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Nothing can truly prepare you for the agony and ecstasy of homeownership (hidden costs, frozen pipes, surprise asbestos, oh my!). But that doesn't mean we won't try our darndest to prepare you anyway. Hence, 12 ladies share their personal cautionary tales below.

RELATED: 7 Things Nobody Tells You Before Buying A Home

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“I thought interior painting (walls, doors and windows) would be much easier than it is. If your budget allows, seriously just hire a professional painter! Trust me, it will save time and money in the end—and look 100 percent better.” - Liz O., Iowa

“That the closing date is not set in stone. We were given a date of June 1, but didn't end up closing until September, leaving my now-husband, dog and I scrambling to find housing (since our lease was ending on our rental).” -Jill Q., New York

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“If you're buying an old house, get an oil tank inspection. Removing them costs serious money, so it’s not something you want to discover after you've already bought the place.” - Alexia D., New Jersey

“Mice can squeeze in a hole the size of a pencil. (Don’t think too hard on that). But seal your house up like a ship.” -Andie, Rhode Island

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“If you’re buying a condo (as opposed to a single-family home), make sure you understand what type of association you’re joining. Don't be too excited about a low HOA—that can sometimes mean that there are more frequent assessments, which can be killer to the budget.” - Joanna V., Massachusetts

“Hire a chimney specialist to inspect the fireplace and chimney; a regular home inspector wasn't thorough enough to reveal that ours wasn't functional.”- Keeley M., South Carolina


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“Spend a long time hanging out at the property and see if you can live there. Like a long time.  Stalk the place. Sound levels and neighbor activities can be totally different from day to day.” - Nancy H., New Hampshire

“Make sure you have a realtor you really like and trust (use personal referrals). It’s 100 percent worth shopping around for a good one.” - Joyce S., California  

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“The way things work on all those HGTV shows we love is not the way things work in real life. Everything takes much longer and costs much more. On a brighter note, fixing things like ugly wallpaper and paint color is actually pretty inexpensive, and can make a huge difference. Never consider cosmetic work a deal-breaker.” - Judith H., New York    

“It’s totally normal for a seller to continue to show the house after they’ve accepted your offer. Deals fall through all the time, so it makes sense that they have to keep pursuing other avenues (even if it’s terrifying to you!). - Sarah S., Connecticut

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“Check the water pressure before buying! Having to put in a new pump is an expensive unexpected fix.” - Naomi F., New York

“Don't be surprised when decision making about paint color, etc., is much more rushed and random than expected. I thought that choosing paint for each room would be a very thoughtful process, but instead, the painter called and was like, ‘Hey, we're painting the bedroom today. What color do you want?’ So I just picked a color from my Pinterest Board, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best!” - Lizzie H., Maryland

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