questionsever had a homeowner "mishap?"


Does closing on a house 3 days before a class 4 hurricane count? No shutters on house, went from closing to Home depot, where they were out of plywood, and had a partially filled truck on it's way. The line snaked across the front of the store, all the way to the back, and halfway across again. I turned to my husband and said " do they have any fence?" Guy say's sure do, plenty of it. Turns out that line was plywood only, we walked right up and bought the fencing, with about a 100 people in tow behind us, who had overheard. It was back breaking work putting it up (much heavier than plywood), but we weathered the storm OK, and fenced our whole property later. Other than that we just have some sort of plumbing curse. Any project seems to turn into a plumbing project.

Sorry to hear about your pool fiasco, especially since you weren't made whole. Isn't your banana tree near there? Is it OK? It will feel so much better when you are soaking in the pool. :-)


@pickypickypicky: Hurricane fence? Clever you! The miniature banana tree is in the side yard. Currently has a 'bunch; not quite ripe yet. '


@gmwhit: necessity is the mother of invention. Glad the fruit is unharmed. Still picturing it with the giant inflatable banana, LOL.


@pickypickypicky: Large inflatable banana is attached to the miniature banana tree. It's funny to view. Sorry, no photos. Don't have a smart phone. :-/ An aside: Am hoping the bananas ripen before I move.

Have sold my home of 34 years. Grief? Over the ownership? Some. Sad to be moving...only a bit. An apartment seems to be a haven to me at this point.

Have more 'mishaps' to relate.


A pool? Inground, apparently...I had one for 10 years and I don't miss it one bit. The small pleasure gained was way < the $$$$ spent on the upkeep. YMMV. :)


Another (near) mishap: About 20 years ago, I was told that I HAD to replace my sewer line. If I did not, it would fail, crumble and shit would be everywhere. Never did that. Odd how it still works.

Must say, I was on a 1st name basis w/roto-rooter for years. Once a year, w/o fail, my drain became clogged. The tree roots that were causing this were finally rendered useless. IOW, the trees died and were cut down. Sad because I love trees. Yet...the point is...never believe what a 'service company' tells you. They might be right. Or, very wrong. Saved me around $4K (20 years ago $$'s.)


The person who did the renovation (before we bought) plumbing in our home was a bit touched in the head. They raised the floor in the upstairs bathroom by a few inches, and instead of building up the pipes, they just added an extra wax seal for the toilet. Get that picture in your head - toilet, sitting on 2 wax seals, only one of which sits properly in the drain pipes. Upstairs. Guess what? The seals moved, and that toiled leaked (nothing solid) through to the 1st floor bath, filling up the paint and causing a giant bubble that we popped over a bucket. Then we; built up the toilet drain and replaced the seal, took down the effected ceiling, scrubbed, let it dry for several weeks, replaced the sheetrock, textured, and repainted.

All over a $0.75 pipe extension and 20 minutes of work.


Another one. Not quite the same. Two years ago my roof was leaking. Argh! To patch or re-roof? (Had re-roofed twice before in the 32 years I had lived there.) Okay, now! Do it again? Seems to soon, right? Gulp. The roof is a built-up. Meaning, it's a tar & gravel roof. You never know exactly wherethe roof is defective. It's deceiving, to say the least. Had wanted to sell the know..the market plummeted.

So...I decided to go ahead. 30K later. Yes, it did cost that much! Not a rip-off. The roofer is another story. I pointed out that nails were showing in my carport. He said, "It's done to code." I said, nails showing are not acceptable. It took a long, not pleasant time, for him to agree to paint the carport. The nails extending down are now white. How nice, eh?

He broke the curb on my driveway. Said he saw the truck drive up on it. Again, had to force him to have it redone. The dead grass on part of my lawn..he kept saying he'd replace it. His fault. Never did.


The previous dipsh*t owner of my house must have only owned a drill with two hole saws, 2 1/2" and 3". For any additional electrical lines he ran in the basement guess what he used.... yep either a 2.5" or 3" whole saw to make his runs through the floor joists. Now these electrical lines are only 12/2 wire.
Lets see a 2x8 floor joist with a 3" hole in it only leaves 4 1/4" effective member left to support the live loads. I have some bouncy floors.
He also used the same saws to drill through the rim joist to run an electrical line outside to the hot tub. He never bothered to infill the remaining 2" of hole with anything and the squirrels and mice moved in and set up house in the batt insulation on the basement walls and under the kitchen sink.
Not only did I have to repair the holes. I had to remove soiled insulation, disinfect, and replace with new insulation in my entire basement. Tear out the base of the kitchen sink cabinet to clean up after the squirrels. 1 word.....nitemare!


