On 13 Apr 2012
I am going through the same process. Its been a few years since I last bought in the good ol days before the bubble, but it seems the whole housing industry is filled with more sharks and middle-men than I remember.
Just think from the moment you decide you want a house, all the people who you may meet, all of whom want to provide some shitty service to intercept some of your money:
2 Realtors, attorney, escrow company, title company, mortgage brokers, banker, inspectors, surveyors, appraiser, insurance agents....the list is never ending. And god forbid you want to do some improvement and open yourself up to that sub-industry.
Anyway, any of these are potential leeches....to answer your post though, there are good books explaining the game. A great one for the mortgage mess i found "Mortgage Rip-offs" I highly recommend, but there are others.