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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
Crook, editor of the Wall Street Journal Sunday, offers a clear, no-holds barred look at the pros and cons of owning a home—rather than renting one from a bank via a mortgage—along with its ultimate costs. The author debunks popularly held views about the wisdom of viewing a home as a piggybank and how that can easily lead to financial disappointment. Owning a home is essentially an expense, he contends, providing repeated proof that few home buyers build accessible wealth through home ownership except in bullish real estate markets. His advice on making the purchase decision, especially in a weak housing market, along with how and when to use debt to do so, are invaluable. For those aspiring to own a home and those trying to manage the affordability of their biggest asset, this is a must read. It is applicable to home buyers and owners of all economic backgrounds, and in any phase of their financial life from the newly employed to the retired. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
DAVID CROOK is the editor of The Wall Street Journal Sunday and author of The Wall Street Journal. Complete Real-Estate Investing Guidebook. He developed Home Front and Property Report, the residential and commercial real-estate sections of The Wall Street Journal. David and his family divide their time between homes in New York City and rural Connecticut.
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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.