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Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate: How a Small Investor Can Make It Big

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*GOLD AWARD WINNER, 2018 Robert Bruss Real Estate Book Awards
*GOLD AWARD WINNER, Nonfiction Book Awards, Nonfiction Authors Association
*FINALIST, 2017 Best Book Awards in Business: Personal Finance/Investing
*FINALIST, 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Finance/Investment

Think apartments and commercial real estate are just for the big boys? Think again.

Brian Murray was not an investment pro when he bought his first commercial property. He was a teacher looking to build some side income. Armed with his passion for business and a lot of common sense, he developed a simple yet highly effective approach to investing that he still uses today at his multimillion-dollar real estate company.

Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate is a beginner’s guide to investing based on Murray’s experience bootstrapping his way from newbie investor to award-winning CEO of Washington Street Properties. Murray shares the secrets to his success through straightforward, actionable advice that will help you get started no matter what your experience level, or how much cash you have on hand. You’ll learn how to:

• Find and creatively finance commercial property
• Grow a portfolio without any help from outside investors and without taking on excessive debt
• Use your small-investor status as a competitive advantage over corporate investors
• Identify simple, practical ways to increase profits while keeping costs low

Murray also shares real-life stories that reveal exactly how he grew his business, and the hard lessons he learned along the way (so you don’t have to). Whether you already invest in real estate and want to go bigger, or you’ve never owned a property, this book gives you the tools and wisdom you need to crush it in apartments and commercial real estate.

Brian Murray is the founder and CEO of Washington Street Properties, a commercial real estate investment company that has been ranked on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States for three years in a row. In 2015, Murray was recognized with a Gold Stevie Award for Executive of the Year in the Real Estate Industry.

352 pages, Paperback

Published January 1, 2017

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Brian Murray

35 books2 followers

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5 stars
365 (49%)
4 stars
255 (34%)
3 stars
99 (13%)
2 stars
12 (1%)
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3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 68 reviews
Profile Image for Christine Zibas.
382 reviews37 followers
February 6, 2017

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." --Thomas Edison

Forget the infomercials promising you real estate riches for no work and no money down. Take a lesson from Author Brian Murray, who decided he needed an extra source of income and turned it into a multi-million dollar award-winning real estate company.

If you've ever had an inclination to get into the commercial real estate business or are seeking a better profit than buying and selling (or renting) single-family homes, this book is for you. It shares honestly earned, practical advice for getting into the market. Or, conversely, deciding that you may not have the inclination for all that hard work and struggle.

Even if you're not interested in commercial real estate, this is a great business book that offers sound advice for any small business owner. In fact, this book should be the template for those who want to write a business book that is an unqualified success!

This praise does not come lightly. This book is informative, engaging, and most of all, easy to understand, even when things get complicated. Kudos to Murray for his end-of-book material. His appendices and glossary alone are worth the price of admission. As if all that weren't enough, the strategically placed quotes are engaging and relevant.

If it's possible to say that a book about commercial real estate is fascinating, this one qualifies. It's a great business book generally, and a wonderful beginner's guide to the world of commercial real estate.

Thanks to Good Reads and Sackets Harbor Press for allowing me to read this book.
Profile Image for Michael Huang.
831 reviews37 followers
October 17, 2018
Very often with a book titled like that, you get a bragging author using anecdotes to show off how smart he is. To make it sound like a book, he would explain the success with “principles” that don’t seem to serve well as a proper hypothesis to a scientifically trained reader. (Luck and lies are sometimes much better alternative hypotheses.)

This book is refreshingly different and offers these tips:
* Don't quit your day job and watch your spending.
* Don't hire managers, do all the work yourself.
* Make rent slightly lower than market: then you lower your turn-around costs.
* Find non-monetary purposes for doing real-estate: for example improving the community. This way, the values will keep you going when the going is tough.
* Hold on to your properties for longer terms and make the investments in improving them.

Some of these are tough to carry out -- which means they are probably genuinely useful tips.
Profile Image for 1st Arrow.
26 reviews
June 28, 2018
I have found it to be very helpful, friendly manual for novice real estate investors as I am. strongly recommend
Profile Image for Hanno.
14 reviews1 follower
April 16, 2017
Excellent introduction to real estate investing principles and philosophy behind a successful property management company. Includes comprehensive references to other books, podcasts, etc. While the book is fairly USA-specific, most principles apply generally. A dictionary defining industry terms spanning quarter of the book almost caused a star to be scratched off from the rating.
October 7, 2017
Solid advice, to the point, and entertaining

I had high hopes based on the reviews, but the content and delivery of this book more than exceeded my expectations. I can't remember when is the last time I read a book where I learned so much, and will definitely read it again multiple times.
Profile Image for Jonathan Mckay.
586 reviews52 followers
January 15, 2018
Learned a few new good things. I wish there were more numbers and analysis of markets rather than generic strategies on value add and making offers with financing.
Profile Image for Emmanuel Ayeni.
311 reviews12 followers
October 17, 2018
This is a lovely read, I just finished reading yesterday on blinkist, and I have decided to add it to my personal library to read it again and again.

