The Housing Trap: How Buyers Are Captured And Abused And How To Defend Yourself (Patrick Killelea)

1 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
While there are some interesting things in this book, and parts of it are educational (at least to me, since I have never before read things about mortgages, buying houses, various associations of realtors, etc), it is more of a rant than a traditional book. For every piece of interesting information and/or analysis, there are lots and lots of rants about how realtors are basically evil, debt is the new form of slavery, etc, as well as a healthy dose of misogyny… which is a shame, since the interesting parts were actually educational.

Greater Detail:
The basic argument here actually seems to make sense: that real estate agents, banks and most of the people involved with the housing market are really not on your side (that agents will get a bigger payday if you pay more, thus they’re incentivized to get you to overpay, as opposed to get you a good deal… I remember Steven Levitt and Stephen J Dubner’s Freakonomics talked about this as well: that realtors, on average, got a better sale price for their own houses, than their client’s houses, and kept the listing active longer, etc). There’s also a lot of advice about how to sell the house yourself, advice on how to save and try to buy the majority (or all) of a house with cash, his opinions about California’s Prop 13, etc.

I had three main problems with this book:

1. It’s super short — if I hadn’t found it at the library (and I read most of it while waiting for a friend), I would have been very upset to have paid for it. Even the really interesting parts are just kind of short, almost bullet-like paragraphs that don’t go into detail (or say, look at blah blah website for detail)

2. It’s more of a rant than analysis. Even the parts I agree with, I had trouble agreeing with, because the tone is just so… forceful and in your face. It’s hard

3. Though it says it’s written for middle America, it’s really written for middle American males… and even warns about men who buy based on the preferences of their wives (he talks about how realtors will prey on the emotions of women, who then apply pressure to their husbands, for example).

Comparisons to Other Authors/Books:
This is my first time reading anything that has to do with real estate. I’ve since checked out the website, which has similar articles etc, so if you’d like to read more, that would probably be a fine place to start.

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