@gmwhit: re: sewer line: It is known that an old decayed sewer line can still function as long as it isn't disturbed because once the cast iron rots away it leaves a "tunnel" for passage. Might explain how the roots kept getting in the way.

j5 j5

Yeesh! You have my sympathies. It kind of stinks that, most of the time, when you are trying to do something progressive or fun with your personal property, that after the red tape, regulations, worker problems, extra fees, and unintended mishaps, you sometimes end up more frustrated than to begin with, lol

My only mishaps, have happened as a renter (if you exclude some misunderstandings I had with the Brazilian construction company regarding mine and my wife's new apartment being build...not a huge deal).

Renting in China though was always a disaster. They build stuff there SO cheaply, that its a normal, daily happening for many, to have to replace entire plumbing systems, among other things.

Pipes exploding are normal. Have to watch out for the ocassional electric shower heaters swinging out of control from the ceiling because of bad installation. My favorite was my friend's bathroom sink that just fell down because it was only glued upside down, lol.


You said you paid extra for a Bobcat dig? As opposed to digging with a shovel? I am not sure I have ever heard of that. I am currently having a pool built in my yard as well. I did a ton of research and picked who I considered to be the best in my area for what I was looking for. They were (are) doing a great job, but their communication couldn't be worse. After they dropped the ball the first time with communication I started a blog tracking their build. The blog was in no way to bash them, they are doing good work so no need to bash them. Just wanted to keep them on their toes. It seems after the blog was started everything was running a little smoother. A lot of pool companies go by word of mouth. I know the first thing I did when choosing a pool company is Google them. If someone runs a search on the company I am using a blog comes up of their build.

Just a suggestion, but regardless, I hope everything works out with the repairs.


The worst disaster so far was early in my home ownership when I didn't know the swamp cooler needed to be drained and the water to it turned off for the winter. The pipe up there froze and broke on Christmas morning and leaked through the roof into my bedroom and onto my bed. I was able to find a contractor who was willing to leave his family holiday and come shut everything off for me. He didn't charge me extra and showed me how to turn it off, clearly seeing it is more of a good deed than a job, for which I was very grateful. So that bit of ignorance cost me several thousand in roof and ceiling repairs. My home is over 100 years old and was constructed by hand, so the constant repairs are always a challenge. No two windows are the same size, none of the doors are standard sized so I have to have new doors cut to order. Non of my pipes are standard sized, so my friend who has made the house his project has become adept at various step-down and crimping methods.


cont'd: Sometimes a problem can be serendipitous. I hired a contractor to build a 10x20 screen room on the back of the house, which is split level with the front being one story and the back two. My downstairs room is used for gaming and as an art studio, it's 20x20, and the plan was for the contractor to install french doors to the screen room, allowing it to become one very big room. But when they started work, they discovered that the load bearing beams for the second story were too low and the foundation too high to install the French doors. he contractor suggested I put the screen room off my 2nd story bedroom instead, which I didn't want as I wanted to be able to enjoy the shade of my back yard and have my dog be able t use the enormous dog door I'd already bought. But after some discussion we decided to add a deck to the top of the screen room and put the French doors in my bedroom. It added $1000 to the cost of the project and never was money better spent. tbc


I have an outdoor sofa set and some meaty Adirondack chairs and a firepit up there and a great view of the Rio Grande and both US and Mexico. The addition cost a total of $10,000 including furnishings and added 400SF to my 1,000SF home.

But I fear I may be at he start of a major disaster. The front part of the house is 100 year old adobe, the back part of the house is a stucco addition put on some time in the 50s. My friend had noticed that there is a slope now in the hallway and the wood floor is starting to separate. He thinks that the foundation at the back is shrinking at a faster rate than the older concrete at the front, causing the house to slope. I don;t know wha an be done about that, but it could turn out to be a major problem in the coming years.

Sorry for the novel. This is a great question.


To this day, I use this as my biggest example of being a klutz: I broke a toilet in half.

My parents owned a condo. I rented from them. I lifted off the top of the toilet to see if I could stop making noise. Then I dropped it onto the body of the toilet and the toilet broke in half.
And the water valve was broken, so the water just kept gushing until I rigged up a bottle of dish detergent to hold up the float ball so the water would stop.

That was. . . not fun.


My wife and I are closing on our first home in a few weeks. This thread scares me.


@nmchapma: Don't be.
I would consider most of these stories abnormal.

I purchased my first house a year ago today, and with normal maintenance, I haven't had any problems.

Just have the house inspected by someone knowledgeable. When my house was inspected, the inspector gave me a lot of tips/tricks/hints that the homeowner didn't even know. It was valuable information!


@nmchapma: @craigster38 isn't entirely correct. This is house #5 for me. Some have been easier than others, but being a homeowner is, when you get right down to it, a pain in the ass. It's a good pain in the ass, but a pain in the ass nonetheless.

There will always be thing that will have to be taken care of one way or other. If you buy a new house it isn't finished. There are window treatments to buy, and the yard/outside to finish. You may have to paint or otherwise decorate. Older houses are going to be a constant fight. My 13 year old current house will need one of it's HVA/C units replaced this fall (#1 and #3 were replaced last year, when I bought it). At some point the roof is going to need to be replaced. I've been replacing the POS plastic supply valves on all the plumbing fixtures as I can (I still have 3 sinks (6 valves total) to do). I just reseeded the back lawn.


