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We Bought the Wrong House! Now What!!

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Money pit

Well let’s try to avoid the problem of buying the wrong house. I have made plenty of mistakes in the house buying process so you don’t have too.

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Mined in the Gutter

There can be any number of small problems with a house that are not immediately discernible when you walk through it with a realtor but which can be a pain to deal with later. It’s good to have competent home inspector catch these but I have been in at least once circumstance where from the home inspectors report, you can’t prove that he went to the same house I was looking to buy. For instance I had a home inspector claim there were rain gutters on a southern California house when there were none. This same genius said that the previous homeowners had left a refrigerator and other items that they did not leave. We were kind of at the mercy of the realtor since we were new to the area and knew no inspectors that we could call. When we pointed out these and other discrepancies it was astonishing how little the realtor and even our money lender cared about the fact that the inspection report looked kind of bogus. The inspector was allowed to correct his obvious errors but his suspect report was allowed to stand. So the lesson here is you might want to get your own inspector and not go with a buddy of the realtor who seems to do his “inspections” from his desk.

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You need an outlet

Amongst the things that the “inspector” missed was that several of the electrical outlets did not function. You kind of need those. So if you get to do a little inspecting yourself you might want to bring along something like a small night light or cell phone charger or anything that can tell you whether a representative sample of the outlets is getting juice.

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There's No Ceiling on Ugly

It is a basic, and in my opinion flawed designed of some California architecture to have no lights in the bedrooms. What idiot decided that was a good idea I will never know. In any case you might want to make sure you have flashlights or little lights if your furniture and lamps are not going to be available soon. If you are furnishing from scratch then a floor lamp might be one of the first things you can buy. My wife bought a little solar doodad that absorbed sunlight and then lit up at night that also carried us over in some rooms until we got lamps.

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Half baked

Be careful about trying to time everything if you are buying a house. For instance, sometimes some companies may unexpectedly deliver something faster than they first estimated. If that delivery happens before your closing date and before you even get keys to the place, your furniture could wind up on that front porch for a long time. Sooner or later someone might relieve you of that burden.

Your new house may contain appliances of a type you have never used before. For that reason an abundance of caution is required for first use. For instance, even though the electric ovens you used in the past might have used the bottom oven drawer for storage don’t trust that to always be the case. Some gas stoves use that bottom drawer as a broiler. If for instance you left oven warranty paperwork in the bottom drawer thinking it was for storage when it was really for broiling, you could have a ruined oven and maybe even a dangerous fire on your hand. Best case might be ruined food and melted plastic.

If you buy a house in a region that has drought problems either buy one with no plants, or buy one with xeriscaping (desert or terrain appropriate type landscaping), or hire someone to rip out the plants after you buy the house or rip out the water loving plants yourself after the house belongs to you.

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Who needs privacy?

After we bought our latest house we discovered that the master bathroom did not have a door. We did not notice that before we bought the house. My wife, who is 5’3” noticed that the bathroom counter was something like 3’5”. Which is a half a foot or higher than she was used to. No matter what folks say about looking at the house you are going to buy as though you were using it to see if it fits, some things slip through the cracks.

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Bugged

Sure the house was inspected for termites. I think California state law might actually require that. But that does not mean that the house will be free of all vermin infestations whatsoever. The tiny black ants, so little they were hard to see struck as soon as the buffet known as our household was laid out. They actually infested my wife’s computer first. Word must have spread amongst the insects that it was an Apple.

And then they found the kitchen.

We have dealt with ants before and there are several ways and they all work to some degree or another. We are using ant bait and ant poison in this particular case. Back in Texas we sometimes used boric acid and sometimes used diatomaceous earth inside the house and store bought fire ant killers and bait outside the house.

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No repairs for you!

Always be prepared to walk away from a house. Never appear to be anxious to buy it. Don’t add money to your bid in a panic at the last second.

We have had two different experiences in home buying. Generalizing from a small sample size is generally not a good idea. But it’s what I get paid for so here goes. It seems that if you have a choice you should buy a house from a homeowner who would be embarrassed to have his house shown off in a bad light. That way he might fix things that are not quite right before you agree to buy. That was a Texas experience.

In California we bought a house from house investors. They barely lifted a finger to fix anything that was wrong. For instance, we knew some electrical outlets did not work before we bought the place. We pointed that out, asked them to fix it and they did not. There were a number of things including an aging heat pump unit that we asked them to repair or replace and they did nothing. We wanted the place anyway so we bit. In retrospect, we probably should not have.

Another one of those things that might seem kinda cute when you and looking at the house but will not be cute if you are in your declining years is stairs. Do not get a house with stairs if you are old enough to qualify for social security.

