Sean Cook may have written the most comprehensive book out there on investing in private real estate deals, such as syndications. The full title is: "Investing in Real Estate Partnerships, Funds, Joint Ventures, and Crowdfunding." We have read pretty much every book in the genre--and this one is, in our view, the most complete and fundamental.
Mr. Cook plainly has decades of relevant experience investing in and putting together real estate deals. He puts that experience to work in describing the process an investor should follow in deciding whether to invest in private real estate at all, how much to consider allocating to the space (seems as though about 5% to 25% is the sweet spot), how to evaluate and choose a sponsor, and how to evaluate and choose a deal. This thorough approach sets this relatively short book apart from the pack. (In Kindle, it comes in at 152 pages.)
One interesting factor: Cook wrote the book some years ago. The publication year is 2016, so that means the writing and research took place probably in 2014 and 2015. We were hugely impressed by how relevant the test was today, despite being at a very different place in the cycle than when the book was written. That factor speaks to the timelessness of this text. Cook speaks to this issue along the way: "based on real estate's history, this time is very likely not different. This too shall pass" [whatever it might be]. (p. 140)
This book is not a page-turner but it is eminently readable. The author does a nice job in covering all the fundamentals and a few advanced strategies as well without using too much real estate jargon. He also offers key takeaways from each chapter at the end, a user-friendly reminder to the reader. Examples from Chapter 11: "Don't blow up. The next cycle can't bail you out if you don't make it through the downturn." And: "Read the PPM before you invest. Yes, it's tedious, but do it anyway. You won't regret it!"
We'd say something along similar lines about this book: while it is not the clever jaunt that Matthew Picheny's new "Backstage Guide to Real Estate" is, we are confident "you won't regret it" if you take the time to read Sean Cook's "Investing in Real Estate Private Equity." No matter where you are in your journey as a real estate investor, you will find something to think about.
And remember: "don't invest with jerks." (p. 147) Both the book, and this timeless advice, come highly recommended by the team at Syndirater.