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What I wish someone had told me before buying a home

I didn’t go into this home purchase with the wool pulled over my eyes, but I wasn’t a veteran either.

I really wish someone had told me these things before I bought a home and told me to be prepared for the worst in others:


See how I didn’t call them the L-word?

I don’t think sellers are liars per se, but they are certainly not as truthful or forthcoming as they would be if they were selling to a friend or a family member.

This is the truth, and you should always treat them as such.

Get everything in writing.

Take photos.

Dot your I’s.

Cross your T’s.

Don’t be afraid to call in a real estate lawyer.



I already knew this but it was too late by the time we decided to move.

If you aren’t tied to a home, in a rush, trying to meet a deadline to move out, etc, then you are in a very good position financially.

If you truly want a home, and particularly THAT home, then you’re kind of screwed.

I really wish we had thought about looking for a place more seriously a year before we did, that way we would have really had time to negotiate them down hard, but because we had a deadline to move out of our place, we gave in a little.



Inspect the place when you buy it with the inspector and make sure you make notes of all the things that have to be fixed at the point of sale.

When you do this, do the following:

  • Take pictures of flaws
  • Make detailed notes
  • Have the realtor or whoever go through the inspection with you and sign that they acknowledge that they have seen what you have seen

Then before you close, ask to see it one last time to inspect it after they have moved everything out.

Had we done this, maybe we would have been less stressed.

I never would have closed, had I known they were going to leave a destructive wake in moving out their things.

We saw deep scratches in the floor from their insistent dragging of heavy furniture, holes (about 50) left in the walls, and goodness knows what else.

They sold the place, and you would think they would have taken care in not damaging what is no longer theirs, but alas, people are pigs.


I am not talking about fixing a water heater or whatever else, I am talking about it being in ANY CASE of purchase (almost new, old, etc), set aside 2 weeks to do work on the place to patch up holes, sand walls, and so on, before you move in.

There is alway something to do, even if it’s just cleaning and setting up your closets or racks before moving everything in.



They won’t want to pay up if you have already closed and have given them money, so my suggestion is to escalate the situation in this manner:

  1. Be polite & ask. A lot gets resolved with honey.
  2. Send a strongly worded email about who you think is responsible for paying.
  3. Send a second, final email saying you will have your lawyer contact them shortly if they don’t pay.
  4. Contact a real estate lawyer and get them to write a legal action letter. (Cost: $350 – $500; if it goes to court it is $1500 but the defendants (sellers) will pay the costs).
  5. Go to court & win

Most people resolve the situation at step #4, but be prepared to go to court.


  • NZ Muse

    I lived in a shit ton of rentals, so I’m well used to all the dramas that come with real estate.
    We did our last walk through a couple days before settlement day (the day that the last of the $ goes through and the keys are handed over) – they were about 95% moved out at that point but not completely. We then noticed a couple minor things like small holes in the wall from TV bracket mount, but wren’t really fussed – given the overall condition of the house (a do up but not terrible). What DID get my goat was going to use the oven for the first time after moving in and finding it dirty (that and the drawer that sits at the bottom of it). People ARE pigs – sorry your sellers were such douches. Also, they clearly did a pretty cheap job of the kitchen flooring – a couple boards started bubbling up about a month later and one piece has totally come up. It’s okay, as we were planning to totally destroy the kitchen and overhaul from the ground up anyway, but still!

  • raluca

    Yep, sellers most of the times will try to hide stuff that’s broken or not working properly, but I think you have also been quite unlucky. Most people don’t actually like to damage things they own/have owned. At least, it would feel very weird to me to destroy a place I have called home for any period of time. But yeah, don’t trust anyone in a financial transaction is a good motto. You can then be pleasantly surprised if they turn out to be nice people.

  • Roadtobettersleep

    Lawyer or notary completed the deal?

  • Erika

    I was fortunate to look at and inspect my house after the previous tenants had already vacated the premises. It made the inspection process so much easier. Thankfully, the floors and walls had all been redone and the house only needed a few minor tweaks that were taken care of before I closed. The only thing I wish I had done prior to moving in is rip out all the brand new carpet and install tile. With indoor pets, the carpet is a no go.

  • Kathy

    We actually replaced the water heater in our house 10 days before we were due to close with the buyers. We could have kept the old one because it did work, just not perfectly. But we felt that would be wrong and hated to stick the buyer with needing one. We imagined them excitedly unpacking and at the end of the day wanting to take a shower, only to have it stop operating 1/2 way into the shower. Many people told us we were fools but it kept our conscious clear. Termite inspections are required where we live and the bank won’t close until the treatment is complete. We have always listed our houses as “inspections welcome but selling AS IS” That puts the buyer on notice that they’d better be satisfied before closing because after that, it is definitely their problem

  • SP

    We didn’t have any big surprises. The homeowners had an inspection included as part of the disclosures, and of course we had our own. It is typical here for homes to be lightly staged, so the seller’s real furniture is out and only a few smaller pieces remain in each room (which makes it look bigger).

    We did have several known items to address. It is very typical for sellers to sell largely as-is – you just have to build any repairs into your asking price. For example, termite damage is very common here and can cost tens of thousand to fix, and sellers often don’t fix it. (Any time we found a low priced home on the market, there was a huge termite issue to fix!) We didn’t have that, but we did redo the furnace/ductwork due to asbestos and an aged furnace.

    Waiting 2 weeks to move in did not happen for us, we moved right in and unpacked slowly – but that is a great idea!

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