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Investing in Land: How to Build Wealth Buying, Selling, Subdividing, and Developing Land Ring-bound – May 1, 2003

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

There are a great many interesting things in Abalos' book. --John T. Reed, Real Estate Investor's Monthly Newsletter, July 2003

This seems to me to be a very good book. First: while I have some land investments, I am not a land investment specialist, so I can not evaluate the quality of the opinions and techniques recommended in this book. However, I have invested in real estate for about 25 years. I could find only a couple of things with which I disagree with the author, Robert J. Abalos. And those are on theoretical matters of how to look at investing, not the specific techniques and approaches he advocates. This is not a rah rah book, trying to motivate you, as you will find in other, well-known authors' writings, such as those of Robert Allen, Robert Kiyosaki, or Carleton Sheets. The writer does not promise quick profits, as is all too commonly done by many other authors of real estate investing materials. For instance, Abalos, recommends spending two years studying the land marketplace and dynamics where you invest. This is similar to my recommendation that real estate investors expect to spend 6-18 months studying real estate investing and their chosen marketplace before putting any money into real estate. The main theme is to be selective in what to buy, pay less than market value, and then resale as soon as possible for a profit. I call this real estate merchandising, as opposed to real estate investing, which is long-term holdings. There is some discussion of holding vacant land properties and of developing properties. Mr. Abalos' general suggestion is don't, leave it to others, such as your buyers. He indicates that carefully done, land investing can provide very handsome profits in a few months. However, it can take years to become financially independent, a sentiment with which I concur. The writing is clear and easy to read. I found a modest number of typographical and grammatical errors, which I judge do not detract from reading the text. Some sections were praiseworthly error-free. There are some brief accounts of actual investments and investing situations. I would have enjoyed more concrete examples and would have preferred some longer case studies of specific deals. I would also prefer to have more very detailed explanations of how to deal with the problems, issues, and difficulties one could run into. However, Investing in Land provides far more than just generalities. It does offer advice on major issues of investing and alternatives to make profits. I feel there is enough information for a self-starter to go out and get started on this approach to investing. On a five-point scale, I'd rate this book, Investing in Land, by Robert J. Abalos, Esq., at 4.5. Amazon limits us to full-point ratings. --Ronald Starr, experienced real estate investor

I've been in the real estate investment and discounted note business for over 20 years and have some hands-on experience in land development. I bought Robert Abalos' Investing In Land a few months ago. It is certainly a fresh approach. He has many ideas and suggestions I have never heard before. He draws on his years of experience in land development and uses real life case histories as examples. I learned more from it than any other book I have read on the subject. The book assumes the reader has no experience in land development and walks him through the process, pointing out the dos and don'ts, pitfalls and opportunities along the way, everything from what kind of land to look for to how to recover your profit in the shortest amount of time. But it is not just for beginners. I gave a copy to a good friend who has been a very successful full-time land developer for many years, and he even learned some new things from it. The author is most definitely NOT a get-rich-quick salesman. He says the worst thing you can do is to rush into land development, and recommends that you spend a year just getting to know your market! That's sound advice and unfortunately all-too-rare in this age of infomercial dream-sellers who prey on peoples' greed. He knows what he's talking about from first-hand experience as a land developer and a real estate and securities attorney. According to his bio he graduated from Boston College Law School and was a former real estate securities analyst with the international investment banking firm Morgan Stanley in New York City specializing in the formation and management of real estate investment trusts and the pooling of mortgage-backed securities like REMICs. Most importantly, Abalos is an active land developer. He has earned the right to teach the subject. If you are a beginner, I can think of no better way to get started than by reading Investing In Land. If you are a pro, you already know much of this but you will probably pick up some new ideas. --William Mencarow, The Paper Source Online

About the Author

Robert J. Abalos is a real estate lawyer, investor, and developer with more than twenty-five years of experience buying, selling, and developing rental properties.
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Product Details

  • Ring-bound: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Terra Media, Inc; 2nd edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974042307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974042305
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,827,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Ring-bound
I borrowed this book from a friend who bought it from the author's website for {..}. It came in a cheap, black vinyl binder, the variety that costs under (..) at Office Depot. My first reaction was, "you paid how much for this?"

Upon reading it, my general impression was that the book was well-written, but short on substance. The first 100 pages or so are "preparatory" topics which could have been wrapped up in the first chapter. For example, the first 13 pages are a long, drawn story about how the author's hometown has changed. The next 80 or so pages are dispelling myths about land and why land is a good investment. Ho hum, get to the point!

Around page 115, he starts with some good advice - "buy great land at a fair price, not fair land at a great price". This is very good advice, and most experienced real estate investors will tell you that buying in the right neighborhoods is just as important as buying at a low price.

The basic premise of the book is buy land cheap, improve the value by physically cleaning it up or subdividing, then resell it. The problem is, such a formula is entirely too vague and is way beyond the scope of most investors. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to clear out bushes and other landscape on any parcel of a decent size, and this does not guarantee it will improve the value. Also, subdividing lots isn't as easy as it sounds - there's zoning restrictions, local politics, environmental impact studies, traffic studies, etc that has to be considered and often at a hefty cost. The author speaks of buying land with little or no cash by getting seller financing, options, or partners, but neglects to mention where the heck you get the money for all of the due diligence required to determine whether a project is even feasible?
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Format: Ring-bound
Investing in Land by Robert J. Abalos, Esq.
Reviewed by Ronald * Starr, experienced real estate investor.
This seems to me to be a very good book. First: while I have some land investments, I am not a land investment specialist, so I can not evaluate the quality of the opinions and techniques recommended in this book. However, I have invested in real estate for about 25 years. I could find only a couple of things with which I disagree with the author, Robert J. Abalos. And those are on theoretical matters of how to look at investing, not the specific techniques and approaches he advocates.
This is not a "rah-rah" book, trying to motivate you, as you will find in other, well-known authors' writings, such as those of Robert Allen, Robert Kiyosaki, or Carleton Sheets. The writer does not promise quick profits, as is all too commonly done by many other authors of real estate investing materials. For instance, Abalos, recommends spending two years studying the land marketplace and dynamics where you invest. This is similar to my recommendation that real estate investors expect to spend 6-18 months studying real estate investing and their choosen marketplace before putting any money into real estate.
The main theme is to be selective in what to buy, pay less than market value, and then resale as soon as possible for a profit. I call this "real estate merchandising," as opposed to real estate investing, which is long-term holdings. There is some discussion of holding vacant land properties and of developing properties. Mr. Abalos' general suggestion is "don't," leave it to others, such as your buyers. He indicates that carefully done, land investing can provide very handsome profits in a few months.
Read more ›
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Format: Ring-bound Verified Purchase
Before I read this book I had no idea how to understand the real value of real estate now and in the future. Smart money is buying up farmland now for a reason.
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Format: Ring-bound
Robert's book is my first reading in real estate investment, and this being the subject of land investment. I have to say, it is well presented, concise, and filled with some practical suggestions and tips. I look forward to executing some of the ideas presented. I fully recognize the leveraging power of options and to me, this is the way to go. He gives some compelling reasons why land investment are much more lucrative than the typical improved real property. A bit of useful financial information is also presented
Besides the book, you're also getting access to the author who can be reached by email and responses typically come back within half a day. You can't beat that!! Now that's leveraging!!
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