Mortgage brokerage owner Jason Biro is on a mission: a mission to help Americans save and protect their homes from the threats of foreclosure and the other disastrous financial and life consequences of predatory mortgages. In Biro’s new book, "Saving Your American Dream: How to Secure a Safe Mortgage, Protect Your Home and Improve Your Financial Future," he launches a two-part campaign to save Americans’ homes through education and through an actual online fund, to which readers can apply (using a code they must obtain from the book) to obtain an actual hard, cold cash bailout from their individual foreclosure nightmares.

This book is simple and elegant, serving in many ways as the antithesis of its shelfmates, the complicated analyses of how mortgage derivatives and Wall Street arrogance precipitated the mortgage meltdown, and the "how to get rich quick buying and flipping and renting," oh my.

Editor’s note: Tara-Nicholle Nelson will lead a free webinar from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m PDT (1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT) on Thursday, Oct. 8: "Three Low-Cost Ways to Make More Money by Connecting with Women Real Estate Consumers." Women make or influence an estimated 91 percent of real estate decisions, and they think about, shop for and buy homes differently than men. Click here to register and find out more about real estate’s gender factor.

Book Review
Title: "Saving Your American Dream: How to Secure a Safe Mortgage, Protect Your Home and Improve Your Financial Future"
Author: Jason Biro
Publisher: Benbella Books, 2009; 440 pages; $16.95 list ($13.22 on amazon.com)

Mortgage brokerage owner Jason Biro is on a mission: a mission to help Americans save and protect their homes from the threats of foreclosure and the other disastrous financial and life consequences of predatory mortgages. In Biro’s new book, "Saving Your American Dream: How to Secure a Safe Mortgage, Protect Your Home and Improve Your Financial Future," he launches a two-part campaign to save Americans’ homes through education and through an actual online fund, to which readers can apply (using a code they must obtain from the book) to obtain an actual hard, cold cash bailout from their individual foreclosure nightmares.

This book is simple and elegant, serving in many ways as the antithesis of its shelf-mates: the complicated analyses of how mortgage derivatives and Wall Street arrogance precipitated the mortgage meltdown, and the "how to get rich quick buying and flipping and renting," oh my.

Biro doesn’t puff himself up or claim to be a guru at anything. Rather, he states with bold elegance that he wants to help people save their homes, and that he has the industry insider’s knowledge, the common sense and the money to do just that.

And so starts Part I of "Saving Your American Dream." After Biro’s mission statement, he does a basic review of some of the pitfalls he saw buyers and homeowners falling into that created mortgage dilemmas, but keeps his review limited to those items that gave rise to actionable cautions, lessons and red flags for real estate consumers moving forward.

Then, in a chapter called The Lending Food Chain, Biro breaks down exactly how the mortgage market works and how mortgage brokers get paid — again, not to be academic, but to give readers a clear understanding of how the retail and wholesale and secondary loan markets work and how they impact the loans, rates and terms that are available to the individual borrower.

For example, "(i)f a lender doesn’t offer a yield-spread premium or offers a very low YSP, a consultant or broker will charge you directly for securing your loan, in the form of an origination fee." Biro goes on to detail what types and ranges of the various fees involved in obtaining a loan are reasonable. …CONTINUED

He illuminates the types of loans that are available after the crash, clarifies what it takes to get them (translating mortgage lingo into plain English) and explains what mortgage professionals should do for their clients. All very helpful resources, and put forth in the appropriate level of detail for the significance of the topic.

Part II of "Saving Your American Dream," however, goes beyond education to the next level, providing highly user-friendly mortgage decision-making charts and sample mortgage documents, marked up for easy understanding. Then, Biro provides a number of action plans, checklists and timelines for consumers to use when facing or experiencing foreclosure and/or bankruptcy.

In Part III, Biro goes on to provide readers with resources for starting over, understanding and managing their credit, and generally bettering their finances.

The keywords, for this section and, really, for the entirety of "Saving Your American Dream," are "basic" and "common sense." However, I could just as easily throw in "accurate," "realistic" and "easy to use." It seems to me that, perhaps, all of us could stand a return to basic common sense when it comes to our home and mortgage decision-making, and personal financial management. From that point of view, "Saving Your American Dream" might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Ask her a real estate question online or visit her Web site, www.rethinkrealestate.com.

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