Friday, April 10, 2015

[Book Review] No B.S. Guide to Property Investing by Property Soul

I actually finished reading this book many weeks ago, but I just haven't had the time to write up my thoughts about it.

Property Soul is no means a stranger to the investment blogging community. Any person that is serious about property is bound to have run into at least a few articles written by her on her blog, or reposted on other websites.

Personally, I am particularly selective about the books that I read. I have been trying to stay away from property books since most of them would be irrelevant in Singapore's context, not to mention the conflict of interests most these kind of authors have. However, after reading more about Property Soul and deciding to push myself deeper into the water regarding property, I relented and purchased a copy of her book online. The next week the book arrived. Bloody speedy delivery!

On a very cool note, she signed the book. I don't know about you, but I like that personal touch, especially since I know that she really is somebody that has made it for herself. Starstruckkk.

I picked up the book and I finished it within 3 sittings. I have to say, I am impressed. I didn't think that a book written by a blogger and a non-professional writer would be so insightful and nicely done!

Whatever I know about the property world is from common sense, lots of reading, talking to people with experience and agents. I have to admit that I actually only knew about 60% of what she covered in her book. And I only knew the easy 60%! The information that I didn't know and learnt from the book is really probably the dirty truths that people in the industry would rather you not know.

So not only was I refreshed in a very structured and clean way about the knowledge that I already knew, but I also learnt plenty of new things which I am very sure will come in useful to me in the future when I finally buy my own property.

However, people who follow her blog would come to realize that many of her posts are also in the book, so you might have some deja vu moments.

I really like how each chapter has a real life story and it relates nicely to the main topic of the chapter. It makes the content that she is trying to teach a lot more poignant and understandable.

A HUGE bonus that I really really enjoyed about the book are the very, very, classical, wise and conservative nuggets of wisdom that is scattered throughout the book. So although this book is mainly talking about property as the asset class in question, many of the nuggets of wisdom can be applied to investing in general, and to many other asset classes.

I think that if Property Soul was in the stock game like most of us are, she would be a DEEP deep value investor that times the market. Personally I don't see what's wrong with that, especially when it comes to buying a house.

Whatever research you've done for your measly thousand dollar stock purchases, I sure hope that you at least proportionately allocate that amount of time and effort into property research. For 99% of people, it will be the biggest purchase in your entire life. Even though I am very very confident that at this point of time I do not want to own more property than the house I am planning to live in, I still am very confident that this book will save me thousands and thousands of dollars from that 1 transaction by helping me avoid making some noobass mistake.

I still maintain that investing in property (property that you don't live in or use) through REITs is a better choice than directly investing in complete ownership of a property, but what do I know? Let me reiterate, "personally, I rather everyone else except me plow into the housing market and avoid REITs, leaving me invested in undervalued counters with higher yields."

I strongly recommend this book to everyone. If you don't own a property, you probably eventually will. If you bought or sold a property before, you will be able to relate and learn by having very good contextual knowledge of whatever she is talking about.

I am very surprised myself, but this is probably one of my top favourite investing books now!


  1. Actually there are more successful homeowners who share opposing views stated by her. In fact, she is successful since she invested in the correct property cycle - as did many others. There is no magic formula. She is trying to sell her books in order to earn income since she has sold almost all her property. This is coming from someone who had read her posts in forums etc. Actually her views are not very insightful - many are hindsight and not foresight.

    1. Hi there,

      I do agree that her timing in the previous property cycles were just phenomenal and very possibly more coincidental than true market timing skill. When I bought her book, I did expect foresight, because that sort of gift is one in a million. I do realize that a lot of her insights are retrospective, but that doesn't make them any less useful as a teaching tool.

      My intention is not to know her market outlook because I don't believe in following gurus. Even if they are right, they cannot hold your hand and help you invest.

      I do think her book has plenty of timeless investing wisdom that is extremely hard to argue with. Most of it is investing common sense reiterated in the context of property investing. Still, many of those points are casually run over by the fervent "investor".

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