Home Buying Tips

Avoiding Home Buying Errors

Comments 30 comments

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 16 months ago from USA

Always be willing to walk away. Of course, it's easy said than done. I'm so sorry you had such terrible experiences, but I'm sure it's made you wiser. My husband and I learned about the inspector thing as a first time buyer. If your or the other party's real estate agent insists on being there at the time of home inspection say no, but you should insist doing so. That way you can see if they get up on the roof like they are supposed to, etc.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA

I've had positive experiences with realtors and inspectors, but I know there are not so honest ones out there. Interesting hub. It's always good to really look over a place carefully--maybe several times--before buying. I liked your sense of humor in this hub!


florypaula profile image

florypaula 16 months ago

The house me and my boyfriend live together was bought by him and the previous owners had it freshly painted that he didn't realize the walls weren't correctly done and some cracks appeared in the paint after a while. We had already purchased it and the old owners ran as fast as possible so we fixed it ourselves.

It is good to know what to look after when buying a new house.

Have a nice day.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

FlourishAnyway thanks for dropping by. When you have more than one adult stakeholder in the process then coming to an agreement on what to do is more difficult.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Victoria I think you are correct in your observations. It seems there are always lessons to learn!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Florypaula they say when you have a house you can always make yourself busy because there is always something on a house that could be worked on.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is very useful information for house buyers, poetryman. It sounds like you've had some interesting experiences when buying a home!


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 16 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

Wow, I know what you mean. The old house next to us went up for sale and my husband thought about buying it, but the neighbor on the other side bought it instead and what a problem they had. It's so bad they won't fix it, so they are using it for storage instead. Your hub has a lot of very good information in it. I voted up and useful.

Blessings to you.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Alicia, I hope that people will look for things that they otherwise might not have in a house.

Blessings to you.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Good to see you here Rachel. Having a house so bad off that it can only be used for storage is certainly not a situation to be envied.

Have a blessed day!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 16 months ago from America

We only bought two houses and we had no problems with the first one the second one we rented first and knew it's problems. We built one house so we knew everything about it.

When we would go to sell a house we would always mention we had good water, no softener needed. The realtors even looked at us like we were crazy to think that was important. I guess they never had bad water, that's a very big expense in a home.

I know what you mean about no lights in the bedrooms, my parents ran into that problem when they bought houses in Texas.

Voted up.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Moonlake, I don't think we like the water much in our new house. It has a chlorine taste to me. The refrigerator filter does not seem to do that much to the water.

Thanks for dropping by. Have a blessed day!


esja profile image

esja 16 months ago from South Africa

Maybe you should invest in a tent??

Like the hub!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Esmé (esja) there is a movement to go to smaller and smaller houses these days. I doubt that the wife will buy off on that though.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 16 months ago from Northern California, USA

Oh my gosh, you have been through the wringer with your house buying ventures. Your experiences should never have been filled with so much terror. Indeed, all of your tips are excellent. The biggest tip is to never get too excited about a house because you may miss a lot of clues that the house is not right for you. And, never ever let sellers see how interested you are in a house. Make them jump through a few hoops to gain your interest.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Marlene I definitely agree with your observations. We will be more patient next time.

Have a blessed day!


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 16 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

Sorry for your bad experiences but this is a good hub, very informative and useful with a bonus sense of humour. I didn't know ants like Apple. Lol!

This is our second house and I guess, we're lucky in finding a good real estate agent. :)


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

CrisSp sounds like we need to let others pick our real estate agent!

Have a blessed day!


Felisa Daskeo profile image

Felisa Daskeo 16 months ago from Manila, Philippines

I have never tried buying a house but if I do, I will make sure to be careful. In my country I guess buying a house is easier to do.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Felisa, we had such an easy time buying our first house that sometimes it seems like buying the second was harder than necessary. We seem to be settling in and accepting the things we cannot change.

Have a blessed day!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 16 months ago from North Texas

Great advice! Like you said, no matter how careful a person tries to be, invariably something is overlooked, but one must do the best they can. Repairs can be so expensive unless you're good at that sort of thing, and even then there are expenses involved.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Au fait I appreciate your dropping by. Fortunately we bumped into a handy man who doesn't charge that much so we are getting by.

Have a blessed day!


DDE profile image

DDE 16 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Helpful hub. You shared an experience that many can learn from in such cases.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Hello Devika. I haven't seen you in awhile. I hope that you are well and that the world is treating you well.


lollyj lm profile image

lollyj lm 16 months ago from Washington KS

Very helpful information, written with a wry humor I just love. Thanks for sharing your experiences.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Laurel. I am glad you enjoy the hub.

Have a blessed day!


sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 14 months ago

people shall benefit for sure


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 14 months ago Author

Sujaya Venkatesh at least people might learn what not to do!

Have a blessed day.


JonRush 6 weeks ago

I wish I had come across this 12 months ago. Because I made such a mistake, and now I am stuck with a lemon. The inspector was the realtor's buddy, so downplayed problems. But I have to take responsibility, because i was too excited at the prospects of owning a house for the first time. I have already sunk in $20000 in repairs, and perheps there is still another $20000 to go in repairs before the place looks the part. But I am not sure its worth it, neither can I afford it. I am tempted to walk away, taking a massive loss with me. That is if I can even get anyone to take the place for even for 10% less than what I paid.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 6 weeks ago Author

Sorry to hear about your troubles JonRush. Maybe someone else can learn what we experienced.

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