Real Estate Empire 2, (REE2) is a serious real estate investment sim that is marketed as a casual tycoon type of game. I love games that are both accurate simulations and fun because then you are tricked into learning, a most clever ploy. When Greg Costikyan did a review of Real E$tate Empire, I immediately bought a copy, because I am a fan of serious investment games. I liked Real E$tate Empire but, it was unnecessary complex in areas like the house repairs options but lacked the basics like the ability to rent. I am glad to see that these short comings were shored up in REE2.
REE2 has four historical scenarios including the recent Southern California real estate market crash. You begin enough money to buy one house (or a trailer), then make improvements to increase the home value, meanwhile finding renters to cover your mortgage. Keeping cash flow steady is tricky because renters tend to move out at inconvenient times. The game seemed impossible at first because I can never get ahead due to the constant renter turnover. It was so difficult that I thought the game was broken and even contacted the developer, Lennard Feddersen, about how the renters work. Then I remembered something I read in real estate investment book, Timing the Real Estate Market : How to Buy Low and Sell High in Real Estate by Craig Hall. Hall emphasized that in the real estate market, money is made from selling homes not from collecting rent. I took Hall's advice and developed a new strategy--focus on improving homes for resale rather than focusing on juggling tenants. REE2, being an accurate simulation, the new strategy payed off. I bought, fixed, and sold my property and had enough money to buy two new homes and was on the path of being a real estate tycoon.
Although REE2 is an accurate simulation, it is targeting to the casual game market and thus there are no details like a credit system, variable interest rates, charts or market indicators which makes it difficult to gauge what direction the markets are heading. However I realize that in order to make a game easy as Diner Dash, some details must be ignored. REE2 is a casual, almost cartoon looking like game that has slightly more complexity than Diner Dash but will make you a more informed investor. Since I can count in one hand, games that teach personal finance and is also fun, I definitely recommend that everyone give REE2 a try. If you ever wanted to learn more about real estate investing but was afraid or seemed too complicated, begin your journey with REE2.
Strategy tip: negotiate to buy for less than asking price and sell for more than bidding price.