Whereas previous editions of Abbott’s reference work concentrated on real estate as practiced in the United Kingdom and the United States, the latest version expands on its already ample scope to include material from several additional countries.
Although published only eight years after its previous incarnation, the Third Edition should prove useful even to those who don’t require new insights into the practice of real estate in such far-flung locales as Hong Kong or New Zealand. Abbott’s encyclopedia is nothing if not thorough; its definitions include everything from basic financial idioms to Latin legal jargon to seemingly innocuous everyday words that nonetheless have specific–and less familiar–meanings within the real-estate realm. The book leans heavily on a dry style that should strike a chord with anyone who has ever perused the fine print of a standard rental agreement, but never becomes so tedious that the reader is confounded by impenetrable legalese. While a good number of entries are brief and layman-friendly (like those found in family encyclopedias), many run on for pages, carrying numerous citations of case law from different countries and explaining what are often tortuous, centuries-old understandings of land-holding minutiae. This is by no means a bad thing, as these longer entries serve to illuminate many of the more frustrating and opaque aspects of real-estate law, some of which have been around in one form or another since the Magna Carta. While that document doesn’t get an entry itself, most derivations of ancient English common law are intensively deconstructed. Abbott also ensures that even the most complicated entries begin with a brief, relatively broad definition, and exhaustively cross-references for terms which may be unfamiliar to the novice. The text is supplemented by several appendices, including an indispensable chapter that illustrates financial formulae intrinsic to real estate, such as annuities and interest rates.
Comprehensive and edifying: Understood by the Joes, essential to the pros.