Don’t be misled by the title “Nothing Down for Women” by Robert G. Allen and Karen Nelson Bell. Men should also study its techniques. Although written primarily by Bell, a former Las Vegas show producer, to show how she and her late husband, Duncan, became multimillionaire investors using Allen’s no-cash methods, Allen contributes his “Bobservations” at the end of each chapter.

Based on the revolutionary “Nothing Down” book by Allen written in the 1980s, this new book shows how Bell and her husband applied those methods to jumpstart their investment careers to become millionaires in four months and nine days after they lost their Las Vegas show-producer jobs.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

The book even explains a few costly mistakes they made, such as buying an out-of-state house based on an appraisal by a dishonest appraiser. After that, Bell learned to buy within an hour’s drive of her Las Vegas home.

Each chapter (called a “helping” for some unexplained reason) explains the techniques Bell used to get started and progress by acquiring single-family houses. Some houses are held for long-term investment; others were sold for quick profits soon after acquisition and fix-up.

The key to successful buying without cash from the investor’s pocket (that’s the definition of “nothing down”) is to look for houses for sale by motivated sellers. Bell explains how to find these motivated sellers and what constitutes a highly motivated seller who is likely to be cooperative. When the seller indicates lack of motivation, Bell uses her favorite four-letter word “next” and moves on to the next prospective seller.

Throughout the book, Bell uses many examples from her “nothing-down” experiences to illustrate the topics. For example, she explains how to find a buyer for a house even before she takes title to it, thus using the buyer’s down-payment cash to buy the house before reselling it at a substantial profit.

The only part of the book with which I disagree is in the chapter about using lease-options to sell houses.

As a longtime successful user of lease-options, I disliked Bell’s statement: “By the way, the option payment is nonrefundable. So if the tenant decides to move on, you actually will be just fine, because you’ll now take a new tenant’s option payment. Wow, does that mean that you don’t actually want the person to buy the property? Nod your head up and down. Yes! That’s exactly what it means! Of course, if he does take the option, you’re happy to have done an enlightened deal.”

By charging her tenants above-market rent and offering them only small rent credits toward the purchase price, such as just $200 per month, Bell provides little incentive for the tenant to exercise his/her purchase option. Yet, under Bell’s lease-option terms, the tenant is responsible for all maintenance during the lease period. That’s hardly a fair deal for the lease-option tenant.

Chapter topics include “Nothing Down for Blondes (Why Women Make Better Investors Than Men)”; “The Truth Behind Nothing Down”; “Make Money in Real Estate No Matter What ‘The Market’ is Doing”; “Why Real Estate Beats the Stock Market”; “100 Percent Rate of Return”; “Retire in 10 Years with 10 Houses”; “Fix Your Credit”; “Finding Deals”; “Why Sellers Become Motivated”; “Figuring Out the Deal”; “Foreclosures”; “Risk-Free Contracts”; “Funding Nothing Down”; “Farming”; and “Fun Finale.”

This is a fast-paced, well-written book with short chapters, each followed by a quiz to be sure the reader understands the main points. The author’s many personal experiences, good and bad, make for easy understanding of what could otherwise be a boring book. On my scale of one to 10, this well-organized book rates a solid 10.

“Nothing Down for Women,” by Robert G. Allen and Karen Nelson Bell (Free Press-Simon & Schuster, New York), 2007, $26; 405 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and

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

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