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VINE VOICEon October 30, 2008
I am just starting to research what's involved in purchasing a first home. I found this book to be very helpful in providing a landscape of what is involved, but you should supplement it with more specific books, particularly around mortgages.

The book starts out by having you evaluate what you want in a home, and prioritizing the features. It tells you how to research neighborhoods, ok this is pretty city-centric but they are trying to reach a wide audience. It explains the various professionals involved in each stage of the process, provides forms for interviewing them, and explains what they should provide. It continues to walk you through the inspections, negotiations and closings.

The book is easy to read, but let's face it, the purchase process is complex, and I found myself re-reading some sections discussing the many forms and insurance options. There are some quirky sidebars that are of questionable value (songs about houses, a cookie recipe) but they do add some levity.

Where the book fell a little short was the mortgage discussion. The first book I read "Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance" covers this in great detail, and I highly recommend it as supplemental reading. It will explain in detail the junk fees that are mentioned in this book.

The forms included in the book have varying degrees of usefulness, but the interview and inspection forms are gold. A number of websites are listed throughout the book, and will save you from having to Google for the information.

Overall I'm happy with this book, and plan to reference it throughout the purchase process.
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on December 27, 2015
This book is well organized by chapter to help you find the information you need. This was one of the books to catch my interest because my husband and I intend to purchase our first home within the next eight years. We are giving ourselves plenty of time to look around because we actually plan to permanently reside in the home for the long-term.The entire thing was helpful for me during the home-buying process to help me understand the steps and what to expect. It includes detailed information on making first time home purchases. There is also a Cd-rom attached to the end of the book. Unlike most how-to books, I read this one cover to cover. It covers every step in the home buying process, in order from start to finish. It includes detailed information on topics such as finding the right house, finding a loan, getting a good real estate agent, figuring out what to offer, the closing process, inspections, homeowners insurance and more. I bought a small army of how-to books to help me buy my first home, but I really only needed this one. The following are some of the informative details included in the book:
Pages 25-27: Pinpointing personal preferences choice in the neighborhood of the home purchase
Pages 90-97: Essential details on real estate agents
Pages 275-303: Items to take care of before closing in on a house dea
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on January 5, 2013
" Nolo's Essential Guide To Buying Your First Home" by Ilona Bray, J.D., Alayna Schroeder, J.D. & Marcia Stewart includes detailed information on making first time home purchases. There is also a Cd-rom attached to the end of the book. The following are some of the informative details included in the book:
Pages 25-27: Pinpointing personal preferences choice in the neighborhood of the home purchase
Pages 90-97: Essential details on real estate agents
Pages 275-303: Items to take care of before closing in on a house deal.
"Nolo's Essential Guide To Buying Your First Home" by Illona Bray, J.D., Alana Schroeder, J.D., & Marcia Stewart is good for first time home buyers.
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on July 6, 2012
My husband and I purchased this book about a month before we began our home search, we just wanted to begin the process of educating ourself, understanding the whole process and let's be honest the lingo. Without a doubt, this has become our most used and handy resource (next to our agent) throughout the whole process. From the questions raised in this guide to the layout and resources provided--well worth its weight in GOLD!

Pros:
Chapters are organized well, whether you skip around or read cover to cover
This is actually an interesting read, not a boring how-to!
NOLO sites numerous resources and addition citations for further research (from everything to tips to you should check this out)
Great advise on creating a Dream List
Tips throughout the book are well-thought at and written
Examples are clear and very helpful
Explanations and breaking down a mortgage, insurance, closing process are very clear and helpful
Really good at helping determine what the roles of each of the players (brokers, agents, banks, realtors, etc.)

Cons:
This edition was written in 2010, the market was very different, especially how banks were treating foreclosures/short sales, if this is something you're interested in I'd get some more information
CD was just okay
LIttle information on Jumbo Loans, didn't apply to us but if it did...
Mixed information on new construction homes

In general, the cons just felt like these were areas for development, not even areas that were bad. This is an incredible asset throughout the entire process and we will definitely be keeping this book as a reference for future purchases!
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on December 22, 2011
If I had to give criticism for this book, the only thing I can say is that it is PACKED with information. It has so much information that navigating through the book can be a challenge because it can be hard to pick out exactly what info you need.

