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Leap Of Faith

Think there's nothing to buying a business? Then we've got a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.

This story appears in the February 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Everything seemed to be sailing along smoothly in the summer and fall of 1996, when Norman Savage was negotiating to buy a small mortgage company in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Having owned nursing homes and restaurants over the past three decades and, most recently, a firm that brokered distressed mortgages, Savage was no newcomer to buying and selling businesses. This latest deal, to purchase North American Equity Corp., seemed just right. The seller had provided three years of audited financial statements, all of them pointing toward a bright future. The company was exactly the next step Savage wanted, a jump from distressed mortgages to conventional home financing. And a sharp, well-chosen staff was already in place. It looked as if Savage could just step in and glide along with North American Equity as it continued on its way.

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