Make No Mistakes: Purchasing Real Estate Book Review


What I like best about the book Make No Mistakes is it’s not one of those books about purchasing real estate that you just read and put away. It is promoted as a real estate reference guide for buyers, which is designed to help them avoid the most common mistakes made in purchasing a home. I believe it meets that objective. Better yet, Make No Mistakes is actually a system that buyers can use that not only includes the workbook, but a website, e-mail reminders, and 17 different checklists to help the buyer along.

The book focuses on about 60 of the most common miscues buyers make when purchasing real estate. I’m sure they could have found many more.  It’s actually packed full of common sense information about purchasing real estate that the average homebuyer or investor would not expect to learn.

The authors, Melissa Walters and Rudy Silmon, have a combined 43 years of accumulated experience in nearly every aspect of the business, including sales, marketing, negotiation, financing, and other areas of purchasing real estate. Both authors also have extensive backgrounds in the corporate environment. That experience seems to come across well in their thoroughness in explaining simple, no-hold barred language, the various processes involved in purchasing real estate, especially for the typical homebuyer.

The tone for Make No Mistakes is established in the preface of the book with the following statement, “YOU are the only one who can look out for your best interest. And when the transaction is complete, you are the one who is ultimately responsible for the property and paying the mortgage!

In light of the recent real estate meltdown, that really is an understatement. Too often we rely on authority figures or professionals to take us by the hand when making important decisions in purchasing real estate, as well as other financial and personal matters. Sometimes these professionals may have our best interests at heart, other times they do not. Or, in some cases, they don’t care one way or another. In this day of the Internet, when all type of information and data on purchasing real estate, and any other topic you desire, is available at the click of a mouse, not being informed is inexcusable.

The book is divided into eight parts. Section I focuses on getting you started. In the first chapter, Walters and Silmon not only encourage you to soak up the valuable knowledge and insights they impart, but also to “pass the knowledge on” to family, friends, and even your children. Lack of knowledge is correctly listed as the # 1 mistake buyers make in purchasing real estate. But if you stick with this book you will be the exception. By the time you finish the book and familiarized yourself with the checklists, knowledge will no longer be a problem.

Mistake # 2, “not using the checklists and other tools,” that are conveniently available on the authors’ website.  The checklists range from a pre-purchase budget spreadsheet to actually taking possession of your home.

Mistake # 3, is very important to note because even when a person is well-informed, “becoming emotionally attached to the property” can cloud and confuse good decision-making when it comes down to purchasing real estate. Realizing the American dream of home ownership can become intoxicating, and, as many people can now attest to, may lead to nightmarish type consequences when emotions get in the way. Taking the emotions out of the equation is definitely something all real estate buyers should look to do.

If you are thinking about buying a home now or in the near future, chapter # 2 is a must read. It deals with working through the mechanics of deciding if the time is right to buy. I can personally relate to this dilemma because after cashing out of our last home, my wife and I decided that because we were going to be relocating in the not to distant future, purchasing a new home in our current location was not in our best interest.

Of course, family and friends question the wisdom of choosing to rent and “paying someone else’s mortgage,” especially for someone who has owned a home for most of my adult life. However, when I think about the glut of homes on the market, and as I write out that monthly check to my landlord, I know that we made the decision that is right for our situation. You too must make the decision that is right for you and your family.

The remainder of Section I deals with topics, like S.M.A.R.T, or how to purchase real estate now to set yourself up to buy later; working out an honest budget; and working with professionals. The following sections of Make No Mistakes has headings that are self-explanatory. They delve into the nuts and bolts of buying a home and purchasing real estate:


  • Section II: Understanding Your Home Loan Before You Buy                                        


  • Section III: The Best Home Loan For You                                                                           


  • Section IV: Searching For Your New Home ― And Finding It                                          


  • Section V: Successfully Navigating the Loan Closing                                                        


  • Section VI: What To Do After You Move In


Section VII is entitled “How To Keep Your House, And Other Tips.” Considering the record number of foreclosures occurring in this country, particularly in the African American community, it is a section that everyone should make it a point to read and understand. If “foreclosure” is not in your vocabulary, you should still read this section. I am pretty sure the word was not part of the lexicon of most people who are now facing this harrowing experience. Many are losing their homes without understanding what their options are. This part of the book is stocked full of timely information.

Section VIII is the final part; it ends the book the same way it opened, with a request to “Pass the Knowledge On.”  Not only will sharing the knowledge create a more informed populace when it comes to purchasing real estate, but will also prepare our children who will be purchasing real estate in the future. Do we really want them making the same mistakes that so many of us have?  Misinformation, lack of information, or dependence on “professionals” when it comes to your best interest does not have to be hereditary.

Besides being jam-pack with information, one of the other strengths of Make No Mistakes is the fact that although Walters and Silmon practice in the Houston area, the knowledge they impart, and there’s a lot of it, is applicable in just about every location of the country. So, no matter where you live, whether you are a renter looking to buy, or already own a home, there is something for everyone. Make No Mistakes can make purchasing real estate a mistake free experience.

In most reviews, it’s pretty common to find some things to not like about the book. In fact, it’s even encouraged. Some people may shy away from the book because of its length, which totals over 350 pages, but it should be thought of as the reference manual it really is. In addition, you will need to do some work that many people mistakenly leave up to the professionals. And, your comfort zone may be challenged because it contains a lot of information that may have you re-think your approach to purchasing real estate. Believe it or not, all of those are good reasons to buy the book! 

Landers is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.


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