Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a longtime homeowner, you will profit from reading “The First-Time Homeowner’s Survival Guide” by Sid Davis. He is both an experienced real estate broker and a home renovator so he knows which home repairs and renovations will reflect well in home enjoyment and increased resale value.

The book begins with the basics of repairing and upgrading home electrical systems and plumbing. Davis shares his construction knowledge without becoming super-technical. Photos illustrate his topics.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

For example, he recommends upgrading home electrical service for both safety from fires and for greater enjoyment with no blown circuit breakers on overloaded circuits.

Having been involved renovating many houses, I related to most of the author’s suggestions and helpful shortcuts. However, if the book has a flaw it makes the do-it-yourself projects such as replacing old faucets seem too simple. Watching an experienced plumber grapple with that task a few weeks ago at my house, I know how difficult that work can be.

Especially valuable are the comparison charts of alternatives. For example, the chart showing exterior siding comparisons lists 10 siding types, such as vinyl, aluminum, wood, stucco, brick and natural stone, along with their pros and cons, plus the approximate installed cost of each. Information like that is invaluable to homeowners who are considering redoing their home exteriors.

After Davis explains the basics of home repairs and renovations, he moves on to more challenging topics such as hiring and checking out a professional contractor. I especially liked his comment, “If it isn’t in writing, it doesn’t exist.” Then he explains the importance of written change orders, a key profit center for most contractors.

But this book covers more than just the basics of home repairs and renovation. It includes profitable information including the tax aspects of owning a home, insurance considerations, property tax over-assessments, and even a chapter about avoiding the most costly house-repair problems.

As the book evolves, it goes from the physical aspects of home maintenance and improvements to equally important topics involving money aspects, such as saving on construction by choosing the right kind of contract, and getting the most benefits out of insurance policies.

Chapter topics include “Your Home’s Electrical System 101”; “Maintaining and Fixing Your Home’s Plumbing System”; “How to Create Great Looking Walls and Ceilings”; “Interior Improvements That Add Value”; “Exterior Maintenance and Improvements That Add Value”; “Your Home’s Landscaping and Curb Appeal”; “Hiring and Working with Contractors”; “Tax Aspects of Owning a Home”; and “Insurance Matters for Homeowners.”

Whether you are the do-it-yourself type or you prefer to hire professionals such as plumbers and electricians, this new book provides profitable information to save money and make the right choices. On my scale of one to 10, this superb book rates a solid 10.

“The First-Time Homeowner’s Survival Guide,” by Sid Davis (AMACOM Publishing, New York), 2007, $16; 216 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.Amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

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