Author: Shashank Shekhar with Richa Sarin
Author: Shashank Shekhar with Richa Sarin
From what I have read, 2015 marked the return of the first-time home buyers after they stayed away in droves in the aftermath of the housing crises of 2008 and subsequent years. I wonder how many of these purchasers were well-equipped to face the daunting and stressful experience in purchasing their first home?
Before my retirement, I had been a title attorney in Canada for over thirty-five years and I had been involved in thousands of real estate closings. I can't begin to count the number of new home buyers that did not have a clue as to the important steps they had to take before finding their dream homes. Unfortunately, many purchasers relied on second hand advice from friends, relatives, colleagues and part-time realtors- something that is common where everyone seems to know someone who can add his or her two cent piece in.
My First Home: A Step-by-Step guide to achieving the Ultimate American Dream, which is the newest tome to add to the dozens of books dealing with the same subject matter is important not only for the way the material is presented but also its reader friendly comprehensive contents.
Organized into five sections, Author Shashank Shekhar with the collaboration of Richa Sarin explore the important elements involved in purchasing your first home. These sections include getting ready, searching for your dream home, getting a mortgage, and a closing section dealing with tips on moving, twenty-one ways to save money on utilities, and paying of your mortgage faster. Each section explores such topics as: If you should purchase your own home or rent one, the different types of properties, the flip properties, making an offer, getting your mortgage and what it entails, pitfalls and foolish mistakes to avoid during mortgage approval, property appraisal, insurance, unconventional ways in acquiring properties, home warranty and common ways to hold title. It should be noted that if you are much further ahead in the purchasing process, you can jump directly to sections two or three. However, as the author recommends, it is advisable to read the book from section one to five.
Shekhar has many years of experience as a mortgage lender and first-time buyer expert and is very aware of the complexities in purchasing a home. His motive for writing the book was to make the process of purchasing a home easier and more predictable and as he states: “I do not want lack of knowledge to come in your way of not buying your home.”
He fully understands that purchasing your first home can be frightening especially if you have a complete lack of experience. Consequently, devoid as much as possible of confusing technical terms, Shekhar and Sarin present the material in a manner which demystifies the process and after reading the book you may wonder what all the fuss was about. It also gives you realistic scenarios and lays the groundwork for what what to expect.
What I found particularly helpful is the book's design with its bold large titles introducing topics as well as rich illustrations that appear throughout the book. For example, at the beginning there is a chart that succinctly condenses most of the book's material into little boxes that provide a step-by-step illustration of the process.
In addition there are valuable checklists with rankings that will guide you as to the kind of property that would interest you. For example, the list concerning property features contains what to consider: number of floors, age of the property, type (condo, single level etc), number of bathrooms, number of bedrooms, number of garage spaces, living area, lot size, back yard family room, laundry room, type of appliances, central air conditioning, type of flooring, storage, neighborhood features, commute to work, close to good schools and close to parks/playgrounds. Beside each of these features is a box that you would rate from 1 to 5 in importance to yourself.
The book delivers what it sets out to do and provides timeless important advice in your quest to purchase a new home that will save you much time and money in the long run. It can serve as a starting point for the novice home purchaser or a firm reminder for the experienced as to the different important steps to bear in mind. It is not so much about doing things, but rather doing the right things.
One word of caution, the book is primarily meant for U.S. purchasers, particularly the tax advice and the manner in which banks and lending institutions operate, nonetless a good deal of the information and suggestions can be used for individuals living in Canada, Europe or elsewhere.