Monday, May 21, 2007

Nothing Down for the 2000's - A Book Review

"Nothing Down for the 2000's" is the most recent version of Robert Allen's first successful book, "Nothing Down," published in 1980. In 1990 he revised the edition and published "Nothing Down for the 90's." Most recently, Allen co-authored "Nothing Down for Women" with Karen Nelson Bell.

More than one million copies of "Nothing Down" were published, and the book stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 46 weeks. It became the most successful real estate investment book in history and became the book that every investor wished he had written.

In the book's introduction Allen states, "Real estate is the simplest, easiest, safest, shortest route to financial freedom." However, after reading the book, I don't feel that Allen's short statement quite accurately describes the nature of creating financial freedom through real estate investments. I came away with the feeling that while investing in real estate is quite within my resources and abilities, it really requires a large amount of dedication to learning, attention to detail and creativity, commitment to reducing risk, and patience.

Allen's book begins by discussing the financial rewards from successfully investing in real estate. He makes a compelling case that achieving financial freedom through real estate investing is a desirable and achievable goal.

Next, Allen talks about the proper attitudes and purposes that a successful investor must have. He presents several interactive activities that allow the reader to determine whether they have the proper mindset and the compelling reasons that will allow them to become a successful investor. This section gives the reader a good opportunity to decide whether the rest of the book will be of value to them.

Allen's real estate investment system consists of two basic parts, finding a good real estate deal and funding the deal. The remainder of the book is full of good information about finding and funding.

The next few chapters discuss sources for finding candidate deals and how to rate the deals. Allen's treatment of the subject is thorough enough that most readers will be surprised by how many sources of real estate deals there are. Not all candidate deals are worth going after, however, and Allen presents a good, common sense rating system that he has used for many years and which has produced many profitable transactions. Allen also talks about building a team of people who can help an investor find good deals.

The final section of the book, which seems to be the longest section, covers the principles of funding the deal. In this case, the book covers types of funding that result in the buyer not having to put down money of their own. After all, that is the main appeal of the book, that an investor can control significant amounts of real estate without having to use their own money. As with the section about finding deals, this section about funding reveals a surprisingly large number of strategies to negotiate and complete the deal without having the buyer put down money of their own.

Allen concludes his book with a discussion of the fears that may prevent a person from becoming a successful real estate investor. He lists eight major fears and talks about ways to overcome each of them. He then closes the book by saying, "I firmly believe that the book you now hold in your hand can give you the tools you need . . . my very own, proven strategies for truly Creating Wealth with Real Estate."

"Nothing Down for the 2000's" by Robert G. Allen, published by Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-6155-0

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