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Buy It, Rent It, Profit!: Make Money as a Landlord in ANY Real Estate Market Paperback – April 14, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Chavis lays out the path to making money on multifamily properties in good times and in bad. He addresses the matter analytically, almost scientifically, with a fact-based approach to all parts of the transaction, from the SEOTA (Strategic Evaluation of a Target Area) method to how to amass an empire. Nothing is built on gut or instinct; in fact, he’s got a form or process that will help solve all issues and challenges—and gladly he shares his experiences. Got a deadbeat tenant? You’ll get more cooperation by sending a nice, understanding note than by threats. How about jumping on the foreclosure wagon? Educate yourself first—and look for realistic sales comps and accurate operating expenses. When screening potential residents during open houses, ensure there’s always a fresh pot of coffee—and cookies. Everything you ever wanted to know is either embedded in his logical presentation or incorporated in the appendixes (SEOTA and due-diligence forms). --Barbara Jacobs

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Invest in Your Future

How You Can Become Wealthy as a Landlord

Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those who are skilled in its keep.

-- The Richest Man in Babylon

We are all looking for ways to get wealthy. Some people might not state this so bluntly, but let's face it -- we all crave the security that money can bring. But it's important to note that wealth doesn't have to mean greed. Wealth can buy you more time off to spend with your family, good education for your children, better health care, and the freedom to live the life you want to live.

Wealth to me means freedom. I want to have enough money to take time off to travel with my wife. I want to be able to help my parents live out their retirement years in comfort. And I want to give back to my community, particularly to help atrisk children have opportunities to make something out of their lives. All this takes time and money. Money buys me this time, and it provides me with these things that are so important to me.

The bookstore shelves are lined with titles that promise to reveal the "secrets to success." I was once one of those staring at a wall of titles and wondering which one would help get me to the place I wanted to be. If you're anything like me, you've probably already learned what makes the "millionaire next door" tick and how to "think and grow rich." These are great motivational books -- they help you figure out what path you want to take toward building your own life of financial security and freedom. But if you've picked up this book, you probably want something more...specific advice on how to build that wealth through one of the smartest methods around: real estate.

I've been working in the apartment industry, where I received my Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) designation, for more than a dozen years, first as a manager of large rental complexes and later as an owner. I've worked on every type of property -- from single-family homes to 1,000-unit apartment buildings, and just about everything in between. Several years ago, I decided to put all the advice, systems, and "best practices" I've developed over the years into a book and seminar series called The Landlord Academy ( I've trained tens of thousands of would-be rental property owners, some of whom have gone on to be property moguls in their own right.

But in order to be successful, you don't have to have 100 units -- a single-family home or a duplex is just as viable for your first move as a rental investor. And, as I'll show you, it's a heck of a lot safer to hang on to property for the long term than to try to work the market with risky "fix-it-and-flip-it" schemes. The beauty of rental investing is that you can choose the steps you want to take and decide when you are ready to take them. The key, of course, is performing your SEOTA™ (my own method for evaluating the right rental properties, which you'll learn in this book) and allowing this process to help you choose wisely. I'll give you all the tools, checklists, and operating systems you will need to make that first choice with confidence. That is my commitment to you. Read on to learn how Mitchell and Thelma, two of my Landlord Academy success-story clients, put these systems into practice.

Mitchell and Thelma's Story

Mitchell and his wife, Thelma, attended several of my Landlord Academy training courses. They were recently married with two young children, and were looking for a way to build wealth. Their financial state was OK (but not perfect) when they came to me. They both had steady jobs (though neither was pulling in the big bucks) and they had OK credit (with some outstanding credit card debt). But they also had a dream for the future: They wanted their kids to go to college (something neither of them had done), they wanted to be able to offer some security to their parents, and they had decided the 401(k)s they contributed to at work weren't going to get them where they wanted to go fast enough. They wanted to take their financial destiny into their own hands.

Mitchell and Thelma were living in an apartment and needed more space for their growing family. As a two-income family, they decided they were ready to buy a home. However, after attending some of my classes, they were excited to start their rental investment portfolio and were unsure if they should use their limited funds to buy a new home for their family, or continue to live in their apartment and buy a home to rent out.

