In recent years, many individuals have asked me where they could get further information about real estate. Here are several suggestions.
There is no shortage of real estate advice: just check the shelves of any book store. Two of the best general texts include Questions and Answers on Real Estate, by Robert W. Semenow (Ninth Edition -- $14.95), and The Complete Real Estate Advisor, by Daniel J. DeBenedictis (paperback -- $2.50, hardback -- $9.95). Both books are written by attorneys and stress real estate principles that apply universally. The Semenow text is probably the book most widely read by real estate professionals.
Also good, but more specific, is Beating Inflation with Real Estate ( $10) by Kenneth R. Harney, a contributor to The Post and executive editor of the Housing and Development Reporter. How You Can Become Financially Independent by Investing in Real Estate by Albert Lowry ($9.95) is worthwhile, as is The Complete Book of Home Buying by Michael Sumichrast and Ronald G. Shafer ($12.95).
Locally, How to Find a House to Renovate in Washington, D.C. by R. J. Turner ($4.95) is well written and extremely informative.
For buyers there is the Home Buyer's Checklist by attorney and Washington Post columnist Benny L. Kass ($2.25 from the National Homebuyers and Homeowners Association, 1528 18th St. NW, Washington 20036). This booklet includes a model settlement sheet.
Self-sellers can probably benefit from Home for Sale by Owner by Gerald M. Steiner ($7.95). This is an extremely simplified explanation of the home selling process. It includes blank contract forms that should not be used without prior review by an attorney.
The IRS has three publications of interest in the real estate field, including Tax Information on Selling and Purchasing Your Home (Publication 523), Tax Information for Homeowners (Publication 530), and Moving Expenses (Publication 521). Free copies can be ordered by calling 488-3100.
Real estate is an intensely localized business and all transactions are unique. Attorneys and real estate brokers, hired on an hourly basis as advisors, can supply you with specific information. Paying for professional advice becomes exceedingly worthwhile if it saves you time, money, and harassment.