Books listed in this column are not necessarily recommended by The Times. Who's Who in Southern California Real Estate by Linda Lowson (California Who's Who Inc., 279 S. Beverly Drive, P.O. Box 7787, Beverly Hills 90212, 285 pages, softbound, $295 introductory price) is a listing of more than 1,500 local, regional and national real estate, construction, design and financial sources with a presence in the Southland. The price includes two updates a year. The regular price is $395. Lowson includes most of the expected firms, with the major omissions of real estate editors and writers and public relations firms specializing in real estate and related topics.
Finding Hidden Values in Your Home by Wallace Kaufman (Collier Books/Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, 302 pages, $9.95) is really a guide to do-it-yourself residential real estate appraising. This might be likened to do-it-yourself brain surgery or Mercedes repair in complexity. There are so many variables in real estate valuation that a properly skeptical reviewer finds it difficult to believe that one book can teach this art. Kaufman's book is readable, eschewing jargon, so someone wishing to learn about valuation might find it helpful. Californians should be aware that Kaufman lives in North Carolina; his comments may or may not apply to the peculiarities of construction here. For instance, he praises masonry chimneys, saying they are far more durable than the galvanized metal units many new houses have. This may be true in a place where earthquakes are rare, but recent history has shown that chimneys are often the first part of the house to be damaged in a temblor.