The 106 Common Mistakes Homebuyers Make (and How to Avoid Them) [NOOK Book]


Everything first-timers need to know to avoid the most common mistakes homebuyers make

Written especially for first-timers, this eye-opening guide turns you into an educated consumer, ensuring that the home or condo you buy is both a comfortable place to live and a great investment for the future. Compiled from the experience of hundreds of homebuyers, real estate agents, home builders, and mortgage lenders, it shows you the most common ...

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The 106 Common Mistakes Homebuyers Make (and How to Avoid Them)

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Everything first-timers need to know to avoid the most common mistakes homebuyers make

Written especially for first-timers, this eye-opening guide turns you into an educated consumer, ensuring that the home or condo you buy is both a comfortable place to live and a great investment for the future. Compiled from the experience of hundreds of homebuyers, real estate agents, home builders, and mortgage lenders, it shows you the most common mistakes buyers make and illustrates them in practice so you don't fall into the same traps.

Now revised and updated for today's hot real estate market, this invaluable resource covers everything from negotiating with sellers and making the down payment to shopping for the best mortgage and handling the closing. The new Fourth Edition also includes totally up-to-date guidance on using the Internet to find properties, secure financing, and collect important data. If you're thinking about buying a home in this overheated market, don't make these mistakes:

  • Researching selling prices and still overpaying
  • Believing everything your agent tells you
  • Buying into an upscale neighborhood that's moving downscale
  • Underestimating utilities and other costs
  • Allowing your agent to negotiate for you
  • Letting fear get the better of you and not buying at all

Written by one of the nation's leading real estate experts and packed with hundreds of valuable tips and suggestions, The 106 Common Mistakes Homebuyers Make, Fourth Edition will give you the confidence—and the wisdom—to buy the right home at the right price.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118046340
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 929,617
  • File size: 967 KB

Meet the Author

GARY W. ELDRED, PhD, has been involved in hundreds of real estate transactions as a buyer, seller, and consultant during the past two decades. Nationally known for his Stop Renting Now seminars, Dr. Eldred currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Initiative for Home Ownership. He has also held faculty positions in real estate at Stanford University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Virginia. He is also the author of the Wiley titles Yes! You Can Own the Home You Want, 106 Mortgage Secrets All Homebuyers Must Learn—But Lenders Don't Tell, and The Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing, as well as coauthor of Investing in Real Estate.

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Read an Excerpt

The 106 Common Mistakes Homebuyers Make (and How to Avoid Them)

By Gary W. Eldred

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-75123-5

Chapter One

Profit from the Mistakes of Others

Thinking about buying a home? Good for you. You're about to make one of the best personal and financial decisions of your life-if you do it right. And that's just what this book will help you do.

As you read through the eye-opening stories-sometimes funny, sometimes sad-you will see how to steer clear of potential pitfalls. Even better, you will learn to profit from the opportunities that you discover (or create) along the way. You will gain not only from the knowledge I've accumulated from dozens of my own property transactions, but also from the experiences of hundreds of homebuyers, real estate agents, mortgage loan officers, and home inspectors.

Here are some of the fears, mistakes, and pitfalls you'll learn how to handle:

1. Getting turned down for a mortgage

2. Paying too much for mortgage interest, fees, and costs

3. Overpaying for your house

4. Discovering that a house or neighborhood comes with hidden and unwelcome surprises

5. Being taken advantage of by a real estate agent, loan officer, or lawyer

6. Buying too little, too much, or the wrong kind of insurance

7. Suffering discrimination

8. Buying a house whose value doesn't appreciate much

9. Running into problems at (or on the way to) closing

10. Buying a house that doesn't meet your needs, wants, or budget

Unlike other books on homebuying, the discussions here don't merely present general principles, simplistic questions, or a "homebuy-ing process." Instead, 106 Mistakes illustrates what you need to know through dozens of real-life examples. Through these examples, you'll see how to conquer your confusion, become more confident, and make the right homebuying decision.

