“Tips and Traps When Mortgage Hunting, Third Edition,” by Robert Irwin (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2005, 233 pages; $16.95; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.amazon.com.

Whether you are a home buyer, home seller, mortgage lender or real estate agent, you will learn important information from Robert Irwin’s ultra-complete “Tips and Traps When Mortgage Hunting, Third Edition.” Written in a helpful friendly style, the book provides sage advice on how homeowners can obtain the best mortgage for their situation without paying outrageous fees.

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Irwin candidly explains the pros and cons of virtually every possible mortgage situation, such as obtaining a home purchase mortgage, refinancing and even arranging a senior-citizen reverse mortgage. Along the way, he has a knack for sharing the possible pitfalls, such as explaining how to spot and avoid costly and unnecessary mortgage lender “garbage fees” such as documentation and underwriting.

If the book has a fault, it is Irwin is too polite to lenders who often take advantage of naive borrowers. He should have used stronger words to emphasize lender tricks used on unsuspecting borrowers, such as charging fees that weren’t disclosed on the so-called Good Faith Estimate.

This book is both a basic primer for first-time home buyers and an advanced text for those who already know the mortgage basics. The short paragraphs, however, are often less than complete, leaving the reader asking for more details.

For example, the section briefly explaining mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers and direct-lending banks was less than complete. Also, I would like to know more details about the reliability and honesty of Internet mortgage lenders, especially those firms that advertise, “We get lenders to fight for your loan.”

As a book reviewer, I especially liked the author’s explanation of virtually every home mortgage lending topic. Although I thought the chapter on adjustable-rate mortgages should have come early in the book, rather than almost the last chapter, it’s hard to fault the author for the completeness of his topic coverages.

Chapter topics include “How Do I Get a Purchase Mortgage”; “Mortgage Selector”; “Critical Questions to Ask When Getting a Mortgage”; “How Do I Get Preapproved?” “Where Do I Get a New Mortgage?” “Loans for Prime and Subprime Borrowers”; “Can I Improve My Credit?” “Mortgages for the Self-Employed – No Doc Loans”; “Can I Cut My Mortgage Costs?” “Introduction to No-Down Payment Mortgages”; “Can I Cut or Eliminate Points?” “What is a Jumbo Mortgage?” “Should I Opt for a Biweekly Mortgage?” “Can I Get the Seller to Finance Me?” and “Should I Consider an FHA or VA Mortgage?”

This new book explains virtually every topic home buyers, sellers, realty agents and even lenders need to understand. The book’s organization makes for extreme easy reading without sacrificing quality content and completeness. On my scale of one to 10, this superb new book rates a solid 10.

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


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