This is a review of The Unofficial Guide to Real Estate Investing. The book is now in its 2nd edition. I have the 1st edition so my review is based on that version.
The Unofficial Guide to Real Estate Investing is a very comprehensive introduction to investing in real estate. The book covers everything from valuing properties, buying and financing, tax implications and 1031 exchanges all the way through being a landlord. The basic topics covered are : investment concepts, figuring returns, valuing property, financing investment, different categories of real estate, creating your own investment plan, planning for taxes, purchasing the property and managing tenants and expenses.
One topic they cover that I especially like is creating an investment plan for yourself. They go through how you can figure your returns and structure your investments in a way to mean your planned % rate of return.
They discuss various types of financing for real estate. I the only major criticism I have of the book is that they are not cautionary enough about ARMs, negative amortization loans and loans with very low down payments. As we all know from today's real estate market there is risk in highly leveraged and short term adjustable real estate loans. However, hey do not present real estate investing as a 'get rich quick' scheme. They are just a bit less conservative on loans than I'd like to see.
If you are interested in real estate investing then The Unofficial Guide to Real Estate Investing would be a good general guide to get you started. I'd recommend checking at your local library to see if they have a copy. You can also currently get it used via Amazon Marketplace for about $6 including shipping.