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Eric & Ray's Top 10 Keys to a Successful Home Purchase


Eric & Ray's Top 10 Keys
to a Successful Home Purchase

Adapted from the national bestseller Home Buying for Dummies
by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown

Book Cover
Eric Tyson and Ray Brown are the authors of the national bestseller Home Buying for Dummies. With almost 40 years of experience between them, Tyson and Brown tell you what you need to know to get the best deals out there.
Buy It

  1. Buy a home that comfortably allows you to accomplish your other financial goals. Understand how the proposed home purchase fits into and affects your existing financial situation and goals, especially saving for retirement. Get your personal finances in order before you buy. You should do your saving, investment, and insurance plans before you buy.

  2. Mortgage lenders and real estate agents can't tell you how much you can afford to borrow. They can only tell you the maximum that you're eligible to borrow.

  3. Consider renting if you think you'll soon need to move. Given all the costs associated with buying and then selling a home, if you don't expect to hold on to your home for at least three (and preferably five) years, you could very well lose money.

  4. Have the courage to be a contrarian. The best time to buy is usually at the bottom of a real estate cycle when no one else thinks it's a good time to buy. Compare the monthly costs of renting a home to buying it to see whether buying offers a good value.

  5. You can easily save thousands of dollars by shopping around for a good mortgage. Money is a commodity just like toasters and toilet paper.

  6. Choose a mortgage that fits your needs and ability to accept risk. Don't take an adjustable-rate mortgage unless you can afford the maximum possible monthly payment and the risk of fluctuating payments.

  7. What you don't know is usually what gets you into trouble. Real estate is a team sport. Put the right players on your team and you greatly reduce the likelihood of problems with your purchase.

  8. Remember that real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and other players only get paid if you buy, and they generally get paid more the more you spend on a home. To protect yourself against these conflicts of interest, get your financial house in order before you start working with these players.

  9. Never buy a pig in a poke. Don't try to save money by skipping inspections. Have the home thoroughly inspected before you buy it. If in doubt, reinspect.

  10. Don't let unexpected closing costs sabotage you. Ensure that you have enough cash to buy the house by estimating in advance all the costs you must pay at the time of closing, including moving expenses, insurance premiums, loan fees, and property taxes.

Eric Tyson, MBA, is a financial counselor, syndicated columnist and author of five best-selling books including Home Buying for Dummies (co-author), Investing for Dummies and Personal Finance for Dummies. His work has been praised and featured in hundreds of publications including Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Kiplingers, and on PBS, ABC, the NBC Today Show, CNN, CNBC, CBS and National Public Radio.

Ray Brown is a 25-plus year veteran of the residential real estate profession. He wrote a syndicated column and currently hosts a weekly radio program, "Ray Brown on Real Estate." He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, and in the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.

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