Andrew Allentuck

Friday, April 6, 2001

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying and Selling a Home in Canada
by Bruce McDougall and Shelley O'Hara
Prentice Hall, 263 pages

Financial writers Bruce McDougall and Shelley O'Hara elevate the mundane problems of the house market with an intelligent, informed and sensitive examination of how it works. From the psychology of ownership to shopping for a house, estimating down payments, making offers to purchase, selecting mortgage terms, and, for sellers - the merits of using an agent or doing without, the authors offer a great deal of expertise.

There are tips... lots of them. The authors urge the potential buyer to check for street noise and visit often enough that first impressions are balanced with later reflection. There is advice on buying condominiums, particularly the problem of submitting oneself to the rule of each project's board of directors and coming to terms with that board's power to levy special assessments.

There is a good discussion of mortgage insurance, mortgage prepayment items, the loan qualification process and home inspection reports. The authors discuss the closing process, especially in regard to problems of title.

This Complete Idiot's Guide offers a wealth of good advice. For first-time buyers or sellers, it's a must read. For those who have been through the process, it's a reference. Either way, it's a well-written, intelligently assembled guide to the basics.