The Ultimate Winter Reading List: Cozy up with these captivating books

Maybe it’s because I live, eat, and breathe real estate but I love this annual list of must-reads! Having already read the Automatic Millionaire Homeowner, I’m excited to get started on the others. By the way, David Bach’s Automatic Millionaire Homeowner is a great read for those of you who want to learn more about how to use real estate to grow your long-term retirement wealth. It’s NOT a “get-rich quick” book. It is about saving, planning, and investing over time to achieve your goals. Plus, it’s easy to read and entertaining. Truth be told, I listened to it on audiobooks while driving around on property tour!!

Here’s to a prosperous 2007!

Each week I read and review at least one new real estate book. At the end of the year, I choose from these 52 the top 10 real estate books. This year my job was especially difficult…

Robert J. Bruss, Special to The Chronicle


Trump-Style Negotiation

George RossJohn

Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, $24.95, 259 pages

This unique book offers insights into Donald Trump’s big-thinking negotiation style, which leaves the contract details to his trusted adviser, George Ross. Only serious real estate buyers, sellers, real estate agents and investors will study this extremely well-written book that reveals negotiation tactics not found elsewhere, illustrated with examples from Trump acquisitions.


The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner

David Bach

Broadway Books, New York, $19.95, 244 pages

If you could read only one real estate book, whether you are a renter considering a home purchase, a current homeowner, a seasoned realty investor or a real estate agent, this is the book for you because it shows how home ownership can lead to wealth. The book’s main theme is that renters can become millionaires by investing in their first house or condo and that residence can become the foundation for a better home or more investment property in the future.


Buy Even Lower

Scott Frank and Andy Heller

Kaplan Publishing Co., Chicago, $18.95, 238 pages

Aimed at real estate investors and sales agents, this book, by two full-time corporate executives and part-time realty investors, shows how they buy single-family houses at targeted below-market prices and then either buy and hold, buy and flip, or (their favorite) buy and lease-purchase. The authors favor “ugly and awful” three-bedroom, two-bathroom houses in middle-income neighborhoods.


Real Estate Debt Can Make You Rich

Steve Dexter

McGraw-Hill, New York, $21.95, 156 pages

The two audiences for this book, which explains why real estate debt is good, are home buyers and realty agents who want to understand the inner-workings of the mortgage industry and investors who need to know how “good debt” can be created to maximize profits. The mortgage-broker author reveals how avoiding “inexperienced and inept loan hacks” can lead to the best mortgages. The book includes the best compilation of real estate Web sites available.


Bubbles, Booms, and Busts

Blanche Evans

McGraw-Hill, New York, $16.95, 167 pages

This well-researched and up-to-date book explains the signals of local rising, falling or neutral local home sales markets, and how to profit in any situation if you take a long-term perspective on home sales. “Except for local economic shocks, such as the collapse or exit of a major employer, home prices nationwide have not gone down since the Great Depression,” the author reminds readers.


Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies

Dirk Zeller

Wiley Publishing Co., Indianapolis, $21.99, 350 pages

Whether you are a new real estate agent, a longtime agent or an individual thinking about becoming an agent, this basic book explains what is involved in selling real estate, how to use time management profitably and how to get started fast by contacting expired listings and for sale by owners. The book includes a list of Web sites for agents plus advice on how to obtain a “slice of the market.”


Everything to Know Before Buying a Co-Op, Condo, or Townhouse

Ken Roth

AMACOM Publishing, New York, $18.95, 197 pages

The author shares personal experiences so readers don’t make costly mistakes when buying into these properties. Emphasis is placed on the pros and cons of homeowner associations, including “condo commando” who seek to take charge of the members.


Who Says You Can’t Buy a Home?

David Reed

AMACOM Publishing, New York, $17.95, 182 pages

This mortgage-broker author is on the side of home buyers and real estate agents as he explains how mortgage lenders look at borrowers in this tell all book. “Anyone with steady income, no matter how bad their credit rating, or even with no credit, can find a mortgage to buy a home,” the author reveals.


Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur

James A. Randel

McGraw-Hill, New York, $29.95, 256 pages

This book’s theme is add value to real estate, whether you invest in raw land, houses, run-down factory buildings with rezoning potential, or fixer-upper apartments and offices. The shares his mistakes and his successes, along with his advice to invest with as little of your own cash as possible so profits can be maximized. Negotiation strategies are heavily emphasized.


The Reverse Mortgage Advantage

Warren Boroson

McGraw-Hill, New York, $21.95, 169 pages

Virtually all aspects of senior-citizen reverse mortgages are explained in this book that emphasizes the potential pitfalls as well as the benefits. The author shatters reverse-mortgage myths, such as “the bank owns the house,” the high costs, and even the scary stories of early reverse mortgages.

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