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Owning a home is often the dream of most people, so signing those papers and moving in can often feel like the culmination of years of work. Right up until you realize that no landlord also means everything that breaks is up to you to fix, and these things tend to not be cheap.
Someone asked “When buying a house, what's something you thought was minor but has become the bane of your existence?” and homeowners shared their stories. So get comfortable as you read through, take some notes and be sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

#1

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First My number one disqualification when house hunting was no toilet on the same floor as the master bedroom.


You do not want to climb stairs when you have to pee in the middle of the night. If you're reading this and saying, "I don't get up to pee most nights," I am in my late 30s and here to warn you that *you will*.

Blenderhead36 , Max Vakhtbovycn / pexels Report

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Pieter LeGrande
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm in my late 70's and I do 3 times a night. Every night I bless our foresight in getting an en-suite.

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#2

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First A bit of advice I haven't seen posted yet: If you drive and have a long commute, try to live east of your workplace. That way, you're driving west in the morning and east in the evening, and you won't have the sun in your eyes both ways. Safer and less stressful over a long period of time.

andante528 , Darwin Vegher / Unsplash Report

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Shawnna Clement
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sage advice even with short commutes. I've never been so perturbed as when driving west through Texas in the evening. I was blinded even with sunglasses. Also, I lived inside the downtown area and commuted the opposite direction. The reverse would have taken 3x as long to commute and rent would have been double.

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#3

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Go to the neighborhood you’re looking for at night and just sit and listen. The noises you pick up over the week will last YEARS. So be prepared for that. Also. Ask about internet. It can be make or break. Cell signal to a point as well. Ask neighbors about flooding.

knuckles_n_chuckles , AnnaStills / Envato Report

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#4

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Bamboo. Someone before me planted super invasive, 15 foot tall growing bamboo in the backyard. It was spreading so wildly it was uplifting the granite pool and growing under the foundation of the house. You could see the remnants of a “barrier” of sorts of where they initially planted it, obviously not knowing how bamboo grows. I myself did not know, until I purchased the house. Absolute nightmare.

abbs_twothou , Oleksandr P / Pexels Report

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Blue Mar
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Think in UK it's illegal to sell house with bamboo or any sort of invasive plant without acknowledging buyer

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#5

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Single bathroom.

I had underestimated the amount of time my husband just SITS on the toilet.

NoeTellusom , Iakobchuk / Envato Report

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Sky Render
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Always at least two toilets when you have more than 1 occupant of a dwelling! Bathroom emergencies are a thing.

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#6

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Don’t use an inspector your realtor suggested. Get one that has plumbing expertise.

curryp4n , Iakobchuk / Envato Report

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Aspiring Canuck
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sounds like good advice. But how to know which inspectors are plumbing experts?

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#7

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First I bought a flat.

The neighbours immediately below us smoke. A lot. All the time.

They smoke so much that you can smell it when you open the kitchen cupboards under and next to the sink because the scent creeps up through the holes around the pipework.

Can't open the windows in the summer because as soon as they cough themselves awake in the morning the stench of cigarettes starts drifting up through them and fills out home. They smoke in every room, and in the bedrooms till after midnight every day.

I'm an ex smoker and I'm still finding it disgusting.

butwhatsmyname , borodai / Envato Report

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#8

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Before buying, be sure to survey the local topography, for lack of a better word.
You want to be on a high spot within your neighborhood, not in a low spot that collects water from other yards when it rains.

Neat-Ad-8987 , Tim Gouw / pexels Report

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Performingyak
Community Member
3 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some places have a flood map available on the local council website. Saved us several times when buying. We bought in one area years before a major flood and yhe "one in 200 year event" map was very hard to find, and only in draft version. It is now the standard map on the council site due to a one in 200 year event actually happening. Also crime hotspot maps can be useful.

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#9

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Finding good people to do small jobs. The reputable companies don’t like to waste time on small jobs, so it’s usually pick someone off of the internet and hope they don’t make it worse or DIY.

Guineacabra , Life Of Pix / Pexels Report

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PrettyJoyBird
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Better yet use husband, wife, dad, mom, sister, brother, in laws, bro n law for free feed them or trade them helping you then you help them.

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#10

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First I haven't bought a house but from working in an industry directly involved with it, some things I hear the most often have been: Be EXTRA cautious about the neighborhood and the next door neighbors. You can easily fall in love with a house and picture yourself living there, but don't make such a massive purchase until you are sure you will be comfortable living in that spot. Swing by the area outside of a home tour. Check it out at night, too. Is it still quiet and peaceful? Is there anybody who can tell you about the neighbors? Once you get stuck buying next to bad neighbors, well....you are stuck. 


 Have the home professionally inspected by someone YOU find. Flipped hones often cut corners and I guarantee you will find things that need to be repaired or replaced within the first year if it was done poorly. Inspecting plumbing lines and air ducts is also important. Find out when the water heater was replaced, that sort of thing. 


