Make a mistake when shopping for food or clothing and the loss usually isn't a big deal. But that's not the case when seeking shelter.
A home is the biggest purchase of a lifetime for most families.
And since most folks don't buy houses all that often, they have relatively little experience in dealing with the complicated legal procedures, the often confusing terms and the many potential mistakes that can be made.
A smart buyer will do a bit of homework beforehand, and there are some low-cost booklets available from the government that can help prevent at least a few housing headaches.
"Wise Home Buying" is a good one to start with. Only 24 pages, this booklet from the Department of Housing and Urban Development packs in lots of advice and warnings, reminders of problems to watch for and how to avoid many of them.
Two other nearly essential booklets are simple lists of terms and what they mean--keys to the complicated terminology of today's housing.
"Home Buyer's Vocabulary" lists terms dealing with deeds, sales and legal considerations in the purchase of a house, while "Homeowners Glossary of Building Terms" includes housing construction terms.
These and several other handy housing-related booklets may be purchased from the Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, Colo. 81009. Order as Follows:
* "Wise Home Buying," $1, item number 163V.
* "Home Buyer's Vocabulary," $1, item number 161V.
* "Homeowner's Glossary of Building Terms," $1, item number 162V.
* "A Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Lock-Ins," 50 cents, item 426V.
* "A Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Refinancing," 50 cents, item 427V.
* "Consumer Handbook on Adjustable-Rate Mortgages," 50 cents, item 428V.
* "Mortgage Money Guide," $1, item 137V.
* "How to Buy a Manufactured (Mobile) Home," 50 cents, item 429V.
* "Simple Home Repairs--Inside," $1.50, item 141V. Source: Associated Press