by Broderick Perkins
(5/14/2013) - Right away, the lack of any mention of home ownership counseling creates a big void in Movoto's new "First-Time Home Buyer's Guide," which otherwise does a good job of preparing first timers to make a move.
When you take the plunge to acquire what's likely to be your most valuable asset, you ought to know how to hold onto it.
That's what counseling teaches - in good times and bad - and Movoto, an online real estate brokerage, gets a demerit for that oversight.
Where's the counseling chapter?
But it's not just Movoto.
Most "Top 10," "Best," and "Key" home buying tips, lists and guides miss the boat when it comes to explaining why homeownership counseling ought to be a primary, even preliminary step to the home buying quest.
So to this "Site to See" review we add the pre-step that should be mandatory for any one buying a home — for the first time or later the "Erate.com Homeownership Counseling Series," a group of stories that add a chapter to what most home buying guides leave out.
Otherwise, Movoto's first-time home buyer guide is a complete 10-chapter handbook that, step-by-step, answers a host of questions:
Chapter 1. Is Now a Good Time Buy?
Chapter 2. What Do I Need to Buy a House?
Chapter 3. How Much House Can I Afford?
Chapter 4. How Do I Know What I Want?
Chapter 5. Should I Work With an Agent?
Chapter 6. How Do I Know What Loan to Apply For?
Chapter 7. How Do I Know What to Offer for a Home I Like?
Chapter 8. What Do I Do Once I've Made an Offer?
Chapter 9. What Should I Do Before I Close?
Chapter 10. How Does the Closing Process Work?
Each chapter explains why each question is important, it lays out the answers and offers an extra tip or two for each subject. A glossary of terms is also interspersed among the chapters.
Thorough mortgage financing coverage
Much of the guide is devoted to questions surrounding the financing aspect of buying a home, and rightfully so.
Financing is not just about applying for a mortgage, but also the credit you'll need to obtain a loan, the down payment, affordability, types of loans and using the loan to leverage an offer, among other financial aspects.
Chapters 2, 3, 6 and 7 are heavy on the financial aspects of homeownership and teach credit scores, down payment and closing costs, income, applying for a mortgage, the preapproval process, types of mortgages and mortgage terms.
Frequently mentioned in the guide is the need for guidance from a real estate agent.
What you don't remember from the guide, if you have additional questions about an aspect you don't understand or if you have a unique situation, chances are you'll have to go beyond the guide to agent is the best source of information on the fly.
A good agent can either answer all your additional questions or get those answers for you.
As the guide says "A real estate professional is uniquely qualified" in all aspects of home buying and selling.
The guide continues, "Although real estate search engines and online brokerages give you a seemingly endless amount of property listings, your best bet is to purchase a home with the assistance of a real estate agent or broker."
Chapter 5 is devoted specifically to real estate agents, the different types of agents, where to find an agent - even if you don't have a referral - the difference between an agent and a broker and questions to ask your broker.
One other shortcoming to Movoto's guide is the lack of a test or quizzes.
Educators use testing for good reason. It's an important tool to help drive home information and generate retention of what you've learned.
Luckily the guide is always available online for referral and as near as your nearest computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. It's up to you to devise your own information retention techniques.
Movoto guide passes muster
As a package lacking counseling information and quizzes to keep you on your toes, Movoto's First Time Home Buyer's Guide is nevertheless among the best.
It's a clearly-written, well-organized, hard-core guide that will keep buyers on track to purchase their dream home.
If you are buying a home now, if you are considering buying a home in the future or if you just want to bone up on home buying, Bookmark it.
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