Essential Guide for First Time Homeowners [NOOK Book]


You bought your first home -- now what?

Nearly 6.4 million homes were purchased in the U.S. last year -- and many of them are owned by young first-time buyers like you, who now find themselves wondering, What's next? And with the subprime crisis quickly becoming a general slide in the housing market, you're looking for guidance on how to stay on track financially.

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Essential Guide for First Time Homeowners

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You bought your first home -- now what?

Nearly 6.4 million homes were purchased in the U.S. last year -- and many of them are owned by young first-time buyers like you, who now find themselves wondering, What's next? And with the subprime crisis quickly becoming a general slide in the housing market, you're looking for guidance on how to stay on track financially.

With Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, you'll get the crucial information that will make the difference between worrying about your home and enjoying every minute you spend there. Packed with tips and timely reminders, our latest USA TODAY book gives you the lowdown on:

  • prioritizing purchases
  • maintenance and repairs
  • safety and security
  • insurance
  • neighbors and disputes
  • taxes
  • remodeling and working with contractors
  • decorating and renovating on a budget
  • mortgages and refinancing, and
  • preparing your home for an eventual sale.

    This slim volume could potentially save you and your family thousands of dollars -- and perhaps even your home. Turn to this all-in-one resource for the tools and tips you need to keep home ownership simple and fun!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413315394
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 10/3/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 684,085
  • File size: 11 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Bray is an author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in real estate, immigration law, and nonprofit fundraising. She is co-author of Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home and also edits a number of Nolo's small business 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 Masters degree in East Asian (Chinese) Studies from the University of Washington.

Schroeder specializes in employment law and real estate and is co-author of Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home. Before joining Nolo, she worked as an associate in a large San Francisco law firm where she represented employers in litigation, drafted employee handbooks and policies and counseled employers on sound employment practices. Schroeder also has experience in employment consulting and human resources. She holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

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Table of Contents

Your Homeowning Companion 1

1 It's Really Yours! What to Do First 3

Getting the Word Out: You've Moved! 4

At Your Fingertips: Organizing Your Records 7

Now Where Did I Put...? Organizing Your Worldly Goods 11

Making Sure Your Home Is Safe and Secure 15

2 First-Year Finances: Living on Spaghetti 21

Eyes on the Prize: Set Your Goals 22

See Whatcha Got: Your Current Financial State 25

Save or Spend? Putting Your Priorities in Order 33

3 Of Mice and Maintenance: Keeping Up Your Property's Value 45

Regular Maintenance, Whether You See Problems or Not 48

Do You Hear Munching? Know Your Pests 53

In the Garden: First, Do No Harm 56

Reviewing and Renewing Your Homeowners' Insurance Policy 58

4 Greening Your Home-On a Budget 67

Easy Changes Anyone Can Make 68

Life Inside: Greening Your Home's Interior 72

The Green Garden 77

Eating Green 80

Driving Green (Without a Hybrid) 84

Maintaining and Upgrading Responsibly 86

5 Hey, Neighbors: Getting Acquainted and Resolving Disputes 91

Meet and Greet: Introducing Yourself to Neighbors 93

Drawing the Line: Knowing Where Your Property Ends 95

Other Basic Property Rights: Nuisances, Fences, Trees, Noise, and Pets 99

Getting Neighbor Buy-In on Your Remodel Plans 108

Creating Peaceable Solutions to Neighbor Issues 110

6 Keeping Up With Your Mortgage 115

It All Looks Like Fine Print! What's in Your Mortgage 116

Keeping Your Mortgage Costs Down 123

Troubled Times: What to Do If You Can't Pay 128

7 Is It Time to Refinance? 143

Why Refinance? 144

Calculating the Costs and Benefits of Refinancing 148

Choosing the Right Loan 154

Qualifying forYour New Loan 158

Alternatives to Refinancing 162

8 Tax Breaks for Homeownership 167

Are You a First-Time Itemizer? 169

Tax Deductions for Homeowners 172

Tax Credits for Homeowners 177

In Case You Sell: Plan Ahead to Avoid Capital Gains Taxes 180

Your Property Tax Bill: Keeping It Low 183

9 Sweat Equity: Home Renovation Projects That Pay Off 189

How Renovations Can Increase Resale Value 190

What You Can Do ... And What to Leave to the Pros 195

Before You Leap: Learning More About the Project 197

Scheduling Your Project 204

Hiring Extra Hands 206

10 Remodeling Your Home With a Contractor's Help 211

Blueprints and Rock Piles: Planning Your Remodel 212

Who's Going to Help? Hiring Contractors 221

Negotiating a Written Contract 227

Figuring Out Where the Money Will Come From 234

Living Through a Remodel 238

11 After Damage: Who Pays? 241

Look What Happened! What to Do First 242

Making a Homeowners' Insurance Claim 245

Making a Home Warranty Claim 253

How Long Has This Been Going On? Liability for Existing Defects 254

Built to Last? Liability for Defects in New Homes 258

Should You Sue? Deciding to Go to Court 262

12 Movin' on Up: Planning for Your Next House 265

Ready to Go? Deciding When to Move 266

Another Paint Job!? Your Selling and Moving Costs 267

Financial Strategies for Moving Up 269

Maximizing Profits on Your Home Sale 276

How to Buy and Sell Simultaneously-Without Getting Stuck 282

Index 285

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  • Posted April 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Don't buy a house without it

    Navigating the maze of new and often competing demands that owning a new home can bring along can be quite overwhelming. This is doubly so if one is trying to do it on one's own, without an informed help of a friend or a relative. Even so, there are many legal and practical hurdles that can get in the way, which even the most seasoned homeowner has not anticipated. For all such prospective and current homeowners, "The Essential Guide for First-Time Homeowners: Maximize Your Investment & Enjoy Your New Home" is an essential and useful guide. It covers all the basics of selecting and purchasing your first home, and guides you beyond the first weeks and months of ownership and helps you with useful tips on how to maintain your home so that its value may not decrease over time. The only objection that I have with the book is that it devotes one whole chapter to "greening" of your home. Most of the suggestions presented in that chapter are so outlandish ("get rid of the lawn"), impractical, or both for most residential areas, that it clearly detracts from otherwise well written and useful book. Even with that caveat, this is still a very good book to consider purchasing if you are seriously considering buying your first home. It could very well save you a lot of time and money in a long run.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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