Help with closing in on foreclosures

Special to The Times

"Making Big Money Investing in Foreclosures Without Cash or Credit," by Peter Conti and David Finkel, is one of the best of the "how-to-buy-a-foreclosure-property" books.

The authors explain foreclosure procedures and how to benefit by purchasing properties in foreclosure with little or no cash. Along the way, each author shares many personal examples.

The primary secrets of buying foreclosure properties, the authors explain, are specialized knowledge and buying from a cooperative, motivated seller. Although the book is aimed at investors who want to profit from foreclosures, the authors share how home buyers can use their guidelines to purchase a principal residence. They address how to avoid costly pitfalls.

I was pleased to learn that the authors recommend "the best kept secret in real estate": buying a property in foreclosure "subject to" its existing mortgage, then reinstating that mortgage, which eliminates the need to shop for a new loan.

This book should be read at least two or three times to fully comprehend all the fast-paced details. Conti and Finkel love to use numbers to organize their information. For example: "12 ways to structure deals without cash or credit" and "22 ways to find motivated sellers." Understanding all the methods in one reading isn't easy, especially for uninitiated buyers of foreclosure properties.

Within each chapter, the authors continue using numbers, such as "five steps to get sellers in foreclosure to say yes" and "six benefits to the buyer for using owner financing."

Their "what if" negotiation technique is a surprise because of its simplicity. The authors practically guarantee that a foreclosure seller will accept the buyer's offer when these key words are used: The buyer says to the seller, "You'll probably hate me, but what if

Conti and Finkel clearly put great care into this book. The personal examples, labeled "Peter's story" and "David's story," make the book enjoyable and profitable reading.

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