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The Bookshelf

May 15, 1988

Books listed in this column are not necessarily recommended by The Times.

How to Profit on the Real Estate Roller Coaster by Marvin T. Levin, with Barbara Nichols (Prentice Hall Press, $9.95) is a readable book by a Californian who was one of the founders of Consolidated Capital Corp., the giant Bay Area-based real estate syndication firm. The book has a great deal of useful information, but lacks that all-important feature: an index. There is a comprehensive glossary of real estate investment terms.

Investing in Real Estate by Fred E. Case (Second revised edition, Prentice Hall, $11.95, 374 pages) is not the typical "make a million dollars overnight in real estate" book. Case teaches real estate at UCLA and is widely respected in his field as a real estate consultant. This latest edition of a 10-year-old work reflects the 1986 tax law changes that turned real estate investment from its tax shelter orientation into an alternative--and an increasingly attractive one, at that--to traditional investments such as stocks and bonds. Although he is a college professor, Case avoids sounding too professorial in this timely revision of an important book.

The New Real Estate Game, by Hollis Norton (Contemporary Books, 180 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60601; $8.95 plus $2.54 postage and handling, 240 pages) is the latest effort by an author who used to preach that real estate could be bought with no money down--a concept that seems to have led more people to financial problems than financial prosperity. But Norton has toned town his "no-money-down" pitch in this book and instead provides a general overview of some safer buying techniques that aren't discussed much in print, such as equity-sharing and lease/options. You might find some ideas in this book; however, you'll probably need to go somewhere else if one concept strikes your fancy and you need more details.

How to Buy Used and Bruised Houses for Fast Profits by Thomas J. Lucier (Real Estate Publications Inc., P.O. Box 20027, Tampa, Fla. 33622; 149 pages, $19.95) is not so much a book, but a step-by-step plan to help people locate, evaluate, negotiate and repair fixer-uppers. It also contains tips on how to buy these properties without huge down payments, and how to avoid paying realtors big commission fees. The book's narrow focus allows the author to go into great detail, and can be easily understood by laymen.

Manual of Millwork by the Woodwork Institute of California ($30, P.O. Box 11428, Fresno, Calif. 93773) is aimed at architects, construction specifiers, contractors, etc. This latest edition establishes new descriptions for cabinet fabrication as Style A for frameless construction and Style B for face-frame construction.

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