Long-Distance Real Estate Investing: How to Buy, Rehab, and Manage Out-of-State Rental Properties

I want to start by saying that I get very frustrated with books that I’ve paid money for that have clearly been overlooked in the editing department. There were multiple times in the book that I noticed grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and poorly worded sentences. I’ll do my best to not let those wrong-doings affect my review, but would it kill you to just hit spell check one more time before sending this thing to the printer?

The Good:

David Greene has clearly experienced living in a high-priced city and being forced to invest in other parts of the country to make money.  He resides in the San Francisco Bay area and started his investing career while being a police officer. That, in itself, is an impressive feat.  He mentions in the book a few times that he was a millionaire by thirty, which is definitely something he should be proud of and is definitely an inspiring statement to make.

He attributes 100% of his success to being able to invest in lower priced parts of the U.S. while leaning heavily on his teams in the local areas.  He boasts not even needing to see properties and relying almost exclusively on the vendors that he’s created ties with to do his work for him. This is all present state of course, while getting to this period, he points out that he was working 90+ hour weeks to grind his way to success.  Everyone who has invested in real estate can certainly empathize with his thoughts as to the work that really goes into investing.

His focus is on two main pieces with each property that he analyzes - He is looking to either create a buy-and-hold property that will continue to be an income stream for him or he looks to flip the house and make a quick bump in capital.  Focusing on just these two pieces of work, he has built out an empire in multiple cities, in multiple states, that will likely endure for a long time.

The Bad:

Mr Greene isn’t the most concise writer. Frequently I found myself waiting for him to get to the point of what he was going on about. I don’t know if that’s due to the fact that the book is about 300 pages and I just wanted to get to the meat and potatoes of it, or if because the book itself just wasn’t laid out in a cohesive manner. I’ve been reading real estate related literature for probably about 6 years at this point, and I feel like I generally have a good sense of the information that I’m going to receive.  

The book had multiple instances where it would introduce a topic and talk about that topic for 4-5 pages, then it would come to a new sub-chapter and talk about the same topic again, as if it was never introduced. My thoughts on this format are simply that David took a long time to actually write the book.  Each of his chapters felt as if they were broken up over many different thought processes that didn’t flow together very smoothly. It seemed as if David would write about something, and just as he was getting to the part where he would stop explaining what it is and actually talk about how he used it, he would be onto the next topic.

The biggest piece of this read that I’m missing is the HOW in his topics.  He brought a ton of great topics up, but when it came down to analyzing new markets, or value add information, it felt very light.

Why Read:

Though I complain about the caliber of the writing and the lack of hard specific details, this book does a phenomenal job of giving a high level overview of what David’s thinking about during his investing career. If you can push through the redundancies of his writing style and the mostly high-level topics, you can definitely learn some tips on observing markets.  The book serves as a great jumping off point to then go to BiggerPockets.com and research a topic more, or to jump into Google and just start typing in phrases that he introduces. I would recommend this book for someone who is still thinking about getting their feet wet with real estate and needs some confidence building with actually jumping into an out of state investment, but if you’re already an investor who has done your fair share of research you could stand to skip this one, you might pull some nuggets of information, but for the amount of text that’s here, the book leaves a lot to be desired.