Book Review
Title: ‘The Wall Street Journal. Complete Home Owner’s Guidebook: Make the Most of Your Biggest Asset in Any Market
Author: David Crook
Publisher: Three Rivers Press, 2008; 272 pages; $14.95 list ($10.17 on

About half the size of a folded Sunday edition of The Wall Street Journal, that esteemed publication’s "Complete Home Owner’s Guidebook" nonetheless packs quite the punch.

Counterintuitively, but wisely, the "Guidebook," from WSJ Sunday editor David Crook, starts out with a set of Seven Keys to Smart Home Owning, the first of which is that your home is not actually an investment, but an expensive installment purchase with the potential — not guarantee — for a big rebate.

For the average WSJ reader, this sort of unconventional wisdom — which is everywhere in this book — might provoke a true rethink of their approach to real estate, and I mean that in a very good way.

The "Guidebook" is replete with instances of just this sort of very clear, concise and well-supported pronouncement and corresponding action items for homeowners, always on timely or timelessly relevant topics for the homeowner, a demographic bizarrely neglected in today’s real estate nonfiction.

This is not the now-ubiquitous book on how to get rich in real estate, but the much rarer astute and usable guide to being a wise steward of the home you already own, from how to be a smart owner in a troubled market, to managing your mortgage, to maintaining your home and even making homebuying decisions that will serve your interests well during and after the time you own the home.

For homeowners, homebuyers and even real estate professionals seeking to advise their clients on smart ownership principles and practices, this book is a quick, simple and mindset-modifying must-read.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Ask her a real estate question online or visit her Web site,


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