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    15 Things People Wish They'd Known Before Buying A House

    "I was not expecting to get hit with a $15,000 plumbing issue three months after closing."

    Buying a home is a huge accomplishment, but the process comes with its ups and downs. So, we recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share one thing they wish they'd known before buying a house.

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    Here's the advice they had to give:

    1. Save more than just the downpayment — you'll have other home costs that you'll need to cover.

    dad with kid putting money in savings jar
    Peter Cade / Getty Images

    "You'll also need money for closing costs, a year's worth of home insurance, and private mortgage insurance (if you put less than 20% down on your home). You are going to spend so much more money than you think. Budget at least $2K for things like storage bins, extra hand towels, cleaning supplies, and impromptu Home Depot runs."


    "Don’t forget to budget for stuff. Suddenly, you will need a lawn mower, furniture, appliances, decor, and curtains. The list literally doesn’t end."


    2. On a similar note, you might need to shell out some cash for anything you discover to be broken in the house.

    Screen Gems

    "Stockpile at least a couple of thousand dollars extra, if you can. Something is bound to break. Literally the day I moved in, my fridge broke and I had to buy a new one. Due to the pandemic, everything was on backorder for a month so I had to buy a mini fridge to hold me over. My one shower head was also completely busted. I also had to rewire my dryer outlet."


    3. Take your after-tax income and expenses into account when figuring out what you can afford as a house payment. Lenders may approve you for a loan amount that's higher than what you can realistically pay.

    Tom Werner / Getty Images

    "Lenders approve you based on your debt-to-income ratio on your gross income, not your net income. If you buy at the top of what you’re approved for, you’ll likely have a mortgage payment you can barely afford."


    "Buy a house well below what you’re approved for, and go for one that's had some nice updates, but still leaves enough room for improvement. This way, it will still increase in value."


    4. Be veeeery careful with what you purchase on your credit card once you start the home-buying process.

    Gloria Sanchez Productions

    "Once you begin the loan process, do not — under any circumstances — buy anything on credit or make any large purchases. At all. Period. End of sentence. You are now being watched like a hawk all the way up until the day you close."


    The bank approving your loan will keep a close eye on your credit score. Large purchases may lower your score, and that will certainly raise a few eyebrows. Learn more about closing mistakes on MarketWatch.

    5. If you're self-employed, planning in advance is extra important.

    A model with a laptop and papers
    Tom Werner / Getty Images

    "I’ve owned three homes. I just bought the third. My advice is, if you are self-employed, take a year to work with an accountant to get things squared away. It is much harder to secure a mortgage when you are self-employed, and it's much harder to prove your income."


    6. Understand that buying a house is almost like a full-time job. It requires a lot of communication with professionals, and it may feel draining.

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    "Be physically and emotionally ready to handle constant interruptions during your day so you can take phone calls from your realtor and loan officer during the hunting process. It takes a ton of time and energy, even when you aren’t touring houses."


    7. Work with a realtor who's willing to help you through the process with your best interests in mind.

    A real estate agent showing a home to a couple
    Ghislain & Marie David De Lossy / Getty Images

    "We’re closing on our first house next month. Get. A. Good. Realtor. Our first realtor was awful and rude and tried to pressure us into buying a house alongside the property next door due to a split lot. We noticed a ton of things that really worried us. The realtor actually got angry with us when we said we wouldn’t be making an offer. Our next realtor was great and had no problem holding our hands through the process. She encouraged optimism, but she wasn’t scared to say things we didn’t want to hear."


    8. Go through the loan pre-approval process before you start looking at homes.

    BBC America

    "Get pre-approved before shopping, and have all of your identification and financial paperwork from the last two to three years uploaded to your computer. This way, you can send over the paperwork quickly and easily. Also, don’t fall in love with a house until after the appraisal, especially during a hot market."


    9. And, don't get too starry-eyed over a flipped home that looks pristine and polished on the outside.

    Paramount Pictures

    "So many flippers slap on cosmetics and ignore major problems. I already knew this before buying my 1963 cutie forever home, but I was not expecting to get hit with a $15,000 plumbing issue three months after closing. Moral of the story is: a flip may look and feel like a brand new home, but you might pay top-dollar for nothing more than fixtures."


    10. Make sure the location suits your lifestyle needs. You can fix many things that are wrong with your home, but you can't fix the wrong location.

    The Painted Ladies landmark homes in San Francisco
    Dowell / Getty Images

    "We bought in the winter with all the windows closed, so we were oblivious to the traffic noise. We're on a steep hill, and in the summer, the noise from traffic straining to go up the hill is brutal. We literally cannot hear the television with the windows open. We love our house but would NEVER buy another house on a hill. And no matter what the location, I would never buy a house again without visiting at different times of day and night to get an idea of what to expect noise-wise. Noise pollution really brings down your quality of life."


    "If you're seriously considering a property, drive by it at all hours on different days. See what the neighborhood is like in the evenings and on weekends. Maybe it's too loud and you like quiet. Or maybe you want a neighborhood where everyone hangs out on the porch. And definitely check the traffic for your work commute!"


    11. Don't forget to inspect the basement before you buy!!! It could potentially help you avoid an expensive disaster.

    Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

    "Basement waterproofing companies give free quotes! If you are buying a house with a basement, have someone check it before you sign your life away! You will save yourself so much money and trouble if they find an issue."


    12. Be aware of the cost of caring for (or cutting down) trees on your property.

    Model with a chainsaw cutting a tree
    Taiyou Nomachi / Getty Images

    "I wish we had hired an arborist to check on the health of the many trees on our property. We ended up having to remove several Monterey Pines and it cost a fortune — probably $5K for each tree, since they were around 70–80-feet tall."


    13. Avoid the hassle of moving in, then moving out again for renovations by making your home improvements before you start living there.


    "Do your upgrades BEFORE you move in — if you can afford the double mortgage/rent for a month. It's such a pain to do it after you've moved in, if you ever get around to it. Painting, floors, and kitchen upgrades — just do it and save yourself the nightmare of living through a renovation."


    14. Avoid being buried by homeowners association (HOA) fees.

    Blocks that say "HOA" with a tiny house figurine on top
    Andreypopov / Getty Images

    "Pay attention to the HOA fees and what you get for them! There's no sense in moving into a neighborhood with high HOA fees that go toward maintaining spaces and services you're never going to use."


    15. And, just remember to stay open-minded. Buying a house is a huge milestone, after all.

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    "No home will ever be perfect. And even if you find or build your perfect home, your idea of 'perfect' may change as your life evolves."


    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    If this sounds like music to your ears (and bank account), check out more of our personal finance posts.