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With the exception of a first child, buying your first home will be the biggest thrill. It ranks as one of the hardest, most frightening, long-term commitment you will undertake. It especially becomes more daunting when you consider how little experience you have in these situations. On the up side, by the time you’re ready to move on to having both kids and house, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

Find out now: How much house can I afford?

Buying your first home will bring out the advice columnists in everyone you know. This especially includes every part-time realtor you’ve ever met. That’s how real estate works, everybody knows somebody and everyone has advice about what you should do. My suggestion is read a book, or nine, just to give yourself a sense of what to expect. This helps sort of lay the groundwork for what lies ahead.

In a People House by Dr. Seuss

Yes this is a Dr. Seuss book in a list about essential literature for first time homebuyers. It serves as a gentle reminder before you start the process to keep a sense of humor and perspective. Buying your first home doesn’t have to be a stress-filled experience. As the mouse explains to the bird, a house is full of people stuff and it’s your stuff that will make it a home.

Home Buying for Dummies by Eric Tyson

Just like all the books in the Dummies series, this one doesn’t assume you’re already intimately familiar with the material. These books, especially this one, are full of helpful information presented in an easy to digest format. It helps to keep this book handy after your closing because it features a handy section on selling your home. After all it’s your FIRST home not your LAST.

100 Questions Every First Time Home Buyer Should Ask by Ilyce Glink

I like question and answer books because they afford the ability to jump around and use them as sort of encyclopedia. Similar to using an encyclopedia when you were in school, they may not provide enough in depth enough to complete the whole project but they do offer enough to point you in the right direction.

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

This fictional story based on some real-life facts is a cautionary tale about a family who couldn’t pass up a deal that was just too good serves as a reminder that all real estate that glitters is not gold.

106 Common Mistakes Home Buyers Make and How to Avoid Them by Gary Eldred

Let’s be honest. The first time we do anything we make mistakes. Home buying is no different! This helpful volume will help you avoid 106 of them. It is based on the real-world experiences of buyer, realtors, builders and lenders.

NOLO’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home by Ilona Bray J.D.

This book is a like having real estate lawyer on call to answer your home buying questions. It’s a combination of straight facts and real-life stories about common traps and pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Home Buyer’s Checklist: Everything You Need to Know – But Forgot to Ask by Robert Irwin

The most common mistake first-, second- and third-time homebuyers make is assuming that the experts they have hired or are consulting are telling them everything they need to know. The reality is that it is the buyer’s responsibility to ask the right questions.

Home Buying by the Experts by Lori Shaw-Cohen and Brian Yui

This is an interesting compilation of helpful how-tos and “what the heck does that does that mean” plain English translations of real estate documents.

Buying a Home – The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner

This is a walk through guide of home buying process including tools to help you pick the house you want out of an abundance of choices and how to make an effective offer.

Next Steps

  • Now that you’ve leafed through a few books on the topic, it’s a good idea to consider consulting an expert. Before you make any major purchase, it’s smart to talk to a financial advisor about budget implications and how the purchase fits into your long-term goals. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can help you find a person to work with to meet your needs. First you’ll answer a series of questions about your situation and your goals. Then the program will narrow down your options to up to three advisors who suit your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while the program does much of the hard work for you.
  • If you enjoy reading about personal finance topics, then you may be interested in some of the best investing books out there. Whether you’re new to investing or count yourself as a seasoned pro, there’s always something new to learn.
  • Figure out how much house you can afford. This will narrow down your selection process and ensure you’re not stretching your money too far.

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Frank Addessi Born and raised in the center of the known universe, Brooklyn NY, and currently hiding out in the bucolic hills of northeast Pennsylvania writing about personal finance. His expertise includes personal loans, credit cards and retirement. It's not easy living the American Dream but someone has to do it!
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