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The Housing Trap: How Buyers Are Captured And Abused And How To Defend Yourself Paperback – September 12, 2012
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About the Author
Patrick Killelea is a programmer living in Menlo Park, California. Patrick started the http://patrick.net website in 2004 with the mission of making the housing market fair for the buyer. The public has taken note and currently daily readership exceeds 18,000 for his website and e-mail newsletter. Patrick has been interviewed on Nightline, NPR, and in the Wall Street Journal.
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So far the other reviews are either 5-star or (in one instance) 1-star, with some possibly reflecting opinions of broader market prices rather than the book. The one-star review said the book would have been better timed during the bubble inflation 2004-06, and would have been ill-timed in the 2010-11 dip; that's mostly irrelevant because everyone's decisions must be based on individual circumstances that vary widely regardless of the overall market. The relevant supply of housing is always local, even though demand depends partly on macroeconomic factors (e.g. federal policy) and global capital markets.
The book does leave some slight room for improvement in future editions. Page 2 candidly introduces the book as lay opinion and warns not to take any of it as professional advice, but even so the tax arguments might benefit from review by a CPA with relevant experience. Occasional typos can be distracting, although those can occur even in books published by major houses. The section that begins, "Favor FSBOs," says that sellers "get the same or better average selling price" but that would mean buyers are paying a higher price. (In fairness to the book, buyers might still come out ahead if their process goes more efficiently and they choose a more suitable home without realtors' sales patter and self-interested referrals, because as the book notes, "the layer of harmful obscurity created by real estate agents is removed." The right home for the buyer is actually worth more to that buyer, while the most aggressively sold house might be worth less.) If the first edition finds a big enough audience, hopefully a second edition will be even better.
Meanwhile, this book is the best I have ever seen at responding to the self-interested misinformation presented by the finance, insurance, and real estate industries. The book includes links to the author's website, which includes a free calculator to help evaluate objectively whether a particular house or apartment might be worth buying. Having read both the website and the book, I am glad to have bought the book because it organizes the relevant arguments and information in such a clearly readable way. It also makes a better gift to present someone a book rather than merely referring to a website.