Book Review: The Book on Rental Property Investing

It must be gratifying to be able to say that you literally wrote The Book on Rental Property Investing, which is something Brandon Turner can say.  I imagine him at networking events having conversations like this:

BRANDON TURNER:  I’m an investor, but I’m also a writer.

COCKTAIL PARTY ATTENDEE:  Oh yeah?  What have you written?

BRANDON TURNER:  I wrote The Book on Rental Property Investing.

COCKTAIL PARTY ATTENDEE:  Oh yeah?  What’s it called?

BRANDON TURNER:  The Book on Rental Property Investing.

COCKTAIL PARTY ATTENDEE:  Yes, that.  What’s the title?

BRANDON TURNER:  The Book on . . . you know what?  Never mind.

I discovered a real estate investment strategy called BRRRR (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) and gobbled up the book because I have a strong interest in rental property investing for cash flow.  From there, I decided I wanted to read more about rental property investing.

I also happen to listen to audio books, and so I thought it’d be a good idea to read this book along with listening to Build a Rental Property Empire by Mark Ferguson during commutes.  What I discovered was that this was too much information to absorb. I couldn’t take notes or highlight important information in the audio book.  With this one I was more fortunate, but many of the details between the two books are muddied for me.

Right now I’m working on getting my debt paid off. Once that’s done my husband I will be focusing on building out a fuller emergency fund.  After that, though, it’s time to start investing dollars and putting our money to work for us.  We’re looking at about 18 months until we’re ready to start saving for bigger investments like real estate. That makes right now the time to learn what I need about the process so I can be ready when the money is.

Turner’s Background

If you’re on the Bigger Pockets forums, you probably recognize Brandon Turner’s name from the Bigger Pockets podcast. Or maybe you’ve read a couple of his other books on rental property investing.

I gather from a few of his comments that he invests in the Midwest, where cost for properties is low and rents are proportionately high.

Turner tends to focus on traditional rental property investing in The Book on Rental Property Investing. But he definitely makes a nod to BRRRR as well and believes it’s a valid strategy.

Core Team Members

Turner believes that nobody succeeds in a bubble, and that investors need a core team to be successful.  While BRRRR keeps things to the core four (lender, agent, property manager, and contractor), Turner expands this list to ten people, starting with your spouse and ending with an insurance agent.

While it’s true that you’ll likely work with all these people and more, I don’t think finding that ONE person is all-important to running your real estate business.  I did appreciate the thought of adding an accountant and a lawyer, however. And if you’re really bad at organization, a bookkeeper is a fine addition as well.

Types of Rental Properties

One thing I appreciated about Turner’s approach was his willingness to touch on multi-family properties—and not just the small ones.  Ferguson and Greene both spent a lot of time on single-family properties with nods to other types of properties in their books. Turner takes the time to talk about how multi-family properties work. He looks hard at how they differ from single-family properties.

By the end of the book I’d decided that single family was the way to go to start, and I could all multi-family later if I felt up to the task.

Real Estate Licenses

Ferguson and Turner also differ greatly in their approach on whether it’s helpful to have a real estate license.  Neither says one way is right or wrong, but they both fall on different sides of that fence personally.  Turner doesn’t have his license (though he did at one point). Meanwhile, Ferguson finds that his license is quite useful to his business and saves him money.

Whether this matters to you is dependent on a number of factors, including how much time, energy and money you have available to put into getting your license. Or whether you’re buying enough properties each year to make it worth the continued time and expense to maintain your license.  It should be noted that Ferguson actually has a full-on real estate business inherited and expanded from his father, so his bias is clear.

Still, Turner acknowledges that it makes sense for some to have their license and that each person should evaluate whether having that license makes sense for their unique situation.

Offer and Negotiation

One thing Turner offers in his book that I haven’t seen as much of in the other books is a lot of detail on the offer and negotiation process.  I appreciated this, because negotiation doesn’t come naturally to me. Having some key ideas about how you should negotiate when making an offer gives me a sense of control, and therefore safety, around the negotiation process.  It’s also good to know that most deals won’t go through, and that’s normal.

Turner talks at length about making an offer, due diligence, closing, and getting loan approval, including information about insurance requirements and titles.  My thinking is that if you’ve never bought a house at all, this information is worth its weight in gold.

Buy it in Hard Copy Format

The mistake I made with Rental Property Empire was that I bought it on audible. It seemed like a great idea at the time. Now I know it’s a huge bonus to buy these books in hard copy so you can write in them and highlight things you want to remember again later.

I’m glad I was able to do that with this book.  Also, imagine wanting to remember a specific point on som topic, and you have to sort through the audio to find what you’re looking for.  Much faster to skim!

Who Should Read The Book on Rental Property Investing

If, like me, you’re trying to learn a lot about Real Estate Investing and you’re new to the game, I recommend only buying one book.  I would also start with books that press for more traditional investment strategies and then branch out later to strategies like BRRRR.

Every investor is unique, and each has their own interesting tidbits to make your life easier. Each will cover smaller areas that other investors either don’t discuss or don’t think about. For these reasons, I do think it’s a good idea to read methods from several investors to see what might or might not work for you.

Honestly, I felt that Greene had the best presentation on managing your real estate investments like a business, Turner had the best information on the offer, negotiation, due diligence, and closing processes, and Ferguson overall had the most digestible format, which felt less threatening and overwhelming for getting started.

Each has its pros and cons, but I recommend you start with just one book and don’t overload like I did.

Five out of five stars.

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