Homeowners Share The Priciest Mistakes They've Made

Ashley Hunte
A white house among trees with falling leaves.
Unsplash | Scott Webb

Buying and owning a home is like walking along a tightrope. Unless you really know what you're doing, you're probably going to fall a few times.

For these home-owning Redditors, they've made plenty of mistakes that have actually cost them money in the long run. Now they're sharing their stories with the hope of saving newer home buyers a bit of heartache.

"Buying a house out in the middle of nowhere, then getting pregnant and realizing it was too far out in the middle of nowhere." - temp4adhd

A house in the middle of a mountainous area.
Unsplash | Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

"An hour to pediatrician, an hour to groceries, an hour to work, two hours from family. Beautiful place on a lake but way too remote, for that particular stage in life, at least."

"Could maybe swing it now that my kids are all grown up."

A house in the mountains during winter.
Unsplash | martin bennie

"But back then the minute the pregnancy test turned positive that dream house became a huge negative 'what were we thinking' mistake.

"30 years later I still sometimes look up that property to see how it has appreciated..... and ...it hasn't. Because it's in the middle of nowhere."

"I bought a house that was way too big for us." - yaylalu

A large mansion-like house surrounded by green trees.
Unsplash | Olga Subach

"It took so much time to clean and the cost to heat, maintain and decorate was ridiculous. I sold it after just 2 years for more than I paid but still lost money on commissions and closing costs. I just closed on a smaller house and couldn’t be happier."

"'Saving' 200 bucks by not getting a sewer scope or a pump n clean septic system inspection." - tpm319

A manhole cover for a sewage system.
Unsplash | George Pagan III

Another commenter added, "Ooof, for anybody reading definitely get a sewer scope. Can easily be a $10k fix."

"I bought a lake house not knowing how [expletive] expensive it would be to upkeep.. yearly." - GrapeJellies

A beautiful lakeside cabin.
Unsplash | Stephen Wheeler

"Then I couldn’t sell the damn thing.. ended up taking a $100k loss after updating everything to granite and stainless from its original 80s shell sinks."

"When I was 23 I was preparing to buy my first home with an FHA loan." - GreedyGringo

A row of houses overlooking the beach.
Unsplash | Sandra Seitamaa

"I was young and wanted something in town instead of out by the coast... me and my dad and a real estate agent went to look at a BEAUTIFUL home that was not even on the market yet, it was by the coast and the guy got foreclosed on, the bedroom had a [expletive] sauna in it."

"Anyways I passed and bought a condo in town."

A condo building with a courtyard pool.
Unsplash | Paul Szewczyk

"My dad on the other hand saw the opportunity and bought the house by the coast the next week. Long story short I sold my condo 2 years later for a profit of 95,000. He sold that house 2 months later for a profit of 350,000."

That's still a good profit, but I think the moral of the story is: listen to your parents.

"Picking the wrong agent." - twopacktuesday

A miniature house next to a key with a house-shaped keychain.
Unsplash | Tierra Mallorca

"In 2002/3 I had an old-school agent that couldn't keep up or understand the new market. Never managed to buy a home despite 50+ offers before being priced out. Years later, I used an agent that was a friend. That was also a mistake, and tarnished the friendship."

"Look carefully for evidence of any water infiltration, and don't be afraid to lift up an awkwardly-placed rug, or ask to check behind the couch." - chivil61

Water leaking out of a ceiling on Kim's Convenience.
Giphy | Kim's Convenience

"If you see something strange, ask questions, ask specific questions about the history of any water infiltration/repairs/etc."

"Trusting my agent and attorney to understand the contract." - rshana

Two people signing a pile of documents.
Unsplash | Gabrielle Henderson

"Turns out they both missed a last minute exclusion the sellers snuck in to keep the washer/dryer despite them being listed as included in all previous instances. Cost us 2k to buy new ones, which wasn’t something I wanted to do immediately after dropping 100k on a down payment lol."

"Trusting the inspector the realtor gave us." - insomniac2846

A white kitchen with steel and grey accents.
Unsplash | Naomi H├ębert

"Told us the dust in the basement was a minor issue and now getting quotes for repointing the entire basement and replacing our bulkheads."

Don't skip the home inspection stage in general.

"Not asking about a neighbor's tree root lifting up the concrete on our side of the fence." - ThreeTwoOneQueef

A tree next to a bench, both of which are in front of a lake.
Unsplash | Aaron Burden

"Inspector and owner said it was fine but long story short, the roots were extensive and growing right into and under my house and up against the foundation."

"It cracked pipes and other minor damage."

A large tree in front of a green, wooden house.
Unsplash | Maria Shkliaeva

"To fix this would be about $15k all going well not to mention what other problems that would be discovered."

I wonder if there's a way to get the neighbor to pay, since it's their tree and all.

"Buying a property with foundation issues." - rco8786

Builders working on a building foundation.
Unsplash | Etienne Girardet

"Surely there are people that can do this successfully - but if you’re not positive you’re that person, walk away."

This one comes down to doing research on the kinds of things you're willing to fix in a new house.

"Buying a neat old house in a bad neighborhood." - FmrMSFan

An older home on a lot with mature trees.
Unsplash | Ross Sneddon

"Wondered why the seller was literally sweating a river at the closing table until we signed. Lost tens of thousands trying to get rid of it for the next two years. Was a really cool house though."

"Put too much trust on my real estate agent." - ahtasva

A man holding up a house key with a rainbow heart keychain.
Unsplash | Maurice Williams

"We were out of state sellers. The pricing strategy he recommended was way off. The house needed some cosmetic improvement as it had been rented out for a few years. I was busy with work and not able to check in on the property myself. After looking at the place he was first convinced that we should price it at top of market as inventory was low."

"2 weeks later we had lots of showing but no takers."

A room in the midst of a teardown and renovation.
Unsplash | Nolan Issac

"He comes back saying buyers are looking for something more done up and wants to redo the upstairs bathroom and paint the house. I said ok, 8 grand and 2 more weeks pass by and still strong showings and no takers."

"Comes back saying buyers and visualize living by there, recommends we stage the place."

A nicely decorated living room with white furniture and brown accents.
Unsplash | Sidekix Media

"By this time I was tired and desperate as we were in the process of closing on another property in our new town. I relented. Finally got an offer a week later. Also we had to drop price 2x (10 % of original asking price ) all in all I think I lost about 15k vs what I would have got if I had just staged the place and listed at 10% below prevailing market."

"The market was super hot and the lower price point would have brought in a wider variety of punters."

A man working with a table saw in a room.
Unsplash | Annie Gray

"Lots of younger buys want to put their own touches to the house and this would have been an ideal project. I probably would have ended up with multiple offers above asking and saved the money on the renovation."

"Mistook a permit application for a passed permits." - ProperPudding6

A man writing on a pile of documents.
Unsplash | Scott Graham

"It ended up costing about 200k as the work was actually done unpermitted & improperly & turned into the house being a teardown."

The moral here is definitely to check and double check permits. A lot of homeowners like to do work without permits that new buyers end up having to deal with.