"Buying a house may be love at first sight or seemingly take forever. This terrific book covers all the bases. Readers will enjoy discovering the secrets as they are revealed. There's something valuable for everyone."
–Willard Scott, Noted NBC Radio and Television Personality
"This book helps you get at not only the practical aspects of home buying and selling, but also the emotional side of what is usually the largest and most anxiety-riddled transactions of your lifetime. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, it pays big dividends to read Lois Vitt's advice before you do!"
–Jordan E. Goodman, America's Money Answers Man and author of Everyone's Money Book
"If you want to get in touch with your inner home buyer–and make clearer decisions based on those insights–this is the book to take you there."
–Kenneth Harney, Syndicated Real Estate Columnist, Washington Post Writers Group.
"The most significant purchase a person makes in a lifetime is a home. The process of finding, purchasing, or selling a home can be down right nerve-racking. Lois Vitt has written a thought-provoking book that addresses both the technical and emotional aspects of home ownership."
–Deborah Owens, Financial Commentator and author of Confident Investing and Nickel and Dime Your Way to Wealth.
Buying a home is not just the most important financial decision: It is also one of the most important emotional decisions. With 10 Secrets to Successful Home Buying and Selling, you get it right! Lois A. Vitt helps you discover your "housing value system," your personal housing psychology. Learn how your expectations compare with your family's expectations, so that you can make the best decisions for everyone. After you discover what you really want, answer crucial housing questions, such as: Rent or buy? Move or remodel? Sell or hold? Refinance? Vitt's practical examples, real-life stories, and easy quizzes help you make housing decisions that enrich your life emotionally and financially!
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Dr. Lois A. Vitt founded and directs the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies, an organization focused on research, education, and the development of finances, society, and the daily lives of individuals. She has taught financial sociology and financial gerontology at American University, and she edits the Encyclopedia of Financial Gerontology. Formerly a consultant to major financial services firms, she pioneered the development of innovative financing instruments for home buying.
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Until recently, the longest time I lived in one place was five years, and my usual limit was two years. I have changed homes, transformed rooms to accommodate new uses, rented, bought, and sold homes, refinanced them, leveraged them, and invested in rental homes.
I've moved to save money, to seek or accept new employment, to find better schools, to move to a different location, or to collapse my commuting time. I moved to change environments—the suburbs, the city, the beach, the country—and for long periods, I shuttled between two homes at a time. My work required me to travel, and sometimes a city became a routine business destination. Whenever that happened, I thought about trading hotel life for local living, and once, I actually did it. Most of my moves, now that I look back on them, were wonderfully happy moves. A few were definitely losers.
Housing was also my business. As a mortgage banker, I financed thousands of houses, apartments, co-ops, and condominiums. As an investor, I rescued, renovated, restored, and remodeled houses. As the Director of Housing for an urban renewal agency, and other non-profit and for-profit organizations, I helped transform and uplift the lives of low-wage, inner-city, middle-income, Caribbean Island, and Native American populations by helping them become homeowners. For my doctoral dissertation, I researched the social and psychological ties we have to housing and I examined the differences homeownership makes to people who are able to achieve it. Not surprisingly, my research results empirically supported the prevailing wisdom surrounding homeownership as a personal and an American ideal.
Since completing my thesis, and increasingly during the past decade, financial research has more frequently crossed the line into the social and behavioral sciences. In turn, the social and behavioral sciences grapple with questions about personal financial literacy and financial management. At the heart of this emerging body of research is the home. Perhaps nowhere else can we learn so much about ourselves and one another as when we consider our values, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and customs in the context of the financial realities, constraints, opportunities, and investment potential of our homes. Nothing else motivates us to learn how to handle money better than the prospect of owning or investing in our homes. Yet, partially due to the complexity of the times in which we live, and partially due to credit availability and increasingly creative advertising, we have fallen behind the "personal financial knowledge curve" we need to master. It doesn't have to be this way.
I've learned from my research, teaching, and the people I've helped to house—from college students to older retirees seeking assisted living arrangements—that our decisions about homes can be financially and personally enhancing or exactly the opposite, depending upon the mindset, willingness to learn, and emotional baggage we bring to the transactions. Housing emotions can derail us financially. They can be so powerful in fact that during seminars I offer on home and decision-making, I've seen grown men and women cry over home-connected memories. One man who was about 50 years old, a participant in a half-day workshop, suddenly began weeping uncontrollably and had to leave the room. He later told me he had not allowed himself to grieve over the loss of his wife almost two years earlier. The exercises in the workshop had loosened memories he suppressed "far too long," he said. The experience of home can be so intimate that I've witnessed participants heal childhood trauma by revisiting the homes of their past through exercises designed expressly for this purpose.
My hope is that 10 Secrets to Successful Home Buying and Selling will simplify what can be a complicated, intimidating, and emotionally draining experience for many. By introducing you to your own "housing psychology," better negotiating and decision skills will be more accessible to you as a homebuyer, seller, renter, and housing investor. 10 Secrets to Successful Home Buying and Selling is not just a how-to book, but an introduction to a whole new strategy that can transform the way you approach housing decisions—and maybe other financial decisions as well.
Lois A. Vitt
Middleburg, VA http://www.RealityStudies.com
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