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3.9 out of 5 stars
The Skinny on Real Estate Investing: An Introduction to the Subject
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on November 28, 2016
Overall is a good place to start and teaches you the very basics. There is not a lot of detail or real world calculations but is is a good starting point to let you know whether real estate investment is something you'd like to do. I gave it 4 stars as I would have liked to see more real world calculations and examples.
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on March 23, 2010
Before reading The Skinny on Real Estate Investing, I was very skeptical of the idea of illustrating financial lessons with stick figure cartoons. The book was supposed to go to the bottom of my reading stack but it was too hard to resist after seeing the endorsements on the cover and the clever bookmark just inside. By the second page I was chuckling and the next thing I knew, it was finished.

Make no mistake: the information presented here is extremely important. Not only investors but anyone who plans to buy a house or apartment should do a financial analysis to compare the cost of owning with the cost of renting. There are intangible factors in the final decision but any prospective buyer should always start with the math.

Another often-overlooked point made is that an investor should enjoy the process and work involved because real estate is not generally a passive investment. This primary concept is humorously illustrated and then made unforgettable by the only photograph in the book!

That investing in real estate is not a get-rich-quick shortcut is also reinforced. Unfortunately, people still fall prey to the belief that it is, despite the current problems in the real estate and financial markets.

Though the ideas presented here are basic, many real estate investors simply do not understand them. Even those who do understand them, who have degrees in real estate and are from families with generations of experience investing in it and have the ability to raise large sums of money have ignored or misjudged these ideas in the past decade.

For instance, the owners of the 11,000 unit apartment complex in Manhattan that was the largest-ever residential sale at $5.4 billion in 2006 recently defaulted primarily because the ability to raise rental income and cash flow was overestimated and the various risks involved in both the investment and the general market were severely underestimated. The complex would probably sell for at least $3 billion less today than it did a few years ago. All of the important factors in what will likely become a standard business school case study are discussed in this book.

So The Skinny on Real Estate Investing most definitely does what it claims to do: distill the most important introductory points into an instructive and entertaining volume. It should be required reading for anyone contemplating buying real estate or even investing in it indirectly through REITs. Reading this book will also remind advanced real estate investors to focus on the important basics and will do so in a humorous manner.

Very highly recommended.

A copy of this book was provided for review by the publisher.
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VINE VOICEon November 7, 2010
This weekend I read six of Jim Randel's "Skinny on" books--creativity, credit cards, direct sales, the housing crisis, real estate investing (part 1) and networking.

These books use the Japanese writing style known as Magna. The author researches his topics and reduces the subject down to a one to one and a half hour read that simplifies the concepts in easily understandable stories. Following the illustrated stories he provides a quick summary of the points to remember. He then lists a further reading section and recommends specific books for those that want the fine details.

The Skinny on Real Estate Investing: An Introduction to the Subject is an easy to read book on a subject that I would probably never read if I did not already know that Jim Randel would simplify it and make it a fun and informative read.

Who do you believe? How do you know if the real estate deal is a sound one? Jim Randel answers these questions and more in an easy to understand format.

This book is extremely informative, a time savers and an easy read. Don't be fooled by the stick figured illustrations. This is a serious book about minimizing risk and making a profit instead of losing your shirt.

I enjoyed this book and will recommend it to my friends and family. It was a worthwhile and fun read.
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on January 1, 2014
The Skinny on Real Estate Investing: An introduction to the Subject by Jim Randel is a good beginner's guide to real estate investing. The author distilled the most important concepts for the beginner real estate investor.

Jim mentioned that the key to all real estate investing is to understand cash-flow analysis. He walked us through several examples with residential and commercial properties. I agree with Jim on what's considered a good real estate deal - 10-12% return on your investment.

My favorite part of the book was when Jim discussed "anyone who has been investing in real estate for any period of time knows that what can go wrong often will go wrong". Based on my observations with friends and family members who own rental properties, this is a true statement. By shifting your mindset on what could go wrong, what's a good deal, adding value to a property, Jim has given us all of the tools to ask the right questions.

