If you are a serious real estate investor, or want to be, you must read “Frank McKinney’s Maverick Approach to Real Estate Success” by Frank McKinney. This is the success story of a (barely) high school graduate with a 1.8 grade-point average, who never went to college, but who builds multimillion-dollar “spec” houses. That means he invests millions of dollars without having a home buyer lined up.

When you look at the book’s cover, you will know this is far from an ordinary real estate book. It has a photo of McKinney, who is probably quite handsome, with long blond hair making him appear like a hippie. But he has a nice smile.

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However, it’s hard to argue with the author’s success over the last 20 years. Starting out as a Florida golf course employee after leaving his Indiana home after barely graduating from high school, he became a tennis instructor, saved his money, and ultimately bought his first fixer-upper house for $36,000 in 1986. After fix-up, he sold it for $50,000.

McKinney has come a long way since then. In his earlier excellent book “Make It Big,” he revealed his 48 success secrets. But in this latest book, the author shares his strategies for selling multimillion-dollar homes to the ultra-rich. He repeatedly emphasizes there are only about 50,000 potential buyers in the entire world for the homes he builds.

His latest project, on Florida’s Atlantic coast near Palm Beach, is a $120 million spec house built without a buyer under contract. Especially revealing is the chapter “Think People First, and the Profit Will Follow” where McKinney reveals how he evaluates prospective buyers for his houses. He also shares how he works with Realtors to market his lavish homes.

The book is an excellent how-to guide to earning real estate profits by finding undervalued real estate with profit potential. McKinney is different. This isn’t another how-to-get-rich-in-real-estate book. Instead, it is the lively success story of a true real estate maverick who walks his daughter to school every morning. McKinney reveals his simple strategies, with intriguing personal profit examples that explain how his repeatable techniques work over and over.

For a real estate investor, no matter what your price range, this invaluable book is worth many times its inexpensive cover price. Lest you think McKinney will make a huge fortune from his book sales, all the profits go to his charity foundation, the Caring House Project Foundation (CHPF.org), which builds homes in Haiti, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Honduras and the United States. Last year, CHPF completed a new 1,000-person village in Haiti, the world’s poorest country.

The book’s best chapter, by far, is “Create Vital Relationships Up Front.” McKinney explains his strategies for turning the “big, bad bank” into his partner in his spec home projects. Although he soon outgrew his local community bank and switched to Bank of America, I found it amazing the author reveals his secrets on how he handles his bankers to make them want to loan him funds.

In another chapter, McKinney says, “Don’t Just Learn Your Market, Create It.” He explains why realty investors should decide their specialty, such as renovation, construction, foreclosures, or tax sales and focus on that area. This chapter shows the author not only understands his luxury home market, but he also knows about other real estate investment opportunities.

Chapter topics include: “From $50,000 to $100 Million”; “Why the Maverick Approach Works”; “Make the Decision Now to Put in the Time and Effort to Succeed”; “The Maverick Approach: Locate, Negotiate/Buy; Improve; and Market to Sell, Sell, Sell (P.T. Barnum Meets Willy Wonka)”; “The Character of a Maverick”; and “The Upward Spiral of the Maverick Approach.”

There is so much more in this valuable book than I can discuss in this brief book review. As a longtime real estate investor, I wish there had been a book like this years ago to guide investors like me. Although McKinney is admittedly very extreme, his realty investment philosophies are sound and applicable to investors at any stage of their careers. On my scale of one to 10, this rare book rates an off-the-chart 12.

“Frank Mckinney’s Maverick Approach to Real Estate Success,” by Frank McKinney (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ), 2006, $19.95, 244 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.amazon.com.

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

***

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