I get questions like this all the time. I usually suggest this: Why not do both? Why don't you buy a rental property in which you can live and rent out the other units to help pay down the debt you'll be taking on?

Mitchell and Thelma had been looking at single-family homes in the $240,000 price range. I suggested that they explore buying a duplex for the same amount. They could live in one apartment and rent out the other apartment in the building to help defray the cost of the mortgage. The rental income would get them started on their journey to real estate wealth, and the family would have a larger place to live in.

Mitchell called me a few months later to report that while the lure of that bigger, more expensive home had been powerful, they'd resisted the temptation. They thought about their long-term plans and realized that this first investment move needed to be a wise one. Buying a more expensive home would be okay. It would appreciate in value, and they would have some equity to use in the future for college or a real estate investment. But by buying a duplex instead, they would advance two moves, rather than one. They might not have some of the upgrades found in the more expensive home, but they would have more space to live in and an income-producing rental unit. If they had bought the single-family home to live in, they would have had to save up more money or wait a few years for the equity to build up to use to buy a rental property. Mitchell and Thelma had just accelerated their journey to wealth.

They were smart in another sense as well. Now that they had a rental property, they used The Landlord Academy as a resource to get the training, operations manuals, and forms they needed to manage this rental profitably and legally. They took their first step seriously. It always amazes me when I see people put their entire savings at risk by buying a rental property without getting some training on how to run that property. The time and money you spend in training to be a landlord and researching the best property-management systems (whether you take a class, or you use the guidance offered in this book) will pay off tenfold. For Mitchell and Thelma, the price of enrolling in my Landlord Academy was far less than the cost of one eviction! You can use the same methods Mitchell learned in class by using the processes and forms you find in this book to purchase and operate your own rental property. Mitchell and Thelma found that by using tried and true methods of operation, they were spending less time running the place than they once did worrying about their financial future.

Mitchell and Thelma knew why their goal of wealth was so important to them. They wanted to be able to pay for their kids' educations. They didn't want to work second jobs to earn more, because they wanted to remain actively engaged in their kids' lives. And they wanted to have enough of a financial cushion to assist family members who might need assistance down the line. They wisely chose real estate as their method of achieving wealth. Then they were smart enough to find a step-by-step system to follow. This book will give you the tools to do the same thing.

What About My Credit?

Are you thinking that you might as well put this book down now, because you don't have good enough credit to get a loan? Don't do it! When I started my real estate journey, my credit score was a shaky 582! One of the smartest things I did was immediately get some advice on improving my credit. As I was planning my path to wealth and educating myself on real estate investing, I was also taking small but steady steps to improve my credit. By the time I was ready to make an investment move, my credit had improved dramatically.

The worst thing you can do if you have less than desirable credit is wait to do something about it. There are many companies that can help you improve your credit, as well as some simple steps you can take on your own. I'll talk more about improving your credit in chapter 6. So, don't be discouraged if your credit isn't stellar right at this moment -- you can still become a successful real estate investor. For a list of creditable credit repair services visit

You Can Have It All -- Within Reason

Mitchell and Thelma decided that purchasing a single-family home wasn't the beall and end-all for them at that moment. While that remained a desire, they were willing to put off realizing that dream for a while. They knew that if they acted strategically, eventually they'd be able to own a much nicer single-family home.

What really convinced them that buying the duplex and renting the other unit was the wisest choice for them was that they understood and put to use the basic principle of leverage -- using other people's money to purchase an asset. We will talk more about the power of leverage later on, but for now you need to understand only that their down payment entitled them to own an investment valued at $240,000. In other words, they put a small percentage down and got to own a much more valuable property because the bank loaned them the rest of the value of that property. If you were going to make your riches in the stock market, to buy $240,000 of stock, you would have to write a check for $240,000! In real estate you have to have onl... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416589848
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416589846
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Meade on May 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read six books so far on the subject of buying/renting. This book has clearly been the best so far. Most of the books I have read have been lots of hype and talk about you can make money on realestate. This book contains some of the same talk. Certainly there is an attempt to generate excitement in the beginning about how you can indeed make money buying/fixing/renting. And the book contains much of the same math talk about how to calculate basic values.

