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Reader comments about How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value

I have been completely satisfied by all the books I've ordered previously from John Reed and am looking forward eagerly to reading his latest on protecting oneself from the coming financial crisis.

John Whiteheart

I first encountered your books about 15 years ago when we first got started buying rental real estate. Yours has been amongst the finest advice we've received. Your words ring in my ears to this day and I'm looking forward to reading more. THANKS!!!

Jan Webb

You've made me lots of money over the years. Aggressive tax avoidance was a beautiful read. How to Manage Real Estate For Maximum Profit wound it's way into my mind. I've used it consciously at first & increased income & the value of my property. The style of analysis you apply to real estate helps me get in that groove and make better decisions. I'd have to sit down and think of specifics, but you're books have helped me make tens of thousands of extra dollars over the years. I'm a smart guy, you are too. I would have made money. But I've found little ideas and broad themes where I said aha! For a $20 book (at the time), I increased the income from, as well as the value of, my property by $15,000 using the idea of converting underutilized space into an extra bedroom. Didn't make two tiny bedrooms. The guys that built this duplex, made one giant weird looking bedroom. $50 worth of sheet rock, $100 of lumber, a door, and voila-more or less, and I have converted a two bedroom that rented for $425 into a three bedroom that rents for $500. Just have completed splitting the water service to this duplex as well, which will allow me to let the tenants pay for their own water. That's another $5000 in added value + less hassle time paying the bill. If they ever get pissed off and flood my duplex, they'll do it on their nickel. Thanks So Much!
Thanks So Much!
All The Best,
Gary Scarborough

All The Best, Gary S.

Thanks John!  Your books and newsletter are the best in the industry. Keep up the great work. I have quite a few of your books, and a lot of books by many others. Yet I only ever reread and refer back to your books. Your books have substance, specifics and details where others are general and wanting.

Best Regards,



I very much have enjoyed the books and newsletter. You've definitely
saved me from making some bad mistakes and easily saved me the cost of all the
books I've purchased. Thanks again!

David Dutton

Hello Sir! I have  been a subscriber to your news letter for 10+ years, and have purchased many  of your books.

I have found your writings to be marvelously helpful and entertaining reading. You are a real straight shooter.
Based on what I learned from you, I did 1031 exchanges [in]  Haddonfield[, NJ] into [an apartment] complex in Burlington, VT.
I have also developed two commercial facilities in  Vermont, and used your arguments and court cases to support component depreciation of 15 years rather than [39] years for landscaping depreciable life on these. Since one of these properties was built on enormous landfill, this was a huge  difference in tax deferral. Any one of the things I did above would have paid for your newsletter subscription and books many, many times  over.
Sincerely, Larry Kruse

Mr. Reed,
I own several of your books and I've read through most of these.
When I first started reading them a few years ago, I found them somewhat difficult to follow. At that time, I appreciated the information in the books, but it wasn't until recently when I started re-reading them that I became truly impressed.
That's because I figured out how to read your writing. One must pay attention to every sentence. Each one has something important to say. Your writing can't be read like a novel, it needs to be absorbed and reflected. If there is something that I don't understand, instead of glossing over it, I need to take a break, think about it or do some extra research.
With that approach in mind, I'm amazed as to the depth and scope of your material. It seems that almost every paragraph contains an important message, something that a person would not be able to ignore in the pursuit of their goals (real estate or otherwise.) It certainly appears that you have done an incredible amount of research. I can only imagine what your study looks like, the bookshelves must be overflowing.
Anyway, just some belated fan mail.
Michael Martinez in New Mexico

books i have read.
How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value, Volume 1
Do you know how many books tell a buyer to buy 20% below market, but never give facts on how.. i have purchased 11 sfh total. 4 at 20% below using examples from this book. 5 at 10% to 15% below appraised values. I did pay market for 2 (the one we live in and my first rental) live and learn..
I was a government employee and your point of working for retirement really opened my eyes to my fellow employees. (my own attitude included)
We now own 7 rentals (we sold 2 during the boom to pay off our house and 1 rental)
We just purchased a new rental on 2 lots. We will build two on it when the time is right.
We also used your buyer/builder that never sales. a rental we had on two lots burned down (smoking tenets). the home was on 2 lots. built 2, sold one and rented the other. that property is 60% LTV from the start... nice..
My wife and I have a current net worth of 800K, with a cash flow of $2800 per month. My wife is a real estate agent, and i landlord and maintenance.
Thank you for all you have done for me and my family.