The Origin of This Book

Throughout the past 20 years I've taught graduate and undergraduate college courses in real estate; professional education programs for Real-tors(r), home builders, and mortgage loan officers; and Stop Renting Now!(tm) seminars that are directed especially toward first-time home- buyers. In these courses, one of the most favored classroom topics has been "How to prevent mistakes in homebuying."

Although just about everyone knows that real estate, particularly home ownership, stands out as one of the best ways to build personal wealth, a growing number of people also realize that successful home-buying doesn't occur easily. It requires education. Shopping for a home, negotiating, arranging financing, and qualifying to buy have become much more complex. There are many ways to get bamboozled. Natu-rally, then, learning about the mistakes of others has proved to be a good prescription for a happy and profitable homebuying experience.

When I first began to discuss mistakes in homebuying with my classes, I relied on many of my own experiences (and mistakes). Over time, though, students were eager to broaden their knowledge and learn firsthand about the mishaps, misfortunes, and mistakes suffered by oth-ers. As a result, I incorporated "interview papers" into class assignments. To carry out these assignments, students interviewed Realtors, home builders, loan officers, recent homebuyers, and other people involved in homebuying and financing.

The students asked their interviewees to describe in concrete detail the homebuying mistakes that the interviewees had made themselves or had seen others make. Next, the students wrote up their conversations and we scheduled a class session or two to discuss what they had learned.

These classroom discussions became quite popular. As a result, many students suggested that they would like to see the most common (and costly) mistakes I've collected brought together in a book. Fortunately, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and senior editor Michael Hamilton agreed. In this book we've aimed to help you benefit from the experiences of hun-dreds of people who have been involved in homebuying. Read through these stories and apply the lessons to your own situation. You'll enjoy a more profitable and more satisfying homebuying adventure.


Excerpted from The 106 Common Mistakes Homebuyers Make (and How to Avoid Them) by Gary W. Eldred Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

