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Buying a Home: The Missing Manual Paperback – April 30, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is one of the best buyer's markets in quite some time. It's tempting to buy a house right now. But before you rush off to buy, it might be a good idea to read this great book, Buying a Home: The Missing Manual, by Nancy Conner.

-- Miranda Marquit,

(Miranda Marquit)

About the Author

Nancy Conner has a PhD from Brown University and has taught writing, including technical writing, to college students and professionals for more than a dozen years. She is currently a freelance copyeditor and author, specializing in how-to and reference books covering topics ranging from the MS Office suite to Web applications to classical mythology.
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Product Details

  • Series: Missing Manual
  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144937977X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449379773
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Manju on May 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware. For no one is this adage more true than for those of us in the market for a new home! And for anyone new to the game, or maybe who landed in a money pit in their previous purchase, this book deserves a prominent place on your reading list ASAP. Nancy Connor covers every step of the often daunting real estate purchase, beginning with the often overlooked question, "Is home ownership right for you now?"

Like many in the Missing Manual series, this book is written in clear, concise prose that is easy for the real estate novice to understand, while never speaking down to the reader. We have the e-book version which in the Stanza reader can be annotated, as well as shared via email. Perhaps the one thing that may be missing in this Missing Manual is mention of the one website that provides most of the information (past sales, taxes, assessments, time on the market, whether it has been delisted, relisted, price changes, etc.) Ms. Connor recommends buyers have in hand when evaluating their home options: Redfin.com. We hope it will be included in future editions.

We happened upon "Buying A Home: The Missing Manual" when we were already half way through the process -- we had budgeted our closing costs, interviewed buyers' agents, gotten pre-approved by our lender, and were 2 months into home tours. After reading this Manual, we are far better armed with checklists and questions for the most crucial steps to come: making and negotiating offers, home inspections, dealing with contingencies, and closing. While we wish we had had this Manual before we began our odyssey on the the stormy sea of real estate negotiations, we are grateful now to have a another guide to see us past the sirens and reefs ahead.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Jacobson on May 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
The list above authored by Nancy Conner covers the essentials of the book. But if you want the thinking behind the advice, you need to buy the book.

Other reviewers have noted the contents in sufficient detail, I'll just make a couple comments.

As is true of most "missing manuals," the writing is clear and to the point, the inevitable "gotchas" are well covered. For most of us, the process of buying a home is frightening and intimidating, this book will help reduce the anxiety level created by the process.

It is particularly helpful in detailing the closing costs associated with a home purchase.

This is an excellent resource to obtain before you begin to look for a home, and it will help guide you through the process of making the biggest financial investment of your life.

Highly Recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By NMB on May 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Buying a Home: The Missing Manual" is a good starting point for many first-time home buyers's due diligence. The book is divided into four parts:

*PREPARING FOR HOME OWNERSHIP discusses the pros and cons of owning a home and the financial groundwork that needs to be in place before purchasing a home.

*FINDING YOUR HOME looks at creating a 'wish list' for your home, the people you'll need to hire along the way (real estate agents, home inspector, etc.), and the different avenues available for finding a home.

*FINANCING YOUR HOME could be called 'The Mortgage Section,' and discusses this aspect in detail. There's also a thorough chapter on closing costs.

*NEGOTIATING AND CLOSING THE DEAL addresses issues such as how and what to offer for a home, the ins and outs of a home inspection, and the nitty-gritty of closing.

The best thing about this book is its practical approach to home buying, which includes the encouragement to "do the math" on home buying. I found the chapters on Closing Costs and Home Inspections particularly useful.

The writing uses a straightforward, no-nonsense tone that is appropriate for the material. On a few occasions, the author repeats a piece of information over and over within a short span, which I found irksome. But overall, I think this is a good book for a first-time home buyer who needs a clear, accessible guide on the home-buying process.

(A heads-up for those outside the USA: "Buying a Home: The Missing Manual" is written for those buying property in the United States; being from Canada, there were sections of the book that simply didn't apply to me.)

Pros: Thorough, clear, practical.

Cons: Repetitive on occasion; may not be suitable for non-US home buyers.

[FULL DISCLOSURE: Based on a review copy of the ebook.]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William Springer on November 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm never owned a home, but I'd like to. From renting, I've gotten a pretty good idea of what I want and don't want in a home, but there are a number of things I hadn't considered until reading this book. I also didn't realize just how complicated the financial aspects are, and how many people need to be involved to make sure everything goes right!

Buying a Home: the Missing Manual covers all aspects of the process, from deciding if buying a home is the right decision for you, to finding the right home, figuring out financing, negotiating with the seller, and taking possession. It's not a book I'd read for fun (I was sent a review copy for Vulcan Ears Book Reviews), but it's one that I'll be keeping to refer back to when the situation arises. There are a lot of specifics that I expect will come in handy, from listing sites where you can browse homes to explanations of each of the various types of loans available.

If you're planning to buy a home soon and haven't been through the process before (or even if you have), I recommend this book.
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