A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Book Review: The Virgin Homeowner by Janice Papolos

Being a real estate inspector, I know that I do not know everything about buying and selling a home, but since I am in the profession, I am frequently asked a variety of questions on different topics concerning real estate. I guess that I could respond that I cannot answer, because it is not my field, but my sense of customer service will not allow me to take such an easy way out. I am always in a mode of trying to find sources of information for my clients, so they can make a more informed decision. I decided to look at books about buying a home, to see if there is one that I like.

I found The Virgin Homeowner in this category. This is a hefty volume,documenting the experiences and research of its author, an artist from New York, who settles into her first home. I liked her honesty in relating her mistakes, and her searching for answers to correct what she had done. The book is presented in a casual, story telling type mode, which appealed to me. Researchers have found that we tend to remember things better when it is presented in the format of a story. This book covered subjects that other books in this field did not, and the author’s voice made it a pleasant read. I would recommend this work to a first time home buyer, but I do have some caveats. One- the book is long, so you need to read it when your buying adventure is beginning. It is not a book of follow these steps; it is a book of this is what happened to me, so you can learn from my experience. Two- I questioned some of her statements. I will give an example that is close to me, her description of a home inspection. The author wanted to make the book apply for other states, so she did do some research into her topics. She traveled with a home inspector in New York to see how he performs his craft. She then reports that they method this inspector uses to report his findings is common to all inspectors. She is flatly wrong. Although the information was presented in a good manner, each inspector uses his own means of presenting information, and he tailors his method to requirements of the state and/or any organization that he is part of. I have never seen an inspector present his information in the manner described in the book. Does this mean that I felt that the home inspection section was worthless? No, it was detailed and well presented, but Ms. Papolos did not do enough research. She should have just said this is the way it was presented to me, and you may encounter something similar. There were a few times that her voice takes on an authority when it should not have, but she is not being dishonest. She simply believes that she has studied the subject, and that she has the answer. In the  end, I would still suggest this read to my clients.

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1 Comment»

  1st time home buyer wrote @

i never heard a 1st time home buyer being called a virgin!


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