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Virgin Homeowner [Paperback]

Janice Papolos
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Paperback CDN $27.52  
Paperback, March 1 1999 --  

Book Description

March 1 1999
The Virgin Homeowner is Janice Papolos's answer to the house buyer's blues. Using her own experience, Papolos initiates readers into all the workings of a house. She moves from the initial terror of home inspection to the mysteries of plumbing and electricity, stopping at all points along the way--including septic systems, roofing problems, insect infestations, environmental issues, childproofing, ventilation, and fire safety. In addition, Papolos offers clear instructions on how to handle minor household repairs and helps the new homeowner to understand the quirky vocabulary essential for having an intelligent conversation with a repair person or contractor. Best of all, The Virgin Homeowner provides readers with the confidence and piece of mind they need to make owning a home more of a dream and less of a nightmare.

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From Amazon

Janice Papolos describes her own first-home experience this way: "Part of the problem was that I had a mystified awe of the house. I swear there were times when I viewed it as more intelligent and powerful than we were.... There was a time or two in which I felt the house was being downright vindictive."

Ranked as "Most Useful to Homeowners" by The Wall Street Journal, Papolos's humorous and helpful book is the definitive guide for the first-time homeowner. Few experiences in life are more intimidating and complicated than one's first home purchase, especially when the new homeowner is perhaps a bit inexperienced with home repair and maintenance, as many (if not most) are. Starting with the basics of what you need to know to make sense of the initial, prepurchase home inspection, Papolos heads right into the "Inner Mysteries"--the plumbing and electrical systems--then on to heating and cooling, septic systems, insects and other pests, security concerns and measures, proper ventilation, child-proofing, and much, much more, topping it all off with an annual calendar of seasonal maintenance, advice on paint colors, and a thorough index for easy reference.

The goal is to remove the intimidation for the homeowner, and at the very least, permit him or her to talk knowledgeably with home-repair professionals, as necessary, without coming across like an idiot. This is a great reference book for any new homeowner, and probably would open the eyes of many longtime homeowners, as well. --Mark A. Hetts