My least favorite part of the book was the lack of online links provided to help the novice real estate investor. Also, I wished Jim would've walked through the entire process of buying or selling a property. This type of book is for someone who knows nothing about real estate investing and would like to have a basic understanding in less than one hour.
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VINE VOICEon September 5, 2010
Review of "The Skinny on Real Estate Investing: An Introduction To The Subject" by Jim Randel. "Real Estate Investing" delivers on the subject! I am not sure what other readers expect but the premise of "Skinny" is to get to the heart of any topic, in this case "Real Estate Investing" and convey that information to the audience. This minimalistic approach is useful for those who desire the respective information, wisdom, etc. in a condensed format where the framework lacks excessive verbiage and the "hiding of the ball" so to speak. If the reader requires more detailed information on the topic a lengthy bibliography is included at the end. Short, sweet, and to the point is the hallmark of this series. Add a first color page replete with summarized key points and/or important terminology and a perforated book mark and you have what I consider to be a winning volume. Five stars without reservation for a job well done!
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VINE VOICEon April 25, 2010
I'm a fan of the Skinny On series of books. The books are short (read in about an hour) and instead of page numbers you get numbered blurbs (1-2 per page). The blurbs appear in an almost comic strip type format with pictures and text, which makes it very engaging for the reader.

I've always considered investing in real estate, but was hesitant because of the risk and work involved, so this book was the perfect fit to learn a bit more on the subject. While the book presented some great advice for those looking to get into real estate, especially the warnings to stay away from and identify scams, I felt like overall the book could have offered a bit more. I understand this book is just an introduction and there are others available (The Skinny on Real Estate Investing II & III), but unlike the other books in the series I was able to finish this book in about 35 minutes.

Nonetheless the topics covered are exactly what you would expect from an introduction. You get a basic introduction on how to evaluate a potential investment, improve the investment and get potential investors.

Overall, the book did a great job of weeding out potential real estate investors that are in it just for the money and don't understand the concept of a very active investment; and for that I would give this book 5 stars. However, for anyone who is sold on the idea you'll have to read on in the series to get your filling on real estate, which I'll be doing.
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on February 6, 2011
This book is a great place to start the learning process for those thinking about getting into real estate investing, covering the basics of what you need to know without any unnecessary fluff or filler. It gets right to the point in a fun, easy and whimsical manner.

Even with the currently ongoing housing crisis real estate is still a viable investment option, although its become painfully obvious that one needs to apply some common sense, perform a thorough analysis of the investment and avoid taking too much risk. This is a book that covers the essentials, with the number one principle being to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

The author, Jim Randell, is an accomplished and successful real estate investor who as authored another book on the subject as well - Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur: What It Takes to Win in High-Stakes Commercial Real Estate, so he is well qualified to write this primer on the pros and cons of getting into the real estate investment game. I felt he was right on target with this book which is obviously focused on the beginning investor.

Real estates investing is not for everyone and, as we've seen over the last couple years, a guaranteed road to wealth, especially for the unprepared and inexperienced neophyte. The author stresses that a) Real Estate investing is NOT for everyone and b) it is an active investment involving time and money on the investors part. It's not as easy as simply "flipping that house" for fast and easy real estate profits.

One can obviously go into more depth on the subject as there are reams of books and other media available but this is a good place to get an overview of real estate investing and to decide whether or not it's really for you..
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on September 2, 2010
Written by Jim Randel who has been an active real estate investor for thirty years, The Skinny On Real Estate Investing is the first of a three part series on the subject and is meant to help the reader decide if real estate investing is right for him. His credentials range from single family homes to multi-family properties and include retail centers and other commercial spaces as well as land. The advice comes from his success and failures along with his extensive knowledge on the subject. The goals of the book are simple; introduce the subject to the reader enabling them to better understand the job of a real estate investor and to "disabuse the notion of real estate investing as a get rich quick scenario". This book is not for those who are thinking quick and easy money, but rather for the serious hard working person who has a sincere interest in the subject matter or it looking to further their knowledge.

