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Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home

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Insider tips and advice to help you get the right place at the right price!

If you're ready to say goodbye to landlords and laundromats, Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home will help you find the right place to invest in -- and have fun doing it.

Filled with interesting facts and real-life ...
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Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home

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Insider tips and advice to help you get the right place at the right price!

If you're ready to say goodbye to landlords and laundromats, Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home will help you find the right place to invest in -- and have fun doing it.

Filled with interesting facts and real-life stories, this book provides everything you need to select the right house, the right mortgage, the right agent, the right inspections -- and much more. Get the inside scoop on:
-deciding between a house, condo, co-op or townhouse
-exploring the market for the best value
-lining up financing
-getting inspections and insurance
-negotiating with sellers or new home builders
-successfully closing the deal

Read the real-life stories of over 20 first-time homebuyers, as well as the insights from a team of 13 real estate professionals, including:
-attorneys who specialize in real estate
-a home inspector
-a neighborhood researcher
-a mortgage specialist
and more

PLUS: You'll get the The Homebuyer's Toolkit, a CD-ROM that includes dozens of forms and MP3s which will help you find the right place, crunch the numbers, interview real estate professionals, borrow down payment money from your parents -- and more.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Takes the guesswork out of home buying... two thumbs up!" Elizabeth Weintraub Home Buying & Selling Guide,

"On my scale of one to 10, this superb book rates a off-the-chart 12". Robert Bruss

“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.” Library Journal

"You could ask the landlord to pay a commission to your agent, "but if the landlord feels like, 'Hell, I'm paying a commission, I'm going to put it on the market,' you could lose what could be a really good deal," says Ilona Bray, co-author of "Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home." Guide to buying condo from your landlord, Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle


The Boston Globe
If you are looking for authoritative information about virtually every important home-purchase topic, you won't find a better easy-to-read resource than this up-to-date book.
A must-have for any new homebuyer. Empower yourself by informing yourself!
— Eden Jarrin
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
— Joslyn Jones
Tweet: "Hey everyone, this book really helped me buy a house. You don't need a lawyer for this!"
— Leif Bernstein
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413317626
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 12/28/2012
  • Edition description: Fourth Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 252,064
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ilona Bray, J.D. is an author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in real estate, immigration law, workplace wellness and nonprofit fundraising. Other books include Effective Fundraising for NonprofitsU.S. Immigration Made Easy and Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, The Volunteers' Guide to Fundraising. 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. Bray also blogs at Nolo's Fundraising Tips for Busy Nonprofits and Nolo's Real Estate Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers.

Alayna Schroeder
is a coauthor of several Nolo books, including Selling Your House in a Tough Market and Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home. A Sacramento, California lawyer, she has represented employers in litigation, drafted employee handbooks and policies and counseled employers on sound employment practices. She holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

Marcia Stewart
writes and edits Nolo books and forms on landlord-tenant law, real estate, and other consumer issues. She is the co-author 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. She has edited dozens of Nolo books, including The Women's Small Business Start-Up Kit. Marcia is also an author on a popular landlord-tenant law site.

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Read an Excerpt



Meet Your Adviser

Mark Nash, an Associate Broker with Coldwell Banker, who serves the Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, and Wilmette areas of Illinois (

The 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).

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Table of Contents

       Your Homebuying Companion
1.   What’s So Great About Buying a House? Why You Can and Should Do It
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
       A. How to Use the Interactive Forms
       List of Forms and Resources in the Homebuyer’s Toolkit

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ¿ Nolo¿s Essential Guide To Buying Your First Home¿ by Ilona Bra

    “ Nolo’s Essential Guide To Buying Your First Home” by Ilona Bray, J.D., Alayna Schroeder, J.D. & Marcia Stewart includes detailed information on making first time home purchases. There is also a Cd-rom attached to the end of the book. This was one of the books to catch my interest because my husband and I intend to purchase our first home within the next eight years. We are giving ourselves plenty of time to look around because we actually plan to permanently reside in the home for the long-term. The following are some of the informative details included in the book:
    Pages 25-27: Pinpointing personal preferences choice in the neighborhood of the home purchase
    Pages 90-97: Essential details on real estate agents
    Pages 275-303: Items to take care of before closing in on a house deal.
    “Nolo’s Essential Guide To Buying Your First Home” by Illona Bray, J.D., Alana Schroeder, J.D., & Marcia Stewart is good for first time home buyers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Great for those considering buying a home.

    This book is well organized by chapter to help you find the information you need. The entire thing was helpful for me during the home-buying process to help me understand the steps and what to expect.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A great investment!

    Unlike most how-to books, I read this one cover to cover. It covers every step in the home buying process, in order from start to finish. It includes detailed information on topics such as finding the right house, finding a loan, getting a good real estate agent, figuring out what to offer, the closing process, inspections, homeowners insurance and more. I bought a small army of how-to books to help me buy my first home, but I really only needed this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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