Swimming pools can be a maintenance nightmare and as such, I never want to buy a house that has one. 


 Avoid cantilever decks if you can. It's the #1 spot for structural failure. If it is in a condo in an HOA (or apartment), you then have to rely on the complex to maintain it properly. Sometimes they are neglectful. I wouldn't trust it and would avoid living with a cantilever deck.


TREES. Look where trees are planted. Are they close to the building or close to concrete? Many common tree species cause immense damage, ranging from roots lifting sidewalks to roots creeping into plumbing lines, to damaging your foundation if it is too close to the building. A pine tree within 5 ft of a house would be a deal breaker for me. So would a few other trees, but these are particularly problematic especially with the pine needles falling on the roof and clogging the gutter.

BoobySlap_0506 , builderbob53 Report

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Zephyr343
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah....neighbors is a big one....I wouldn't have bought my house if I knew what I do now Swimming pools are stupid expensive. New liner, pump, cover and water (need to fill it after the liner is installed) is around $16,000. Plus the chemicals and electric to run the pump and filter

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#11

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Low ceilings.

“I’ll get used to it” I thought.

Nope.

lanky_planky , Clay Banks / Unsplash Report

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Cat Chat
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Being 4'11" that'll never be an issue for me. I do, however have to watch for too high cabinets or closet shelves. Stools and step ladders... prime investment.

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#12

Just buying a “fixer upper” in general. Renovations cost a LOT more than you can imagine. HGTV LIES.

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Matt Du
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love the way on youtube/websites everyone talks about DIY like its a 5 minute job and will cost you a piece of wood. What they don't mentions is their fully stocked workshop and endless friends with every tool you could possibly wish for. Just putting up a shelf is a saw, level, tape measure, masking tape, nails/screws, screwdriver set, hammer, glue, paint, paintbrush, drill, drill-bits, extension cord, plugs, sandpaper, pen/pencil, bench. And if you want to make it look professional and cut down on time get an electric mitre saw, saw bench, electric router, electric sander, jig saw, drum sander, nail gun at this point it's in the thousands. Yes most of it will last you a lifetime as a diy'er but it doesn't grow on tree and not everyone has family and friends they can turn to. Now I need to do some plumbing so that's a set of spanners, blow torch............

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#13

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Which direction your bedroom is facing. Lived somewhere where the bedroom faced southeast and it was always boiling in there no matter what the thermostat said or how heavy the curtains were.

Same could be said for how much natural light you want or if you garden. Need to keep the cardinal directions in mind.

kamikaze_pedestrian , mzoon ahmad / Unsplash Report

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Regina Holt
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And also take into account your cats opening the curtains a bit to look outside. That blazing streak of light in your eyes is annoying.

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#14

Thought the lack of a pantry was no big deal, but grocery storage has become a jigsaw puzzle.

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Petra Schaap
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

yeah we dont have any storage space, and no pantry. I installed some ikea shelves in the hallway next to the kitchen. They are in the way, but i have to store my stuff somewhere!

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#15

22 effing palm trees. Not one less than 20' tall. Costs me 1100$ a year to get them trimmed. Would never have purchased this house had I known. Then one died, and I was heartbroken.

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Hiram's Friend
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Cut down 25 small palm trees that were dropping seeds into the pool and jamming up the filter. Took me three weeks of cutting them down and putting them out in lots small enough for the city to pick up. Another month to dig up the roots. Useful trick: leave a cold twelve pack on the pile on trash day.

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#16

Split level. Never again. Trying to vacuum a split level is a pain in the butt. Also you have so much less floor space and square footage.

Also, carpet. NOPE. Too hard to keep clean. So gross.

I’ve got a single story home now with a full basement.  We ripped out all the carpet and refinished the original hardwood floors (although vinyl is also pretty nice).  So much more floor space and easier to keep clean.

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#17

Gravel driveway instead of paved. The gravel gets stuck in shoes, ends up in the house or cars, is dusty, gravel goes flying when mowing/edging lawn.

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#18

There’s like, zero sound insulation. Did we check for that? No. Did we think to? No. But will we on our next house? We’ll honestly probably forget.

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Verena
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The Dutch Home Owner Association VEH has tons of tips and lists for first time buyers. This is not an HOA dictating rules, it is a national club supporting its members.

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#19

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Never buy a house where the kitchen, laundry, or living room wall is shared with the master bedroom if you are a light sleeper.

SocialRevenge , vladans / Envato Report

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Hey!
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

For me it's not sharing walls with a bathroom because of the shower and fan. When we renovated, the full bathroom went elsewhere and we got a powder room instead with the washer/dryer.

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#20

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First We live in a 100-year-old house with a huge, open basement. Our washer and dryer are in our basement.

