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Homes and Other Black Holes

“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.So much classic humor comes from anxiety–think of all the befuddled “little men,” from James Thurber to Bud Abbott to Woody Allen. One of the most breakdown-inspiring activities in modern life is buying a house, and Dave Barry is a battle-scarred vet of the whole real estate experience. This book is his therapy.

There’s nobody better than Barry to mine this territory, and every page of Dave Barry’s Homes and Other Black Holes yields up nuggets of the good stuff. Here are a few words from somebody who has been there, done that: “Most experts recommend that, for maximum effectiveness, you should look at forty-five or even fifty houses per day. Experienced home shoppers often reach the point where they can leap out of the real estate broker’s car, look at a house, and get back into the car before it reaches a complete stop.”

The book also discusses the myriad details of settling into your new life, including a section on making new enemies, dealing with contractors, and redecorating. “The main tip you will pick up is that if you want your house to look really nice, you do not necessarily have to have professional training or even a ‘flair’ for design; all you need is to have more money than the human mind can comprehend.”

As always, Barry is assisted throughout by the illustrations of Jeff (Shoe) MacNelly, making Dave Barry’s Homes and Other Black Holes a very funny book and excellent housewarming gift. –Michael Gerber
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