10 Steps to Home Ownership: A Workbook for First-Time Buyers.

Author:DeZube, Dona

BY ILYCE R. GLINK Times Books New York, N.Y. www.randomhouse.com 1996, 351 pages, $15 Soft cover

Two new how-to-buy-real-estate books recently hit the market. Reading the latest edition of Edith Lank's Home Buyer's Kit is like sitting down for a chat with a funny aunt who has bought a lot of real estate. You're going to get a lot of great advice on buying and financing a home, all while having a few giggles. Ilyce Glink's 10 Steps to Home Ownership: A Workbook for First-Time Buyers targets would-be homebuyers that are three months to three years away from being ready to start shopping.

Lank says she wrote the book based on a 10-page letter she sent to her son and daughter-in-law when they began looking for their first home. Into that letter went 10 years of experience selling houses, teaching real estate courses at the college level and answering questions in her syndicated newspaper columns and radio and television shows.

Glink's book is a follow-up to her award-winning 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask. She's also a weekly syndicated columnist and hosts a real estate radio talk show, "Century 21 REAL ESTATE USA."

Of the two books, Lank's seems to have a more straight-forward reason to exist. She assumes you've decided to buy a house and shows you how to go about finding the right agent, finding the right house, finding the right mortgage and finding a way to keep some of your money in your wallet.

Glink, on the other hand, has a somewhat flawed premise. Do we really need a book to help us decide whether to buy a house? I think people buy houses when they're ready to put down roots. They get engaged. They're ready to start a family. A single guy realizes it's time to stop waiting for Princess Charming and to buy a house on his own. If you move frequently, or you're not the settling-down type, it's probably not a good idea to buy.

As a mortgage banker, you're going to judge both these books by the financial advice they offer. How do they compare at, say, explaining the maximum mortgage calculation? Lank gives you six short, fill-in-the-blank charts that help you figure out how much you can borrow. Then, she supplies the punch line. "One caution: Now that you've done all this work, don't be surprised if a skilled agent, working with knowledge of current ratios, interest rates, and property taxes, comes up with a different recommendation!"

Glink gives you one very long chart for calculating your maximum monthly mortgage...

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