"Mr. Barry is the funniest man in America and we should encourage him."
--The New York Times Book Review
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME--EXCEPT IN A SELLER'S MARKET
At long last, Dave Barry, the dean of everything, lets you in on the deepest, darkest mysteries of life and answers your hysterical home purchase questions like they've never been answered before:
What's the best way to determine a realistic price range?
Take your total family income, including coins that have fallen behind the bureau, and any projected future revenue you have been notified about via personalized letters from Mr. Ed McMahon stating that you may already have won 14 million dollars. Then, multiply by something other than six.
Can you recommend a good mortgage?
There are several kinds: Fixed Rate, Variable Rate, and the bank's secret weapons, the Party Hat Mortgage and the Mortgage of the Living Dead.
How can I avoid spending money on do-it-yourself homeowner's projects?
Find a contractor. Their silent motto is "We Never Show Up." The Romans lived among the ruins. You must too.
Is there a secret to having a beautiful lawn?
Yes and no. If you fail to feed, fertilize, and water your lawn, it will die. However, if you feed, fertilize, and water your lawn, it will die.
The author of Babies and Other Hazards of Sex finds humor in all the assorted miseries of homeowning, from deciding which house to buy (``Take your total annual family income, including coins that have fallen behind the bureau . . . '') and dealing with real estate brokers (who always insist that ``there is virtually nothing, outside of the Third World, available in your Price Range'') to moving (`` `WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JENNIFER?' ''). ``Getting Some Fool to Buy Your House'' is only one of the many helpful chapters. There is a guide to mortgagesfixed-rate, variable-rate and the mortgage whose rate is based on what order the teams finish in the National League East, and so onand a section on how to move pets (crates have their drawbacks) and children (crates don't work here either). The only thing worse than dealing with contractors, maintains Barry, is doing-it-yourself, for it will cost a small fortune for someone to undo what you did. There are aspects of this book that crackle with the wit of a Woody Allen routine (``How to Get Very Deeply into Debt'') and there are parts that verge on slapstick (``Finding Somebody to Fix Your Car'') but the humor is all good and pleasantly funny. Illustrations by the Pulitzer-Prize-winning creator of ``Shoe'' are amusing accompaniments.