1 Profit from the Mistakes of Others 1
2 Explore Possibilities, Set Priorities 4
Mistake #1 We want to own, but we pay less to rent 5
Mistake #2 We want to own, but we don't have enough for a down payment 9
Mistake #3 We can't afford to buy; the monthly payments are too high 13
Mistake #4 No bank will give us a mortgage 16
Mistake #5 Our agent told us to get prequalified (or preapproved) by a lender so we would know exactly how much home we could afford 18
Mistake #6 Our agent said not to waste time looking at homes outside our price range 20
Mistake #7 Sure, we would like to buy our own home someday 21
Mistake #8 I wanted to wait until I got married 22
Mistake #9 We were told not to buy unless we planned to stay put for at least four or five years 24
Mistake #10 We know exactly what we want 26
Mistake #11 We have to have a pool 29
Mistake #12 We liked the house on Elmwood best, but our furniture wouldn't work there 31
Mistake #13 There were so many rules, it was like living under socialism 32
Mistake #14 What! Beans for dinner again? 34
Mistake #15 We bought because we were so tired of looking 35
Mistake #16 We feared that discrimination would limit our possibilities for home ownership 37
3 Home Ownership: How to Make It Your Best Investment 40
Mistake #17 We're not planning to buy. Experts say home prices won't appreciate in the future as they have in the past 41
Mistake #18 The experts were wrong in the past, but things are different today 43
Mistake #19 Lower rates of inflation mean lower rates of appreciation for homes 45
Mistake #20 We thought we could make higher returns investing in stocks 47
Mistake #21 We weren't concerned about our home as an investment; we just wanted a comfortable place to live 52
Mistake #22 We were told to buy in the best neighborhood we could afford. The best neighborhoods always appreciate the fastest 55
Mistake #23 We were told never to buy the biggest or most expensive house in the neighborhood 57
Mistake #24 I'd never buy a condominium. They make poor investments 59
Mistake #25 AT&T never lays anyone off, do they? 62
Mistake #26 With all the new construction, we thought the economy was really booming. Home prices had to go up 64
Mistake #27 The newspapers say home prices are decreasing/increasing 67
4 How to Find a Good Buy 69
Mistake #28 We thought we got a real bargain. Our house was listed $20,000 below other houses we looked at in the neighborhood 69
Mistake #29 We thought we got a real bargain. We paid $20,000 less than the appraised value 71
Mistake #30 The appraiser didn't tell us home values were going to fall 77
Mistake #31 We didn't think to calculate replacement costs 79
Mistake #32 We didn't pay attention to lot value. We wasted $32,000 on remodeling 81
Mistake #33 Those "comps" weren't really comps 83
Mistake #34 We figured the swimming pool added more to the home's value than it really did 85
Mistake #35 We looked at selling prices but still overpaid 88
Mistake #36 The sellers named the price, we named the terms 90
Mistake #37 Everything looked like a bargain 91
Mistake #38 I didn't buy anything. All the houses were grossly overpriced 92
5 Locate a Great Neighborhood 95
Mistake #39 My agent said this was a good school district 95
Mistake #40 We never saw the railroad tracks 97
Mistake #41 We bought into an upscale development that's moving downscale 99
Mistake #42 When we bought our house, the land across the street was a cornfield. Now it's a parking lot and shopping center 101
Mistake #43 It didn't occur to me that on weekends the place could turn into a zoo of wild kids and party animals 103
Mistake #44 Those people were a bunch of snobs 105
Mistake #45 You're saying we can't build a fence around our yard? Isn't that unconstitutional? 107
Mistake #46 No need to worry; those laws are never enforced 110
Mistake #47 We live in Naperville, but our kids can't go to Naperville schools 112
Mistake #48 We didn't know there were stables nearby. The wind was blowing from a different direction the day we looked 113
Mistake #49 No one told us we had bought in a flood plain 114
Mistake #50 After a downpour, we can't drive down these roads 115
Mistake #51 We seldom see the sun here 116
Mistake #52 We bought out in the county to avoid the city's high property tax rates 117
Mistake #53 The city cut our services and raised our taxes 118
Mistake #54 Everyone around here seems apathetic. They've accepted decline 119
Mistake #55 The sellers said it was only 25 minutes to downtown 121
Mistake #56 We didn't walk the neighborhood 122
6 Is This Home for You? 124
Mistake #57 Our agent said it was a lot of house for the money 124
Mistake #58 Our agent was part order-taker, part chauffeur, and part narrator-but she didn't give us the help we needed 126
Mistake #59 Our agent never mentioned ... 128
Mistake #60 We didn't hire a professional inspector. My dad knows all about houses 133
Mistake #61 We didn't think a new home needed to be professionally inspected 135
Mistake #62 I thought lead paint had been outlawed years ago 136
Mistake #63 We now know why the sellers put up paneling in the downstairs den 139
Mistake #64 After we moved in, the sellers' remodeling contractor put a lien against our home. And we had to pay it! 140
Mistake #65 We should have looked at the utility bills 141
Mistake #66 Those little repairs and renovations sure can add up 143
Mistake #67 Before we could add central heat and air, we had to spend $1,800 for new wiring and ductwork 145
Mistake #68 The house looked great. I just didn't like cold showers, listening to my son's favorite radio station, or lugging groceries up the stairs 147
Mistake #69 We had such great views 148
Mistake #70 I didn't notice that the house was situated on two lots 149
Mistake #71 We focused on problems, not possibilities 150
7 Negotiate Win-Win 152
Mistake #72 We thought our agent represented us 153
Mistake #73 I tried to buy directly from an owner to save the commission, but instead lost $10,000 156
Mistake #74 We didn't know we could withdraw our offer 160
Mistake #75 We never met the sellers. We didn't know anything about them 161
Mistake #76 The worst they can do is say no 164
Mistake #77 We thought the sellers had accepted our offer 165
Mistake #78 The listing handout said "wet bar/sink" included 166
Mistake #79 We fell in love with the house and had to have it 169
Mistake #80 Our negotiations centered on price 170
Mistake #81 "Split the difference" sounds like a good compromise to me 172
Mistake #82 We let our agent negotiate for us 174
Mistake #83 We pushed to get the absolute best deal we could 176
8 The Best Loan at the Lowest Cost 178
Mistake #84 We never heard of special financing for people like us 179
Mistake #85 We thought the FHA loaned only to low-income people and involved too much red tape 183
Mistake #86 We wanted a fixed-rate mortgage. ARMs were too risky 189
Mistake #87 We didn't negotiate for seller financing 193
Mistake #88 Those were the fastest two years of our lives 195
Mistake #89 I paid $2,500 down to lease-option a townhouse, then found out that no bank would give me a mortgage 197
Mistake #90 We paid too much for our mortgage 199
Mistake #91 Our lender canceled our loan approval because I went into labor early and had to take temporary leave from work 210
Mistake #92 My loan fell through because of poor credit. But it wasn't my credit that was bad 213
Mistake #93 Our lender turned down our loan application 215
9 Become a Satisfied Homeowner 221
Mistake #94 Our friends told us we were getting a great deal 222
Mistake #95 The layer created more problems than he solved 224
Mistake #96 We shouldn't have taken escrow allowances for repairs 227
Mistake #97 We accepted an escrow allowance of $6,000 for termite damage. Our repairs cost $18,347 229
Mistake #98 We thought the roof warranty was good for 20 years 231
Mistake #99 Our homeowners' insurance didn't cover our losses 234
Mistake #100 After we bought, property taxes jumped $2,200 and we got hit with a $1,600 special assessment for new sidewalks 238
Mistake #101 We didn't know title insurers offered discount policies 241
Mistake #102 Our closing was like showdown at the OK Corral 243
Mistake #103 We couldn't believe the way the sellers left the house for us 244
Mistake #104 The sellers wouldn't move out of the house 246
10 The Biggest Mistakes of All 249
Mistake #105 We didn't buy. We were afraid of making a mistake 249
Mistake #106 We thought it over. We're going to continue renting 252
11 How to Afford the Home You Want 257
12 Draft Your Offer 280
Internet Appendix 301
Index 304
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2005

