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The Best Real Estate Books For First-Time Home Buyers

They'll arm you with the knowledge you need for every step of the process.

Buying your first home is a major milestone, one that affects every aspect of your life. Finances. Family dynamic. School choices. It’s a daunting process. Chances are you’ll wake up in a cold sweat, asking Can we really afford this? Is our mortgage lender screwing us? Was that American Colonial we loved actually a money pit? It’s understandable. Home buying is a confusing process. With it comes a lot of questions and a lot of different steps. One of the biggest issues most first-time home buyers face is that they’re simply not prepared for everything is requires. Armed with the right knowledge, however, and the process becomes a lot easier. That’s where real estate books come in handy. The right ones, written by real estate professionals and filled with useful, boots-on-the-ground information about selecting the right team to help you, negotiating a better mortgage rate, and what questions to ask before you close. While there are many excellent options out there, these five real estate books are ideal for first-time home buyers.

Home Buying Kit for Dummies, 6th Edition

There’s a reason there are roughly 2,500 different manuals in this simplistic series: the yellowed books are beginner friendly without being overwhelmed or complicated by countless unnecessary details. The most recent edition of Home Buying For Dummies, released in 2016, takes recent market editions into account and provides well-researched information about every step of the home-buying process, including how to pick a team of professionals to help you your search, how to avoid absurd closing costs, how to get the best mortgage possible, and more.

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No Nonsense Real Estate: What Everyone Should Know Before Buying or Selling a Home

A comprehensive guide to the real-estate market that’s not burdened or bogged down by unnecessary fluff, Alex Goldstein’s book truly is no-nonsense.  It’s also a practical, thoughtful guide to every step of the home-buying process, from finding an agent to signing the final paperwork. Divided into nine simple sections (Agent, Economics, Investing, Negotiations, Financing, Selling, Closing, and Practical) it’s a truly uncomplicated guide to what can be an extremely complicated subject.

Buy Now $15

Fatherly IQ
  1. How often do you and your spouse argue over the family budget?
    Rarely. We set it together and stick to it as best we can.
    Sometimes. We try not to, but it’s occasionally unavoidable.
    A lot. It’s a regular source of contention.
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How to Get Approved for the Best Mortgage Without Sticking a Fork in Your Eye

Elysia Stobbe is a mortgage industry expert with decades of on-the-ground experience. She’s not one to mess around but, as her book title suggests, she’s also aware that the process of mortgage approval is stressful, frustrating, and makes you want to jam the titular piece of silverware right in your cornea. Her book breaks down the process — different types of mortgages, loan programs, mortgage insurance, finding trustworthy brokers. — into bite-sized, easily digestible information. It’s a must-read for anyone diving into the often shark-infested waters for the first time.

Buy Now $15

Buying a Home: The Missing Manual

Another all-inclusive home-buying manual, Nancy Connor’s book is comprehensive introduction to the world of real estate. It offers lists of questions to ask as well as detailed information about every step of the process. Plainly written and extremely thorough, it arms home-buyers with the information to make smart decisions and ask the right questions. Useful, too, are the book’s forms and exercises, which, among other things, helps the indecisive gain a better understanding of what they’re really looking for.

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The Home Buyer’s Checklist: Everything You Need to Know — But Forget to Ask — Before You Buy a Home

Written by Robert Irvin, a real-estate professional with more than three decades of experience as a real-estate broker and consultant, The Home Buyer’s Checklist is a must-have resource. It details all the hidden expenses that might appear after an initial inspection has already been completed. From wonky door frames and damaged floors to fireplaces to improperly insulated attics, Irvin details the cost of each issue, how to handle it, and how it should affect the negotiating process when you’re ready to make an offer. Listed out room-by-room, it’s clear, concise, and incredibly useful for any home-buyer who wants to make sure they’re not getting screwed by existing issues.

Buy Now $10