Recommended Sites

Here are some of the sites our readers found to be helpful. If you find a site not listed that you think is really good, please let me know so I can check it out and add it to the listing below and we can share the knowledge. Thanks!

Chapter 1 – Renting versus Buying
This site contains four videos on different topics comparing and contrasting renting versus buying, including:
1) Renting versus buying a home;
2) The math of renting vs. buying a home;
3) Factoring in appreciation and depreciation in the rent vs. buy decision; and
4) A detailed analysis of the rent vs. buy decision.

Sites for the Government Agencies and Government Sponsored Entities
Ginnie Mae
Fannie Mae
Freddie Mac
Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Department of Agriculture

Chapter 2 – How Much Can You Afford?

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
This government site provides great information and links to help you:
1) Figure out how much you can afford;
2) Know your rights;
3) Shop for a loan;
4) Learn about homebuying programs;
5) Shop for a home;
6) Make an offer;
7) Get a home inspection;
8) Shop for homeowners insurance;
9) Sign papers.

Chapter 3 – Credit Reports and Scores

Annual Credit Report
This site is the only source for your free annual credit report.

Sites for the Three Credit Bureaus
These are the websites of the three credit reporting agencies.

Credit Karma
This site provides a credit monitoring service.

Chapter 4 – Saving, Budgeting and Managing Your Finances

Broke Millennial
This blog site by Erin Lowery offers information to increase financial literacy — mostly through telling funny financial tales from her own life and sneaking in actual money lessons in the process.

Podcasts with Farnoosh Torabi
This site features daily podcasts by Farnoosh Torabi. The podcasts bring candid conversations about money with many of the world’s top business minds, authors and influencers.

Learn Vest
This site is dedicated to helping real people get a plan for their money, simply and affordably. You tell them where you’re starting, where you want to go, and they’ll fill in the rest.

Suzy Orman
This site is packed with Suze’s advice and resources. Don’t be turned off by a home page that has CDs for sell front and center. Search the site and you will find a multitude of financial advice and resources available.

Think Glick
This site run by Ilyce Glick offers information on a variety of topics, including: real estate, mortgage issues, real estate investing, personal finance, credit and consumer advice.

Chapter 5 – Info on how to Get a Mortgage Loan

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB)
This is the U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) site. It contains a basic explanation of the process of figuring out how much you can afford to pay on a mortgage, how to obtain a mortgage loan, forms involved, the Loan Estimate (LE) disclosure(s) you will receive, how to shop lenders, and how to make sure you are getting a fair deal.

The Mortgage Reports
The blog site run by Dan Green is one of the best sources of information about mortgages and how to find the right mortgage for you.

Lending Cafe
The blog site run by New Penn Financial is an excellent site proving insights and information on mortgage programs and options, what lenders consider when evaluating loan applications, and what you can do to get the loan you need at the best price and terms.

Calculate Risk
The blog site provides concise and very accessible summaries of all the key economic data and developments.

This site run by Bill McBride helps you compare lenders and rates in the zip code in which you are located.

Khan Academy
This site contains seven videos related mortgage loans. Topics include:
1) Introduction to mortgage loans;
2) Mortgage interest rates;
3) Short sale basics;
4) Adjustable rate mortgages ARMS;
5) Hybrid ARM;
6) Balloon payment mortgage; and
7) Geometric series sum to figure out mortgage payments.

First-Time Buyer Loan Information – First-Time Homebuyer Loans
The federal government and most states offer insured home loans tailored to first-time homebuyers. These loans offer attractive benefits that can make the home-buying experience less costly and less restrictive. But they aren’t for everyone. This site examines the pros and cons.

First-Time Home Buyer Programs State-by-State Directory
This site contains as state-by-state directory of first-time home buyer loan assistance and programs available.

First-Time Home Buyer Loan Programs – Discussion
This site discusses why you do not necessarily need to use a special loan for your first home.

Chapter 6 – Finding Homes for Sale
This is the site of the National Association of Realtors. It contains information on how a REALTOR™ can help you in the home buying process.

This is a premier site for doing research on homes.

Redfin means Real Estate Redefined. This site features full-service, local agents who are paid based on your satisfaction, not commissions. It combines technology and innovative methods to improve the home buying process.

Great Schools
This site is your community resource to find and share information about schools.

City Data
By collecting and analyzing data from numerous sources, this site is able to create detailed, informative profiles of all cities in the United States. From crime rates to weather patterns, you can find the data you’re looking for.

Family Watchdog
This site is devoted to protecting you from predators in your neighborhood, online, and wherever else they may be lurking.

This is the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program. You can enter the address of any home, see if it is on a flood plain, and if so, what its elevation and risk is.

Chapter 7 – Researching Areas and Neighborhoods

10 things to look for a dream neighborhood
There are so many things to consider when you’re searching for the neighborhood of your dreams: architectural style, safety, amenities and your commute, just to name a few. And knowing where to start can be daunting. But there are 10 essentials you simply can’t overlook. This site help you to find out what those are so you can start your search for the perfect neighborhood.

