Home Buyers Roundtable Tips from those who just BOUGHT...scroll down.

Here are actual posts from recent home buyers about what they learned in their first year as owners....

"Pick the smallest house on the best street you can find."

"Purchasing for a lot of people is often emotional. Starting conservative for a first time home owner is not a bad idea. You don't know what you don't know... Next time around at least you'll know what you don't know and can plan somewhat better."

"I'd like to add, do NOT blow every penny of your savings on the down payment. The washer we took with us died one week in and needed to be replaced."

"The good thing about an OK house is that it's cheap. We can fix it up and get some equity, I can get fired and still scrape up enough month to pay the bills."

"It's enough for the two of us. Many people go into debt up to their eyeballs getting 3-5 bedroom homes with 5 bathrooms when it's only 2-3 people living."

"Don't jump from no home to a mansion. I want a pool, on a lake, with a tennis court, a 2 car garage, outside of the city etc. Gotta take steps to get there though."

"Maybe it's just luck and only those with bad luck share their experiences. I bought a 35 year old house and only had to fix a couple things in the first year that broke. All in all, its significantly cheaper than renting."

"For those who haven't seen this little truism: 'Rent is the most you will pay each month. Your house payment is the least you will pay."

"Understand that home inspections will not find all issues with your home. They check for visible issues and issues that are easily identifiable to a professional, not every issue possible. You may buy a home that passes inspection but still requires thousands of dollars to fix/bring up to code/repair unseen issues, such as framing, leaks, bad electrical behind the walls, etc. This is why NOT buying a fixer upper for your first home could be very beneficial."

"Don't use an online calculator. Sit down and look at your budget and all of the expenses involved in a house, and think "How much could I afford to pay and still sleep at night? Can I take care of my family properly?" Chances are it will be far less than those calculators or the bank will tell you you can afford."

"I love living in a house. I love the amount of space. I like taking pride in making it look nice. I like coming home to a place more permanent than a slumlord's golden goose."

"A couple of weeks in, sore and exhausted from renovations, I took a bath. I came downstairs to find that like a gallon of water had come through the ceiling. We had to rip out the drywall, let it all air out, patch and repaint (actually, it's patched, but the plumber still has to get to the pipes and figure out the issue.) So that was several hundred dollars and a lot of time wasted on an issue the home inspector never found.

Oh and RIP my Roomba, who was docked near the flood zone. Drowned."

"As a homeowner for 4 years now, i'll add something important: Those kitchen renovations that get done for 15k on HGTV? Yeah, that's not real. Re-did my kitchen last year. That, and other renos: $24,000."

"1 year in, this is my best advice: if the seller's disclosure says 'a little water in one corner of the basement, occasionally...' you are going to have a wet basement."

"Protect your investment - get good insurance. Make sure you're aware of what's covered and what's not. Change the locks before you move in. Change the lock on the mailbox."

"Make sure you go there at night and see what it's like. Are there people who are playing music late into the night, random people hanging out. Does the place look sketchy as f---?"

"You don't really get equity until you live somewhere for 5+ years. In most cases you are paying ~3% in closing costs when you buy and 7% in realtors fees and closing costs when you sell. The first few years of mortgage payments are almost entirely interest."

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