The other books I have read are pretty much two things: 1) pep-talk (you can do it!!!) and 2) basic math (four family unit @400/unit=1600-900 in expenses = 500 profit per month. See how easy it is to make money!!!).

This book talks about other stuff. Yes it does have the same math, but in addition has other interesting ways of looking at the value of properties. I found most interesting those times when the author talked about stuff other than money. One example is when he describes a student of his program who bought a mulit-unit complex and was about to loose his shirt because no one was renting. The student thought he had done everything right. In the end it turns out that the problem was not with the unit itself, but with the neighborhood. The student's great deal was for a complex with all single bed efficiencies, in an area mostly composed of four member families. No wonder the guy could not rent. The author thus intoduces the idea that other factors besides the property and rents are in fact more important. After following this guy I appreciate that he has actual wisdom in the business and that learning from him I will be able to avoid many mistakes.

Yep, this guy makes me feel like I can do it. I just bought my first two family.
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111 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir on April 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
-The author has a positive tone throughout, and seemingly knows what he's talking about despite the vague and general manner of explanation.

-98% fluff material. Let me summarize the only useful piece of information from the first 15% of the book: buy a multiunit property to benefit from economies of scale. And a summary for the remainder of the book: plan ahead. Look at cash flows. Try to improve cash flows. Believe in yourself! Know the logistics of your neighborhood. Completely asinine and obvious.
-This book is a damned infomercial for his seminar. So help me if I see him mention his damned paid seminar advertised one more time. He must've mentioned his seminar at least 10 times in the first 10% of the book. I already gave you some money, how about you teach me something of substance you charlatan!
-There was nothing substantial in this book, and I am infuriated I wasted any money on it. In the future I will be sure to read the sample version prior to purchasing. How does this book have such high reviews?! It's absolute drivel. I'm pretty outraged and would love a refund, but have no idea how to go about getting one. Shame on me for not sampling this 'book' prior to buying.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer L. on February 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Knowledge-gathering on real-estate investing is quickly becoming a passion of mine. Buy it, Rent It and Profit is one of the best of the books I've read so far. I also enjoyed and recommend The Wall Street Journal. Complete Real-Estate Investing Guidebook. This book is more of a get-started how-to and equally pragmatic where the WSJ guide was more of a 50,000 ft. view of real estate investing but has lots of great outside references.

The author, Bryan Chavis, explains why investing in apartments or du/tri/quad- plexes is a smarter investment than single family homes by explaining the concept of economies of scale concisely. I appreciate his tone in this book. It is written for beginners like myself without having a condescending or overly-simplified tone.

Like lots of real estate books, Chavis advises looking for value-added properties to buy (read: distressed property) so you can immediately build equity in your purchase. He discusses the importance of an exit strategy and following a checklist before you invest so you know what parameters you are looking for and allows you to invest without getting emotionally attached to a deal.

Chavis provides lots of useful, specific information on how to evaluate a neighborhood using his SEOTA(tm) analysis which is the "Strategic Evaluation of a Target Area." The specific steps he takes are sensible and you get a feel for how much experience he has just from his in-depth analysis of how to evaluate a property. He details evaluating building permits, employment, household size, demographics, psychographics, mortgage rates, rental rates, and occupancy rates.
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59 of 71 people found the following review helpful By C. Simpson on February 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a new entrant into the investment property arena, I was looking for a book to help guide my journey. In general, this is a good book. However, it seems incomplete.

In one of the more interesting and potentially useful chapters, the author tells you how to evaluate potential properties. He has you calculate `cash on cash returns' and `cap rates'. Both of these are tremendously valuable. However, he also shows you how to calculate his "DCR" or Davinci Code score. Immediately afterward, he says that we will learn how to use these benchmark scores to compare properties but I don't recall that discussion ever taking place later in the book. So great, I have the DCR but what am I supposed to do with it?

Anyway, it is a good book, but I think it needs to go a bit further. If nothing else, close the open loopholes.
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