If you are a “cash challenged” home buyer or investor, reading “Buying Real Estate Without Cash or Credit” by Peter Conti and David Finkel might give you enough information to be successful. Although the book has its high points, especially the superb negotiation chapter, it gives just enough general information to keep the reader reading but without enough “how to” details.

The book’s theme is a glimpse at the authors’ so-called “intensive training” real estate seminar. It superficially follows several attendees through their course, including coaching by previous graduates. But the book totally neglects the “why” of investing in real estate, such as long-term capital gains, and concentrates on quick-flip profits.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

The first half of the book provides valuable information for beginner home buyers and investors. The key is learning the strength of the home seller’s motivation to sell. If the motivation is weak, Conti and Finkel advise not wasting time. But if the seller’s motivation is strong, such as moving away from the area, the authors suggest making an appointment to inspect the home and then establishing friendship with the seller to make a good deal purchase.

The authors say roughly 60 percent of real estate profits depend on the seller’s motivation for selling, 30 percent on price and terms (financing), and only 10 percent on the property and its location. That concept conflicts with most real estate advice, which says location is the key component.

The book places 99 percent emphasis on buying houses from “for sale by owners,” known as FSBOs or “fizz-bos.” Not a word is said about how to buy a home that is listed with a professional real estate agent, comprising approximately 80 percent of the home-sale market.

This well-organized book explains the property acquisition strategies of the authors, including scripts that readers and students are encouraged to memorize. The psychological reasons behind the phrases are well explained. The authors encourage buyers to take a negative attitude to encourage the seller to “sell” the buyer on buying.

The book’s longest chapter is about structuring purchases without cash or credit. In essence, it explains why smart buyers make their profits up front by purchasing from highly motivated sellers who will heavily discount their sales price to get rid of a problem.

Very little in that chapter is about financing, perhaps because Conti and Finkel emphasize buying “subject to” existing mortgages and getting sellers to carry back financing.

Throughout the book, the authors offer their free Internet reports, which they claim are worth $1,595 for their “Quick-Start Real Estate Success Program.” In essence, this book is a “lead generation” source for the seminars and other products the authors hope to sell to readers.

The purpose of this incomplete book is to get readers interested in buying something from the writers. Yes, there is lots of valuable information about how to purchase real estate without cash or credit. But it leaves out vital information, especially how to prepare a binding sales contract, which is presumably taught in the advanced course.

Chapter topics include “Your Dreams Meet Your Fears”; “Doing Dials – Two Minutes to Find Motivated Sellers”; “The Five Fastest Ways to Find Your First (or Next) Deal”; “Structuring Deals Without Cash or Credit”; “Negotiating Win-Win Deals with Sellers”; “The Three Investor Levels – Your Proven Pathway to Real Estate Success”; and “The Final Day of Training.” The balance of the book is examples from seminar graduates.

As I read the first half of this book, I was prepared to write an enthusiastic review. However, the second half of the book is so-called interviews with seminar graduates. As I read the second half, I realized this is really a very long sales lead generation letter, rather than an informative real estate book. On my scale of one to 10, it rates a disappointing six.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription