Cover image for Nolo's essential guide to buying your first home
Nolo's essential guide to buying your first home
7th ed.
Physical Description:
446 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Your homebuying companion -- What's so great about buying a house? -- What do you want? : figuring out your homebuying needs -- Does this mean I have to balance my checkbook? : figuring out what you can afford -- Stepping out : what's on the market and at what price -- Select your players : the real estate team -- Bring home the bacon : getting a mortgage -- Mom and dad? The seller? Uncle Sam? : loan alternatives -- I love it! It's perfect! Looking for the right house -- Plan B : fixer-uppers, FSBOs, foreclosures, and more -- Show them the money : from offer to purchase agreement -- Toward the finish line : tasks before closing -- Send in the big guns : professional property inspectors -- Who's got your back? : homeowners' insurance and home warranties -- Seal the deal : finalizing your homebuying dreams.
Added Corporate Author:
This book provides everything the reader needs 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. The reader will find insights from 15 real estate professionals -- brokers, attorneys, mortgage specialists, a home inspector, a neighborhood researcher, and more. Plus, this book contains real-life stories of over 20 first-time homebuyers. --


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 643.12 BRA 2020 0 1
Book 643.12 BRA 2020 0 1
Book 643.12 BRA 2020 0 1

On Order



There's no place like home!

Ready to say goodbye to your landlord? With help from 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.

Learn how to:

research the local market and listings choose 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--agents, attorneys, mortgage specialists, a home inspector, and more. It's like having a team of experts by your side! Plus, read real-life stories of over 20 first-time homebuyers.

Download the Homebuyer's Toolkit
Dozens of customizable forms that will help you find your dream home, crunch the numbers, interview real estate professionals, inspect the house thoroughly, and more--available on (details inside).

Author Notes

Ilona Bray, J.D., is an award-winning author and legal editor at Nolo. She has written many Nolo books on real estate, immigration, and nonprofit fundraissng.
Ann O'Connell is an attorney and real estate broker, and a legal editor at Nolo.
Marcia Stewart is a coauthor of the award-winning First-Time Landlord: Your Guide to Renting Out a Single-Family Home and other Nolo books.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Even in a sluggish market, there will always be people seeking advice and direction in buying a first home. Nolo's excellent guide for novice home buyers provides fresh, updated information about the whole process that even those in the know will find useful. Readers will appreciate the chapter outlines highlighting key topics in each section, as well as the personal anecdotes and tips from real estate experts. As in the "For Dummies" series, each chapter here is punctuated with icons, starred paragraphs, and simple catchphrases, all designed to reduce further the intimidation factor in making a major life-changing purchase. Packaged with a CD-ROM that includes essential forms (e.g., a "Final Walk-Through Checklist," a sample inspection report, and a "Questions for the Sellers Worksheet") and MP3-formatted audio files of extended insight from the real estate experts, this is highly recommended for most public libraries, especially those seeking to replace and update outdated real estate titles. Determined not to leave any segment of the real estate community uninformed, Nolo also offers a guide to buying a second home. Though perhaps overly detailed in some sections (e.g., there are in-depth descriptions of the differences among a townhouse, a co-op, and a condominium) and not as universally needed, the book is valuable for guiding readers toward examining and understanding the desire for purchasing a second home and the financial ramifications of embarking on such an endeavor. A CD-ROM with reproducible forms is included. Recommended for libraries with larger boomer populations and/or populations with higher-than-average discretionary incomes, though the book is quick to emphasize that a second home purchase is no longer strictly only for the rich and famous.-Joslyn Jones, Oak Park P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



