Home Buying For Dummies

Home Buying For Dummies

by Eric Tyson, Ray Brown


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In the market for a home, but don't know where to start? Not to worry! From financing, mortgages, and credit scores to closing the deal, bestselling real estate authors Eric Tyson and Ray Brown walk you step by step through the entire home-buying process.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470453650
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 05/11/2009
Series: For Dummies Series
Pages: 408
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Eric Tyson is a syndicated personal financial writer, lecturer, and counselor. He is dedicated to teaching people to manage their personal finances better. Eric is a former management consultant to Fortune 500 financial service firms. Over the past two decades, he has successfully invested in securities as well as in real estate and has started and managed several businesses. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics at Yale and an M.B.A. at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
An accomplished freelance personal finance writer, Eric is the author of five other national best-sellers in the...For Dummies series: Home Buying (co-author), Personal Finance, Investing, Mutual Funds, and Taxes (co-author). His work has been featured and praised in hundreds of national and local publications, including Newsweek, Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, Money, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and on NBC's Today Show, PBS's Nightly Business Report, CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC, CNBC, Bloomberg Business Radio, CBS National Radio, and National Public Radio.
Eric has counseled thousands of clients on a variety of personal finance, investment, real estate, and mortgage quandaries and questions. In addition to maintaining a financial counseling practice, he is a popular speaker on important personal finance topics.

Ray Brown, co-author of the national best-seller Home Buying For Dummies, is a veteran real estate broker with more than two decades of hands-on experience. A former vice president and manager for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Company and McGuire Real Estate, and founder of his own real estate firm, the Raymond Brown Company, Ray is currently a writer, radio talk show host, and public speaker on residential real estate topics.
Ray believes that most people are pretty darn smart. When they have problems, it's usually because they don't know the right questions to ask to get the information they need to make good decisions. This book completes Ray's residential real estate trilogy and fulfills his dream of helping folks find their way through the often mystifying process of buying, financing, and selling their homes.
On his way to becoming a real estate guru, Ray worked as the real estate analyst for KGO-TV (ABC's affiliate in San Francisco), a syndicated real estate columnist for The San Francisco Examiner, and he hosts a weekly radio program, Ray Brown on Real Estate, for KNBR. In addition to his work for ABC, Ray has appeared as a real estate expert on CNN, NBC, CBS, and in The Wall Street Journal and Time.

