"Absolute Nightmare": Homeowners Are Sharing The Struggles That They Were 100% Not Prepared For When They Bought Their Houses

As a forever-renter, I'm always fascinated by the stories and struggles of those who've bought their own homes. Recently, u/everybuddyup asked homeowners on Reddit to share the things about their house that they never expected to be as much of a nuisance as they've turned out to be, and some of the responses were really surprising. Here's what people had to say:

1."Finding contractors for minor repair jobs. I had a chimney leak and called four companies. Three of them didn’t want the job since it was a $300-500 repair. The fourth set up an appointment with me but never showed up. It took me over four months to find someone."

Woman talking with a home contractor in her house
Hispanolistic / Getty Images

2."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."


3."I bought a flat. The neighbors 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 our 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."


4."Bamboo. Someone before me planted super invasive, 15-foot-tall bamboo in the backyard. It was spreading so wildly it was lifting the granite pool and growing under the foundation of the house. You could see the remnants of a 'barrier' of sorts where they initially planted it, obviously not knowing how bamboo grows. I myself did not know until I purchased the house. Absolute nightmare."

Close-up of bamboo stalks with green leaves
Hudiemm / Getty Images

5."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 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."


6."Buying a 'fixer-upper' in general. Renovations cost a LOT more than you can imagine. HGTV LIES."


7."Single bathroom. I had underestimated the amount of time my husband just SITS on the toilet."

A person sits on a toilet with pants down, looking at a smartphone. The setting appears to be a bathroom with a modern design
Svitlana Hulko / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."Window treatments or curtains. The guy before me broke up with his girlfriend. She moved out and took all the curtains out of spite. I didn’t think it was a big deal until I priced out new ones."


9."We were younger when we bought our house and never thought about the laundry being in the basement and no main floor bedroom being a problem. Now we are seniors and it will make us move."


10."A new roof is $20,000."

Person using a nail gun to install roof shingles on a house. The person is wearing gloves and a safety vest
Brizmaker / Getty Images

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


12."Drainage issues. There are three locations on my three acres that do not drain correctly. It sucks."


13."Water is bad. I now hate rain and snow and any leaking thing. It's bad for the roof, it's bad for the foundation, and it's damn near bad for everything else in between. Fix leaks IMMEDIATELY."

A plumber is lying on his back fixing a sink. Tools and equipment are spread out on the floor next to him, with a plant and a toolbox nearby
Anchiy / Getty Images

14."'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 that 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 sold the home in 2018 for a good profit with all our updates. We 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."


15."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 neighbors on each side are best friends, and so they stand on the path directly outside our kitchen window when they chat."


16."I live in a major US city about a mile from downtown. Half my house is a cellphone reception dead zone."

Person holding a smartphone
Tatiana Meteleva / Getty Images

17."Low ceilings. 'I’ll get used to it,' I thought. Nope."


18."Non-impact windows. Every time a hurricane comes through, I have to bolt on all the damn heavy ass shutters, then when it passes, I have to lug them back to the garage. I could do impact windows, but it would be like $30k, and there’s like a 10-month backlog with all the manufacturers because my house is so old I need custom sizes made."


19."Figure out the driving distance to the nearest Lowes/Home Depot/Ace/Menards. Now imagine doing that trip twice for every project (because you always forget one thing). I wish I was five minutes closer to our local Lowes."

The Home Depot storefront with cars parked in front, American flag flying above, and the signature orange roof canopy visible
Brett_hondow / Getty Images

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


21."The house is on a slab, and they put the insulation on the outside of the foundation up to the sill, then covered it in stucco. I thought it was concrete, so I started blasting it with a weed whacker. Now, I have to find a way to fix it. Fucking stupid design."


22."Trees. I love trees, don't get me wrong, but on a 1/4 acre lot, they invariably put structures at risk. And they are pricey as hell to take down. We are having a dying ash tree taken down on Friday for $1500. Had a Siberian elm taken down last year for $2000. Ugh."

Person in climbing gear using a chainsaw to trim a tree branch at a significant height, with safety ropes securing them
Debove Sophie / Getty Images

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


24."Our inspection came back with only a few minor issues, including a slightly broken vent cover in the attic. Figured I'd get to it in a few months after we moved and settled. Unfortunately, a family of birds got to it first and now they live in the attic right next to our bedroom."


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

Close-up of a child's feet walking on a soft, gray carpet indoors. The child's legs are partially visible, wearing loose-fitting pants
Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

26."That the mortgage insurance (required) is more than the mortgage payment."


27."My priorities have changed over time after having kids. What we under-prioritized: a neighborhood with community activities/gatherings, extra protection from traffic like in a cul-de-sac, a flat driveway so kids could play on ride-on toys, and eventually have a basketball goal. Oh, and mature trees. Those are probably the only things that could get me to move, even though the house has other minor inconveniences."


28."A pool. We thought it would be awesome to have a pool. It’s the fucking worst. The chemicals, the cleaning, the maintenance. It’s nothing but work. Oh, and if anything leaks or breaks, it’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars to fix, or you’re fucked. It’s so much money just to maintain. Plus, I’m in the northeast, so it’s all this work for about three months of use. It’s a massive pain in the ass. Never buy a house with a pool…unless you’re rich enough to pay someone to take care of it for you."

Person in sporty attire cleaning a pool with various hoses and tools.
Boy_anupong / Getty Images

29.And finally, "The HOA."


Can you relate? Share the homeowner headaches you never expected in the comments!