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Buying your first home can be an intimidating, as well as exciting, process. This pathfinder is designed to help first time homebuyers find information on several aspects of homebuying, including how to find the home of your dreams, how to finance your new home, and how to use the library to find out more about the homebuying process.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The HUD page is an excellent starting point for beginning your homebuying research. Because it’s part of the U.S. government, this site does not include ads. It’s purpose is to serve consumers, and it does a great job. You’ll find out about your legal rights, how much mortgage you can afford, how to work with a real estate agent, as well as information on later steps in purchasing a home – Inspection, appraisal, and closing. And if you’re interested in purchasing a HUD home or financing through FHA or VA programs, this is the place to find out everything you wanted to know!
The Motley Fool: Home Center
Though it’s named “The Motley Fool,” there’s nothing foolish about this site – It’s packed with helpful information for home buyers. They’ve arranged the site cleverly, based on the questions you’re surely asking (and a few you may have forgotten to ask, like “ready for a home?”). One feature that sets this site apart is the “Fool Home Message Board,” where you can ask the questions that keep you up at night. This site is a must-see.
Home Buyer’s Information Center
A nice comprehensive site from Smart Sense Publications, you’ll find “to do” lists for home buyers, frequently asked questions, how to find and use an agent, and much more.
Yahoo: Real Estate
Yahoo: Business &Economy – Shopping and Services – Real Estate – By Region
Yahoo is a great place to visit when you’re looking for a guide to web pages on a particular topic – In this case, real estate. The page includes links to Frequently Asked Questions, legal rights, and even government foreclosure listings. The regional directory will allow you to gather information specific to your state and/or community.
The RealEstate Library
This site has Real Estate 101 resources to learn about the process involved in buying property. It also provides an Agent locator to find someone to assist you in your area.
How To Find a Home
This site may become an addiction! While Realtor.com has comprehensive information (including getting started, closing, and moving), you’ll love it for it’s real estate listings. With 1.2 million property listings, small towns are listed, as are budget-conscious homes. You select the community you are interested in, as well as price range and features, and this site will give you a list of homes that fit your criteria. Most listings include a photo, and some include a virtual tour.
The Finance Process
Consumer Information Center Housing Publications
From the folks in Pueblo, Colorado comes tons of consumer information published by the U.S. Government. On their housing pages, you’ll find out how to get the best mortgage possible, how to buy a home with a low downpayment, and how to save on insurance costs.
While this site aims to be comprehensive (even including “find a home”), it’s strength lies in resources for financing. There are several tools and calculators to help you make informed decisions regarding home financing, including a mortgage qualifier, salary calculator, and “get the best mortgage.”
Yahoo: Business &Economy – Shopping and Services – Real Estate – Financing
If you’re shopping around for a lender, this is the place to start. Yahoo has indexed thirteen pages of lenders who want to help you finance your new home.
Since the legalities of homebuying are constantly changing, currency is very important in selecting books to borrow from the library or to purchase. A few titles that give good, basic information on homebuying are:
Home Buying for Dummies, Eric Tyson and Ray Brown
If you’re familiar with the “for Dummies” series of books, you know they really aren’t for dummies, they’re for anyone who needs to begin learning about a subject. This book covers saving for a downpayment, selecting the best loan, and even includes a list of things to do after you buy.
Buying and Selling a Home, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Staff
Though this book covers selling a home as well as buying, it’s a great resource. It’s main selling point is the authorship by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance – These people know what they’re talking about! The book covers finance options, both FHA and VA as well as traditional, and is user-friendly and easy to read.
The American Bar Association Guide to Home Ownership : The Complete and Easy Guide to All the Law Every Home Owner Should Know, American Bar Association
Any homebuyer must be familiar with the law, and this book from the American Bar Association covers all the basic points, and some you probably hadn’t considered (for instance, your liability when someone slips on your icy driveway). This book received gets high marks for writing about the law in a clear, understandable manner.
If you want to read more at your local public library, you’ll look under these Dewey Decimal classification numbers:
- 332.722 Mortgage Loans
- 333.338 House Buying
- 643.12 Home Ownership
If you’re looking for more information at a university library, you’ll be using the following Library of Congress subject headings:
House buying—United States
Home ownership—United States
You may also wish to see Business and Economics – Consumer Issues and Services Resources (/ref/RR/static/bus20.00.00.html)
This pathfinder created by Carly M. Wiggins