Beware of disappointing home-buying book

Superficial. Incomplete. Well-organized. Those wordsdescribe “The Essential Home Buyer’s Checklists” by Denise L. Evans.When I looked at the chapter titles and outline for this new book, I thought,”This is going to be a great book because it covers all the home-buyingessentials.”

But I was wrong. This is a very complete collection ofhome-buying checklists, but without much depth. The organization is excellent,but the details are lacking. Surely author Denise L. Evans could have includedeither real-life examples or hypotheticals to illustrate the general principlesshe describes.

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Instead, readers are left on their own to flesh out thebasics. For example, in the section explaining the importance of credit reportsand credit scores, for some unexplained reason the author completely fails toeven mention the most widely used FICO (Fair Isaac Corp.) credit scores and howreaders can obtain theirs. She either didn’t know about the superb Web site for obtaining yourcredit reports and FICO score or she didn’t want to share that valuableinformation.

Another example of incompleteness occurs when Evans explainsthe importance for home buyers to make their purchase offers contingent ontheir approval of a professional home inspector’s report on the residence. Butshe completely neglects explaining how to find top-quality local professionalhome inspectors, such as at the American Society of Home Inspectors Web site and others.

If it takes you more than three hours to read thissuperficial book, you’re a slow reader. A few segments will bog you down, suchas the excellent explanation of how to create your own mortgage calculator onyour computer. But most of the book is written at about a fifth-grade readinglevel lacking details to explain the topics under discussion.

Hopefully, the next edition of this bare-bones book will be”fleshed out” with details and examples to explain the generalities.One of the best sections, where Evans shows she can do a good job explainingkey topics, goes into considerable detail about why checking the insuranceclaim record for a house under purchase consideration is vital. She evenexplains CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) reports and howreaders can obtain them at www.choicetrust.comor by phoning 866-312-8076.

By far, the book’s sections explaining homeowner’s insuranceare the best and most complete. Unfortunately, those outstanding chapters arefew and far between.

Several parts of the book are very unrealistic, makingknowledgeable real estate readers question the author’s obviously limitedexperience. The most glaring unrealistic example is the full-page “Requestfor Proposal for Financing,” which Evans says home buyers should mail toseveral local lenders to get mortgage quotes. Nobody does that.

Mortgage lenders will surely laugh and throw such a formaway. Instead, Evans should have said these are the key questions to ask ofeach mortgage lender interviewed and this is the form to write down the answersso you won’t misunderstand.

Chapter topics include “Deciding How Much Home You CanAfford”; “Shopping for Financing”; “Shopping forInsurance”; “Deciding What Features You Want in a Home”;”Selecting a Real Estate Agent”; “Shopping For Sale byOwner”; “Comparing Homes”; “Comparing Condos”;”Selecting Land on Which to Build”; “Working with a Contractoror Construction Company”; “Preparing an Offer”; “ClearingContingencies”; “Seller Financing”; “Canceling aContract”; “Deciding How You Want to Hold Title”; and”Closing.”

Unfortunately, the chapter titles are far better than theirbasic, very superficial content. The author attempted to make this a completebook of home-buying checklists. Unfortunately, she created a collection oflists without much practical value because they are raise issues withoutproviding answers. On my scale of one to 10, this book rates a disappointingfive.

“The Essential Home Buyer’s Checklists,” by DeniseL. Evans (Sphinx-Sourcebooks Inc., Naperville, Ill.), 2007, $14.95, 211 pages;available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public librariesand

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

Copyright 2007 Inman News

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