Customer Reviews: Buying a Home: The Missing Manual
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Customer Reviews

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on May 5, 2010
"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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on September 5, 2013
Having never bought a house before, this book was excellent. It walked me through the process and provided me with a great check list of things that I needed to be aware of in going through the process.
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on July 11, 2013
This is a very useful guide to buying a home. It provides very practical information about everything! The only thing that I wish the author had talked about more is buying a new home. Many people are buying new homes, and the process is quite different from buying an existing home. Although the author did mention buying a new home very briefly in certain places, the focus of this book is still buying an existing home.
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on December 16, 2012
Great overview of the process as a starting point. Written for a national audience, it can't speak to specific items that might vary from state to state, and doesn't refer to any resources to help clarify.
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on February 16, 2011
Book was helpful for us: first time homebuyers. The information is current for the post housing bubble era. It gives comprehensive lists of questions to ask various people and provides handy links to useful websites. The main benefit for us was that the book gives relevant, independant advice in one place for the entire end to end home buying process.
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on May 30, 2013
Bought this in a bookstore because we needed some answers immediately to help us with the forms from our lender. We only wish we would have bought this sooner in the home-buying process. It has many clear definitions of terms you will need to know before you close on a house. For example, lenders have to provide a Good Faith Estimate of closing costs. Our Good Faith Estimate was actually way off compared to what we will actually have to pay, which was confusing. This book gives approximate ranges of what to expect for costs that we would otherwise have no gauge/benchmarks for estimating (or for determining if the terms are fair or not). It was very reassuring and empowering. Now, we can go to the closing table as educated homebuyers. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or someone who hasn't bought a home since the mortgage crisis, it's highly recommended!
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on November 10, 2010
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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on May 22, 2011
As a first time home buyer, there are many issues for me to consider. And naturally people will focus on the appraisal of the market value of the houses. However, to buy smart, we got to start with the right loans and payment strategy. Missing guide does a good job on summarizing the items in the closing costs for both applying for a mortgage and for finally buying the house. The links of missing guide are also helpful where it shows various forms and explains how each cell of the forms relates to any kind of cost. It also provides form templates where people can use to compare closing costs for different loans.

Having said the good things about the book, it is really just for first time home buyers. It did not cover issues like how to leverage, about cash flow, how to craft for a lease if you wanna be a home owner and know other various ways to make profit on the property. So advanced buyers for investment buyers may want to choose other books.
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on November 23, 2010
Are you thinking about buying a home? Then this book is for you! Buying a Home: The Missing Manual walks you through everything you need to know about the process of purchasing a home, from selecting a real estate agent, to closing (and even a little beyond).

Having started the process of buying a home a few times before, I can honestly say I wish I had this book back then. I would have avoided some of the pitfalls that plagued both of my experiences. I didn't even know the questions to ask, and Buying a Home gave me questions to ask and answers to some questions I didn't even know to ask.

I seriously recommend this book to anyone who is contemplating home ownership - whether you get the digital or dead tree version, if you think you will buy a home in the future, Buying a Home: The Missing Manual is a wise investment.
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on May 3, 2010
I am about to move to new location and (gulp) buy a house there. While I've owned before, the amount to digest in the whole process is still quite daunting, and I jumped at the chance to read a review copy of this book.

This book gives thorough description of all the steps, from setting a price range, to finding an agent, to making an offer, to financing and closing. I appreciated the no-nonsense tone, since many reference books are overloaded with attempts at humor. There is a section on translating common listing phrases to reality -- "cozy" means cramped, for example. I expect to refer to this many times in the following months. Highly recommended.
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