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Survival Guide for Buying a Home / Edition 2

Survival Guide for Buying a Home / Edition 2

by Sid Davis


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Survival Guide for Buying a Home / Edition 2

If you're looking for a home in today's real estate market, you know that the rules have changed. Despite all the challenges that come with the current housing climate, there is glut of houses on the market, making it an ideal time to buy the home you really want. Inventories are high, interest rates are low, and sellers are flexible. With the right guidance, you can find your dream home at a price you can afford.

In the second edition of A Survival Guide for Buying a Home, you will find answers that will help you face the new realities of the real estate market. In this revised and updated edition, veteran real estate broker Sid Davis includes the latest information on:

Time-saving techniques that will help buyers narrow their choices effectively

Mortgage and loan rules

Buying foreclosures and short sales

Lease options

Cleaning up, increasing, and maintaining your credit score

Twenty costly mistakes that are made by home buyers and how those mistakes can be avoided

You also learn all the ins and outs of finding the right agent, evaluating neighborhoods, buying homeowners insurance and warranties, arranging for appraisals and inspections, preparing your purchase for resale, and more. With this helpful guide in hand, you will be ready to find the home you've always imagined without breaking the bank.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900814414254
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 06/03/2009
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Sid Davis (Farmington, UT), owner of Sid Davis & Associates, has over 25 years of experience as a real estate broker and home renovator. He is the author of Adding Value to Your Home and has written numerous articles for national real estate and finance publications.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction to the Second Edition

When the first edition of A Survival Guide for Buying a Home was published in 2004, the housing market was well on its way to suborbit prices. The mind-set of buyers at that time was not how to buy a home they could afford and get the best deal, but how they could buy the biggest home possible with the lowest down payment.

Real estate agents grew skilled at finding lenders that would give buyers the biggest loans and be willing to ignore any egregious credit problems. And they learned how to handle multiple offers on homes that sometimes resulted in intense bidding frenzies. Each new round of homes built in a subdivision sported price tags higher than those listed previously. It was a one-way ticket up the economic ladder and no one thought about an eventual reentry, or even whether such a thing would ever happen. We now have our answer.

The first edition of this book covered subprime loans, high debt-to-income loans, buying conservatively or going for the max, and other concerns involved in buying a home. Those days, of course, are gone. There's now a new reality to home buying, the landscape has changed, and new home-buying skills are necessary in today's rapidly changing market.

This second edition of A Survival Guide for Buying a Home focuses on the new home-buying landscape that's still undergoing fast-paced changes. Gone are the sections on getting a loan with zero down and adjustable rate loans with interest-only payments. Instead, the emphasis is on how to build and maintain good credit and buy a home within your income.

Also covered is how to evaluate and compare good faith estimates from different mortgage lenders to find out which one is offering you the best deal. There should be no wondering at closing whether you got the best and cheapest loan possible. And coupled with the new information in Chapter 5 on how to make offers and negotiate the best deals, you're practically guaranteed to get the most house for your money.

Throughout the book, I've endeavored to explain in each chapter how that particular real estate topic affects your pocketbook and what you can do to save money. For easier navigation, each chapter begins with a list of the important concepts covered. Each chapter also concludes with a list of suggestions on how you can implement what you've learned in your efforts to buy and own a home.

Throughout the book you'll also find valuable up-to-date information on:

How mortgage lenders now qualify you for a mortgage

How to increase and maintain your credit score

Why it's important to nail down a mortgage commitment before you start shopping

How to shop for a mortgage lender and get the best deal

How to streamline your home-shopping strategy to find your dream home fast

How to present your offer and get it accepted

How to find a competent home inspector, then how to use an inspection report to protect yourself and to negotiate with the sellers

How to avoid common mistakes condo, co-op, and townhouse buyers make that cost money and happiness

How to buy a manufactured home, whether modular, panel, precut, or mobile

The insurance you need to protect yourself from floods, earthquakes, and other concerns

In addition, Chapter 10 distills over twenty-five years of real estate experience into a list of twenty common mistakes home buyers make and how to avoid making them yourself. Updated and expanded from the previous edition, this book is chockfull of tips on buying the best house at the best deal.

A new feature of this Second Edition is its wealth of "Survival Tips" that highlight critical points in the home-buying effort. Also, because single home buyers now account for nearly a fifth of all home sales, there's a new appendix for home-buying singles, with even more shopping and buying tips.

It's a great time to buy a home. Interest rates are down, sellers are flexible, and inventories are high. After reading this book, you'll have all the tools you need to go out and make it happen.