8: Next >IntroductionMeet Your AdviserMark Nash, an Associate Broker with Coldwell Banker, who serves the Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, and Wilmette areas of Illinois ( brakes are off, and you're ready to visit houses that seem to match your Dream List, and choose one. "Whatever you do, don't settle," says Realtor Maxine Mackle (after 18 years of experience in the Connecticut market). "You should be really enthusiastic about a house before you make an offer on it."But first, breathe deeply and cultivate some nonattachment. Sellers of beautiful houses usually know they've got a gem and price it accordingly. Meanwhile, the market contains its share of duds: houses with dark rooms, weird layouts, and repair nightmares. This doesn't mean your perfect house isn't out there, just that you're unlikely to find it on day one. So to make your search productive, we'll show you how to: * get help from your real estate agent, friends, and neighbors * compare each house with your Dream List, looking past the fancy furniture or staging, the need for fixing up, or the shininess of a recent remodel * see whether you can live with the layout * review disclosure and other information you receive from the seller * do your own, informal inspection for repair issues, and * understand how to approach buying a not-yet-constructed house, or one in a common interest development (CID). Excerpted from Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home by Ilona Bray, Marcia Stewart, Alayna Schroeder All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Your Homebuying Companionp. 1
1 What's So Great About Buying a House?p. 5
Investment Value: Get What You Pay For ... And Then Somep. 8
Tax Breaks: Benefits From Uncle Samp. 11
Personality and Pizzazz: Your Home Is Your Castlep. 15
No More Landlord: Say Goodbye to Rentingp. 15
You Can Do It ... If You Want Top. 16
2 What Do You Want? Figuring Out Your Homebuying Needsp. 23
Know Your Ideal Neighborhood: Why Location Mattersp. 26
Know Yourself: How Your Lifestyle, Plans, and Values Affect Your House Prioritiesp. 28
Know Your Ideal House: Old Bungalows, New Condos, and Morep. 30
Would You Like Land With That? Single-Family Housesp. 30
Sharing the Joy, Sharing the Pain: Condos and Other Common Interest Propertiesp. 34
Factory Made: Modular and Manufactured Homesp. 38
Putting It All Together: Your Dream Listp. 40
3 Does This Mean I Have to Balance My Checkbook? Figuring Out What You Can Affordp. 49
Beyond the Purchase Price: The Costs of Buying and Owning a Homep. 53
Spend Much? How Lenders Use Your Debt-to-income Ratiop. 59
Blasts From the Past: How Your Credit History Factors Inp. 61
What's Your Monthly Budget? Understanding Your Financesp. 67
Getting Creative: Tips for Overcoming Financial Roadblocksp. 70
The Power of Paper: Getting Preapproved for a Loanp. 72
4 Stepping Out: What's on the Market and at What Pricep. 77
What's the Buzz? Checking Out Neighborhoods From Your Chairp. 80
See for Yourself: Driving Through Neighborhoodsp. 89
On Foot: Talking to the Nativesp. 91
Sunrise, Sunset: Getting Day and Night Perspectivesp. 92
Got Houses? Finding Out What's Locally Availablep. 93
How Much Did That One Go For? Researching "Comparable" Salesp. 94
Hot or Cold? Take the Market's Tempp. 96
Just Looking: The Open House Tourp. 98
Nothing to Look at Yet? Finding Your Dream Developmentp. 99
5 Select Your Players: The Real Estate Teamp. 101
Your Team Captain: The Real Estate Agentp. 104
Your Cash Cow: The Loan Officer, Mortgage Broker, or Mortgage Bankerp. 120
Your Fine-Print Reader: The Real Estate Attorneyp. 127
Your Sharp Eye: The Property Inspectorp. 134
Your Big Picture Planner: The Closing Agentp. 139
Strength in Numbers: Other Team Membersp. 143
6 Bring Home the Bacon: Getting a Mortgagep. 145
Let's Talk Terms: The Basics of Mortgage Financingp. 148
Who's Got the Cash? Where to Get a Mortgagep. 154
Narrowing the Field: Which Type of Mortgage Is Best for You?p. 154
Getting Your Cash Together: Common Down Payment and Financing Strategiesp. 163
Where Do I Look? Researching Mortgagesp. 164
I'll Take That One! Applying for Your Loanp. 166
New-Home Financingp. 171
Unique Financial Considerations for Co-op Buyersp. 174
7 Mom and Dad? The Seller? Uncle Sam? Loan Alternativesp. 175
