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Buying a Home: The Missing Manual

Buying a Home: The Missing Manual

By Nancy Conner

Missing CD-ROM

Part 1: Preparing for Home Ownership

Chapter 1. The Benefits and Drawbacks of Home Ownership

Mortgage calculator to estimate PITI payments:

Info on the national Flood Insurance Program:

Chapter 2. How Much Home Can You Afford?

Free online money-management tools:

Download free household budget templates:

Track your spending with a free budget planner spreadsheet:

Get an idea of how much you can afford to borrow:

Order your free credit report online:

Order your free credit report by phone:

  • 1-877-322-8228

To request your free annual credit report in writing, use the form here:

Videos on how to improve your FICO score:

Part 2: Finding Your Home

Chapter 3: Choose Your Style of Home and Neighborhood

Read about manufactured home federal government's manufactured home standards:

Check out neighborhood school districts:

Review neighborhood demographics:

Download your home Wish List form:

Download a form to list things you don't want in a home:

Set your home priorities:

Chapter 4: Assemble Your Real Estate Team

Reviews of local real estate agents:

State disciplinary agencies for real estate agents:

Chapter 5: Shop for Your Home

Online real estate agencies:

National real estate agencies:

Find listing agents and "For Sale By Owner" sellers:

Determine home comparable values:

Find foreclosures:

Find government-seized properties for sale:

Bid online for foreclosed (and other) properties:

Auctions of bank-owned (REOs) and other properties:

Find out whether a former owner has a state-granted right to buy back a foreclosed house:

Review the federal lead disclosure form:

Review the Indiana seller disclosure form:

Review the Texas seller disclosure form:

Part 3: Financing Your Home

Chapter 6. Finance Your Down Payment

Learn about investment-grade bonds:

Find the limit on FHA loans in your area:

Chapter 7: Compare Mortgages and Other Financing Option

Try a simple-to-use amortization calculator:

Figure out your ARM mortgage with this ARM calculator:

Track the major indexes that the banking industry uses:

Determine monthly principal and interest mortgage payments:

Find out what the FHA-insured loan cap is for your area:

Find lenders that handle FHA-insured loans:

Locate FHA-approved lenders in your area:

See if you qualify for a VA home loan:

Find a local public housing authority home-buying assistance program:

Search for government programs that offer assistance with housing (go to "Quick Benefits", then click "Housing"):

Chapter 8: Choose and Apply for a Mortgage

Check a lender's track record with federal agencies:

Check for complaints about online lenders at these consumer review sites:

Longtime online lenders:

Find local lenders:

Find a mortgage broker:

Watch mortgage rates:

Get a sense of the highest your ARM payments could rise:

Read the Uniform Residential Loan application:

Review the terms of a Good Faith Estimate:

Chapter 9. Know Your Closing Costs

Use the California Land Title Association's free Title Wizard to compare title insurance companies and rates:

Find average closing costs by state:

Part 4: Negotiating the Deal

Chapter 10: Make an Offer

Estimate the value of neighboring homes and your target home for free:

Buy a report that estimates the value of neighboring homes and your target home:

Chapter 11: Prepare for the Closing

Learn about the federal government's National Flood Insurance Program and your flood risk:

Assess the chances that an earthquake will shake you up:

Check out earthquake maps:

Review home warranty assessments:

Find American Moving and Storage Association certified movers:

Read consumer reviews of movers:

Contact your local Better Business Bureau for complaints about a mover:

File a change of address form:

Get a copy of the final walkthrough checklist:

Chapter 12: Inspect the Property

Check your state's license requirements and regulations for home inspectors:

Search for certified home inspectors:

See an example of a home inspection report:

Read state-by-state information about radon:

Find local home energy raters qualified to do a professional energy audit:

Chapter 13: Close the Deal

Check out what a HUD settlement form looks like: