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Updated book has mortgage answers

(ran HL, HP)

The Common-Sense Mortgage, 1994 Edition, by Peter G. Miller (Harper Collins Publishers Inc., New York), 298 pages, $11.

Reviewed by ROBERT BRUSS

If you are buying a home or refinancing your home loan, you need this book to get answers to virtually all your mortgage questions. Peter G. Miller has again updated his best-selling mortgage book with practical advice borrowers need if they are to avoid being fleeced by lenders.

With home mortgage interest rates at record lows, this is obviously the right time to buy a home or refinance your mortgage if its interest rate is at least 1 percent above today's rates. Reading this book first will avoid costly mistakes.

Miller explains virtually every aspect of finding the best mortgage for the reader's personal situation. His goal is to cut mortgage costs for borrowers by leading them to their best loan alternative.

The author believes by explaining each type of mortgage, such as adjustable and fixed rates, as well as comparing bi-weekly and monthly payments, the borrower will then be in the best position to decide which loan will save the most money. But Miller doesn't hesitate to emphasize the pros and cons of each mortgage type, such as the lower interest rates of adjustable rate mortgages which carry the risk of possibly higher future interest rates.

Chapter topics include: The Case for the Common-Sense Mortgage, How the Lending System Works, Financing and Ownership, How to Pick the Right Mortgage, No-Cash and All-Cash Deals, The Conventional Loan, Second Trusts, How to Pay Off a Balloon Note, How to Save Money with Assumable Mortgages, Assisted Loans, Alternative Mortgages from A to Z, Loans to Avoid, Refinancing: Four Profit Strategies Produce Big Mortgage Interest Cuts, Cheap Refinancing, and Saving Money with Short-Term Strategies.

Although this book won't answer all of the reader's mortgage questions (for example it doesn't explain the new no-cost loans), it does the best job of any current mortgage book I've seen.

It is filled with mortgage details found nowhere else.

On my scale of one to 10, the 1994 edition rates a nine.

Robert J. Bruss is a nationally syndicated columnist on real estate. Write to him in care of the Tribune Media Syndicate, c/o the Times, 64 E Concord St., Orlando, FL 32801. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column.