Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Housing Crisis - A Great Book to Read!

I had the pleasure of reading one of the most enjoyable, easy to read, and informative books the other day.

Similar to the "for Dummies" line of books, but much more engaging, Jim Randel is the author of a series of books under "The Skinny On™" line, and illustrated with "Stick People™" which are absolutely a hoot. I've always enjoyed simplistic , tongue in cheek comics, (South Park is my favorite!) and Jim has managed to use his excellent little "people" to capture your attention and make learning about a sometimes boring subject FUN.

Let me preface this with the fact that I have NOT been paid or compensated in any way for this review. They sent me a free copy of the book and I read it in a couple of hours. I have another one to read as well and may also blog about it.

This book is Stick People Books™, The Skinny On: The Housing Crisis. For anyone who has asked the questions WHY and HOW we ended up with this real estate and mortgage mess, you will know the answers after you follow the little stick people Billy and they decide to explore the American dream of buying a home back about 2005.

Jim's little couple will make you chuckle and grin as you learn how NOT to buy a house. He explains the little known problems with independent mortgage brokers who depend on the real estate agent for business. Likewise, Billy and Beth naively trust in using an inspector who also depends on the agent for his bread and butter, and the agent herself...whose livlihood depends on that commission, and proves that there's an almost invisible line between being a good salesman and taking advantage. As an agent back during that time, "Charlotte" merely goes with the flow, and allows the young couple to buy a house they can't afford, with a mortgage that should never have been invented, and a house that wasn't worth what they paid.

The book taught ME a few things, and I thought I was pretty savvy about real estate now.
With as few words as possible to explain things, and an adorable comic to illustrate and occasionally poke fun at the system, this book is a must-read for a first time home buyer, and would be a very good checklist reminder for the average person who may not understand the pitfalls of making a home purchase the lazy way.
Randel's website tells about the book, and explains it further like this:
The Skinny On™ The Housing Crisis takes the reader through Billy and Beth’s experiences dealing with real estate agents, house inspectors, appraisers, mortgage brokers, lenders and attorneys. Each of these encounters is a lesson for any person considering the purchase or sale of a home, investing in real estate or, just taking out a mortgage. After Billy and Beth close on their home, The Skinny On™ The Housing Crisis follows the story of their mortgage from lender to investment bank to investor in Europe. We learn how mortgage sales and securitizations became a trillion dollar
business, disconnecting the American borrower from the lender and de-humanizing the process.
The Skinny On™ The Housing Crisis can be purchased on his website, or through for $12.95 for a paperback or $9.95 for an E-Book. If you are the parents of a young couple just starting out, this would be a wonderful gift to give. But everyone will learn something from it, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

No comments: