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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
There are no shortage of books out there for first-time home buyers, but Alison Rogers' Diary of a Real Estate Rookie: My Year of Flippin, Selling, and Rebuilding -- and What I Learned the Hard Way is easily the most interesting I've read, probably because it hasn't a how-to guide filled with platitudes like "don't buy the first house you see."

As the title would suggest, this isn't a how-to guide at all. Instead it's a former real estate writer's tale of her first year as a real estate agent/aspiring investor -- it's a quick and funny read (I finished it in one sitting), and it's a remarkably candid expose of all the problems that prospective home buyers can face in dealing with agents. The book begins "More than six million Americans move each year. If anecdotal evidence is anything to go by, more than 5.9 million of them hate their real estate agent." She describes the unethical tactics that many of her competitors use to inflate their incomes at the expense of clients. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are informative sidebars like "tricks to keep from overpaying", "the greatest rental search tip ever" (definitely worth the price of admission), and "five tips to ease the pain of selling."

In addition to being a valuable guide for rookie buyers, this is also probably the first book anyone contemplating a career as an agent should buy.

At 212 fun-to-read pages, you can't go wrong with this book if you're interested in real estate.

Zac Bissonnette
AOL Money and Finance Writers/Editor
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2007
If this book were an apartment it would be a "sunny condo conversion - panoramic views, oversize windows, 3 BR, 2 BA, closets galore, one of a kind architectural details, built in window seat the perfect place to curl up and read a book." I gobbled it up over recent holiday weekend - it's funny and organized in short breezy chapters - easy to read. Some great stories - the fabulous BIG sale (!!!) with fully negotiated contract and the case of the missing buyers - the summer rental of a mansion that also didn't quite happen - and successes - first pitch, first open house, first sales. And I could really relate to the feeling of being pulled in ten different directions trying to balance needs of customers, sellers, family, and oh yes, self. Plus that whole adjusting to a new career thing. Great present for the real estate agent in your life, be he/she your spouse, friend, or your hard-working realtor. Or buy it for yourself...it's an investment in your sanity, for starters, and some good tips on working with buyers and sellers.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2007
I don't know anything about real estate; I'm scared of it, and if I didn't need a place to put my children and my furniture, I'd never have anything to do with it. Ms. Roger's book pulls back the curtains enough to show that it's a world at least as scary to those in it as it is to us. Her writing is breezy, funny, personal and honest... you end up liking her tremendously, and -- this is weird -- wishing you were in the market for Manhattan real estate, just so you could hire her. Which is a bit like wishing you could go whaling after reading Moby Dick, but still. A must read for anyone who's about to dip a toe into the waters of home buying... esp. if you find yourself thinking your broker must be a lizard person. She's not! Or, at least, this one isn't.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2007
I tore through this book in a single sitting, mining it for real estate tips (of which there are many), and for the engaging narrative. I'd recommend it for anyone who wants to understand the basics but has no patience for dry "how to sell your home" tomes. I'd also recommend it for sheer entertainment value. It's a first-person window into NYC's crazy real estate biz and Rogers sounds like a smarter, savvier (but admittedly cash-starved) Carrie Bradshaw.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2007
I love this book. It's not many people who can make you laugh with them AND at them, cringe at their emotional ups and downs and still come out admiring them. It's so much more than a real estate book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2007
I purchased the book because it was mentioned in Newsweek; I hadn't heard of the author. The aptly named book had words "dairy" and "rookie" in its title, so I'm not sure why the 1st reviewer was expecting something more along the lines of "how to make money in real estate." It's definitely a book I didn't want to put down. I really get the sense that the author could try almost any career for a year or so and really write a thoughtful & intelligent book about it (that I'd buy.) Even if you don't have much of a desire to go into real estate, it's still an interesting book to read. The last part "More Tips from the Front Porch", although also aptly titled, was a bit dry for me, but that's probably because I bought my own home 3 years ago and have no plan on moving for a long time.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Like some other reviewers of this book, I had no innate interest in real estate when I picked up this book. But Alison Roger's narration ROCKS. She manages to be sharp/smart/sassy while also disarmingly self-denigrating - I can't wait to see what she's going to come up with on the next page. This is also a delicious memoir in that the memoirist doesn't try to interest you in herself in any narcissistic way -rather, she has genuinely interesting stories to share - to educate, explain, inspire, entertain, and warn you - and since they happened to have occurred to her personally, well, hey, it's a memoir. Above all, seeing how her remarkable (often sardonic) sense of humor get her through the tough spots is refreshing, almost addictive. I read most of it in one sitting and haven't quite finished it yet because I love the idea that there's still some waiting for me like a hidden treat.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2007
There's something for everyone in this genuine and engaging memoir which reads like something that a young Anthony Bourdain might write about the real-estate business. Ms. Rogers, a journalist near the top of her chosen profession, decides that there must be a better way to earn big money and ends up embarking on a path that's harder than all her expertise and obvious intellect prepared her for. That she makes the big career change during her first year of marriage adds a layer of poignancy that makes this a remarkable read.

I'd recommend this book to anyone planning a midlife career change, as its lessons are universal. If you are a realtor, hate realtors, or plan to use one in the future, reading it should be considered mandatory.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2007
I started reading this book today, on the subway home. I read the last two chapters of Jules Verne, _20,000 Leagues Under The Sea_, and then the first 5 chapters of _Diary of a Real Estate Rookie_. All I can say is, I already like Rookie a lot better than Verne.

Of course, Verne sometimes spends several paragraphs at a time discussing the taxonomy of fish. Even so, I like this book a lot. The authorial voice is very good: Authoritative but not pedantic, warm but not faux-folksy, critical but not snarky.

I already feel well-rewarded for the bucks I spent for this book, and I now look forward to my next few subway rides.
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Okay, I enjoyed reading this book. Maybe you thought not since I only gave it 3 stars but it depends on WHY you want to read this book or what you think you're going to get out of it. I enjoyed it because it was mostly a memoir that was well-written, funny, anecdotal, and garnered a sense of empathy for the poor, hapless author navigating the wild woods of real estate in NJ and NY. Her professional experiences were interesting to read about along with her personal experiences. From this perspective, I thought her book was a 5 star review. Now, I read this thinking that I could glean a little knowledge about the 1st year "rookie" agent mistakes and discoveries from a memoir perspective, which seemed like a fun and novel idea.
Basically, here's my gripe and WHY I gave it 3 stars: the experiences she was having in NYC were very specific to highly urban areas and not so much residential developments unless you count her experiences in NJ. And even those in NJ were very different (again area-specific) but yet still held occasional gems of wisdom. But it is hard to learn anything from her experiences because of their non-transferrable nature. (I had thought that what she learned the hard way, I could avoid by reading her exploits but it seems that these were more just fun little demonstrations of her particular experience rather than being relatable in any way to myself.) Now, I could have learned not to undervalue myself and my abilities but I already know how to avoid that. I could have learned that people will attempt to take advantage of your wide-eyed enthusiasm but I think I already knew that one, too. And I definitely already knew you must have an amazing, wonderful, and supportive spouse/partner to help you through the RE entry process. But again, reiterating them was her way of saying, "no, I really didn't think this real estate thing through." Which I DID appreciate. Though there was no "flipping" -- okay, there was attempted flipping but then she gave up! -- at least there was a little bit of selling and maybe some (life) rebuilding but nothing I gained from the perspective of a real estate "rookie" in their first year. I guess I wanted too much...?
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