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Table of Contents

About This Book: The Eric Tyson/Ray Brown Difference1
Conventions Used in This Book2
How This Book Is Organized2
Icons Used in This Book4
Where to Go from Here5
Part IHome Economics7
Chapter 1Deciding Whether to Buy9
Weighing the Advantages of Owning versus Renting10
Ownership advantages10
Renting advantages16
Pitfalls of the Rent-versus-Buy Decision17
Renting because it seems cheaper18
Fretting too much over job security18
Buying when you expect to move soon19
Succumbing to pushy salespeople19
Ignoring logistics19
Buying because it's a grown-up thing to do21
Buying because you're afraid that escalating prices will lock you out21
Misunderstanding what you can afford22
Chapter 2Getting Your Financial House in Order23
Surveying Your Spending24
Gathering the data24
Analyzing your spending numbers27
Reckoning Your Savings Requirements29
Setting some goals29
Retirement savings accounts and a dilemma30
Other reasons to save32
Protecting Yourself, Your Dependents, and Your Assets33
Insuring yourself35
Insuring your assets37
Invest in Yourself37
Chapter 3What Can You Afford to Buy?39
Lenders Can't Tell You What You Can Afford40
The Cost of Buying and Owning a Home41
Mortgage payments41
Property taxes49
Maintenance and other costs52
The tax benefits of homeownership53
Closing Costs56
Accumulating the Down Payment58
The 20 percent solution59
Ways to buy with less money down60
Where to invest the down payment62
Chapter 4Why Home Prices Rise and Fall69
What Drives Real Estate Markets and Prices?70
Jobs, glorious jobs70
Available housing71
Inventory of homes for sale and actual sales73
The rental market73
How to Get a Good Buy in Any Market77
Seek hidden opportunities to add value79
Buy when others are scared to buy79
Find a motivated seller80
Buy during slow periods80
Become a great negotiator81
Buy in a good neighborhood81
Part IIFinancing 10183
Chapter 5Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score85
The Record You Can't Ignore: Your Credit Report86
What your credit history comprises86
What goes into your credit report86
Why you should check your credit report87
The Most Popular Kid on the Block: FICO Scores88
How scores work - the short version88
How a FICO score assesses your credit history - the long version89
What FICO scores ignore96
Why your score is what it is97
Getting Hold of Your Report and Score97
Chapter 6Selecting a Mortgage99
Fixed or Adjustable? That Is the Interest(ing) Question100
Distinguishing fixed from adjustables100
Looking at hybrid loans101
Starting out risky: Interest-only mortgages101
Making the fixed/adjustable decision102
Deciding on your loan's life: 15 years or 30?108
Finding a Fixed-Rate Mortgage110
The all-important interest rate110
The finer points of points110
Other lender fees112
Arriving at the Absolute Best Adjustable113
Where an ARM's interest rate comes from114
How often does the interest rate adjust?116
Limits on interest-rate adjustments116
Locating the Best, Lowest-Cost Lenders117
Shopping on your own118
Working with a mortgage broker120
Chapter 7Mortgage Quandaries, Conundrums, and Paperwork125
Conquering Common Mortgage Problems125
Insufficient income126
Debt and credit problems126
Lack of down payment128
Dealing with Appraisal Problems129
You've overpaid129
The appraiser doesn't know your area130
The appraiser/lender is sandbagging you130
Those Darn Mortgage Forms131
The laundry list of required documents131
Permissions to inspect your finances133
The Uniform Residential Loan Application137
Other typical documents147
Part IIIProperty, Players, and Prices151
Chapter 8Where and What to Buy153
Location, Location, Value155
Characteristics of good neighborhoods155
Selecting your best neighborhood157
Fundamental Principles for Selecting Your Home158
The principle of progression: Why to buy one of the cheaper homes on the block158
The principle of regression: Why not to buy the most expensive house on the block160
The principle of conformity: Why unusual is usually costly161
Defining Home Sweet Home162
Detached residences163
Attached residences168
Finding a Great Deal178
Finding a fixer-upper178
Taking over a foreclosure181
Pooling Your Resources: Ad Hoc Partnerships184
Types of residential partnerships184
Structuring a successful partnership185
Chapter 9Assembling an All-Star Real Estate Team187
The Team Concept188
Lining up the players188
Avoiding gratuitous advice190
Reeling in a Real Estate Agent191
Types of agent relationships191
How agents get paid194
Characteristics of good agents196
Selecting your agent198
Getting the most from your agent205
Bagging a Broker206
Landing a Lender207
Procuring Property Inspectors209
Electing an Escrow Officer209
Finding (Or Forgoing) Financial and Tax Advisors210
Looking for Lawyers213
Selecting your lawyer213
Getting the most out of a lawyer215
Chapter 10What's It Worth?217
The Three Elusive Components of Worth218
Value is a moving target218
Cost is yesterday220
Price is what it's worth today221
Fair Market Value221
When fair market value isn't fair - need-based pricing222
Median home prices versus fair market value223
Determining Fair Market Value: Comparable Market Analysis224
The basics of a helpful CMA224
The flaws of CMAs228
Getting a Second Opinion: Appraisals versus CMAs230
Why Buyers and Sellers Often Start Far Apart231
Inept agents232
Unrealistic sellers234
Chapter 11Tapping the Internet's Best Resources235
Finding Useful Information235
Bypass traditional search engines236
Get your feet wet at Realtor.com236
Read quality real estate news237
Discover more at these sites237
Doing Some Preliminary Shopping238
Surveying homes for sale238
Sifting school information239
Perusing "best places" to live240
Familiarizing yourself with financing options241
The Drawbacks of Searching for Houses in Cyberspace242
Conflicts of interest242
Misleading home-valuation tools243
Untrustworthy mortgage calculators244
Slow surfing244
Part IVMaking the Deal245
Chapter 12Negotiating Your Best Deal247
Understanding and Coping with Your Emotions248
Examining the violent forces at work248
Controlling yourself249
The Art of Negotiating251
Being realistic251
Examining your negotiating style253
Negotiating with finesse255
The Negotiating Process256
Making an offer to purchase256
Leaving an escape hatch: Contingencies258
Getting a counter offer259
The Finer Points of Negotiating262
Negotiating when the playing field isn't level262
Spotting fake sellers264
Negotiating credits in escrow269
Chapter 13Inspecting and Protecting Your Home273
Conducting Thorough Inspections273
All properties should be inspected274
The two types of defects: patent and latent275
Patent-defect red flags276
Types of property inspections277
Inspecting inspectors278
Insuring Your Home284
Homeowners insurance284
Title insurance288
Chapter 14It Ain't Over Till the Weight-Challenged Escrow Officer Sings293
An Escrow Is a Good Thing293
Know thy escrow officer294
Cover all the bases295
'Tis the season: December escrows297
Follow through299
How You Take Title Is Vital300
Joint tenancy300
Community property301
Tenants-in-common or partnerships301
Getting help drafting an agreement301
Getting Possessive302
Moving day302
Final verification of condition304
Coping with Buyer's Remorse304
Part VThe Part of Tens307
Chapter 15Ten Financial "To Do's" After You Buy309
Stay on Top of Your Spending and Saving310
Consider Electronic Mortgage Payments310
Rebuild Your Emergency Reserve311
Ignore Solicitations for Mortgage Insurance311
Ignore Solicitations for Faster Payoff312
Consider Protesting Your Tax Assessment312
Refinance If Interest Rates Fall313
Keep Receipts for All Improvements314
Ignore Solicitations to Homestead315
Take Time to Smell the Roses315
Chapter 16Ten Things to Know When Investing in Real Estate317
Real Estate Is a Solid Long-Term Investment317
Real Estate Investing Isn't for Everyone318
REITs Are Good If You Loathe Being a Landlord318
Don't Invest in Limited Partnerships319
Avoid Timeshare Condos and Vacation Homes319
Residential Properties Are Your Best Investment Option320
Consider Fixer-Upper Income Property321
Consider Converting Small Apartment Buildings to Condos321
Considr the Property's Cash Flow322
Your Rental Losses Are Limited for Tax Purposes322
Chapter 17Ten Things to Consider When Selling Your House323
Why Are You Selling?323
Can You Afford to Buy the Next Home?324
What's It Worth?324
Have You Done Your Homework to Find a Good Real Estate Agent?326
Do You Have the Skills to Sell the House Yourself?326
Have You Properly Prepared the House for Sale?327
Do You Understand the House's Hot Buttons?327
What Are the Financial Ramifications of Selling?328
Do You Know the Rules for Capital-Gains Taxes on the Sale of a House?328
Part VIAppendixes329
Appendix ASample Real Estate Purchase Contract331
Appendix BExample of a Good Inspection Report341
Appendix CGlossary359

