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May 2009 RealData Dispatch

The Mother of All Real Estate Books

If you follow the RealData Dispatch, you know we devote much of it to telling you about educational content and investor resources. On May 15, our friend Dan Auito is launching what may be the most ambitious compendium of real estate articles we've ever seen, called Be a Real Estate Heavyweight.

I think Dan must know everyone in the industry, and he has successfully twisted the arms of 95 authors (including mine) to contribute to this encyclopedic project. The articles cover a wide range of subjects, all of them geared toward real estate investing. Consider just this small sampling of topics:

  • Getting Started
  • Marketing Strategies, including internet-based and Web 2.0
  • Private Money and Creative Finance
  • Foreclosure, Loss Mitigation
  • Tax Liens, Probate Investing, Short Sales
  • Commercial Real Estate Investing
  • Real Estate Specialties
  • Taxes, Insurance and Entities
  • Coaching

Dan hand-picked these 95 industry professionals "to give you their current perspectives, insights, tools, suggestions and assistance to help you make sense of today's changing real estate markets." I received my advance copy on CD a few days ago and can report that these 1,400+ pages contain an abundance of useful, current, and very readable material suitable for both beginners and experienced investors. The book includes a detailed, hot-linked table of contents, so I was easily able to find the material I was most anxious to read, and could jump directly to it.

The book is available on CD for $99 or via download for $79. You can download two sample chapters at no charge.

Social Networking -- Do You Twitter?

A couple of years ago, a woman who worked on marketing for RealData told me that social networking was going to be the Next Big Thing. "Yeah, right," I said. "Next you'll want me to believe that someday I'll be able to take pictures and movies with my cell phone."

We got a late start, but now we're true believers in blogging and social networks like LinkedIn. The platform with truly exponential growth, as you've probably heard, is the micro-blogging site Twitter. If, like me, you are old enough to have once had a collection of vinyl records, then the usefulness of Twitter for business is not immediately obvious. I'm not going to argue with results, however. In just a few weeks I've made some valuable business connections, benefited from information and resources I learned about in other folks' "tweets," and even garnered a bit of good PR.

I got started with Twitter after reading Guy Kawasaki's article. Perhaps even better is David Pogue's article in the NY Times, "Twitter for Beginners," which also links to an earlier piece he wrote. If you want to fast-track your Twitter education, take a look at these "Top 20 Twitter Posts of 2008."

If you get more into this, you'll find that there are plenty of free tools available to help, like TweetDeck.

I would be happy to have you follow me on Twitter -- I'm @fgallinelli -- or you can join me on LinkedIn.

CCIM Journal Cites Frank Gallinelli's Latest Book

I was pleased to see that Commercial Investment Real Estate, the magazine of the CCIM Institute, featured my latest book, Mastering Real Estate Investment, in their May/June 2009 issue Buyers Guide (p. 45). The piece is entitled "Beyond the Basics," and I think they were right on the money, so to speak, when they said that I was "Responding to a call from readers for less theory and more practice..." Thank you, CCIM.

Revisiting BiggerPockets

Last winter we told you about an online community for real estate investors, called BiggerPockets. We don't usually revisit our previous recommendations, but BiggerPockets has been adding what we believe are important new features, and becoming an even more valuable asset for investors.

Their membership continues to grow, up now to more than 33,000. As we reported last time, the forums are the heart of this community. By my count the forums are divided into a dozen categories (e.g., Real Estate Basics, Real Estate Professionals, Real Estate Marketplace, Landlord/Tenant), with each category subdivided into several specialties (e.g., Private & Conventional Lending, Wholesaling, Rehabbing) so you can zero in on exactly the right place to ask your question. The two features that make these forums so worthwhile are that other members are very willing to respond to your questions; and the moderators have virtually zero-tolerance for spam.

BiggerPockets now allows users to build their own blogs on the site. If you have your own website, this can be a great SEO builder; and even if you already have a blog on your site, having another here means exposure to a very large and rapidly growing real estate audience.

The site also maintains a library of user-submitted articles, on topics such as marketing, property management, and 1031 exchange. The articles are screened by moderators, and promotional material is prohibited. Readers can respond directly to the authors.

BiggerPockets now hosts groups where people with common interests can connect and network. If you're a multi-unit apartment landlord, or a Connecticut investor, there's a group for you. This is also a great venue for local real estate clubs to increase their visibility and recruit new members.

The more I dig, the more I find: Members can post events and invite others to join up. There is a "bulletins" social news area where members can share interesting news articles, blogs, and other quality content. Although the site is primarily a place for personal networking, users can now create a company profile and link their personal identity to it.

I've been spending more and more time on this site, and finding new opportunities all the time -- and no, they're not paying me to say any of this. If you're an investor, I can't see any reason you wouldn't want to be a part of this community. If you want to get right on it, you can join here.

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