    A neccessity for a 1st time homebuyer!

    This is a must have! I flipped through several books on the topic and this is the one that left the bookstore with me. This book will help you be a more informed 1st time homebuyer and help you from not being taken advantage of. It explains the different types of agents, how to negotiate, what a good contract should look like, how to look through the house to see what is wrong with it, etc...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2001

    Wins our vote

    Our homebuyers club voted this the best overall book on homebuying among all the ones we read and discussed for three reasons:(1) It was the most interesting and enjoyable to read,(2) it covers mortgage shopping (especially tricks of the trade better than other guides, and (3) nearly everyone in the class knew (or knew of ) someone who had committed mistakes similar to those told about in the book--so we judged the book the most real-world helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2001

    Don't waste your money

    While this book is filled with interesting stories of problems and disasters the author has encountered, it is of little help when actually buying a home yourself. The information is scattered through out the book, forcing you to read the whole thing to get the few pieces out of it. If you know NOTHING about personal finance: can't balance a checkbook, don't know what insurance is for, trust every 'expert' you meet, are a true novice at life, you might get more out of this book than I did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2000

    Don't buy until you read this book

    One of the best books I've ever read. We didn't have a clue about homebuying. But after going through the dozens of examples in this book, we knew more than our realtor- and we were able to spot when our lender tried to jack us around. Don't get me wrong, though. The book is written in an upbeat tone. It just gives you the real advice you need to deal with all the people and decisions that homebuying requires. Much better than either Dummies or 100 Questions in answering practical everyday kinds of concerns.

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