The book is set up according to Randel's easy to read guide. Its' comic book style enables the reader to learn about the subject of real estate investing through Billy and Beth, as previously seen in "The Skinny On" series. Billy and Beth enable the reader to learn in an interactive, fun and easy style. The book can be read in about an hour for the average reader. In this short amount of time the reader is given a wealth of useful and practical knowledge on the subject of real estate investing. It was very easy to understand and follow. The book tells the truth about the topic and does not try to persuade a person to start the path of real estate investing without the full knowledge of how it works and what you will get yourself into. The book uses humor, wit and practical knowledge to get important topics and points across to the reader. It is a very quick and enjoyable read that is totally worth the investment.

As previously stated, the book is the first of it's' series on the topic. It is designed for readers who want to know if real estate investing is right for them. It is also useful as an overview for readers committed to the three part series as it sets a foundation for key investment strategies in preparation for a life time of investments. It is a must have for anyone interested in the topic of real estate investing or buying their own home. Do not start your journey without the proper research! This book is a great start and has plenty of suggestions for further education and reading on the topic. The book even comes with a handy bookmark outlining key terms the reader will need to understand.

Reviewed for bookpleasures
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If you have ever been tempted by one of those "get rich quick" real estate programs, read this book first.

There have been lots of gurus who have mislead thousands of people into believing that real estate is the key to wealth and it takes very little time and almost no money.

Jim Randel's book gives you the straight facts on what it takes to invest in and make a good income from real estate. In all fairness, there were some methods that worked during the real estate boom. Actually there were many methods that worked when the entire market was rising at astronomical rates. But when the market turned down and the bubble burst, many naïve investors found themselves underwater with their investments.

Jim gives up a very simple but proven method of investing that always works. If you based your investment on the cash flow of the property, your investments will always be sound. Jim's approach is that cash flow is the only analysis that makes sense.

He also dispels the notion that real estate is a passive investment, one that requires little or no work.

Like all books in the Skinny On(tm) series, this one is short, easy to read and uses the stick cartoon figures to tell the story.

This book is the introduction to the subject so there will be follow-up books that will go deeper into the subject. If you are serious about real estate, it is important that you learn all you can about real estate investing before you commit to an investment. One book you should certainly read is The Skinny On(tm) The Housing Crisis.

At the end of the book is a summary of the top ten points covered in the book. I really love this series of books. They give you the information in easy to digest format. The books are all short and easy to read but cover more meat than many books that take five or six times longer to read.

If you have high hopes of being a real estate tycoon with no money and little time, this book will give you a dose of reality. On the other hand, if you are serious about real estate investing, this book tells you what to expect and how to go about it.

This book is for realists, not daydreamers.
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on March 13, 2010
From an outsider's perspective successful real estate investing seems to be only slightly less arcane than successful securities investment. Yet in another of the amazing little books in the series called "the skinny on", the book on real estate investing is actually both an illuminating and a helpful guide to how to begin looking at real estate as viable investment option. Like all the books in this series it provides succinct and well crafted concepts and guide lines to help the new investor avoid egregious mistakes and pitfalls. More to the point it provides very concrete examples of the formulation of a real estate investment program. Again as with all these books the examples are provided by Bill and Beth two imaginary characters represented by stick figure cartoons. This methodology is remarkably effective. Yet as Randel would be the first to argue, this book is not a sure fire and easy guide to success. As its sub-title suggests it is an introduction to a highly competitive and difficult field. Success in this field requires hard work, absolute commitment to the work, and often more than a little luck. Yet Randel makes sound really interesting, but as he notes up front and is apparent from every page of the book, real estate investment is his passion (at least for a career).
Before reading this book or indeed any of the `how to' books in this series, it is a very good idea to first read two of Randel's more generic books in this series one dealing with success and the other with willpower as both explain in depth themes that run through all the other books of this series.
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