Intelligently written, logical, and thorough, this is a handy reference book for first-time homebuyers, refinancers, and homeowners looking for ways to tap the equity in their homes. The common-sense mortgage, according to real-estate columnist/consultant Miller, is the one that's right for your income and your needs, both longterm and short. By providing solid explanations of how the lending system works, a glossary of terms from amortization to usury, a helpful chart of the benefits of different types of loam, and a wide array of sources on what loans are available--including a fairly detailed section on computer services--he quickly arms readers with the ability to understand the diversity of financing that's available. Illustrative tables comparing many loans to the conventional mortgage are given, as well as tables comparing the difference in loan terms--discount versus buy back, etc. Then it's on to a more in-depth examination of financing: what constitutes a no-cash deal? What are the minuses and pluses of conventional loans, second trusts, balloon notes, assumable mortgages, assisted loans (FHA, VA, Private Mortgage Insurance, equity sharing), ARMs, interest-only loans, blends, wraparounds and many other basic alternative financing forms? Miller's concise, balanced explanations cover the features and benefits of the financing, some history, and a list of questions for the buyer to ask the lender. Both the reader as a borrower and lender are considered; and examples of when the lender takes the inflation risk, and when it's the borrower's turn, are helpfully provided. The question of refinancing is addressed: how much and when should the mortgage be refinanced? Tips on using the leverage of an existing low-cost loan (which causes the lender to lose money) are given. Some of the newer financing techniques--equity lines of credit and reverse mortgages--are reviewed; but Miller doesn't try to cover every variation--he admits that's impossible. An advance, in clarity and usefulness, on the last best book on the subject, R.J. Turner's The Mortgage Maze (1983).