Book Review - Buying a Home: The Missing Manual

by Xin Lu on 21 May 2010 0 comments

Housing prices have dropped all across America in the past couple years, and more people are looking into buying a property instead of renting. If you are an eager house hunter and do not know where to start then Buying a Home: The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner(affliliate link) is the book for you.

The book is separated into four sections. The first is Preparing for Home Ownership. This section discusses the pros and cons of buying a home, and the financial implications of being a homeowner. In this section the author also gives some good tips on improving your credit and lowering debt so that it would be more likely that you will get a loan.

The second is Finding Your Home. This section zeroes into the house hunting portion of the home search. It included a good chart of common euphemisms real estate agents use to make properties sound better than they are. For example, "jewel box" and "cozy" both mean that the house is very small. This section also talks about finding a real estate agent and other professionals that would help with the home search.

The third section is Financing Your Home. This section is important to any home buyer because it discusses the different types of mortgages and closing costs with real numbers and examples. If you could fully absorb this section of the book then you would have a good idea of what to expect on your loan and closing documents. This section may be a little overwhelming to read for those who do not regularly deal with numbers, but it is very important to understand the loan you are getting into before signing the dotted line. The book also goes over the HUD statement so that a potential home buyer knows what the fees are.

The final section is Negotiating and Closing the Deal. This portion discusses what to offer for a home, and how buyers can negotiate with sellers on issues beyond price. For example, buyers could ask sellers to cover a part of closing costs. The book also discusses how inspections work and what happens if things go wrong.

I really liked this book for its straightforward and informative writing style. I also liked that the book was very comprehensive and covers the entire home buying process from beginning to end. When my husband and I purchased his parents' house I did a lot of research on my own and it took a lot of time to gather all the information that was covered in this book. I could have saved a lot of time if I had this book. One word of warning is that this book is definitely targeted towards American home buyers because the laws and procedures mentioned do not necessarily apply to other countries. However, the general advice on preparing for home ownership and negotiation are useful for any house hunter.

Finally, the book also has a companion website where readers can get updates to the book. Another book in the Missing Manual series called Your Money: The Missing Manual" was recently reviewed by Philip Brewer.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book and the post contains an affiliate link.

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