By Katie Hinderer, REALTOR® Magazine
Relating to customers is a large part of your job, but it’s easy to forget how it feels to be a first-time homebuyer. Mark B. Weiss’s The Everything Homebuying Book, (Adams Media Corp. $14.95) is not only a great reference for first-time homeowners, but it can help you understand their perspective better as well. This-easy-to- read book covers every aspect of the home buying experience, from evaluating properties to obtaining financing.
Weiss includes several worksheets to make the process easier for buyers; first-timers can make copies and fill them in along the way. For instance, the book includes worksheets on picking a lender, evaluating locations, and determining which features they want (and don’t want) in a house. You can take initiative and distribute worksheets such as the “Dream Home Worksheet,” which helps readers to pinpoint their desired features, to buyers. Additionally, you can study these sheets to refamilarize yourself with topics of interest to them.
If customers aren’t sure what type of residence they want, the book provides several chapters to remedy this uncertainty. “Chapter 6: Which House Is Right for You?” covers the initial questions and considerations a first timer should mull over when contemplating a move. It covers topics such as gated communities and whether a buyers would prefer a home in the city, suburbs, or country from all angles. (When showing properties, however, be careful not to make any statements violating Fair Housing rules). Once a client has narrowed down their choices, or at least figured out what they don’t want, they can turn to chapters covering various housing options. “Chapter 7: The Resale House,” “ Chapter 8: Condos and Co-ops,” and “Chapter 9: Special Home Choices” discuss each option’s positives and negatives, to help buyers make an informed decision.
The book also covers several topics that a first-time homebuyer could easily overlook. It reminds them to examine transportation methods from home to work before a move to budget potential commuting expenses. In addition, it offers reminders for buyers to look into local services such as sewers, police protection, and library facilities. These little details, which can go a long way towards determining clients’ future happiness, could be easily overlooked by even a second or third time home buyer. The book helps remind you of their importance.
Other chapters are more logistical. The more tedious and confusing parts of the home buying process are covered in such chapters as “Chapter 3: Choosing the Right Mortgage,” and “Chapter 12: Negotiating the Best Contract.” For a first time home buyer these elements of the process can be both overwhelming and puzzling, however, these chapters make the process more manageable. The chapters can also assist you in explaining buyers’ financing options in understandable terms.
As with other “Everything” series entries, the book contains boxes within the chapters that pull out important information, and divide it into four topics: “E Facts,” “E Essentials,” “E Alerts,” and “E Questions.” The boxes isolate the most useful information and serve as a way to assist readers pressed for time and in need of the facts–fast. In addition to these handy factoids, the book is packed with informative tables on an assortment of topics, such as the percentage of people purchasing homes in specific regions and the percentage of people in different salary brackets that own a summer house.
Putting yourself in buyers shoes can help you make the sale. The Everything Homebuying Book can help ensure that the next time a first-time homebuyer steps into your office you’ll have a little bit better understanding of what they’re going through and the concerns they might have.