I'm in the process of reading this book and am nearly done. I've sticky note marked about a few dozen or so of the pages. There are occasional inspirational stories and blurbs scattered throughout the book. The book is divided into segments, which describe various aspects of home purchasing. The book walks you through the stages. Each stage seems to be written or supported by an expert in the field.

For a novice home buyer, it's hard to weed out what parts would be truly relevant and what the best way to start a home hunt would be. I guess when you read you just have to make sure to focus on the areas that would be most useful to you, otherwise you can easily get bogged down by facts and cross-references.

Other than that, the writing style is not hard to follow. The book does offer a lot of points for how you can go about getting a good deal and figuring out what you need and want in a home. It points out common mistakes people make. It gives templates and guides on how to further develop what your personal 'dream home' would be.

Overall, I would still give this book a 5 because it is a good resource. I would consider this an encyclopedia of information for reference and not necessarily a quick read.
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on February 19, 2012
This is a very solid overview of the basics of home buying. Has to cover a lot of ground so some things are not covered deeply enough. But the book provides a good foundation for the whole process and your mortgage broker, lender and real estate agent will be able to fill you in on details. For example: book tells a bit about condo associations and the need for FHA approval of the association's stability and resources before FHA loan can be done but my potential lender said that a condo loan could also be a no-go if the association does not meet that particular lender's standards.

What I have found is that the book provides a list of things that need to done in general and the reader will discover what they need to research further for a particular purchase situation.

Took a chance on the ebook version and kind of miss the option of having the forms on CD and being able to read and write on the worksheets but then I do have an Ipod Touch. I am sure the graphics and worksheets would show up clearer on a device with a larger screen (Kindle or Ipad).
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on April 2, 2014
This was my "give to the prospect" when I, as a mortgage broker" encountered a Young Business Lady , anguishing over the idea that it was time to become a home owner. Forget Mister Right as nunmber one, and gain the stature and apeal of being a member of Society. Usually it was because they had obseved the social changes that occrred when someone in their circl "didi it" Bought a house that is. You will be totally surprised that this much gold plated advice comes for such aexceptionally modest proice. But it was not all philanthropy on my part... I , usually had her first mortgae ap. AND, often a referral to me from her friend who got a peakat this book. Anoother bonus when you buy this book.... you become aquainted with NOLO press... an almost unlimited supply of down to earth, legal information that will save you lots and lots of money.
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on January 15, 2013
I began reading this book a few months before we were ready to purchase our first home. It is absolutely full of all the stuff you need to know. There are lots of first time homebuying books out there and I purchased a few. This is the one that gave me the information I needed to know. From how to come to a decision about what you want, how to shop for the right bank, what to look at when you're viewing homes, to how to negotiate a price, it's all in there and so much more. It explains the different types of loans and how to figure out which one will be best for you. It lists some very valueable websites to utilize during your search that give information about the prospective home, such as the estimated value of that home, home much taxes were in previous years, and sometimes how much the previous owner paid. And it's all practical. I would hate think how things would have turned out had I not had this information. I continued to read it most of the way through the process, eventhough they recommend reading the entire book before you begin looking.
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on January 10, 2013
Pros:
- Lots of good information
- Well written
- Easy to follow
- Helpful supplement material

Cons:
- Could be organized better by providing a summary at the end of the chapter covering the important points one needs to remember, or reference later.
- Sometimes there is too much extraneous information and fluff that seems to act as filler, instead of providing useful information. Makes some chapters seems a bit cluttered.
- Although I like the conversational style, I feel like the book was trying too hard to be "fun" and "clever." Personally, I want to get to the meat of the important information without having to weed through a lot of filler.

Overall, I would recommend it to anyone seeking a basic foundation of home buying; however, it would also be wise to get another book that covers mortgages more in-depth.
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on September 29, 2017
I just started this book but so far it's an easy read and definitely points things out that are helpful!
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