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Trulia, Other/Just Looking in San Francisco, CA

What do you wish you knew before buying your first home?

Asked by Trulia, San Francisco, CA Wed Dec 5, 2012

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No matter how much you want to buy the house seek expert advise. Get a home inspection.. Make sure you get a qualified home inspector so you have no SURPRISES
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
Good advice, but there can always be - and there frequently are - surprises, even with a home inspection.
Flag Thu Dec 6, 2012
I wish knew to use a professional Realltor.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 11, 2012
To pay attention to small details like mailboxes. I was so focused on checking things on my checklist that I didn't realize my new house lacked an on-property mailbox - it uses a neighborhood mailbox. Small price to pay, because the rest of the house was perfect, but it could have affected negotiating or whether we decided to keep looking...
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
1. I wish I knew about Buyer Agent Rebate
2. I wish things would get worse from when I bought my place. I thought I had timed market well to buy my place in Mid-2008 but things got worse after that.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
That a lender will only lend the what the appraisal comes out to purchase the home, even if the sales price is higher than the appraisal amount.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 11, 2012
I wish I knew the house came with bugs that only came out at night.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2012
i wish i would be able to afford buying any house
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2012
That the market would had to collapse.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2012
We had our first house built, and I wish I knew to tell the contractors where to put extra outlets and speakers for the intercom system, and to ask them to put a light in the shower stall.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2012
I'm actually in Schererville, IN looking to buy in Georgia.
Flag Sat Dec 8, 2012
How labor intensive this transaction would be, and how much, you, the future homeowner should learn about the process to assist your experience. I'm happy that I had a few good Agents/Brokers who really explained things and made sure I was knowledgable at ever step.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2012
From my very first home purchase, a few decades ago, to my pending search for a new home I have always wished, and still do, that I had a fairly comprehensive dictionary, or glossary-of-sorts of Real Estate, and Mortgage, and home inspection terms. Part of my confusion (as well as negative attitude every time I go finely go to closing is not having complete comprehension of all the various legal and technical terms of house buying. I find it very daunting to sit at a closing and have to sign papers that I don't fully understand the language used. ~ RD Looman
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2012
If I did it all over again I would have selected a Realtor who educated their first-time buyers with all the right tools, communication and transparency. I bought my first place at age 25 and my Realtor was a friend-of-a-friend that I did not meaningfully select based on ability. I had to educate myself through the entire transaction and it was stressful.

The good new inspired me to get my real estate license, invest in more property, and help educate others so they would never go through the same experience that I did. Fantastic twist of Karma!

I believe education/communication is absolutely imperative to create a good first-time home buying experience.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 7, 2012
I wish I would have looked 'up' more! I was trying to view the mechanicals, the windows, roof, and of course the aethetics! We could live with the sloping floors, the place was 80 years old. Only after we moved it, we found whole sections of ceiling, that were cardboard, PAINTED WHITE to look like ceilings! And of course, interior damage from a leaking roof! One more tip: the obvious, which is, when viewing a house/apartment, if there is a plunger visable, there is a problem! Learned that with my first apartment!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 7, 2012
'That the inspection has a 'clause' that they are not responsable for 'things' that they cannot visably see; in my case, the basement walls, were covered with rods of clothing in a large storage closet; and could not detect that the walls were freshly painted and could not see the mold that was covered; and later the home needed a sub-pump installed, due to water exposure, experienced after; (that was obvious had occured prior to my pirchase), now there is an owner disclosure document that has to be signed by the seller, for the broker to reveal such prior incidents.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 7, 2012
mechanicals; inspectors; neighborhood; noise; N, S, E, W directions of property; all monthly expenses; leaks; dry basement; exterior wires; road stripes; parking
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
I wish I knew everything was negotiable, I was going to have two more children. My salary was going to quadruple.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
That I was not going to have enough money after buying the house to make those changes I didn't like at the first visit.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
What to look for.Electrical wiring and outlets,insulation and water pressure
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
I certainly wish I knew what the REALTOR's role truly is in representing a buyer. My first REALTOR was really bad! She did not know her limits in how to represent someone. I remember feeling so pushed in making a decision. She also did not allow my husband and I time make up our minds about a property before interjecting her opinion.

I try to keep this experience in mind when I am working with buyers. I want them to be informed, yet not feel pushed. This is a huge time in a person's life whether they are a first-time buyer, moving up or downsizing. My goal is to help make the transaction as stress-free and as positive as possible.

If you are looking to buy in the Iowa City, Iowa area, feel free to drop me a note or call me at 319.430.1187. Visit to learn more about our local real estate market as well!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
I wish you lived by us Le Ann! Our realtor made us feel so pressured, I felt like I was on a game show. Iowa City is lucky to have you.
Flag Thu Dec 6, 2012
The type of people living in the area and how well they kept up their homes
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
I wish we knew the impacts of buying a property with land (5acres). Extra size and cost of large tractor mower, grounds to be maintained, landscaping, etc as well as the impacts from moving from a state with low income taxes to one with both high income tax and property taxes! Unforseen medical expenses, dental, things that can go wrong that do-- you wonder if we can afford it all. If the Congress changes the tax laws for mortgage deductions, that'll be the end of this for us.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
I think I knew most everything there was to know. But I guess I would have to say I wish I knew more about the neighbors before moving in.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
What I wish I "knew" is just how long lasting a real estate purchase decision can be. I am now nearly 20 years in my home, and it has been a great community and home to raise my children in - HOWEVER, I had a very specific plan that I threw to the wayside in an instant under the influence of an agent that took us off a carefully laid out course. I would not allow that to happen again.

I incorporate that experience into the way I conduct myself as an agent helping buyers. I tell them the story and promise that I will not do that to them. I will listen carefully to understand their goals, and remind them of those goals if we find ourselves veering off the path. Only if they, not I, decide to shift will we change our course.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
Buy when I was first married in 1963 while prices were low and you got a lot for your money.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2012
I wish that I knew that my agent was lying about the features of the property and that everything he said must not be trusted without proof.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 24, 2012
I wish I would have know I was going to make $89k profit on my first home I bought......I would have bought a lot sooner!!!!


Best Regards,
Robert Adams
The Adams Team at
Rothwell Gornt Companies
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 13, 2012
I wish I had known that you can and should have your realtor negotiate things on your behalf, like the price and having the seller clean up the house before close of escrow. I was 21 when I bought my first house and I paid asking price for a filthy house with nasty carpets and had to do everything myself. My realtor was terrible and didn't even tell us we could offer less than asking price if we so wished.
I also wish I had known that my ex-boyfriend who I bought the house with was going to quit working a year later and become a lazy bum. I would've kick him to the curb sooner and never bought the house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 13, 2012
Some Realtor are just about the commission and nothing else... Whenever you are making a big investment, you should try to use refferals or try and get information on whomever is representint you; for example you should ask. How long have you being doing this? Did you ask your past client for reviews? Would you call one of your client now while I am here to find out how they are doing with that 'WHATEVER' ... Put your personal touch to it.
Flag Thu Dec 13, 2012
If you are not super familiar with the location or are scouting out locations to buy. Street is like having a friend in the neighborhood! You can type in any neighborhood and it will tell you about its “personality”. There is a question and answer page where you can ask specific questions and find answers from the locals of that area. You can even type in your price range and “personality” factor, and it will give you the local neighborhoods that have the highest ratings based on your criteria.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 11, 2012
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 11, 2012
What I knew was barely nothing. What I wished I knew was how much effect an underwriter has on a transaction.
It is the behind the scenes person that has the greatest impact. The underwriter not only has to approve the buyer but also has to approve the appraiser's opinion of value.
This impact is major and many home buyers and home sellers have no idea just how much their transaction is impacted by the swift stroke of an underwriter's hand