Jeff Crowe

Hi John,
About 6 or 7 months ago I came across your website and have been hooked ever since.  I have bought four of your books and thoroughly enjoyed each one (Fixers, How to buy for 20% under value, How to buy with little to no money down, and How to increase value) .  I plan to buy more of them in the future...I went through a guru's home self-study course and everything you said on your website is pretty much spot on.  I definitely was an ambitious novice who was over-sold on basic information.  We made our tuition money back and then some; but, I think it was do or die with me.  I was hell bent on making back that money so I came into it with extremely high motivation.  However, since then I've discovered that it takes inordinately more work than they claimed and my expectations as to how easy it is to make money in real estate have become realistic.  Anyone that tries to persuade you othewise is lying. It takes a lot of work and know-how.  Figuring out the "how-to" part doesn't occur overnight.  
I think it's possible to learn investing the correct way - that is doing it ethically, legally, and without a bunch of unrealistic expectations -  and do so for a much more reasonable cost.  Let future newbies be informed.
Jeff Henn
Baltimore, MD


I am a new real  estate investor. I just received three of your books: Fixers, and buying 20%  below market vols 1,2. These are some of the best real estate books I  have seen.  They are very dense with information.  When I first received them my initial impression was "these are pretty thin".  When I  started reading, I realized there is a great deal of information there and I  had been used to reading mainstream real estate author's books equivalent  of junk food, puffing up book size with big font and much  repetition with little real content.  I will certainly be buying  more of your books in the future, after I digest these.

Thank you and best  regards,

Mike Kloos

BTW, I like the  new look of your website and the new comments on headline news  section.

I have read numerous RE investment books, attended lots of short-courses, studied RE investment at Kent St. Univ using an excellent text/reference titled: Real Estate Investment by Pyhrr and Cooper, taught by an excellent professor whose PhD was in real estate studies. I also took the RE licensing courses and RE Finance at Kent St, though I never went for the license.

As an investor of 35 yrs experience in small, residential fixer-uppers, and one who has continuously attempted to learn more about the profession, I find your books the best overall literature, for the practicioner, of any source I've been exposed to. Your books are very pointed--no BS, all meat--just what most overworked investors are looking for. I particularly appreciate your high ethical standards and that your books don't waste my time with extraneous "filler" or dangerous, somtimes illegal, flights of fancy found in so many other "sources."

The book of yours still on my shelf is How to buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value, vol. 2, which I consider to be the most creative book I've read on the subject. Another book I found to be very valuable is How To Manage Residential Property for Maximum Cash Flow and Resale Value, vol. 5. Another book or 2--I cannot be sure of the titles-- as it's been some time since I read them and lent them to friends. Probably never to return.

I have referred every RE investor I personally know to your books and your website, especially the numerous newbies who know not what they're getting into. Your books will get the beginner up to speed faster and more accurately than any other source I'm familiar with.

Believe me, I would have made far fewer mistakes if I'd had your books before I started investing. I've probably racked up at least a million bucks worth of "education" in mistakes! LOL!

I think any investor would enjoy your writing style. You are quite refreshing in your clarity, factuality and brevity. I also greatly enjoy your barbed sense of humor!

As one who has critiqued (for pay) a number of publications for textbook publishers and others, it is a rare pleasure to be able to say many positive things about your books. Actually, yours may be the only commentaries I've done where there are virtually no negative findings at all....hard to believe.

Keep up the good work.


Noel M. Blankenship, Emeritus Professor of Technology
Kent St. Univ.
Kent, Oh

You have one of the few books that actually make sense. I think your book on "Buy at 20% less than value" is...a very realistic view of what investors should expect.

Stephen Beight
Solutions for Real Estate
Coumbus, OH

Mr. Reed,

I want to thank you for all the books I've purchased from you. Your material is by far the best out there. Thank you so much.

Gary Dueboay

I read your two books on buying properties for 20% below market value and they are bar none two of the best real-estate books there are! I should add that your characterizations of tax sales and foreclosure sales are correct. At the one tax sale I attended as a serious buyer (the Saint Louis City 2005 tax sale) every property in which I was interested sold not only above my maximum price but above my estimate of fair value. Bidding was competitive and there must have been 100 people at the auction. At the recent foreclosure sales I have attended at the Saint Louis County courthouse, the same 10 bidders were present at each sale. The bidders and auctioneer all knew each other and the atmosphere was more like that of an evening-time crowd at a neighborhood bar than of a serious auction. Only 2 properties sold (out of 60 auctioned over multiple days). One of those properties sold at about 50% of my estimate of value and another sold for 2/3 of my estimate of its value (neither value estimate accounting for the likely poor condition of the houses). One house had one bid and the other had only two bids.

Michael Goode

I ordered 3 of your books (Succeeding, How to Write, Publish and Sell Your Own How-To Book, and How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value) and I want you to know that they are high quality and very valuable to me. I intend to put some of your real estate ideas to work for me when I invest back in the USA this fall.
I also write professionally and you are one of my inspirations. Thanks for your fresh, no BS, chock full of helpful info books.
Nalini Indorf Kaplan

Dear Mr. Reed,
I subscribe to your newsletter and have read many of your books. I have recommended your book Succeeding to at least 100 people, and purchased properties at discounted prices using information I learned from your book on buying real estate at least 20% below market. The deal we got on a townhouse that smelled so bad that my wife and the real estate agent could not stand in the living room to talk probably provided enough profit to buy every book and newsletter you ever publish.

