Although he had a great job for 10 years in the “dot com” industry working long hours at Internet pioneer Lycos, author Matthew A. Martinez of “Two Years to a Million in Real Estate” realized there was little security for him as he watched his co-workers losing their jobs. He soon discovered real estate investing offers long-term advantages such as market-value appreciation, leverage, tax savings, cash flow, reliability, and freedom from a 9-to-5 job.
While still working for Lycos, Martinez’s first real estate “investment” in 2000 was a Boston condominium that not only appreciated in market value but also produced borrowing power for his 2002 down payment on a nearby three-unit rental building. Soon thereafter, Martinez bought a six-unit building, and then a nine-unit property, all with positive cash flow.
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In 2003, Martinez analyzed his rental-property cash flow and decided he could afford to quit his “day job” and devote full time to real estate investing. Although his original investing plan was to buy within a 30-minute drive from home, now Martinez buys in distant cities and uses professional property management firms to run his out-of-town buildings.
Unlike many real estate “gurus,” Martinez does not recommend single-family rental house investing. Instead, he prefers acquiring apartment buildings with as many units as possible at each location to increase their cash flow and create management economies of scale.
“Great deals rarely, if ever, just fall into your lap,” Martinez writes. Instead, he says smart investors are constantly on the hunt to find motivated sellers of apartment buildings who are willing to sell at reasonable prices that result in positive cash flow within 90 days after purchase.
This well-written book explains criteria savvy investors should use to evaluate investment property for possible purchases. Martinez explains how to get motivated sellers to come to you, thus making the property acquisition process much easier.
An especially valuable feature at the end of each chapter is the “lessons learned” section, which summarizes the chapter topics. These valuable short reviews remind readers of the key points emphasized in the previous chapter.
The book’s best chapter has the simple title “Tenants.” It is about property management and how landlords can avoid being overwhelmed by one or two troublesome tenants.
“I prefer using a carrot rather than a stick to obtain rents on time,” Martinez says. Then he explains how he offers his apartment tenants a $10 monthly “bonus” for paying rent on time. That chapter also explains his attitude toward Section 8 government-subsidized tenants and how to handle them.
Chapter topics include “How I Did It: Primary Residence-Condo”; “Finding the Deals”; “Financing and Acquiring the Deals”; “Basic Tenant-Landlord Law”; “Contractors and Property Maintenance”; “Your Team”; “Exit Strategy”; “How to Succeed in Today’s Competitive Market”; and “Leaving Your Day Job.”
This book offers a refreshing view of real estate investing by a relatively new investor who understood he wanted to get out of his “day job” but took his time before quitting to devote full time to realty investing. Martinez shares his hesitation to quit, give up a steady paycheck, and become his own boss. On my scale of one to 10, this well-organized and well-written book rates a solid 10.
“Two Years to a Million in Real Estate,” by Matthew A. Martinez (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2006, $21.95, 182 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).