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The Bookshelf

June 07, 1987

Books listed in this column are not necessarily recommended by The Times. How to Get the 1 Hour Real Estate Loan by Michael D. Hiller (E & J Enterprises, 16161 Ventura Blvd., C-719, Encino, Calif. 91436, $15) is a plea by an attorney/real estate broker for an end to the excessive fees charged by lenders for refinancing an existing 1836020340homeowner has to go through the whole costly, time-consuming process of loan origination if he wants to obtain a lower interest rate. Hiller's solution is to get the lender to agree to a note modification agreement (NMA). Getting a lender to agree to anything he doesn't want is difficult at best, Hiller admits, but he is trying to gain support for proposed Assembly Bill 1818 that would give the NMA the force of law. Many observers question the need for all the "garbage" fees that lenders ch1634887525profits lenders make (on a $100,000 loan at 9.5%, the interest over 30 years amounts to just over $200,000).

Tax Credits for Low Income Housing: New Opportunities for Developers, Non-Profits, and Communities Under the 1986 Tax Reform Act by Joseph Guggenheim (National Apartment Assn., 1111 14th St., N.W., Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20005, $20.45) offers an explanation, analysis and guide to the use of the largest new federal low-income housing program in more than a decade. The tax credit is estimated to amount to a $10-million subsidy program for low-income rental housing.

Buy More Home for Less Money by Ceil Lohmar (Lohmar Publishing, P.O. Box 61, Crystal Bay, Minn. 55323, $10) is yet another guide to bypassing real estate brokers--by a broker! One doesn't see journalists telling people how to write their own news stories. Or physicians advising on do-it-yourself surgery. What is there about real estate that attracts such disloyal practitioners? Lohmar's advice is probably sound, but Californians especially should be careful in any transaction as large as buying or selling a house. Recent decisions on disclosure have placed even more land minds in the path of those who want to avoid dealing with real estate brokers.

Real Estate After Tax Reform by Martin M. Shenkman (Wiley, New York, 307 pages, $19.95) is a comprehensive look at the 1986 tax reform bill, with the emphasis on real estate. Both an attorney and a certified public accountant, Shenkman manages to avoid the jargon of both professions; you won't have to trade a headache for an upset stomach when you peruse this book. Shenkman offers "planning tips" throughout the book with advice on pitfalls in the new law. Investors will find useful advise about allowable deductions on vacation homes, changes in at-risk rules and new rules for calculating depreciation, among dozens of other changes.

The Common-Sense Guide to Successful Real Estate Negotiation by Peter G. Miller and Douglas M. Bregman (Harper & Row, New York, 241 pages, $16.95) sends a clear message to those involved in real estate negotiations: Stay away from so-called standardized forms. The authors supply model language to tailor forms for every conceivable situation and--in everyday American English--demystify real estate. By using model language rather than standard forms, the parties in the negotiating process will remove the emotion from real estate, replacing it with reason, the authors argue. The book is written so that readers needing help with, say, a deposit, need not read the entire book. Like Miller's 1986 book, "The Common-Sense Mortgage," this is a valuable addition to anyone's basic real estate library.

Sonny Bloch's Inside Real Estate by H.I. Sonny Bloch and Grace Lichtenstein (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, New York, $18.95) is a comprehensive, readable guide to buying or selling residential property, aimed at the average person. Lichtenstein is a former reporter and editor at the New York Times and Bloch has a syndicated radio call-in show "Real Estate Action Line." There are amortization tables and a glossary, but no index. With nearly 400 pages, an index is a necessity. Despite this, the book's virtues outweigh its defects.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages by Jack P. Friedman and Jack C. Harris (Barron's Educational Series Inc., 113 Crossways Park Drive, Woodbury, N.Y. 11797; $4.95, 288 pages) is the latest addition to Barron's series of Financial Tables for Better Money Management. It contains loan-amortization tables, payment-adjustment charts, tons of other financial information and pointers on mortgage-shopping. A helpful book if you need to know more about ARMs, but its release comes at a time when the majority of borrowers are demanding fixed-rate loans.

Buying & Selling A Home, written and published by Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc. (1729 H St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006; $9.95, 311 pages) is the second edition of a best-seller originally published in 1983. A good, easy-to-read primer on buying and selling your own home and other residential property, with updated information to reflect the impact lower inflation and the new tax law have on real estate.

Buying Right by Stephen A. Wayner (Franklin Watts, 387 Park Ave. South, New York, N.Y. 10016; $17.95, 224 pages) is a good real estate primer, written for people trying to start a real estate portfolio. But Wayner's comments are generally directed toward those hoping to buy single-family homes. Not enough pages are devoted to buying apartment buildings and commercial structures, both of which usually provide higher returns to investors.

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