From Library Journal

While some readers may not like her title, Papolos has produced an excellent owners' manual for the first-time homeowner. After buying her first house, Papolos realized that there were many things she should have done differently or instances when she should have paid more attention to experts. By writing this book, she is giving the reader the opportunity to learn from her mistakes. Beginning with how to get the most out of the initial home inspection, Papolos takes the reader through a house, describing each system, its quirks, and its potential problems. Later, she covers pest control, security, and safety. This highly readable book will prove useful to both new homeowners and those just thinking of making a purchase, and veteran homeowners will undoubtedly learn something, too. Recommended for all public libraries.?Jonathan N. Hershey, Akron-Summit Cty. P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Early one cool, misty morning in April, we took the elevator to the lobby of our New York City apartment building to meet our contractor and one of our good friends. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very helpful at all Oct. 21 2003
By Tigger
My husband and I recently bought our first home, so I ordered this book in the hopes that it would give us helpful details on how to maintain it, make minor repairs, and accurately troubleshoot. I am very, very, VERY disappointed in the book. While it gives decent descriptions of the various aspects of your home, such as heating and cooling systems, it does no more than that. I thought I was getting something more in-depth than just descriptions. For instance, how do I MAINTAIN my air conditioner properly? I've heard that you should hose down the outside unit every so often, for example - yet there's nothing about that in the book. I don't feel any more educated about my home and how to keep it safe and well-maintained than before I got this book. This was almost a complete waste of money and I don't recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great gift for a first-time homebuyer June 18 2003
By A Customer
I am a Realtor, and find that this is the perfect gift for a young couple purchasing their first home. It can answer many of the questions that come up about the inner workings of a house, and also alleviates much of the anxiety which can arise when something comes up and they live far away from Mom and Dad. It is also a great reference for people searching for their first home. No longer will they stare at a pressure tank or a septid drainfield without knowing what it is or what it does. Saves many a frazzled nerve, a few anxious phone calls, and is reassuring. If you, a friend, or a family member are buying or thinking of buying a home, run out (or log on) and get this book right away. You will never regret it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wished I'd had this book when I began househunting! April 28 2003
This book is a WONDERFUL reference tool for those new to the home-buying process. It gives a very detailed, yet highly comprehensible account of how your house works, things to think about when entering into your new relationship with a home...it really does an excellent job of covering alot of bases. It can seem overwhelming, but really, this book is broken down so at least you feel like you have a good understanding of all the issues home ownership brings to the table.
Probably the most useful portion I found a little too late was the chapter on home inspection. I really wish I had this book when I was going through the inspection process. It gave a lot of insight as to the processes, questions to ask, etc. I realize I got very lucky with my inspection, but next time, I'm telling you I will have that portion memorized!
The only part I found not useful were the sections meant more for rural housing. Being on a city sewer, electricity, etc., she gave a lot of detail into septic systems, oil heating, etc., that had no application for me with this house. But again, if I look at buying a property not accessed by many modern or city services, I will have a good foundation for knowledge.
Really, you just can't go wrong in purchasing this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stop reading this review and just buy the book! June 6 2002
This book could also be titled, "How Not to Look Like An Idiot At Your Home Inspection." I am in escrow on my first house, and read much of this book prior to my home inspection. It gave me the right information I needed to understand how the major systems in my home should work, and how to look for systems that don't. Her narrative yet explanatory style enables even a clueless person like me to now have a working understanding of how the plumbing, electircal, and heating systems of my house work. This book is a joy to read, and you will thank your stars you did just that. This book will not replace how to manuals for people who are looking to do much home repair... but it will give you the information you need to even understand what you should and should not do yourself. If you buy the book before you have your home inspection, I highly suggest reading the first few chapters beforehand.
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4.0 out of 5 stars essential reference guide May 23 2001
I am currently building a house with a well-known national builder. While my construction company couldn't be bothered to indicate what types of systems they would be installing in my new home, this book described the inner workings of the house in a simple, logical manner. The only misadvice Janice gave is that the pre-drywall home inspection should really be a pre-insulation inspection.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not for owners of Newer Homes April 2 2001
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK - unless you just bought an older home in the Northeast, since that's all this book covers. It has no information for newer construction homes, since the author writes from her own experience (her first- and it seems only - house). This book does go into some detail about the systems inside a house, but again, the systems are very dated in this book. If you want a good overall info book about owning your first home, and you want to be able to determine whether to repair something yourself or hire a professional, go buy the "Dummies" book for homeowners, it is much more useful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So that's what that is... Oct. 17 2000
This book is not a how-to fixit book, and thank goodness. I'd read a dozen of those and I still didn't understand how my furnace (or anything else) works. Then I read Papalos' book and finally I understand. My house is no longer a scary mystery to me. I came across this book after I had already been in my first house for a number of years. I don't know if I would have bought a different house had I been armed with the knowledge from this book, but I surely would have handled my new ownership differently.
One of the best aspects of this book is its conversational, humorous style. As a virgin homeowner I repeatedly felt embarrassed or frustrated because I couldn't speak knowledgably to repairmen or home improvement store people. Papalos has been there, too, I think, and her humor encouraged me that I "wasn't alone." Finding myself chuckling as I read about plumbing traps and sacrificial anodes was certainly refreshing.
The descriptions are straightforward in ordinary language, and the terms and jargons are demystified. Since some house systems vary with geography and house age, Papalos did her research and addressed all the systems (forced air, gas, electric, oil, heat pump, *and* baseboard heat, for example). I disagree with another reviewer that this book applies only to a northeastern homeowner; I thought it was quite thorough in addressing the variations.
I also like her "systems" approach to explaining the house (plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, etc.) and how she addresses issues beyond physical construction of the house, such as pest control (termite picnics). She alerts the reader about some important maintenance tasks, though there is more of this kind of information for some topics than others.
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