Excerpted from A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR BUYING A HOME by Sid Davis. Copyright © 2009 by Sid Davis. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. First Steps to Becoming a Homeowner

Renting vs. Home Buying

Owning Your Own Home, an American Norm

Financial Advantages of Buying a Home

All About Leverage, Appreciation, and Equity

Tax Advantages of Buying a Home

The Difference Between a Buyer’s Market and a Seller’s Market

Home Buying Step One: Talk to a Mortgage Lender

How Credit Scoring Affects Your Credit

Working with Credit Reporting Agencies

How Much Home Can You Afford

Chapter 2. Mortgage Loans 101

How the System Works

FHA Guaranteed Programs

Department of Agriculture Loans

VA Guaranteed Loans

State and Local Housing Programs

Seller Financing

Understanding Points and Buy-downs

All About Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

All About Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Loan Payment Options

Locking in an Interest Rate

Sources of Down Payment

Shopping Mortgages on the Internet

Chapter 3. Finding and Working with a Mortgage Lender

Avoiding Predatory Lenders

Prequalified vs. Preapproved

Paperwork Lenders Need to Get Started

How to Find a Good Lender

All About Garbage Fees and Closing Costs

Negotiating Lender Fees

Working with a Lender on the Internet

Chapter 4. Once You’re Prequalified, It’s Shopping Time

Buy Conservative or Go for the Max

Importance of Location

How to Find and Work with an Agent

Narrowing Down Your List

Develop Your Dream House Shopping List

Pros and Cons of a Fixer-upper

Buying New Construction

Ten Things You Should Know Before You Buy a New Home

How to Shop for a Home on Your Own

Narrowing Down Your Choices

Chapter 5. Getting the Best Deal

Emotional Factors Are Important

How to Determine What to Offer

What to Do When a House You Want is Overpriced

Sellers Are Emotional, Too

Getting the Sellers to Pay Concessions

Combining Grants and Seller Concessions

Filling Out the Paperwork

Buying Bank Foreclosures and Short Sales

Home Warranties Can Save You Money

Four Things to Look for When You Buy a Policy

Home Inspections: Don’t Buy Without One

Appraisals: They’re Not Inspections

The Unique Challenges of a Co-op or Condo

Chapter 6. Buying Condos, Co-ops, and Other Options

Condos 101

Condos and Co-ops in Urban Areas


PUDs (Planned Unit Developments)

Twin Homes

Financing Condos and Townhouses

Homeowner Associations

Do the Walk Before You Sign

Chapter 7. Insurance Matters for Homeowners

Homeowners Insurance 101

Three Components of a Homeowners Policy

Condo and Co-op Insurance

Importance of a Home Inventory

How to Pick an Insurance Company

Narrowing Down Your Choices

Title Insurance 101

Chapter 8. Tax Aspects of Owning and Buying a Home

How Tax Deductions Work

Tax Advantages of Working at Home

Turning Extra Space into Tax Breaks and Income

Property Taxes and Your Monthly Payment

Property Taxes 101

Buying a Home Using 401(k) or IRA

1031 Tax Deferred Exchange

Chapter 9. Selling Your Home and Moving

Shaping Up Your Home to Sell for the Most Money

Positioning Your Home to Get the Most Money

How to Determine Asking Price

How to Handle an Offer

How to Find and Work with Movers

Moving-related Tax Deductions

Moneymaking Garage Sales

Chapter 10. Buying a Manufactured, Modular, or Mobile Home

The Different Kinds of Manufactured Homes

Owning vs. Renting the Lot

Manufactured Home Money Matters

How to Shop for a Manufactured Home

Tips on Buying a Building Lot

Building Permit and Site Fees

Resale Value of Manufactured Homes

The Bottom Line on Buying and Manufactured Homes

Chapter 11. How to Avoid the 15 Costliest Mistakes Homebuyers Make

#1. Not Planning Your Move

#2. Buying a Home Before You’ve Sold Your Current One

#3. Not Getting a Preapproval Letter

#4. Not Having an Exit Strategy

#5. Not Checking Out the Neighborhood

#6. Buying the Wrong Type of House

#7. Buying a Home on Impulse

#8. Buying a Property That’s Hard to Sell

#9. Overextending Your Budget

#10. Not Protecting Yourself When You Make an Offer

#11. Getting Family, Relatives, and Friends Too Involved

#12. Not Being Able to Make a Decision

#13. Not Getting a Buyer’s Broker Early On

#14. Not Getting a Professional Home Inspection

#15. Not Checking Out the Homeowners Association First

Appendix A. Shopping Comparison Checklist

Appendix B. Step-by-step Checklist to Owning Your Dream Home

Appendix C. Step-by-step Checklist to Buying a Condo or Co-op


List of Additional Resources

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