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Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home
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Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  243 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The start to finish guide that puts the fun back into the challenge of buying a first home, with comprehensive, timely information from a team of experts. Get valuable tips on: deciding between a house, condo, co-op or townhouse; exploring your local market for the best value; creating and managing a realistic homebuying budget; qualifying for and securing financing; getti ...more
Paperback, Third Edition, 440 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by NOLO (first published June 4th 2007)
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Jul 01, 2011 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All first-time homebuyers
Shelves: nonfiction
I am so glad I checked this book out this spring! I started reading it thinking my husband and I were going to buy my grandfather's house, figuring I'd just skip over all the parts that didn't apply to us. Luckily, I stink at skimming, so I ended up reading nearly everything. I learned SO much about this whole home-buying process, from vocabulary (what "points" are, for example) to what to expect and what to watch out for at each stage in the process. Buying a house turned out to be a whirlwind ...more
Solid information and some ideas that I hadn't thought about it. I feel like one really needs to start the process and talk with professionals though for a more accurate picture of home purchasing, particularly given how much the market has changed in the last six months.
A lot of really good information, all in one place. There's also a CD-Rom with worksheets for you to evaluate what you really want, do a budget, etc. It had some information I didn't know, which is saying something since I've researched a little too much into this stuff :)
I've read several books on home buying, but this was by far the best. You'll want to read this before choosing a buyer's agent and mortgage lender, so that you are well prepared and know what to expect. No only does it have extensive information, but it offers a lot of additional references including a CD with electronic versions of all the forms and checklists in the book. Yes, some of the recommendations are other Nolo books, but I haven't seen another book with as much useful information.

If, in the search for your first home, you only read one book, make it this one. Wowza! I started out pretty much a blank slate, and by the time I finished reading I felt more than prepared for the time-consuming, mentally draining emotional rollercoaster that is house hunting.

It's very informative, and clearly and patiently goes step-by-step on the entire process: from finding an agent, to getting a loan, to throwing a housewarming party. The examples were very helfpul. I also enjoyed the dive
Jen Lynn
I decided it was about time to buy a house since I was getting so sick of paying rent. My problem was I had no idea what went into the process. I knew there were people who would guide me through it once I started the process, but I wasn't sure if I was ready yet or even who I needed to contact first to get the ball rolling. This book helped me through the process. It reassured me that I was ready to do it, it walked me through what to look for when it came to my "house buying team", and it gave ...more
Jeanne Boyarsky
I've read a few nolo books in the past and appreciate the lack of fluff. While this book did have more fluff that the others, it wasn't excessive. I think it is because the other books I read had a more specific topic.

I did notice one "personal story" beginning the chapters had an editing error. page 127 and 217 both told the same "fantasy house" story about a house designed by Sarah Susanka. I'm pretty sure two people didn't have the same fantasy house word for word.

The lists of questions, what
I would definitely recommend this book. However, I think that the first and last few chapters are ridiculous. If you are at a point where you are thinking about actually buying a house, they aren't necessary (they include things like "consider neighborhoods" and "throw a house-warming"). Just skip them.

