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Military Finances 101: 8 Real Estate Books to Read Before Buying Your First Home

Managing Your Finances

Buying your first home is a big milestone that most Americans look forward to as they begin growing their families. However, big milestones can come with big price tags. According to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, the median price of a single-family home in 2018 was $258,000.1 While that can, of course, vary depending on your location and needs, it’s easy to see that buying your first home is an investment that shouldn’t be taken likely.

As we always say, "Leaders are readers." So are successful home buyers and real estate investors. Before you purchase your first home you might want to consider reading at least some of the books recommended below.

Book 1: “The Mortgage Encyclopedia: The Authoritative Guide to Mortgage Programs, Practices, Prices and Pitfalls” Second Edition By Jack Guttentag

While a VA loan may be your best option when buying your first home, you still might want to understand more about mortgages before you sign on the dotted line. Just as its name suggests, this book acts as a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about mortgages. It offers critical terminology in alphabetical order, as well as definitions and explanations in easy-to-understand wording. The author, Jack Guttentag, is Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and uses his book as a platform for teaching and advising first-time homeowners the in’s and out’s of selecting and signing a mortgage.

Book 2: “The 106 Common Mistakes Homebuyers Make (and How to Avoid Them)” By Gary W. Eldred

Written for the first-time homebuyer just like you, this book is meant to shed light on the home buying process in an effort to demystify the real estate market. Author Gary W. Eldred focuses on two main outcomes of the home buying process: choosing a comfortable house to live in and one that will work as a smart financial investment. By incorporating the advice of other experts including mortgage lenders, real estate agents and experienced home buyers, this book is meant to turn you from a home buying novice into an educated consumer before you even step foot in your first open house. 

Book 3: “Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home” By Ilona Bray J.D.

This comprehensive read includes over 20 true stories from first-time home buyers along with the advice and expertise from 15 real estate professionals including home inspectors, neighborhood researchers and attorneys. If you’re looking for a book that guides you through the home buying process from square one, this may be a good place to start. Author Ilona Bray, J.D. covers all facets of the home buying process including budgeting, researching, negotiating and protecting your purchase.

Book 4: “No Nonsense Real Estate: What Everyone Should Know Before Buying or Selling a Home” By Alex Goldstein

Author Alex Goldstein brings a unique perspective to readers thanks to his work as both a realtor and investor. In this book, he’s putting his well-rounded experience to good use by offering first-time home buyers a jargon-free guide to understanding the real estate market. Bringing a comprehensive look to the home buying process, this book offers important steps designed to guide the reader from selecting an agent to closing a deal. In addition, he offers some of the most common real estate questions and answers as well as a glossary of must-know terms for home buying. 

Book 5: “How to Buy Your Perfect First Home: What Every First-Time Homebuyer Needs to Know” By Anthony S. Park

Joining the market in 2018, this more recent guide to buying your first home is focused on cutting through the confusion to offer easy-to-read answers to your most pressing real estate questions. For those who may be home buying novices, this book offers simple solutions and steps you can use to hit the ground running. While you may have plenty of your own home buying questions, Anthony S. Park also works to shed some light on questions you may not have even thought to ask.

Book 6: “Home Buying Kit For Dummies” By Eric Tyson

As part of one of the most popular “how-to” series, this book works to break the home buying process down into easy-to-understand steps and explanations. It offers a comprehensive look at everything from house inspections to obtaining a mortgage. This book is designed to bring valuable advice to everyone from those who are just starting their home buying journey to anyone trying to navigate the loan and lending process.

Book 7: “How to Get Approved for the Best Mortgage Without Sticking a Fork in Your Eye: A Comprehensive Guide for First Time Home Buyers and Home Buyers ... Since the Mortgage Crisis of 2008 (Volume 1)” By Elyssia Stobbe

Elyssia Stobbe’s guide covers what you should know about your personal buying power and mortgage options. From choosing the right lender to finding an appropriate type of loan, it’s important to be as picky when choosing your mortgage as you are with choosing your new home. The author attempts to cover the gamut by offering the questions you need to be asking and the considerations you should make in regards to who to trust and what fees you should be expected to pay.

Book 8: “How to Become a First Time Homebuyer” By Abe Lee

Author Abe Lee believes preparation is key when it comes to obtaining your first home. In his book, he’s sharing his own experiences in helping first-time homeowners by bringing the same wisdom and advice he offered them to readers like you. This book provides tried-and-tested advice as well as valuable resources you can turn to as you enter the home buying market.

Buying your first home should be an exciting time, but it’s certain to come with lots of questions and may feel overwhelming or complex. Consider doing a little research on your own by turning to these helpful reads, many of which have been authored by financial or real estate experts. 

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If you liked this article, you might enjoy the following blog posts:

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