I've just finished reading Michele Lerner's "Homebuying - Tough Times, First Time, Any Time - Smart Ways to Make a Sound Investment" and can recommend it as a good resource for agents working with first time homebuyers and first time homebuyers.
Lerner is a writer for the real estate section of "The Washington Times" (not my favorite newspaper, but it has a great real estate section). She came to my office to talk about the book (because Lerner bought her current home from one of the agents in my office) and sold out of the 50 books she brought to sell us. I think that's a pretty good recommendation for her knowledge and the information in the book. She's local, so she knows local customs, but the book does not have a local focus and would be good for buyers and agents across the country. (In fact, if I have any quibble it's that she doesn't quote local agents in the book.)
Each chapter begins with a story and ends with a checklist. The chapters deal with the current market, whether a buyer is ready to buy, financing, lease-to-own agreements, finding the right Realtor, choosing the right neighborhood, choosing the right house, short sales & foreclosures, contract & contingencies, insurance issues, legal and tax issues, and what to expect at the settlement table. There's also an appendix with a state-by-state and Canadian programs for first time homebuyers.
I might have organized the book a bit differently. For instance, lease options and writing a contract each get a chapter. I would have given more attention to the contract issues. But Lerner is very pro using a Realtor, so I guess it's my job to fill in the holes in the contract chapter.
The book is currently for sale on Amazon for under $11. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_1_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=homebuying+tough+times+first+time+any+time&sprefix=homebuying
Since the first time homebuyer tax credit has been extended through April of 2010, this would be a good resource for those people who have been cautious about buying and want to do their homework.