It is the beginners guide in real estate.
Profile Image for Cameron.
192 reviews7 followers
December 2, 2019
Good book if you're looking into real estate. As a person who has always focused on residential properties this book really opened my eyes to the bigger less crowed game of multi-family/ commercial units. While this book only gives you the basics its a good starting point.

I will continue to learn more about this avenue of real estate and hope to move into it.

15 reviews1 follower
May 2, 2019
What an amazing, informative book!

This really opened my eyes to the world of commercial real estate. Can’t thank the author enough for sharing these tips, tricks and insights. Entertaining read as well.
Profile Image for Adam.
480 reviews9 followers
November 3, 2017
A geek who took a simple energetic approach to real estate who thinks BIG. This is a valuable resource.

Nuggets of Truth:

Every investment is a puzzle and you need to make the pieces fit
The more serious you get about a property the deeper you should dig in
Your risk goes up when you over pay for a property.
Financially modeling a properties noi cap rate determines my price
What maintenance issues are readily evident
I didn't account enough for the unknowns
I really like your property it's got a lot of potential and is in an ideal location. if you decide to explore the idea of selling I'd be interested. Have you considered selling at all if they say no say would it be ok to leave my contact information in case you ever change your mind?
Tact is a prerequisite for success in my profession
If you try to eat the giants lunch the giant is likely to eat you for lunch
The more spread out our properties are the harder it will be to gain efficiency of scale
In a fight with a bear and an alligator it's the terrain who decides who wins
Be your own biggest investor
I perform my land lord duties to a high standard
Dollars should be used for deals
How much are you prepared to lose if things don't go well?
I command a higher cap rate
Extraordinary value creation
Profile Image for Drew Denham.
58 reviews
November 7, 2021
Financial leverage and compounding returns

One of the keys to success is to avoid pulling out cash unnecessarily. Don’t quit your day job until $2M + annual revenue.

Seek absentee landlords who are out of touch with current market conditions.

Buy local! Advantages!

Tact is a prerequisite for success

The more people who know you’re looking - the more leads you’ll get!!

2000 prospects
200 worth analysis
20 offers
2 accepted
1 close

Energy upgrades - value add opportunity

Min 1.25 DSCR

Retrading- offering lower after investigations - no major change or no issues

Resist paying for unrealized potential

Close between 5th and 10th of month - get majority of rent

Develop a great relationship with banks 🏦

Value add = greatest thing about commercial real estate 🏡

Water reducing faucets and showers *****

Operate with highest level of integrity = long term success

Doing things the right way has the added benefit of setting you apart from the competition

Tenants are customers and people, and they are entitled to great service

Your values set the tone!!

The degree to which you care about properties will shine through everything that you do!

If you make a commitment to continuous learning, both you and your biz will reap the rewards of self improvement 👋👋
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mark Manderson.
528 reviews23 followers
October 17, 2018
Before investing in real estate, you need to do the numbers and ensure that the property will bring in cash.

the most important of which are net operating income and cash-on-cash returns.

Net Income: Income generated by property minus expenses and taxes. 

Cash on Cash: Take the net operating income and divide it by the property’s price. Now multiply this number by one hundred and put a percentage sign after it. That percentage is the property’s cash-on-cash returns, and the higher it is, the better.

Seek out suitable tenants and make their rent slightly lower than the market rate.

Look to repurpose real estate. Look to turn a hotel into studio apartments. 
Profile Image for Taylor.
252 reviews2 followers
April 9, 2019
One of the best all-purpose real estate books out there. Brian teaches you how to think bigger than single-families and duplexes. Extremely thorough and excellent examples throughout.
Profile Image for Emily.
57 reviews15 followers
November 30, 2021
Great introduction to commercial real estate for someone who does not know much yet: the explanation of how to find and evaluate/compare properties was helpful. It is an unusual (in a good way) to see how a solo investor managed to build his way into the business while still a professor. This differs from other commercial real estate books, often written by people who advocate having a huge team (e.g. attorney, broker, contractor) on payroll before going anywhere near commercial real estate. This author did eventually put together a team and did rely on experts where necessary, but I liked the fact that he was cautious and invested gradually in his business -- instead of immediately breaking the bank to get "set up". I liked that this author advocated for incremental increases and sweat equity, where reasonable.
Profile Image for Alisha.
177 reviews12 followers
June 21, 2019
This book is filled with a ton of helpful information for anyone in the real estate business or those aspiring to be. I was amazed at how many ways there are to structure a deal, utilize your existing resources to achieve more (bootstrapping), how easy it is to add value to your property if you’re willing to do the work and the importance of doing your due diligence. Brian’s success story is intriguing, motivating and inspiring. What he offers in this fun read is invaluable to real estate investors and entrepreneurs alike. He also stresses the importance of work, health and home life balance. This was exactly what I needed to read as a first time investor and long time business owner. Highly recommend!
3 reviews
August 5, 2018

