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Building Wealth One House at a Time: Making it Big on Little Deals Paperback – March 1, 2005

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Building Wealth One House at a Time: Making it Big on Little Deals + What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow... And 36 Other Key Financial Measures + Buy It, Rent It, Profit!: Make Money as a Landlord in ANY Real Estate Market
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (March 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071448357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071448352
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The New York Post

IF you’re a home buyer, contracts can be one of the most difficult things understand. One source to understand.

One source of great tips is actually an investment book, John Schaub’s "Building Wealth One House at a Time," coming out this month from McGraw-Hill.

Here are five of our favorite tips from the book:

1. Offer to close quickly.
You can cut your down payment this way, Schuab notes. While this won’t work on a New York City co-op, it might on a house. "The only reason to make a large down payment is to convince the seller that you are a serious buyer," Schaub writes. "You can get the seller’s attention with less money by making an offer that closes in a week."

2. Take whatever time you need to read the contract.
If you’ve spent dozens of hours finding a good deal, why blow it by skipping a potentially important clause in the contract?

3. If an inspection reveals problems, the buyer can make repairs; but it will be faster for the seller to give the buyer a financial credit toward those repairs.

4. Keep the contract the sellers filled out.
If you have a choice of copies, you want the one they’ve written on. Schaub notes "it would be hard for them to claim that they did not understand the contract if they actually filled it out."

5. Never go to court to enforce a contract.
If the sellers back out, you can stick it to them, but you shouldn’t, Schaub says. "It is easier and more profitable," he writes "to find another good deal." (Associated Press)

By Robert J. Bruss

BUILDING WEALTH ONE HOUSE AT A TIME, By John W. Schaub (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2005, $18.95, 225 pages

The reason Building Wealth One House at a Time by John W. Schaub makes such profitable reading is it is written by an expert who shares his more than 30 years of success experiences so you don't have to make the few mistakes he made. This is such an important new book, it should be read two or three times to fully benefit from Schaub's wise insights.

For example, he explains why single family rental houses make the best investments, both from cash flow and market appreciation viewpoints. Another gem Schaub shares is to avoid obtaining bank mortgages when acquiring houses for investment. "I have never borrowed money from a bank to buy a property," he discloses. Then he shows how to get financing from sellers and other sources.

This is a "must read" book for every serious real estate investor. Written in easy-to-understand style, it explains how the author has been a full-time investor for 32 years, raised a family from rental house income, and has lived in the home of his dreams for the last 24 years. Schaub shares why he rented where he lived for nine years to save money for rental house investing while getting started.

The author explains why investing in houses is safer and more profitable than other investments. "A major advantage of investing in several houses rather than one big apartment or office building is that you can diversify by investing in different price ranges. By owning both less expensive and more expensive houses, you can have the safety of the lower-priced houses and the upside potential of the higher-priced ones."

Schaub recommends buying houses close to where you live. He admits to once owning properties in 10 states. But he says that was a mistake because it's too difficult keeping them rented and handling repairs by long distance. Today, he only owns property near his home.

With average annual market value appreciation of 5 percent, the author explains how anyone can become very wealthy because it's the tenants who buy the houses for the investor.

He spends considerable time showing how to select quality tenants who will stay many years. Next, the author shows how to manage those tenants so they won't bother the owner. "I have had to evict only six tenants in 30 years," the author adds.

Schaub reveals how to find and acquire rental houses with nothing down. He explains how he taught these techniques to Robert G. Allen, a former student of Schaub's seminar "Making It Big on Little Deals," who went on to write the best selling book "Nothing Down" based on those methods.

"Not all houses are created equal. Some houses will appreciate more; some will produce more cash flow because they will attract better tenants; and others will require more maintenance and have higher expenses," Schaub reports.

He recommends staying away from slum and very low income neighborhoods. Then he shows why investing in higher priced homes is usually more profitable than acquiring middle-income homes.

As for rising mortgage interest rates, Schaub welcomes them. "As the economy changes, you will borrow at different interest rates. When rates are the highest, you will make your best buys," he explains.

The author emphasizes his top nine sources for finding investment houses at bargain prices, often with bargain-rate seller finance terms also. He suggests buying at least one house per year. "In a normal market, 90 percent of the houses for sale are not opportunities. You are trying to identify that one seller in 10 who might have a reason to make you a good deal," he notes.

The book includes key questions to ask sellers or their realty agents on the phone before even looking at their house. Additionally, Schaub's "seller's motivation scale" shows how to spot a motivated seller who is likely to make a good deal.

The chapter about knowing how to pay for rental houses is especially valuable. The author shares his checklists, including his 10-10-10 rule, which is making no more than a 10 percent down payment, paying no more than 10 percent interest (for an especially good deal), and buying at least 10 percent belong market value.

Chapter topics include How Buying One House at a Time Can Make You Wealthy; Buying the Right House; Finding Good Deals; Making the Offer; Borrowing to Increase Your Profits; Understanding and Using Real Estate Contracts; Secrets of Professional Negotiators; Buying and Selling with Agents; Buying and Selling Houses to Produce Cash Flow Now; Selling on Lease-Options to Generate the Largest Profits; Finding and Buying Preforeclosures and Foreclosures; and Eight Steps to Quitting Your Day Job.

