The book “Buying Real Estate Without Cash or Credit” by Peter Conti and David Finkel has an intriguing title for either beginner investors or more experienced investors who want to stretch investable funds further. Alas, 3/4 of the book is a blatant advertisement for the author gurus’ bootcamps and sell-up options. So, you need to skim through quite a lot to get to some interesting actionable nuggets.

The book is written in a style that includes many “informal quotes” from novice investors going through the entire bootcamp and coaching process until every one of the investors finds investment success after following the instructions of the gurus. Parts of these instructions are included in the book and provide some good food for thought. However, many topics are addressed by simply stating that the students go off for a day with a paid coach and come back educated, or get invaluable camaraderie and accountability through the mentorship program. The authors set up overly saccharine, “touching” scenarios where the newbies come out on top and make a better world for their kids. The web sites and guru programs are not even still around as represented in the book, since the book was published in 2005 and the gurus have moved on.

So, is any part of the book worthwhile? Yes, actually. But you have to do a lot of wading and filtering to get to those good points.

One interesting viewpoint is contrary to the traditional and clich├ęd “location location location” mantra. Instead, the authors say that for investors the Winning Deal Formula is 10% Property and Location, 30% Financing (price and terms), and 60% Seller Motivation. For investors looking to make their money on the buy, or those looking to flip or value add, there is a lot of truth to that. The actual 10% Property and Location may be rather simplistic, but it helps make the point of honing down on properties based on them being a “deal” instead of them being in the “right place”.

Along those lines, motivation = a compelling reason + time crunch, and seller situation = lots of equity or doesn’t need to cash out immediately. The authors provide interesting, but half complete, scripts that beginner investors can use to ascertain true levels of seller motivation and situation. There is an emphasis on repetition