Editor’s note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss’ “Best of” collection first appeared Sunday, June 25, 2006.

The latest book from longtime real estate author Tyler G. Hicks, “How to Acquire $1 Million in Income Real Estate in One Year Using Borrowed Money in Your Free Time,” is really about how and where to obtain mortgage money to acquire investment property. Despite its long title, this is a resource guide — rather than a real estate “how to” book — explaining dozens of ways to finance property acquisitions and where to locate the necessary funds.

Among the book’s unique features is a list of more than 1,000 mortgage lenders specializing in mortgages for BWBs (beginning wealth builders), as Hicks refers to first-time investment property buyers. Among the mortgage resources are, according to the author, more than 700 sources of Internet loans (I didn’t personally count them).

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

In that chapter, Hicks carefully explains the pros and cons of Internet mortgages and the precautions borrowers should take to avoid disclosing confidential information to unknown lenders.

This new book is different from Hicks’ dozens of prior real estate investment books. Most of those books are ultra-enthusiastic about real estate investing. But this one, while extolling the benefits of acquiring rental income property, is more realistic and practical because Hicks advises over and over to structure the purchase to be certain there will be positive cash flow for the investor.

If the book has a flaw, it is that the explanations of important topics are often too short and incomplete. For example, the author suggests BWBs find a local mentor to guide them and offer advice. But he neglects to explain how to find prospective mentors or what the benefits might be for the mentor.

But Hicks’ sometimes too brief explanations are overcome by his sage advice based on many years as a real estate investor and as a director of a New York City mortgage lender (which he never names).

To illustrate, Hicks advises, “Never pay front money or advance fees for any loan.” After listing typical fees some lenders request, Hicks says, “None of these are necessary with a legitimate lender. So don’t let yourself be talked into front money or advance fees of any kind.”

However, this book is not just about investing in real estate and finding the mortgage money to do so (although these are the primary topics) because it is also about other real estate opportunities involving mortgage lending. The author suggests, for readers who are interested, becoming a loan officer, mortgage broker or a “money finder” based on his extensive lender contact lists. He even suggests to “form your own mortgage company and make loans,” but without details about how to do so.

Chapter topics include “Get Into, and Profit From, the World’s Best Borrowed-Money Business”; “Pick the Type of Income Real Estate You Want to Acquire”; “49 Mortgages That Can Give You the Real Estate Funding You Need”; “Internet Financing of Income Real Estate Can Save You Time”; “Private Lenders Can Be Your Real Estate Money Supply”; “Self-Starter Real Estate Financing for Beginning Wealth Builders”; “Bad Credit/No Credit Financing is Possible for You”; “Little-Known Alternative Money Sources for Real Estate Loans”; “100 Percent Financing is Alive and Well Today”; and “Use Property Appreciation to Build Your Real Estate Wealth.”

Tyler Hicks has a unique writing style, which takes some acclimation. He often uses the phrase “my good friend” and he even provides his phone number and other contact information to assist readers. Overall, this is a very good book about how to finance investment property acquisitions. On my scale of one to 10, it rates a solid 10.

“How to Acquire $1 Million in Income Real Estate on One Year Using Borrowed Money in Your Free Time,” by Tyler G. Hicks (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ), 2006, 250 pages; $14.95; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.Amazon.com.

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