Whether you are a home buyer, home owner, realty agent, or mortgage lender who wants to know the insider secrets of the mortgage lending business, a “must read” book is Jack Guttentag’s new “The Mortgage Encyclopedia.”

Known as “The Mortgage Professor” in his weekly syndicated newspaper articles (he is Professor of Finance Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School of Business), Guttentag’s latest book reveals almost everything mortgage borrowers need to know but most lenders don’t want to share.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Guttentag is clearly on the side of the real estate consumer borrower. He doesn’t call mortgage lenders crooks or other bad names, but he clearly warns borrowers about the tricks and deceits some lenders play on their customers.

This is a very unusual real estate book. It has no chapters. Just a list of A to Z mortgage topics, plus extremely valuable “refinance break-even tables.”

Although I once wrote a review of a real estate dictionary book, writing this review of a realty mortgage encyclopedia is much more fun and educational. Guttentag’s expertise shines on virtually every topic.

Not only does he have many years of real estate finance experience, but he has also received more than 25,000 letters and e-mails from mortgage borrowers with their questions, concerns and lender rip-off tales.

Some of the book’s topic sections are very short, just a paragraph or two. But others are more extensive, delving into details that are sometimes more than the reader wants or needs to know.

My favorite topic, because I am very interested, is about reverse mortgages for senior citizens. Guttentag devotes many pages to this vital subject. He reveals reverse mortgage details of which I was not aware, although I have studied this subject quite thoroughly. His aim is obviously to educate borrowers, not to intimidate or overwhelm with too much information.

Although most homeowners and prospective buyers probably won’t read every page of this new book as I did, it is worth skimming to become informed about mortgage issues. Virtually no mortgage topic is overlooked. This should be a required textbook in every college real estate finance course.

For example, Guttentag compares obtaining a second mortgage with borrowing against a homeowner’s 401(k) retirement plan. He explains the pros and cons of each alterative.

There are even some mortgage topics briefly explained, which I had forgotten about. An example is the “shared appreciation mortgage” where the lender shares in the increased market value of the property. Most mortgage borrowers won’t consider such a loan today unless there is no other finance alternative.

This new book cannot be recommended too highly. Readers are very fortunate Guttentag shares his vast mortgage knowledge with us mere mortals. Having enjoyed his mortgage knowledge and articles for many years, it is a pleasure to have one authoritative resource where virtually all mortgage essentials are summarized in considerable detail.

In addition to the valuable mortgage information in this great new book, Guttentag often refers to his Web site www.mtgprofessor.com, where he provides even more details, mortgage calculators, and other resources. On my scale of one to 10, this superb new book rates an off-the-chart 12.

“The Mortgage Encyclopedia,” by Jack Guttentag (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2004, $19.95, 250 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


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