Now that the fixed-rate/level-payment mortage is little more than a happy memory, prospective purchasers are faced with a host of unfamiliar alternatives--and could use some help. Gabriel's sketchy survey, however, merely catalogues some of the financing techniques carried over from commercial real estate (without closely examining them), meanwhile slighting the brand-new homeowner options. Possibilities for scraping together a down payment include taking out a loan against life insurance, exercising overdraft privileges, and otherwise going into hock. (A particularly dubious suggestion: ""renting"" assets--like securities--and using them as collateral for a personal loan.) Also on the agenda are novel acquisition methods: land contracts (in which title does not pass until the buyer has made a specified number of escrow payments or secured permanent financing on favorable terms), wraparounds (mortgage agreements that call for seller participation via secondary liens), rental deals with purchase options, and related schemes requiring the use of other people's money for varying periods. The big idea is to enlist the cooperation of ""motivated sellers""--those on the verge of retirement, divorce, or an intercity move. Only briefly reviewed--with the unexceptionable injunction that it pays to shop around--are graduated-payment, variable-rate, shared-appreciation, and other innovative mortgages. On the tricky new math of home ownership for those in different income brackets, nothing is said. Spotty guidance, then, in an area in which other books are already scheduled.