing off the intruders.


"Buy What You Need. Not What You Can Afford."

Buy what you need, not what you can afford.

I had set a price range, and the realtors were all telling me that with my income I should be shopping in a much higher price range, three times what I had budgeted, because "I could afford it". I dismissed about four agents before I found one that listened to me. I found a really nice home in my range, and we bought it.

Ten years later, my employer of 35 years told me that they didn't need me anymore. My financial adviser said that with such a small house payment, I could actually afford to retire. If I had listened to the self serving people who were basically trying to up their commission by selling me a more expensive house, I would have been screwed.


For Those In The Back!

Here's a list because just picking out one thing is silly:

  1. How amortization works and why banks love 30 yr term loans.
  2. How PMI works and why down payments are important.
  3. Have a cushion in your savings account to take care of unexpected expenses.
  4. Know what the property looks like after several rainy days.
  5. In a subdivision, a dead end road that leads to an empty field means it's possible you'll have 100 more neighbors living downstream from you in a few years.
  6. Know how old the roof is.
  7. Know how old the HVAC system is.
  8. Know if there an HOA fee.
  9. Hire your own independent inspector.

After you move in:

  1. Know how to turn the utilities (water, electric, gas) off and on.


It's Always Expensive, All The Time

How much everything costs.

Just general maintenance. Bills and mortgage are known and predictable, but then there's broken boilers, washing machines, fridges, paint, random tools, and all sorts of other stuff that just adds up really quickly.


Calling all homeowners! What's the one thing you wish you knew before buying a home? Share it with us!

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