I have been in apartments since 2005, I have never had a garage before. Its alot all at once, I suddenly have a real stove, a sprinkler system, alarm, a yard with fruit trees, all of which I have to maintain. Its kind of overwhelming. Thrilled to have a garage though, changing your brakes, and radiator in an apartment parking lot sucks.
In the 5 years I've been in my house nothing major gone wrong that I haven't caused myself by trying to fix little things.
This one time my sink was dripping, like one drip a minute. I bought a new cartridge for the sink for like $10. I tried to shut the water off in the bathroom and the **** broke off the water shutoff. I went outside and turned off the water to the house. Came back in and somehow managed to rip the faucet cartridge in half, still inside the faucet. I went back to the store and bought a $50 faucet. I replaced the faucet and then needed new lines to the faucet. I went back to the store and bought new water lines and replaced them. I went back outside to turn the water to the house on and the valve inside the pipe broke off inside the pipe, with the water still shut off. I then called a plumber and paid them $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to figure out how to replace the valve to the house. In the end the new faucet drips about twice as much as the old one.
So whatever you do, don't try to fix little things.
Can't say I've had many problems in the past 1.5yrs of home ownership...but then again, we bought a brand spankin' new house. I would say my biggest gripe is my deck. The wood seems to be a "meh" quality as one of the railing planks warped and pulled the nails hold it down right up. I wish they would have used screws instead of textured nails though as I've noticed general sloppyness to the railing and the balusters (many of them are bowing as well). We had it stained right after moving in and since then the wood has become quite rough and many nail heads are popping up. Pretty much everything in the house has been perfect though. Have fun with the landscaping and any painting that you feel like doing.
My house is 60 years old, and I have been here for 26 years. I've replaced the roof (twice), the furnace (due again), the water heater (twice), all the windows, and yesterday they paved the driveway. I have cedar shingles, and have to paint every 8-10 years. All the improvements have cost me nearly half again what I paid for the place initially.
But it's paid off, and I'll be able to get my money out of it any time I like.
the how and the what happened are slightly different stories. I will try to sum up both.
the water heater inlet and outlet pipes that come out the top were leaning toward each other where the exhaust vent is. i'm no water heater expert but since those are screwed into fittings welded into the top of the tank, presumably the tank deformed somehow.
of course the engineer in me screwed a gauge on to the drain valve outlet in case it was not really imploding and let the system do its thing. As soon as the gauge hit a value significantly higher than the T&P valve was rated at, I shut off the burner and opened a nearby faucet. so really it wasn't imploding but it sure looked odd and the plumber didn't have a clue what was up.
I then spent the next couple days heating up water with a timer running and the gauge in place so I could shower with hot water and not make a 40 gallon water rocket.
a few months prior to this I had installed a whole-house filtration system to get rid of the sediment that was building up in the aforementioned water heater and reduce the chlorine and chloramine taste and smell (arlington county switches back and forth and it's like drinking from the neighbors doughboy).
what I did not know was that many filter systems like this include a feature called a backflow preventer. I guess they do this so your crud buildup in the filter doesn't get pushed back out to the city water supply. many municipalities require a separate backflow preventer by code but I guess arlington doesn't.
so here's where the weirdness starts. we started getting water hammer at our toilet and one sink. abnormal but common. then the toilet valve started hissing and leaking at the top of the inlet valve. weird. so I replaced/upgraded that with a dual flush kit (which works very well and saves me about half the water when I'm not dropping a deuce). the dual flush kit made the water hammer CRAZY LOUD. weird again. I mitigated by cranking down the valve to the toilet for the time being.
then the water heater inlet and outlet do their craziness above. I investigate via the all-knowing omniinternets and determine that my water is heating up and expanding within the closed system of pipes in my house. this is doing god-knows-what to the water heater, causing the water hammer, and making my former toilet valve leak.
when the plumbers finally came to install the new water heater, I made them put in an expansion tank. this was smart because it would stop the expansion of hot water into a fixed space but it was stupid because it cost me an extra $250 in labor to put in a $50 tank and about $8 in copper fittings--while they already had the water off and the pipes empty. Yes I could have done it myself. I didn't have time to do it myself and the labor cost was probably mentally cheaper than discussing it further with my wife.
So there you have it. my tank didn't implode, it just went cross-eyed.