on 10 August 2008
"This book is written in the belief that for the person who wants to attain financial security, and have some fun, excitement and flexibility in the process, property makes the best kind of investment". These are the book's opening words. Unfortunately, the book does not explain what justifies that belief.
The book's most serious shortcoming is that it does not systematically explain the economics of various types of property investment and what the variables are that are likely to make a difference between a good investment and a bad one.
The book speaks in generalised terms and does not give the reader the tools necessary to assess any particular investment opportunity. The case for investing in property is largely based on the recent historic boom in property prices and there is little balanced consideration of the downside risks, particularly with respect to leveraged investments. The only readers likely to be convinced by the arguments are those who already hold the vague belief that property "makes the best kind of investment".
The author does occasionally stress the importance of "number-crunching" but the book does not set out sample budgets or specimen profit and loss accounts to help the would-be investor to understand all the "hidden" costs and do the basic number-crunching. Checklists of things to consider in relation to any investment would have been helpful, but are lacking.
Up-to-date and unbiased information on trade suppliers would have been useful but this probably would have been incompatible with the fact that a sizeable proportion of the book is given over to advertising by third parties.
Information on tax matters is light. This is a specialised area but the book could have given some clues as to where the lay person might find out more.
Overall, I found the book to be rather thin on practical insights and insider tips but the breezy journalistic style of writing (and the number of pages taken up by adverts) means that it won't take you more than a day or two to read the book and extract what value you can from it.
[Review based on second edition (2007)]
on 4 November 2010
I am a property investor with three properties and planning to buy lots more. The book has given me many ideas to mull over. the section on holiday lets was excellent and I was able to read a chapter on investment in commercial property which was not full of jargon, and succinctly made the case for and against commercial property investment. My only gripe is that woodland was not covered, and I would have thought that that came under 'property'.