Customer Reviews

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Home Buying for Dummies 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not purhcase this Nookbook. I could not get past page 53. I called B&N Digital Support numerous times. After much troubleshooting, I finally said enough is enough and requested a refund. The pages I did get to ready I really enjoyed and thought had very useful information. May try the updated version next although waiting for other people to try it first.
Vampires-Dont-Sparkle More than 1 year ago
I am sure I would find this book to be very helpful if I could read it. Every time I try to open it and read it, it freezes my Nook. Sometimes I can get a few pages in, and sometimes it will not even open the book. All of my other eBooks read wonderfully on the Nook, so I feel confident that this is an isolated incident related to how this book if formatted for electronic reading. Buy the book in traditional print form and save yourself some trouble.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish I had read the previous review, just bought this today, cannot get past page 59. Have reached out to customer service... but do not download until they fix!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This eBook had an error that did not allow me to get past something like page 63. Two months later, it still doesn't work.
piefuchs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As annoying as the Dummie's series is...this book was actually helpful and was definately the best of this genre that we read when we were buying our house.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like everyone else says, you can't get past 50 some odd pages. Looks like they don't care to actually fix the problem as it has been like this for years!!! Is this typical B&N??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cannot read the Appendix documents - the writer warns you to get an Inspection and gives a Sample what to look for - but as of 3/26/2012 cannot enlarge enough to read them. My Nooks finger-zoom function works well but not on these documents.
caleal More than 1 year ago
This book looks amazing. I made it to about 50 pages in before the nook book stopped working entirely, like many of the other reviewers here. For some reason they still keep selling it. I'm definitely going to buy the book (SOMEWHERE ELSE) in print form, because what little I read seems great. DO NOT BUY THE NOOK VERSION.
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