Kevin C. Maki, PhD

“Every real estate investor would profit from reading your books and newsletter. You challenge a lot of commonly held investment and management assumptions and business practices. You are the most practical, down-to-earth, no nonsense, humble real estate investment advisor in the country, a unique voice of reason in an industry filled with both accidental and deliberate mis-information.

Your primary weapons are a heavy dose of common sense, creative problem-solving, logic, a unique ability to share both your personal successes and errors. I doubt many investors manage to do everything you recommend, but when I look at the successful investors I have known over the past 25 years, it's clear their business plans follow much of the same advice you give readers every month.

I have enjoyed reading your articles for the past twenty or more years, and although I prefer to give myself credit for my successes, I am sure your reasoning, month after month, has shaped my own investment strategy. Thank you.” Mike Scott Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors

"Awesome! Best real estate book I've seen in the nine years I've been reading real estate books." David Brandyburg, Chicago, IL

"Thank you, for such a well written and informative book. I'm writing to express my appreciation and gratitude regarding your book How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value." Arneal Williams, Chesapeake, VA

"I greatly enjoyed reading the case histories." Leslie Wygert, Chicago, IL

"I have been an enthusiastic reader of your publications for 15 years. Most recently I devoured How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value. This book is serving as the cornerstone of my full-time pursuit of a real estate investing career." Thomas A. Johns, Monterey, CA

"Just under a year ago, I purchased one of your books entitled How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value. It was one of the best books on real estate subject matter that I have read. I am a California Real Estate Broker and quite critical of most books put out on the subject." Bill Barlow, Blairsden, CA

"There were ideas I never thought about before. The concept of giving actual case histories for each technique is nice and encouraging!" Jerry T. Johnston, Fort Worth, TX

"Congratulations! In my 25 years of living and educating myself I have rarely if ever come across someone who is truly honest. In this age of silver-tongued salespeople there are very few if any truly dedicated, truth tellers to be found. I have latched onto your books as a source of business knowledge that I plan on using to develop a healthy retirement. Your non-blue sky style of writing should be an example to all who consider writing a how-to book. At the library, I found your 20% below market value book. It was wonderful. Thank you so much for the great information that you share in your books." Eric Comeau, Kansas City, MO

"I recently purchased your book How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value. This was the first book I ever read of yours and I thought it was excellent! It was refreshing to read such realistic and honest evaluations of how difficult it can be to buy distressed property. I purchased three pre-foreclosure properties myself in the mid 1980s during a two-month period." Richard S. Benthal, Boynton Beach, FL

"How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value is full of great ideas with phone numbers of people and publishers for further information. It also has an occasional sly, dry sense of humor!" Mike Ladd, Rohnert Park, CA

"I just finished reading your book, How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value, and found it indeed very interesting as to the breadth of bargain-purchase techniques you covered.Some of them I had heard about before, some I hadn't. Some I had run into in the past---but didn't appreciate the opportunity staring me in the face. Anyway, fine job! Not only a good survey of the various techniques, but some good statistics (when you could provide them) as to both the Kill Ratio as well as what range of discount each technique has historically been able to produce." Virgil LaBuda, Mesa, AZ

"I recently read through your book How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value and found it refreshing. It was well written and informative. A no nonsense look at real estate investing. Thanks for all your insight." Jeff Dean, Narragansett, RI

"I enjoyed your excellent book, How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value." Jonathan Pevsner, Fresno, CA

"Your writing is more on point than anyone. We've used a lot of your ideas in our company." Lance Miller, Santa Monica, CA

"Great book! Gerald Knight, Washington, DC

"I just recently started reading several of your real estate books, and so far I think they are great! I've read many other books, including some you don't recommend via your web page---Robert Allen's Nothing Down and Carlton Sheets' No Down Payment. I wouldn't say these books were a complete waste---I gained some valuable knowledge. But your books certainly offer information of a much higher quality---and without the get-rich-quick gimmicks. They are refreshingly realistic and provide the practical knowledge (especially regarding financial concepts and analysis) which all other publications lacked." Adam Drozd, Park Ridge, IL

"I purchased and received a copy of your book How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value and let me say I thought it was an excellent overview of how to purchase real estate at a discount." Robert Hagler

"I read your book How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value in 1994 and felt it is probably the best book I had read (and I had read probably every real estate book out there)." Kent Colton, Los Angeles, CA

"I ran across your book in the library, "Buy Real Estate/20% Below Mkt Value." While I've only read about half so far, I felt compelled to write and let you know how refreshing it is to find good information delivered in an impartial manner. It's frustrating to read, for example, about the 12 - 18% tax liens available, with little or no mention of the fact that that's simple interest. Maybe I'm missing something there, but to me that seems deceptive. Anyway, it's rare, but always refreshing, to find material that is truly instructional and not just a "best picture painted" in order to sell more product. Thanks again," Scott Rhodes

"I've read about a dozen different real estate investment books (aside from yours). Yours are by far the most thorough and most interesting. In the first 12 pages of your How to Buy Real Estate for at Least 20% Below Market Value, you mentioned a variety of things that I had not even seen mentioned in other books. I especially like your use of case histories, and your apporach to ethics." Shane Hills