Customer comments on this Youngstown Ohio Book
Not the book for new investors or for financial analysis
In my opinion, as a non-author, this book is poorly written.
The book gives examples on financial calculations that can be done to determine if a piece of property is a good investment. However, the examples given are either too complex to be meaningful outside of the specific situtation or too simple to gain any understanding.
The second section of the book on "case studies", is not made for new investors. The examples involve huge sums of money and very complex situations. Two examples come to mind: One case study discussed buying an apartment complex in an overpriced area, another rambled on about legal trouble he had with a local zoning board. A simpler more straight forward example of properties would be much more valuable.
I also did not appreciate the fact that his company is plugged throughout the book. I guess it offers some value in that he has actually experienced the situations in the book but I cannot help but think this book was written only for the benefit of his company and not to eduate the readers. I have read many real estate books written by many successful investor who never mention their company's name. He mentions his constantly.
This book may make sense for investors with large cash reserves($500,000+) in that it explains some creative ways to identify ways to improve a property and it is written from real experience, but in general I do not recommend it.
Author Makes Errors and states his opinion as fact
I purchased this book with good intentions and have never written a negative review on a book, but I had to go out of my way to make note on this book. Although I can see how others could find value in the book, the author lost his credibility with me after two chapters of me underlining statements he was making that he stated as fact when they were just his opinion. I won't get into every detail, but for example he classifies real estate investors as short-term, mid-term, or long term and then states "the long term investor won't care about purchase price" (what is he talking about?) and then fails to understand the fact a long term investor can capture appreciated gains through monetizing the asset (i.e. the house) through additional equity lines or refinances, rather than state this simple fact which is very important as it would allow a long term investor to avoid transaction costs and tax implications but still receive cash from the appreciation he states the long term investor will hold the home not very leveraged; that is totally untrue many long term investors are highly leveraged and continually borrow against their properties and appreciation. Anyway, not a big deal but atleast he didn't call his book the "Bible to Real Estate Finance" or something like that because it is not. It is a great subject matter and topic and he stated he may be one of the few people to have written a book on this narrow topic for a lay person, but the book lacks a professional polished work; take it for what you can get out of it and question things.
Great Book, but be aware of what it isn't
This is a great book, and well worth purchasing if you want to learn about finances for investment properties. It is not all that it could be, but don't let that stop you from using it to get started. All that having been said, here are the things that I had to be careful about: 1) Ten performance measurements and ratios are presented in chapter 6, and they represent the heart of the book. There is little overview of which ones are most importance or how to use or weigh conflicting or offsetting results. 2) The book is heavily centered on spreadsheets, which the author offers to sell to you. Others have criticized the spreadsheets for being locked. I used the book to recreate my own version of the spreadsheets, and the extensive explanations in the book helped, mostly, to make sure that I got the underlying formulas correct. What I noticed, however, is that the book sorely needed a financially sophisticated editor. For example, the spreadsheet on page 193 has an entry for "Expense/Foot." In fact, this entry is none other than the OER - Operating Expense Ratio - that was developed in Chapter 6. Why go to all the trouble to create and define ratios, if you aren't then going to use them. Other parts of the spreadsheets were equally problematic. For example, the Net CF's - presumably "cash flow" - for a 3 year exit only had the receipts for years 1 and 2, and not for year 3. Lastly, the book has nothing to say about (a) maintaining and growing a real estate portfolio of multiple properties as opposed to a single property, or (b) evaluating the relatively new 1031 multiple tenants in common investments that some long time owners are trading into in order to stop being a full time property manager as well as an investor.