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Buying a 'Bad' Home: What to Know in Case You Buy a House of Horrors

As if that weren't enough, a few months later, the frustrated Treher family also discovered a serious crack that developed alongside an existing repair line in the ceiling of their living room. Within days after the discovery, the ceiling became almost entirely detached. (When the Trehers attempted to remove the ceiling in order to replace it, it took "just one tug" for the ceiling to detach in its entirety). According to the Trehers, the house was "literally unraveling itself" -- and continues to do so, even two years later.

"After the issues started mounting up, the house has never felt like home," Justin said. "[But] we are stuck and will make the best of it -- hopefully saving up an emergency fund for any future repairs after we shell out for the exterior work next year."

How to Ensure You're Not Buying a Lemon

Though there's no such thing as a perfect house -- every home, even newly-constructed ones, will have some issue or another -- the trick is to make sure the home is free of any major problems before signing the dotted line. Like when buying anything, purchasing a home is a financial transaction and should be treated as such.

But, much like the Treher family's case, that can be challenging for many homebuyers. According to Kirk Juneau, a licensed home inspector in Washington State who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors, the majority of homebuyers are more concerned with the "views" than the "issues." (His thoughts are echoed by real estate attorney John Braun, who said that most people spend more time test driving their cars than looking at the home they intend to buy.)

"I think a lot of people -- 80 to 85 percent of people -- buy emotionally, and I get that. Buying a house is a dream," Juneau told AOL Real Estate. "I know it's hard, but homebuyers really need to separate their emotions from this transaction. Don't look at the home through rose-colored glasses; don't get too emotionally attached before the inspection. That's one of the most important things I can recommend."
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