Friday, May 05, 2006

Stocking my house-buying info bookshelf

Two of my close friends are in process of buying a house right now, the crazy kids. (An actual *house.* In New York City. Who knew such things existed?) This has gotten me thinking wistfully again about real estate. We're not in a position to buy anything now, and I doubt we will be for at least another year, but since I'm always information obsessive, what's to stop me getting started with some research?

Listening to these two go through the details of the buying process, it hit me how little I understood it all. Inspections? Title checks? Swarms of lawyers? Eeek! So, I asked for book suggestions. Home Buying for Dummies was enthusiastically recommended as a good overview. I'm also interested in the larger economic questions about the housing market -- how do you judge when it's the 'right' time for you to roll the dice on a purchase? The Washington Post's personal-finance columnist, Michelle Singletary, is pretty impressed by June Fletcher's House Poor: Pumped-Up Prices, Rising Rates, and Mortgages on Steroids, and makes a persuasive case for it. So I tossed that into my Amazon shopping basket as well.

I'm about 10 pages into House Poor right now. I'll report back when I've finished the books. Anyone else have recommendations?