@nmchapma: I don't want you to get scared off, but rather I want you to have reasonable expectations. There will be work, and from time to time things will break.

One thing you can really, really to do help yourself: learn everything you can about your house. You are closing soon, so I assume you have had your inspection already. I really hope that you went through the entire house with your inspector. The better ones are very good about teaching you about your house. They will show you where the cold water shut off(s) are, and how to use them. Where the main electrical panel and shut off is. Where the filter(s) for your HVA/C are and how to change them. This is stuff that may differ from place to place and (as some of the stories here indicate) simple things can avoid big problems later on. For instance:
In some places with central AC, there is a small T connector at the start of the AC drain line. Every quarter or so, the homeowner is supposed to pour a solution of..


(from above)
bleach and water down the tube. This will kill mold and keep the tube open. If you don't do that: eventually the drain tube will clog, and a tech will have to clean it out for you. At the cost of several hundred bucks: assuming that the shut off on the AC works and you don't get a flood from the clogged condensation line.

And this is just one of the things that immediately comes to mind.

Oh, and before our buzzkilling stickinthemud mods get a chance to change them:
Original Tags:
chat why-did-i-buy-this-house grief


So agree w/@wilfbrim. Most first time home owners have no idea what they're getting into. Not all of home ownership is filled w/giant mishaps. But, they do happen. Also, the age of your home is important. Older homes are tired. Roofs need replacing. Sometimes sooner than you realize. Air conditioners - ditto. Both the compressor & the air handler. My compressor is currently running on it's last leg. It' been replaced twice before in the total 34 years I've lived here. The air handler replaced once. <----another horror story. (The stove top in the kitchen stopped working. Odd misuse of the breakers.)

I finally got a good AC tech. He'll do anything to keep the compressor running. And he's very reasonable. He's the exception rather than the rule. Other techs told me, repeatedly, that the compressor was dying and needed to be replaced immediately!!! ...That song & (SELL) dance routine began about 15 years ago.




Have replaced the hot water heater 3 times. They don't last forever. I honestly didn't grasp that products are not built the way they used to be. Ditto built-in appliances - stove top, ovens, dishwashers, disposals, etc.

Important: Ask friends, nearby relatives, coworkers, and neighbors to recommend service people/companies. NOW...before you need them. Unless it's a relative of theirs, they will give you an honest recommendation.

Again, I've sold my house. Am renting back until October. Downsizing to an apartment. Will pay overlapping rent. Okay w/me...I need time to get rid of all the 'stuff' I've accumulated. The house will be torn down; a new starter castle to be constructed.


our home will be close to 25yrs old. The downstairs AC has been replaced, so has the water heater, within the last 2-3yrs. The shingles may need replacing within 5 yrs but structurally it's in excellent shape. The lanscaping outside is beautiful as well. We're planning to overhaul the kitchen in about 6 months ($$$$$) I'm terrified of things I can't see. All the inspections are next Tuesday.


@gmwhit: I think a lot of it is that things that were once so simple, like refrigerators and washing machines, are now so complex. Machines have become electronics, and electronics seem subject to bizarre and complicated problems that never plagued the simple machines of our youth. Part of it is the features themselves-- the icebreaker on my mom's fridge never broke down, because it consisted of plastic (actually at one time metal) trays you filled with water. Part of it is having an otherwise sturdy machine rendered useless by the electronic chip that is its brain. I tried one of those pilotless tankless water heaters fr a while. Gave boiling hot water for roughly two minutes then cold water. Warm water was not an option. Couldn't find a way to make the blasted thing work, suffered with cold showers and dishwashing for a year while I saved up to buy an old fashioned water heater.


When we bought our house we didn't know about things like septic tanks. Didn't know you had to be careful of how much water was used. Didn't know they occasionally had to be pumped out. We also didn't go to the basement every day. One day my husband went to the basement and discovered poop on the ceiling. It seems the septic tank was full, so every time we flushed a toilet upstairs, it gushed up through the stationary tubs. Not pleasant.


@nmchapma: This thread shouldn't scare you, just educate! As a homeowner, you will look for and notice small annoying problems with your house. FIX THEM. That way, you don't deal with larger issues. If you didn't leave yourself a nice cushion of cash/credit you're not afraid to use - you should tighten your budget to create that cushion now. Not all homes have major problems, but you will end up replacing, adding, fixing, adjusting, or whatever something. Having it on hand cushions the blow when you're still reeling from closing costs.
Our house had a set of issues, some we expected, some we didn't. The lesson we took from it is, never expect turnkey to be turnkey. Always plan for repairs. If you don't have to make them, then you can just have a nice, cushy, home fund that saves your bacon.

Also, CONGRATS on the new house! I hope you love it. Despite its issues - I love mine. It's home.