Donna Baltera
New Braunfels area Tx
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 11, 2012
The entire process of home buying. I wish our Realtor would have guided us through before we pulled the trigger. That is why I became an agent. To help First Time Home Buyers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish I [truly] knew the word patience... Ha! We saw roughly 30 homes till we found our current residence in the 9th inning. Almost gave up, called my agent twice with the 'throw in the towel' speech... Ha! WE LOVE OUR HOME
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
That the housing bubble would (really) pop
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish I had known that no matter what you do, nothing will be perfect! Now I know that even after the closing date, you'll keep working to make the house your own. I guess it's all a journey!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
i wish i knew before i purchased my home that it was in a flood zone
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
well, those pool noodles are cheap AND fun!
Flag Mon Dec 10, 2012
Clarissa web designer/San Diego
We bought a property with 2acre lot, I wish I had known about the yearly backflow device check and how much the water bill would be.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish I would have researched the commute time/high-traffic areas. The drive was fine during the day, and it never occurred to me to drive the route first thing in the morning, after school, and after work.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
that some real estate agents take advantage of people, and only want to sell houses no matter what in order to make their commission.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish I had saved my money so I could buy a home sooner than I did!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish I had known that "my" real estate agent was not required to keep my confidences to her from the seller. I thought that since I was the buyer, she was responsible to me but, no, as it turns out she is responsible to the seller. So my comments about how much I would pay and my desire for an additional week were immediately repeated to the seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish I had known that Buyer's Agents take a cut of the overall pie, too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish that I had known that the bottom would fall out of the market. I wayyy overpaid for my home and now owe more than it's worth
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish I had been fully aware of the risks of buying an older house and knew how expensive home repairs are. I bought an older home with the intentions of remodeling buy instead all I do is repair and replace things such as furnaces, hot water heater, well, septic system, fuse boxes. I am constantly broke and something is always breaking.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
We took a long time to buy our first home, almost a year of looking at houses. Still wish I had taken longer. My neighbors are still to close, wish I had researched the community more! As it would be hard in the area we live in for my husbands job, if you have your heart set on a bigger yard, hold out for that bigger yard ;)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
That the market was going to plummet before I bought, could have saved myself , about $125,000 dollars off the asking price of my home... =o(
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
I wish I knew to watch for the interest rates. I was so excited to buy a house I failed to wait another 6 months for them to fall.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
Wish i would work with professionals.As home buyers we tend to think we can do this on our own,especially with many advising that there is no need of buyers agent.
I would also work with a professional home inspector.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 10, 2012
Yes, me as well. When I applied for the home loan I was careful to buy a modest home much less expensive than the bank wanted to lend me. Only two years later I became disabled and was unable to keep up with the payments and living expenses.
I have had a parade of room mates who have done nothing but taken advantage of me to where I ended up owing more than they were supposed to help with. I wish there were some way the bank or Fanny Mae could help me. There is a section 8 program run through the government where you can get housing vouchers (which I qualify for) but the waiting list is over 2 to 3 years long. Since I am already in a house they should be able to just let me stay in the house. Who knows what is to come.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2012
I wish I knew how to weed out the flaky, incompetent, and bad Realtors and mortgage brokers without wasting a lot of precious time and loosing thousands of dollars. I researched a lot and found myself catching their mistakes and eventually fell out of our 3rd escrow after 4 months and moving half way across country. One broker said I was approved, but then couldn't produce a letter when we went to make an offer. Same said he was waiting on docs from me which I took off work to get expedited and hand delivered to his office several weeks prior. Several had me submit full docs, then denied receiving them while replying to the same email they were sent with/didn't return phone calls. We made an appointment to look at a preset list of properties with one Realtor, then she said her boss added appointments to her schedule so we would only have 2 ! hours to see 4 properties in a rural area. Then we circled trying to find one because she looked up the street address - in the wrong city! I paid for an inspection then found out it was 'visibly' not FHA compliant as well as listed with that particular non-compliant foundation. I was told to order a pest inspection, until I pointed out that the sellers disclosure docs had one attached that was done the previous month. Everyone said they could do something that never materialized. I lost my earnest money ($1K) that was contingent upon financing (on a full doc pre-approval) - on an 18 day limit ! - none of the parties explained or monitored and my Realtor wouldn't request for on my behalf because 'the seller is entitled to it'. Instead of requesting with the escrow agent, he sent an email to the seller's agent stating I was requesting it, to which she replied ''No because she had several opportunities and she is in default because she never released herself out of the contract before the timelines expired and it costs my client's for repairs and moving in & out of the property." She also stated that her client works for an attorney and has easy, cheap access to services. Since Realtors have to draw these docs, where does the liability lie?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2012
i wish i knew that i was going to become permanently disabled.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2012
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