More than just a house: What to look for in a new neighborhood
Tips on finding the right neighborhood.

6 Things to Look For When Choosing a Neighborhood
6 things to look for in a neighborhood.

10 Things that make make a home a good home
he problem is, buyers sometimes don’t take the long view of a property. They’re only looking at a home as a potential buyer — and not as someone who, years down the road, may also have to sell the property. Given that homes are such a big investment, there should be a little inside your head, picking away at your options and decisions. This site lists ten things you should consider when choosing your next home.

Area Vibes
This site allows you to enter an address, zip code, neighborhood or city. It then provides information on Amenities, Cost of Living, Crime, Education, Employments, Housing, and Weather. It show the overall Livability Score for the zip code, and shows nearby communities ranked in order of Livability Scores.
This site allows you to enter any address, city or state and it will provide you with an overview of the city and information on public schools, home value appreciation raes, and crime rates. It generally reports on various sections of each city.

Researching Crime in Areas and Neighborhoods

Crime Reports
This site allows you to compare crime statistics between two major cities.

Family Watchdog
This site helps you to locate registered sex offenders in your area. You can search by address (city/state or zip code), name and school/daycare.

Chapters 8 and 9 – Making an Offer and What to Do if it is Accepted
This site contains five videos on different topics in the home buying process, including
1) Making an offer on a home;
2) Titles and deeds in real estate;
3) Title insurance;
4) Escrow; and
5) Escrow.

Chapter 10 – Closing on your loan

This site contains a basic explanation of what you need to do to prepare for closing on your mortgage loan, an explanation of the Closing Disclosure (CD) form you will receive 3 days prior to your closing, and a checklist for what you need to take to closing.

Chapter 11 – Packing and Moving
Preparing your new home before you move in

YouTube is a great source for DIY (Do-It-Yourself) videos.

Organizing your move

This site provides comprehensive tools for organizing and completing your move.

I am Moving
This site’s motto is “It’s simple & free.” You can do your change of address on this site. You can notify over 1500 organizations in one place such as cable, utilities, charities and more. You can start and stop accounts for your utilities. It’s free to sign up and will save you time and money.

US Postal Service
Change your address, sign up for valuable coupons for movers, home improvement and more. See handy tools and checklists. This site offers a lot for moving tools and advice.

People with Pets
This pet friendly site is a nationwide directory (including Alaska and Hawaii) of everything for your nonhuman family member from boarding to beaches. You can find pet friendly hotels, B&BS, vacation rentals and more.

Door to Door Portable Storage
For moving, storage or moving and storage. Portable storage containers to store your items into whether staging a home to sell, remodeling, or moving.

Moving Supplies

Used Cardboard Boxes
Instead of running from store to store trying to scrounge boxes this company repurposes boxes and saves millions of trees. They not only have boxes they have moving supplies and “moving kits” depending on the size of your current home from a dorm room to a 10 bedroom home.

This site has all the supplies you need for packing and moving-tape, tags, boxes, markers, mailers, poly and plastic bags, packing peanuts, and of course bubble wrap.

This site claims its boxes are “so easy to put together a monkey can do it.” Another site to order shipping supplies. They also offer overnight delivery of boxes to most states.


Moving Companies
This site provides reviews for over 600 licensed moving companies. They also provide live customer support to assist with any questions that may arise. You can also book a mover and lock in a price.

This site helps you find, book and ship with over 670,000 transporters around the globe
This site is devoted to “Protecting people on the move”. They have a list of moving companies and moving services they endorse, including international companies. A helpful site that includes moving tips, articles on filing complaints, finding a reputable moving company.
This site helps you check out moving companies. You can search for moving company motor carrier license information. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) web site to search for motor carrier license information. This site allows you to put in the company’s DOT license number Put in your company’s DOT license number, and click ‘Search’. If the DOT number that they gave you is accurate you will get a lot of information about the company you are searching.

Moving Yourself

This site helps you rent a truck or trailer, buy supplies, and rent storage space. It will help you find local Uhaul pick-up and drop off facilities.

This site helps you rent a truck or trailer, buy supplies, and rent storage space. It will help you find local Uhaul pick-up and drop off facilities.

Chapter 12 – Settling In

House Logic
HouseLogic is a free source of information and tools—from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®—that can help you make smart and timely decisions about your home.

Allstate Blog
The Allstate Blog offers everyday peace of mind through tips and education about safety, preparedness, maintenance and more.

This site is a bulletin board posting “Meetups” in an area, which are neighbors getting together to learn something, do something, share something.

Checking Out Vendors

This site helps you to find great local businesses. Just enter what you are trying to find and where you are located. You can filter by cost, hours of operation, whose offering a deal and more. Results include rating and number of reviews, in addition to website links and contact information.

Angie’s List
This site is a subscription service for recording and researching information about various types of vendors and contractors.

Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau is a business with due paying members. The thing to be aware of here is that a company will not keep paying dues if they are getting bad reviews. Let the reports you see as a guide. Actually call the BBB and ask about possible complaints filed on a business you may be looking at as far as hiring a mover, storage or related.