The book concludes with a chapter about helping others build wealth, one house at a time, to eliminate poverty housing. Schaub explains why he has been active locally with Habitat for Humanity for many years; he is now on Habitat's international board of directors. This is one of the very few real estate books which cannot be recommended too highly. On my scale of one to 10, it rates an off-the-chart 12. (Real Estate Weekly)

From the Back Cover

“John Schaub is the only real estate guru I know who has survived and prospered for 30 years in this wild and wooly market.”-Mark Skousen, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Economics, Columbia University, and Editor, Forecast and Strategies

The key in owning investment real estate is buying good houses in good neighborhoods. By learning to buy at wholesale prices, fund your down payment, and attract tenants that will pay off your loans and improve your property value, you can immediately begin to increase your wealth. In Building Wealth One House at a Time, real estate expert John Schaub shows you how to

  • Accumulate a million dollars in free and clear high quality houses that will provide cash flow for life
  • Be Your own boss, set your own hours, and have both financial and personal freedom
  • Buy the right houses on the right terms, and then rent them to good tenants who will pay off your debt

Building Wealth One House at a Time will have you ready to buy the right house, resell in a hurry for guaranteed profits, and create financial independence on your own terms.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

The book was an easy read and very easy to follow.
Mark Jessing
I highly recommend this book, but it should not be the only book you read before beginning investing.
This is one of the outstanding real estates investment books on the market.
Terry W. Sprouse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

166 of 168 people found the following review helpful By Ron Atkins on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book, with plenty of good advice for investing in rental properties and learning to live off the income produced by your investments. Schaub talks about finding deals, negotiating for better terms, using agents, managing your properties, and protecting your key assets. The paragraphs below briefly discuss three of his key points.

Schaub's chapter on learning how to work yourself out of your day job hit home with me. Isn't this a goal we all share? Schaub's plan is easy to understand, but not necessarily easy to follow. In my action plans, I first wanted to be able to pay my electric bill with income that had spun off my investments. After reaching that goal, I wanted to pay my phone bill, car insurance, etc. I kept working to build investment income sufficient to pay my bills. Eventually, I reached a point where my investment income has almost equaled my work income. I'm using the bulk of my work income to make investments. Schaub suggests using your investment income to replace your need to work. I suggest you keep working, and use you work income to make bigger investments.

Schaub's entire thesis rests on the concept of buying quality properties that you manage and control, and striving to pay them off within a ten-year period. When you approach retirement, theoretically you will have the income of these properties flowing into your bank account. This is a great idea, and certainly doable; however, maintenance, tax, and insurance expenses will never go away. So don't forget that maintenance alone may eat up to 40% of your gross income. Insurance and taxes will eat another 10-20%.

Schaub talks about owning property out of town, and this is important info for all investors. Your main concern is control. I learned my lesson the hard way here.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By D. Bouthillier on February 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
I like this book. The author offers advice and strategies that I believe I can make work for me in the real world. There was nothing that I read in the book that I would feel strange or wrong about doing. In fact, I'm looking into making an offer using his methods.

The only conflict for me was that John recommends investing in your own area. He doesn't seem fond of investing out of town. I live in Southern California, and unless you are make large cash down payments, it's nearly impossible to be cash flow positive for a very long time. I'm going to adapt the information in the book and continue to invest out of town.

I'm definitely adding this to my investment book library. It's a keeper.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By JP on July 21, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
John Schaub has written an excellent book on the qualitative aspects of real estate investing. It doesn't deal much with the important mathematical aspects of estimating your projected return on investment. Instead, it deals with what types of real estate investments provide the best return with the least amount of work, what type of investing strategy to use, and how to find good deals. He advocates a long-term buy-and-hold approach instead of short-term flipping. John Schaub's approach to real estate is very similar to Warren Buffett's approach to stocks: buy low and hold for a long time.

It seems that most real estate investing books are get-rich-quick schemes aimed at the ignorant, gullible, and desperate. This is one of the few good books. I highly recommend this book, but it should not be the only book you read before beginning investing. A good companion book would be Investing in Real Estate by Andrew McLean and Gary Eldred.

By the way, the review by John Matlock "Gunny" is fake. If you read lots of reviews, you'll see him around a lot. Check his review history. He reviews more books than any human could possibly read, and he only writes 5 star reviews, so he is probably a reviewer paid by the publisher.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having invested in single family houses for 30 years and attended many of John Schaub's seminars I didn't find much new in this book.

But for someone just getting started it is full of great information. It doesn't just cover how to negotiate and buy real estate. More importantly it explains WHY you should invest in real estate.

John Schaub is one of only a small handful of real estate instructors and authors who have actually done, and are still doing, what they teach and write about.

Once you finish reading the book you should take John's excellent "Making it Big on Little Deals" class.

Enjoy the book.
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59 of 69 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
John Schaub has been a house investor, author, and speaker for over thirty years. He presents a senario of buying a house, renting it out for enough to cover its cost and maintenance, paying it off over a ten year or so period, building an investment portfolio of properties that will then provide for a good retirement income.

As with a lot of things, the devil is in the details. And most of the book covers things like finding the right house, negeotiating the price, a quick look at accounting, borrowing and everything else connected with the real estate marketplace.

The book is dead on. There are an awful lot of people who have made a lot of money this way. There are two or three he doesn't mention. One is buying houses at auction when they have been foreclosed, something you should investigate in your community, particularily if you live in a one commodity area that is subject to boom and bust. Another point is that most of the people I know who have build themselves this kind of business do a lot of their own maintenance. You can pay for things like cleaning and painting, but it's expensive.

Investing in rental houses is a business. Like any business it's subject to working hard, making the right decisions, and having just a bit of luck. If the earthquake finds your house ....
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