Print Primer for Tech-Minded Consumers

By Christina Hoffmann Spira, REALTOR® Magazine

Homesurfing.net, by Blanche Evans (Chicago: Dearborn Financial Publishing, Inc.; $17.95), is the book Web surfing buyers and sellers need next to their mouse pad. As a straightforward soup-to-nuts account of the homebuying and selling process, its utility is providing and exploring the necessary Web pit stops consumers should visit on their way to homeownership. And that’s valuable in an age when consumers are opting–and willing–to learn about the homeownership process electronically.

Plus, it gives REALTORS® a nice plug. Check out the chapter, “Why Use a REALTOR®?” Of course, Evans also includes the obligatory how-to-be-a-FSBO chapter.

Here are some of the helpful tips–from the strong financial sections of the book–which will guide your prospects:

  • You’ve heard the financial planning suggestion: Consolidate your credit card debt onto one card. According to Evans, that may not be the best plan considering that lenders look not only at your credit report, but your credit score–the “statistical probability” that you’ll default on the loan. When you transfer debt you “raise the ratio of your unpaid balances to the maximum credit lines on fewer cards. To lenders’ software, it appears as if your financial situation has tightened,” a possible sign of default.
  • Rather than enduring the leg work involved in tracking down your credit report from the three credit reporting companies, Evans notes that you use an online service to obtain all three and challenge inaccuracies.

This tip raises a caveat about this book, or any book on the Internet: Rapid business changes in the tech world date print publications quickly. Since the book’s printing, the cyber credit report service Evans cites has changed its name and URL. It’s now called Qspace, not icreditreport.com.

  • Buyers can deduct loan points, which are considered additional interest, from their income tax, even if the seller pays them.
  • When it comes time to find homeowners’ insurance, the Insurance Information Institute explains how to buy it and calculate the amount you need. In addition, consumers can obtain an immediate insurance quote at Countrywide Insurance Services, by filling out an online form.

What guidebook to the Internet would be complete without its’ own site? Read excerpts from the book and information about the author at Homesurfing.net.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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