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Buying Your First Home

Nolo's Essential Guide

By Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, Marcia Stewart
15-minute read
Audio available
Buying Your First Home: Nolo's Essential Guide by Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, Marcia Stewart

Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home (2014) tells you everything you need to know when you’re in the real estate market for the first time. These blinks lay out the dos and don’ts of buying your first home, from getting a successful inspection, to negotiating the price and making the right offer.

  • Tenants tired of wasting their money on rent and ready to buy their first home
  • Potential investors with money to put into real estate
  • Anyone who wants to avoid the most common mistakes when buying property

Ilona Bray is an attorney and the author of several books on real estate, including The Essential Guide for First-Time Homeowners and Selling Your Home: Nolo’s Essential Guide.

Alayna Schroeder is a California-based lawyer, with legal experience ranging from corporate law to the US Peace Corps.

Marcia Stewart is the author and editor of multiple Nolo real estate books, including the best seller Every Landlord’s Legal Guide.

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Buying Your First Home

Nolo's Essential Guide

By Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, Marcia Stewart
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Buying Your First Home: Nolo's Essential Guide by Ilona Bray, Alayna Schroeder, Marcia Stewart
Synopsis

Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home (2014) tells you everything you need to know when you’re in the real estate market for the first time. These blinks lay out the dos and don’ts of buying your first home, from getting a successful inspection, to negotiating the price and making the right offer.

Key idea 1 of 9

Buying a home is a great choice and there’s no reason to avoid it.

Just about everyone has thought, at one point or another, “I’d love to own a home.” But beyond the idea of having a house that is yours alone, investing in real estate is a one-of-a-kind opportunity: it’s a chance to control a large, valuable asset by paying a small lump sum up front as a down payment.

For instance, it’s common to be able to buy your first apartment for about $100,000 just by putting $15,000 on the table and taking out a loan for the remainder. Not only that, but real estate is a relatively safe investment. While property prices drop during economic downturns, they don’t plummet irreversibly like stocks can.

For example, according to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index, in 2013, the average appreciation in value of American homes in the time since they were purchased was 12 percent.

So, it makes good financial sense to buy a home – but it also has a psychological impact. After all, if you’re a lifelong renter, you know that having a temporary living situation can prevent you from investing in nice furniture or taking the time to decorate your place. So, you leave the walls white and that smelly carpet is there to stay.

But when you move into your own place, everything changes – you suddenly feel an urge to personalize every detail.

Another plus of home ownership is that having no landlord means you don’t have to wait for someone else to fix your leaky pipes. You also don’t have to fear rent hikes and the threat of eviction; all that stress just falls away.

But even with all those upsides, people always find excuses to avoid home ownership, and it’s important to overcome them. For instance, you might think, “I have such a good deal at my place right now.” Sure, your rent might be cheap, but buying your own home means that it will, at least eventually, belong to you.

In other words, your rent might be low, but would you rather it was cheap or free? Because free is what it’ll be when you’re the owner.

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