I thought that the middle chapters were a good reference, though, and addressed several issues I had not considered. I probably would have given this book four stars, but I used the Kindle version
Nancy Yob
I read this book as I was going through the process of buying my first house. It covered a lot of issues, but some of the most important ones were given short shrift, and others were covered too much. Maybe it was just my experience. Of course, home warranties were hardly covered, and it never says who's supposed to mention to you that you should get one. I didn't, and the second day I lived in the house, the washer broke. I'm not blaming the book; I'm just saying that I think that might be rath ...more
Geoffrey Benn
“Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home” is exactly what it claims to be, though having not bought a home yet, I can’t actually vouch for the applied value of its contents. Overall, the book is well put together and takes the reader from the stage of deciding if buying is the right decision all the way through settling into a new home. This book will not make you a real estate professional, but should prepare you to interact effectively and confidently with the professionals you’ll nee ...more
I only tried two books about home buying - for us, it was a whirlwind process that from "let's check out an open house on a whim" to ratified contract lasted a whopping 18 days - but this was definitely my preferred source. It's not quite as detailed as I would like, but still relatively thorough, even on the not exciting but important stuff like home inspections and what exactly is title insurance. I especially appreciated the calm and evenhanded tone. Once you get pulled into the excitement of ...more
Morgan Salvador
This is one of the few books I bought (3rd edition) after having first read the library copy (2nd edition). The same information is presented in the 2nd and 3rd editions, but the latter is updated with current tax deduction information. Surprisingly, the newer edition also includes several before unseen references to the dangers of buying a previous meth lab house. (I guess this is a growing problem in some parts of the country...) The resource CD that accompanies the book is equally as helpful. ...more
A great resource for new homebuyers. Well laid out.
Nov 27, 2010 Ashley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone even thinking about buying a house
We're planning on buying a house next year, so I got this book from the library so I could get a head start on knowing what's involved and what we'll be getting ourselves into. After reading it, I feel so much less overwhelmed by the idea, and much more informed about the whole process - I can't even begin to say how much I learned from this book. I'd recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone thinking about buying a house, and I'll definitely be purchasing my own copy of the new edition when it come ...more
Candice Miller
Feb 28, 2008 Candice Miller rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
This book was a great start to my home-buying research. I came into this real estate game with no knowledge whatsover and this book gave me a great basis. It has a CD with helpful lists I printed off, and it has the most incredible websites referenced to help you with your individual search. I only wish it had a little more detail with regard to individual state's laws/practices. Overall I took pages of notes and it lead me to do hours of helpful research on Pittsburgh, our next destination.
I recommend this book to all first time home buyers! Even second time home buyers who might feel like things went over their head the first time. This book takes you through the entire house search journey. Each step is explained in easy to understand language. There are a lot of helpful checklists. It also helps you think of things to look for in houses that you may have overlooked. It is also up to date and talks about the recent housing craah. I am really glad I read this!
oiy ve, learning about grown-up things.
I did a lot of flipping through home-buying books and first-time homebuyer books before choosing this one. No regrets at all with the choice--lots of great advice, real world examples (including mistakes) and practical lists. Highly recommended as a way to get familiar with all the intricacies of the homebuying process.

This book still sits on my nightstand--and probably will until I close on the house.
The book seems to have offered a lot of valuable information, and I'm looking forward to putting it to use. On the flip side, there were several typos and grammatical errors, and when I see that kind of haphazard editing, it makes me question the reliability of the rest of the text. At the very least, those types of mistakes are downright irritating.
Good book and easy to understand. Prior to this I had no idea what was involved in house hunting. I just wish they had a chapter on how to deal with rejection when your bid isn't accepted and ways to win over money hungry sellers in a competitive market. I'm convinced I'll never be able to buy a house despite the fact I can afford one.
Wells Hamilton
This book is a very valuable resource for the first time home-buyer. It points out a myriad of legal, financial, and cultural pit-falls in buying a house that the first-time buyer probably wouldn't consider. I read this through once, took notes, and will return to chapters of it as necessary when I buy a house.
This book was a very thorough guide to every step in the home-buying process -- lots of informal advice and helpful asides. After I returned the book to the library, I still had some questions about procedures and terminology, and I consulted the Nolo website, which I found helpful as well.
Jenny GB
Very nice book for first home buyers. I found it easy to read and made the process sound not too bad to navigate. My favorite is the CD with all sorts of documents for different stages of the home buying process. I know I'll be using these to help organize and evaluate choices.
It was a good intro and helpful during our home buying adventure. I also thought the forms available online were very helpful. I would have liked more information on mortgages and the closing process to be included and I ended up buying other books to fill in those gaps.
It was VERY helpful. I read about half of it before we met with our lender and realtor, and they said we were the most prepared buyers they'd ever met! And with something as huge as buying a house, I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Good book for that.
Pemberley Linden
Very helpful and current guide to purchasing a home. I found the interviews from experts (at the start of each chapter) to be informative as were the little mini-stories from other home buyers sprinkled through out the book. The pdf/word files/worksheets were handy.
informative, depressing, and encouraging. The filler on all the personal stories from the contributors is worthless, but I liked the pop culture asides and actual helpful information. Maybe one day I'll actually use some of the lessons from this book.
Eric Bell
I read this book before buying my first home and found it generally useful in understanding the process and legal aspects of home ownership. If you've already bought homes before, this is probably a good reminder of the process if it's been a while.
Aaron Dietz
They tried really hard, it would seem, but they still just didn't capture everything you TRULY need to know when you buy a house. Still, quite a help and much more helpful than no book at all.
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