Super informative, and yet written in a way that was so enjoyable to read. This book blends incredibly useful tips, hard facts, subjective opinion (of which I wholeheartedly agreed with, so that certainly helped), humorous quips, and a fantastic ongoing personal account of a real life property that he and his staff completely transformed from a seemingly hopeless situation in to a great investment. Fantastic book from page 1 all the way through to the apendices at the end. I really hope that Mr. Murray writes more books!
1 review
February 6, 2019
Excellent read covering several important subjects around commercial real estate investing. The author covers mindset, specific techniques that you can use to create forced appreciation in your commercial investments, excellent recommendations made around property management as it pertains to self managed apartments and commercial properties… And most or all of this drawn upon the authors own personal adventures in real estate ownership. #mortgagesmarter
Ross Neggers DLC mortgage broker Vancouver BC
Profile Image for Everson Azevedo.
25 reviews
April 11, 2020
Wow, what a book!

Being new to R.E investing (3 years) now, and have g the opportunity to read and study the work of many successful individuals, I can tell you that not every book you read is so complete like this one. This book was referred to me by my agent and I'm glad I finally read it. Bryan is great but and he's sharing very valuable information here, specially if you are beginner like me.
I highly recommended this book even you focus of investment is on sfr. You will learn quite a bit from this book. Probably one of the best I've read so far.
1 review
January 29, 2022
Really helpful general information for the aspiring multi-family investor

I really liked how easy this book was to read. The author specifically doesn’t get too in the weeds about specific numbers but broadly hits on all the topics that an investor would likely encounter.

Also what I really liked was how the author gave specific examples of real estate investments that he purchased and the outcome and pros/cons. It is very helpful for perspective, particularly the story about the Solar Building project.
2 reviews
November 24, 2018
More than just great real estate advice!

As a small business owner just starting my real estate journey, this book had so many practical leadership and customer service tips that apply to businesses across the board! So much good content and wisdom, really appreciate the authentic approach and ability to give great advice without trying to be a know it all and guru that claims his way is the only way.
645 reviews
February 25, 2017
I used to be a real estate salesperson. The favorite part of my job was to find properties for real estate investors. I was really impressed by this book. It is going on my reference book cases. I received this book from a good reads give away. This book is excellent for real estate professionals and for those who are just getting into real estate investing.
5 reviews
September 23, 2018
Good basic primer

Good top down view of commercial investing. Decent amount of stories and first hand experiences given by the author. Not a book for experienced investors though. If you've been doing deals this may be a bit helpful but pretty basic stuff. I'd say the best audience for this book is people kicking the tires for CREI.
4 reviews1 follower
January 17, 2020
Brian provides very clear and actionable ideas to get started in real estate investing. He backs up these points with his real-life stories, struggles, and successes.

While it is primarily focused on commercial real estate, most of the lessons and tips can be applied to residential investment as well. Great for anyone interested in what it takes to make it in real estate investing.
Profile Image for Avishay Kadouri.
104 reviews1 follower
April 28, 2021
A great book. Brian cover a lot of ground in this book. He shares tips about how manage the commercial property better, increase income and reduce expenses. He shares of his stories and lessons as an experienced investor. Brian share a new perspective of how to use the fact of you as a “small investor” to actually make it big and do big deals.
18 reviews
August 29, 2021
Great book on getting started in commercial real estate

I like the easy reading style, a lot of great content and recommends some other resources to use to further your RE education. I did enjoy how he peppered in snippets about the SOLAR building project, kept me hungry for the next little snippet.
Profile Image for Arie van Gemeren.
43 reviews2 followers
May 30, 2018
Great read

Really comprehensive and inspiring. Love the common sense advice and the practical know-how. There are few ways to really get it except by doing it but this is a very useful guide.
5 reviews
August 5, 2018
Must read for real estate investors and entrepreneurs

Great resources, format, and tools for everyone from beginner to pro. Solid advice about business and life. Fun to read about the lifespan of a project throughout the book.
1 review1 follower
March 24, 2019
Great framework to start RE development

Clear and informative book. The author shows intelligence, thoughtfulness, and an admiring level of self-reflection. I find the book a great inspiration and help for me to start my own new path in RE development.
15 reviews1 follower
November 26, 2019
I thought the book provided a good introduction to key topics and the examples were a nice break from formulas and topics that might be boring for some readers. I appreciated the author was not trying to push any coaching or mentorship programs every other page like most authors.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 68 reviews

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