In this unusual real estate book, “Successful Real Estate Investing,” experienced real estate investor Robert Shemin shares 75 costly realty mistakes to avoid. He warns of errors he has made with his investments during the last 10 years involving more than 400 properties.
This fast-paced book explains how Shemin started his realty investment career after talking with an old couple, then in their seventies, who looked broke but owned 120 free-and-clear houses netting more than $60,000 per month. After that encounter, the author gave up his “day job” at age 28 to devote full time to real estate investing.
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In a humorous aside, Shemin tells about just before he got married, he asked the old couple, who had been married for more than 50 years, for their advice for a happy marriage. The husband said when he married, he and his wife agreed he would make all the big decisions and she would make the small decisions. “So far, there haven’t been any big decisions I’ve had to make,” the husband added.
Shemin says at one time he owned up to 300 properties. “I’m now down to 148. I’ve bought and sold 75 properties in the last five months,” he reports. In addition to writing real estate books and teaching real estate courses, the author is now semi-retired in Miami’s South Beach. But he says the “big money” is in real estate, not from all his other fun activities.
This unusual book is not divided into chapters. Instead, it lists and explains 75 real estate mistakes not to make, plus three bonus mistakes. The appendix includes explanations of how to find great deals, the “top 10 real estate mistakes we make every day,” Robert’s six basic rules of negotiation, lease-option strategies, and how to build a real estate team.
Each of the very short 75 mistake “chapters” is formatted into the mistake, followed by an example or what can be learned from the mistake.
To illustrate, the first mistake is: “Not getting started in real estate investing early enough.” Then Shemin concludes the brief chapter by saying: “The lesson is this: The time to get started is now.”
Along the way, the author gives lots of advice, which isn’t exactly a mistake. For example, one of his mistakes is: “Not becoming active in your local real estate investor’s association.” Then he adds: “Going to a monthly real estate meeting is like going to a religious institution on a regular basis. You already know what’s going to be said and how the stories end, so why keep going? It’s because when you do attend, your belief system is reinforced (or challenged).”
This memoir book is actually just sound basic real estate investing advice presented in an unusual format. Along the way, Shemin shares lots of personal experiences, plus those of other investors and students he has encountered.
His strongest advice comes when explaining negotiation tactic mistakes, such as, “Making only one offer on a property instead of three.” By that he means give the property seller three offers with different terms, thus increasing the odds of acceptance.
Some of the investment advice is offbeat and unexpected. For example, mistake 34 is: “Overlooking bad houses and bad neighborhoods.” Then Shemin explains sometimes it’s possible to contract to buy a run-down house in a rough area, not necessarily for keeping, but for making a quick resale profit by assigning the purchase agreement to a buyer who specializes in low-end properties.
“The lower on the economic scale you go, the higher the percentage of the return you’ll make. But there’s money in high-end properties, too,” the author advises.
Whether you are an experienced or novice real estate investor, you’ll enjoy and benefit from reading this unique new book. This is the kind of real estate book which should be read and re-read several times because there is so much sound advice, based on the author’s investing experiences. On my scale of one to 10, this superb new book rates a solid 10.
“Successful Real Estate Investing,” by Robert Shemin (John Wiley and Sons, New York), 2004, $16.95, 241 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.amazon.com.
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