For some stupid reason, known only to them, the previous owners installed the washing machine and and dryer on opposite sides of the basement, instead of side-by-side the way normal people would have done. I bought one of those professional chrome laundry carts that the laundromats use to shuttle loads across the basement between machines.

Eventually, I plan to rewire the place and relocate the dryer next to the washing machine.

JasperDyne , bilanol / Envato Report

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Lee
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why couldn't you just use a double adaptor of it's just an issue of one PowerPoint on either side. Moving a dryer is not exactly hard

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#21

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First If you are looking for a house in a community with an HOA, get a copy of the current rules in advance. It's good to know what you're going to deal with when it comes to the rules of the community.

Good neighbors are also key, at least ones that are not loud and leaving garbage around. You can drive through the neighborhood in the evenings or on weekends to see what it's like when people are home. I ended up living next to what I think is an illegal boarding house so they have a bunch of cars and construction materials in the front of their house every day.

LBinMIA16 , bilanol / Envato Report

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#22

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Check cell coverage and find out about the ISP.

elSpanielo , SundryPhotography / Envato Report

#23

Finding contractors for Minor repair jobs. I had a chimney leak and called 4 companies, 3 of them didn’t want the job since it was a 300-500 dollar repair, the 4th set up an appointment with me but never showed up. It took me over 4 months to find someone.

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RabidChild
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can't even get contractors to give me a call back most of the time let alone come give me an estimate - even for large projects like bathroom/kitchen remodel. I've given up for the time being.

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#24

If the interior doors latch.
I had no reason to close the bedroom or bathroom doors when looking at the place. Then moved in and realized none of them actually stayed shut. It’s infuriating. 🤦‍♀️.

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#25

White carpet, tile, and paint looks awesome when someone is selling a house, and are awful to maintain.

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Petra Schaap
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

eww what?? The guy that flipped our house painted everything white, tore out the floors and installed white cheap tiles, a white kitchen and a white bathroom. It looked horrible and super cheap. Afterwards we found out trhough the realtor that it had so much nice old stuff and he broke it all out.

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#26

“Unique” homes = unique expenses. We bought a custom home from the couple who built it. Largest kitchen you’ve ever seen. The couple had put cork in the kitchen. They also installed an instant hot water heater for the sink. Well, one day a small hose came loose from that instant hot water heater. A pressurized hose. Two inches of water in an hour on a giant sponge of a floor.

We have good insurance, and it cost them _six figures_ to fix that kitchen. The cabinets were solid mahogany, and the bottoms had been installed on top of the cork. Then when those were replaced, it was obvious the stain of the uppers no longer matched. The crew cracked a slab of quartz when removing it. This was not Home Depot quartz. We had to pay extra to buy tile for this monster of a kitchen because no, we were not putting cork back in.

When we moved in, every bathroom was still 1989. Because this was a custom home, we couldn’t update them with standard grade materials. And on and on.

We did sell the home in 2018 for a good profit with all our updates. And bought a tract home with vinyl floors (I LOVE LVP) and builder grade materials and I’ll never go custom again. I want a home where I can get my new vanities off Wayfair or from Lowe’s if I need to upgrade.

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#27

Swimming pool.
So much work & money to maintain. Maybe gets used a dozen times a year.

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Performingyak
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Depends on where you live. Tropical north Australia they are used year round. I recommend a salt chlorinated pool. Very little hassle as long as you clean the filter every now and again and add salt.

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#28

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First Rule of thumb, every nice thing, interesting extra or big thing means more maintenance.

Large pool, you have to clean it

Large driveway, you'll need to shovel it and resurface it at some point

Large yard, you gotta mow it

Large deck, you have to paint it

3 bathrooms? Thrice the cleaning

Lots of windows, lots of cleaning

Lots of mature trees, lots of raking

Lots of mature fruit trees, bees and wasps, bees and wasps everywhere

Large high roof with cool architecture effects, super expensive to reshingle

A large skylight in the living room, it WILL leak, it's not a question of IF but a question of WHEN.

etc...

kowell2 , Ahmet ÇÖTÜR / Pexels Report

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Lee
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, just live in a single room box on a plot no bigger than the box

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#29

“Bamboo”: 30 Major Problems Homeowners Encountered That Didn’t Look That Bad At First There’s a path behind my kitchen window that separates the garden from the house. The path runs behind all the houses on the street and everybody (residents) has access. I wouldn’t mind this but our neighbours on each side are *best* friends and so they stand on the path directly outside our kitchen window when they chat.

Dabbles-In-Irony , jorditudela / Envato Report

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#30

When a year the later neighbors from hell buy the house next door.

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Cat Chat
Community Member
3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Unfortunately, that's an annoyance you can't foresee, or really do much about (beyond maybe reporting them for anything illegal they might be doing).

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Note: this post originally had 50 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.