The Wall Street Journal. Complete Home Owner's Guidebook: Make the Most of Your Biggest Asset in Any Market Paperback – December 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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About the Author
- Publisher : Crown Business (December 30, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307405923
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307405920
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.74 x 9.12 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,169,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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"What are comps?" she responded.
I asked if she wanted a book recommendation.
Here was a person about to make the biggest purchase of her life, one she would call an "investment," without doing even the most basic research. It's a sure bet she'll spend too much. During the housing bubble, that might not have mattered. In an economy in which millions of properties are now worth less than the money owed on them, a foolish home purchase is likely to haunt a consumer for the rest of his or her life.
Had the woman responded to my question, this is the book I would have recommended.
The Wall Street Journal Complete Home Owner's Guidebook offers sensible, clearheaded (and often witty) advice for those buying homes as well as those who already have homes. Its premise is simple: Your home is NOT an investment; it's an asset. An investment, the author explains, provides income while you own it, and makes you a profit when you sell it. Yes, historically owners have made "profits" when they've sold their homes. But factor in all of the costs of living there--mortgage interest, repairs and maintenance and remodeling projects--and the "profit" may not be a profit at all.
The author's advice: To insure that you'll recoup the most from your home when you sell it, buy like a true investor. Don't spend more for a home than it's worth, don't over-remodel, and don't let Realtors tell you "the pride of ownership" is part of a home's value. Yes, love your home, the author says. But don't be blinded by it.
The housing industry won't like this book, and will likely argue against it. It's in Realtors', developers' and contractors' best interest to try to rebut what you'll read here. But a smart consumer looking out for his or her own net worth will find a lot to love about the Guidebook.
I feel the most of the other books are trying to sell you on the notion of buying a home. This book offers much more level-headed advice, and even spends an entire chapter on covering reasons why you shouldn't buy a home.
To me, these differences make this book stand out from the rest and make this required reading.
It is no secret that people can "over-improve" their home by spending more in remodeling than they could expect to recoup after an immediate resale, but the other side of the equation is that their family lives more comfortably in the home, they improve their lifestyle, they are more comfortable entertaining with friends and family for holidays and special occasions, and they enjoy these benefits over many years. Plus - even though the the initial investment in remodeling may not give you a 100% payback if you immediately resell the home, the fact is that the improved value will increase every year with the value of the home - as opposed to an automobile that rapidly loses value year by year.
If you followed the author's advice to its logical conclusion, you would never spend money on a vacation because it does not improve your wealth - there is no increase in your portfolio after spending the money for a vacation even though you and your family most likely have an enjoyable and refreshing time to re-energize the soul and create lasting memories. The same can be said for remodeling - you make improvements that increase your living pleasure every single day. To me that's a huge payback.