Books listed in this column are not...

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

The Home Equity Survival Guide by Michael Moebs, Kenneth Williams and Eva Moebs (Longman Financial Services Publishing, 520 N. Dearborn St., Chicago 60610; 194 pages, $14.95 plus $4 postage and handling) is perhaps the only book we’ve seen that deals exclusively with home-equity loans, a product that has become increasingly attractive under the new tax laws. It discusses the various uses of the loans, helps readers decide which type of loan is best for them, explains the tax angles in plain English and provides much useful information on shopping for the best terms and rates. Importantly, it also devotes an entire chapter to “what to do if you get in trouble"--tips that could literally save financially troubled borrowers from losing their homes.

Smart Trust Deed Investment in California by George Coates (Barr-Randol Publishing Co., Box 4486, Covina, Calif. 91723; 292 pages, $21.50 plus $2.40 tax and postage) is a revised edition of a book by the same title published in 1986. It discusses the investment opportunities TDs provide, explains how to evaluate individual deeds, examines the foreclosure process and provides a wealth of related information. The second edition has a supplement that details important regulatory and legal changes since the book was published. Readers who bought the first edition can obtain the supplement free by writing to the publisher, thus saving the expense of buying the second edition.

Barron’s Real Estate Handbook by Jack P. Friedman and Jack C. Harris (Barron’s, 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, N.Y. 11788, $19.95, 640 pages) is the second edition of a 1984 one-volume guide to just about everything you want to know about real estate but didn’t want to search through a five-foot shelf of books to find out. The book has more than 1,500 definitions of realty, financial, architectural and engineering terms; 200 pages of financial tables, covering such topics as amortization, monthly payments and remaining balance; narrative sections on buying and selling real estate; the latest details of last year’s federal tax changes, and a bibliography of real estate books.


For Sale by Owner by George Devine (Nolo Press, 950 Parker St., Berkeley, Calif. 94710, $24.95) is a guide to do-it-yourself home selling, written by a California real estate broker, from a publishing firm that specializes in self-help law books. Devine covers all the bases, including seller disclosure rules--a very important topic in California since a comprehensive disclosure law became effective Jan. 1, 1987. The language is nontechnical, with explanations provided for technical terms. There is a glossary and an appendix with sample forms suitable for photocopying.

Dress Your House for Success by Valli Swerdlow (Valli Swerdlow, 27 Wolcott Ave., Andover, Mass. 01810, $6.50 from the author) is useful if you are selling your house yourself or through a broker. The author emphasizes that you should be in control of the stressful ordeal of selling a house, not the real estate agent. Swerdlow supplies tips on making the house attractive to prospective buyers, along with checklists to complete. The writing style is simple and effective. A lot of the advice is obvious, like cleaning fingerprints off the doors and woodwork and cleaning the windows, but we all need reminding now and then.

The Complete Real Estate Investment Handbook by C.F. Sirmans and Austin J. Jaffe (Prentice Hall Press, paperback, $15.95, 310 pages) is the fourth edition of a book originally published in 1985. Since then, changes in the tax laws have transformed the real estate investment climate; hence, the revised edition that reflects changes wrought by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The book is a technical work, with plenty of mathematics; a business calculator or a financial program for your computer would be a helpful addition as you work your way through this book.

Twenty Proven Ways to Profit from Real Estate by R.J. Turner (Contemporary Books, Chicago, $16.95, 192 pages) describes 20 techniques--from foreclosures and bankruptcies to time-sharing--to make money from real estate. The techniques include such potentially risky ventures as syndications and real estate investment trusts, so an investor who can’t afford to make a mistake should realize that in many cases not only could there be no profit, but the amount invested could disappear.


Positive Moves by Carolyn Janik (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, New York, $8.95 paper, $18.95 cloth, 210 pages) is a comprehensive guide to choosing a moving company and the entire relocation process, including the dual-career considerations that are the rule these days--not the exception. Janik writes with sensitivity about a process that literally involves uprooting.

Manufactured Housing Housing: What It Is, Where It Is, How It Operates by Shepard D. Robinson (Ingleside Publishing, 598 Shorely Drive, Barrington, Ill. 60010, $60, illustrated) lives up to its title: It’s a complete, one-stop guide to a complex industry. The author has covered the manufactured housing industry for so many years he knows where all the bodies are buried. In just one anecdote in a highly readable book, Robinson relates how kanban , a zero-inventory method used by Japanese auto manufacturers, was invented in Elkhart, Ind., because mobile-home manufacturers (now called “HUD-code” manufacturers) were so undercapitalized they had to wait until nearly the last minute to take possession of a particular mobile-home component! Japan and Sweden each have one national, uniform building code, and not coincidentally, manufactured housing industries that produce the bulk of their respective nation’s housing. The only thing keeping the Japanese out of our lucrative market, Robinson believes, is our hodge-podge of 17,000 or more idiosyncratic building codes. The book contains lists of manufactured housing producers, along with definitions of the various types of manufactured housing.