on July 26, 2014
I purchased this book after reading Trump University 101. Gary W. Eldred pretty much wrote that book and I really liked his advice. This book is great for someone who is looking to get deep into the numbers and wants to learn how to really understand the in's/out's. This book also covers everything in real estate from buying & holding, to flipping and selling. It's a pretty big book with lots of pages and small print, but it's jam-packed with useful information. I find that it took me longer than others to read it, but it's great for a numbers person. My husband read it way quicker than I did. Some real estate books are really broad and don't detail the execution, whereas this book is detailed and specific. So if you are just getting started in the real estate business and are wanting to learn your way, or even if you want to just do continuing education, this is a great book to add to your library. It's also pretty current with today's market conditions which is a plus since some real estate books are dated and don't make since with today's economy.
on July 15, 2014
For a guy who purportedly has a PhD, lectures on investing, and has a book which is into it's 7th edition, this is full of so much pablum and generic, sometimes, poor writing, you've really got to wonder. He's constantly warning you about other guy's phony real estate schemes, seminars, books, and CDs, and yet he's willing to take your book (or kindle) money and tell you stuff like, "If it is cold outside, protect pipes exposed to the weather." First of all, sloppy writing/logic ("if it IS cold outside..."??--what if, duh, you're house hunting in Minnesota in August--how about, "If the AREA is PRONE to cold..." or some similarly sensibly written construction.).
More importantly, the book is full of generic advice like this, which is little more than common sense, without telling new investors what they actually need to know.. concrete, detailed examples or some ballpark figures or ratios or percentages (or online calculators, like homewyse.com, which I found on my own) for actually calculating real costs beforehand. Presumably his vast personal experience in real estate would afford us readers the benefits of his past costly screw-ups. He includes a few, again very general, references to mistakes he's made in the past. But nothing concrete, like hey, here's the way not to spend your entire profit margin+ on x plumbing or electrical or mold other murphy's law situation.
And this isn't even his "Beginner's Guide"! That's another of his books! I can only imagine how useless that book must be. This book does have a few useful items, but I found them to be few and far between.
Couple other issues:
1) Some info has been contradicted by my own experience (which calls all info into question): he says there's no inspection period ("due diligence") on HUD and VA foreclosures. I was in escrow on a VA foreclosure, and that was not the case--there was a normal 10-day due diligence. (By the way, he also doesn't even mention terms like "due diligence" or "EMD" until way into the book.. but maybe he saved his useful glossary for the "Beginner's Guide"...?)
2) This book, yet again, is generically, and misleadingly, entitled "Investing in Real Estate". In fact, the real estate he's talking about is primarily single family houses (SFRs), either to be rented out or flipped. But the title of course will probably give many the impression that this is their entre into the world of real estate investing, from single family; to 2-, 3-, & 4-plexes; to commercial real estate like 5+ unit multi-families and retail, land, etc. He touches on those other areas slightly, but the bulk of the book seems to assume you're just looking at SFRs or maybe 2-4-plexes. He doesn't mention that, depending on the market (So. Cal., for ex.) it would be impossible to squeeze enough rent out of most houses to justify purchasing as an investment. Apartment buildings and other commercial, might make sense depending on the situation, but does he tell you how different an industry that is? Does he help you get into it? To figure out how/whether to deal w/ commercial agents, commercial mortgage brokers, reasonable commissions, online data (i.e. the commercial and residential MLSs are different systems, and how/whether to try to access the commercial systems through expensive portals like LoopNet and CoStar??)....... No, of course not.
Prof. Eldred does however recommend you get a real estate agent "pro" (actually he's constantly just telling you to get a "pro" for this or that aspect of the real estate business) to help you out if you're doing anything beyond the most basic transaction (i.e. foreclosures, REOs, etc.).. If you're lucky, he or she might even tell you everything that was supposed to be in this book.
The two stars is generous on my part. Prof./Dr./Whatever Eldred probably does not deserve your money. It's not that there's no truth to what he says -- it's just that he doesn't give you enough concrete advice, and he fails to say how time consuming/difficult/potentially costly it can be to properly execute (for someone new to the business) many of the tasks he breezily glosses over in his glee to promote real estate as the perfect tool to build an immense personal fortune over the course of a few decades. Yes, I'm sure it can be, but this book won't even really get you started on the path.
on April 15, 2014
Decent content but a very dry read. It reminded me of studying a text book, which may be just what some REIs are looking for but I could only handle it in bits and pieces. I've read probably two dozen books on real estate, and although I did learn quite a bit from Eldred, it was only through reading, rereading, and then going through it again that his writing was able to resinate. Just no flavor to this book.