An email from a "Rookie's Guide" reader:
"Dear Galaxy Starship Captain,
We are first-time buyers who just moved here from New Zealand and have no idea how to begin the home-buying process in (name of city edited out). How shall we begin?
Before setting out, go visit a lender.
I know that can sound like a real dead ender
'Cause lenders use terms like "RESPA" and "TILA ."
But they'll sit you down and act glad to see ya.
"Where do you work?" they'll say with a smile
As they start writing up a mysterious file
With your past and present, your children, your spouse.
"All this?" you'll think, "to just buy a house?"
It probably seems an intractable nuisance.
But really, both sides should exercise prudence--
Both you and the lender engage in this dance
Of embracing the process of mortgage finance.
You need to learn what you can afford.
And yeah, the paperwork makes anyone bored,
But hey, Firsties--
That whole razzle-dazzle will get you a castle!
The razzamatazz is worth all that jazz.
If I left something out, just shoot me an E-,
Whatever you ask is between you and me. :-)