No Wrapping Required: Gift Money From Relatives or Friendsp. 178
All in the Family: Loans From Relatives or Friendsp. 182
A One-Person Bank: Seller Financingp. 193
Backed by Uncle Sam: Government-Assisted Loansp. 195
8 I Love It! It's Perfect! Looking for the Right Housep. 201
How Your Agent Can Helpp. 204
The Rumor Mill: Getting House Tips From Friendsp. 207
Keeping Track of New Listingsp. 208
Planning Ahead for House Visitsp. 208
Come on In: What to Expect as You Enterp. 210
Do We Have a Match? Using Your Dream Listp. 213
All the World's Been Staged: Looking Past the Glitterp. 214
Recent Remodels: What to Watch Out Forp. 215
Walk the Walk: Layout and Floor Planp. 217
What Do They Know? Reviewing Seller Disclosure Reportsp. 217
Reviewing the Seller's Inspection Reports (If Any)p. 221
Poking Around: Doing Your Own Initial Inspectionp. 225
Hey, Nice Dirt Pile! Choosing a Not-Yet-Built Housep. 226
Buying a New or Old Condo or Co-op? Research the Communityp. 230
9 Plan B: Fixer-Uppers, FSBOs, Foreclosures, and Morep. 237
Castoffs: Searching for Overlooked Housesp. 240
Houses Not Yet on the Marketp. 243
Look What's Back on the Market!p. 243
A Foot in the Door: Buying a Starter Housep. 244
Have It Your Way: Buying a Fixer-Upper or House You Can Add on Top. 245
Share Your Space: Buying Jointlyp. 250
Subdivide Your Space: Renting Out a Roomp. 252
Hey, Where's Their Agent? Looking for FSBOs (For Sale by Owners)p. 253
Buying a Short Sale Propertyp. 256
Buying a Foreclosure Propertyp. 261
Buying a House in Probatep. 268
10 Show Them the Money: From Offer to Purchase Agreementp. 271
Start to Finish: Negotiating and Forming a Contractp. 275
More Than Words: What's in the Standard Purchase Contractp. 281
Too Much? Not Enough? How Much to Offerp. 285
Keeping Your Exit Routes Open: Contingenciesp. 291
Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: The Earnest Money Depositp. 297
Divvy It Up: Who Pays What Feesp. 298
Deal or No Deal: Picking an Expiration Datep. 299
Think Ahead: Closing Datep. 300
Strategies in a Cold Market: What to Ask Forp. 301
Strategies in a Hot Market: Making Your Offer Stand Outp. 302
Contracting to Buy a Brand-New Homep. 303
11 Toward the Finish Line: Tasks Before Closingp. 307
Wrappin' It Up: Removing Contingenciesp. 311
Will It Really Be Yours? Getting Title Insurancep. 321
Yours, Mine, or Ours? What to Say on the Deedp. 327
Get Ready, 'Cause Here I Come: Preparing to Movep. 331
12 Send in the Big Guns: Professional Property Inspectorsp. 337
Home Inspection Overview: What, When, and at What Cost?p. 340
House Calls: Your General Home Inspectionp. 342
Tagging Along at Your General Home Inspectionp. 346
Say What? Understanding Your General Home Inspection Reportp. 348
Termite or Pest Inspectionsp. 350
When to Get Other, Specialized Inspectionsp. 352
Trouble in Paradise: Inspecting Newly Built Homesp. 354
13 Who's Got Your Back? Homeowners' Insurance and Home Warrantiesp. 357
Coverage for Your Housep. 360
Damage Your Homeowners' Insurance Won't Coverp. 365
Protection for Others' Injuries: Liability Insurancep. 368
Your Out-of-Pocket: Homeowners' Insurance Costsp. 370
Insurance Deductiblesp. 372
Shopping Around for Homeowners' Insurancep. 375
Types of Insurance Companiesp. 376
Jointly Owned, Jointly Insured: What Your Community Association Pays Forp. 376
Home Warranties for Preowned Housesp. 377
Home Warranties for Newly Built Housesp. 379
14 Seal the Deal: Finalizing Your Homebuying Dreamsp. 381
Preview of Coming Attractions: What Your Closing Will Involvep. 385
Is It Really Empty? Final Walk-Through of an Existing Housep. 389
Is It Really Finished? Final Walk-Through of a New Housep. 394
Your Last Tasks Before the Closingp. 396
The Drum Roll, Please: Attending the Closingp. 405
Closing Documents Related to Your Mortgage Loanp. 406
Closing Documents Related to Transferring the Propertyp. 408
Can I Move in? Taking Possessionp. 409
15 Settling Into Your New Homep. 411
Tell the World You've Movedp. 414
Home, Hearth, and Hors d'Oeuvres: Settle in Sociallyp. 416
The Safest Home in Town: Yoursp. 418
Cozy Up ... Without Breaking the Bankp. 419
There's a Place for It: Organize Your Recordsp. 425
Back to the Future: Get Your Finances on Trackp. 429
Appendix: Using the Downloadable Formsp. 431
Editing RTFsp. 432
List of Formsp. 433
Indexp. 435