Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home

Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home

Paperback(Seventh Edition)

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There’s no place like home!

The number of homes for sale is on the rise and mortgage rates remain near historic lows. That makes now a great time to say goodbye to your landlord. With Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, you’ll not only find the right house for you, you’ll have fun doing it.

This book provides everything you need to:

  • research the local market and listings
  • decide between a house, condo, co-op, or townhouse
  • create a realistic budget
  • qualify for a loan you can truly afford
  • borrow a down payment from friends or family
  • protect yourself with inspections and insurance, and
  • negotiate and close the deal successfully.

You’ll find insights from 15 real estate professionals—brokers, attorneys, mortgage specialists, a home inspector, a neighborhood researcher, and more. It’s like having a team of experts by your side! Plus, read real-life stories of over 20 first-time homebuyers.

Dozens of downloadable forms and podcasts that will help you find your dream home, crunch the numbers, interview real estate professionals, inspect the house thoroughly, and more.

Are you a California resident? Check out How to Buy a House in California

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781413327007
Publisher: NOLO
Publication date: 12/31/2019
Edition description: Seventh Edition
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 53,930
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ilona Bray, J.D. is an award-winning author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in real estate, immigration law, workplace wellness, and nonprofit fundraising. Many of her books are consistent Nolo bestsellers, among them Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits, U.S. Immigration Made Easy and Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home. Her latest book is entitled Selling Your House: Nolo’s Essential Guide. She particularly enjoys interviewing people and weaving their stories into her books.

Bray's working background includes solo practice, nonprofit, and corporate stints, as well as long periods of volunteering, including an internship at Amnesty International's main legal office in London. She received her law degree and a Master's degree in East Asian (Chinese) Studies from the University of Washington School of Law and Jackson School of International Studies, and an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, going to open houses, and gardening.

Bray also blogs on on topics such as nonprofit fundraising, real estate, and immigration matters. She's the winner of the 2012 "Best Blog" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE).

Ann O’Connell is a legal editor at Nolo specializing in landlord-tenant and real estate law. Before joining Nolo as an editor, Ann was a freelance writer for Nolo and other publications and law firms. She has passed the bar exams in California, Nevada, and Colorado, where she is both an active attorney and a real estate broker. Ann practiced civil litigation in California and Colorado, and had her own firm in Colorado. At her firm, she focused on real estate, landlord-tenant, and small business cases. Ann earned her B.A. from Boston College and her J.D. from UC Berkeley Law.

Marcia Stewart writes and edits for Nolo on landlord-tenant law, real estate, and other consumer issues. She is the coauthor of Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, Every Landlord's Legal Guide, First-Time Landlord, Every Tenant's Legal Guide, Leases and Rental Agreements, Renters' Rights, and The Legal Answer Book for Families.

Table of Contents

1. What’s So Great About Buying a House? 2. What Do You Want? Figuring Out Your Homebuying Needs 3. Does This Mean I Have to Balance My Checkbook? Figuring Out What You Can Afford 4. Stepping Out: What’s on the Market and at What Price 5. Select Your Players: Your Real Estate Team 6. Bring Home the Bacon: Getting a Mortgage 7. Mom and Dad? The Seller? Uncle Sam? Loan Alternatives 8. I Love It! It’s Perfect! Looking for the Right House 9. Plan B: Fixer-Uppers, FSBOs, Foreclosures, and More 10. Show Them the Money: From Offer to Purchase Agreement 11. Toward the Finish Line: Tasks Before Closing 12. Send in the Big Guns: Professional Property Inspectors 13. Who’s Got Your Back? Homeowners’ Insurance and Home Warranties 14. Seal the Deal: Finalizing Your Homebuying Dreams 15. Settling Into Your New Home Index


I wrote this book to bridge a gap, between the knowledge that industry insiders have about the legal and financial details of buying a home and the need for average consumers to basically download all of that into their brain—while under time pressure and stress, no less. This book helps home buyers make sure they aren’t taken advantage of and don’t make a major mistake. If you know what you’re doing, buying a house can be fun—a realization of dreams about your lifestyle and future.

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