One of the resources I’ve begun using as I’ve waded into the waters of real estate investing is an organization called BiggerPockets, which was created to encourage real estate investment by building a community and disseminating educational and other information about how to go about real estate investment.
Probably the biggest hurdle (outside of having financial resources) for a potential real estate investor is not understanding how to get started in the real estate industry. Unless you have an educational or experience background that gave you specialized insights in some form of real estate, whether it be real estate law, title work, community zoning, construction, working as a real estate agent or broker, or some other experience that would give you knowledge about real estate beyond what the typical layman knows, you likely don’t know much more than what was involved in buying or building your own home. That is, if you’re one of the 60% or so of American households whose owns their home. This lack of understanding about real estate makes that industry an intimidating one to jump into unless you have someone to guide you through it.
This scenario is what led me to start following BiggerPockets. Although I’m still somewhat of a rookie, I have purchased my first two nightly rental units, and I’m getting my feet wet with the experience I’m getting from those.
To move my real estate investing career forward, I started signing up for webinars from BiggerPockets, and watching YouTube videos from people who have proven they know what they’re doing. After signing up for a BiggerPockets webinar about getting started with real estate investing, I was forwarded to a list they have published of their favorite books about real estate investing. I’m just starting to make my way through that list, but I thought I’d share with my audience here on Prosperopedia.com their list, and summarize what that the BiggerPockets suggested reading list is all about.
BiggerPockets titles their list The Top 20 Real Estate Books Every Investor Should Read. They also refer to it as “The Best Real Estate Books Ever”.
The list was curated by Brandon Turner, an author who is the VP of Marketing at BiggerPockets, and it’s no surprise that several of his books made it onto their suggested reading list. Despite this obvious subjective influence of the list (what could be subjective about an author of real estate investing books making a list of the best real estate books to read?), there are also other authors on the list, and the topics covered on the list span the spectrum of real estate investment.
One thing that gives the list legitimacy to me is that there are several books on the list that stand on their own in terms of reputation and validity. As I read through the list, I realized that there is one book I’ve read more than once, “The Richest Man in Babylon”, and I’ve even written here on Prosperopedia about the influence that book had on my financial career starting two decades ago. The other book I recognized from the list is the popular Rich Dad Poor Dad book, which has sold over 50 million copies worldwide. I have heard both praise and criticism of this book, which makes me all the more eager to read it.
Without further adieu, here is the list, including links (affiliate links on which I earn commissions, by the way) to where you can purchase the books on Amazon should you decide that you also want to follow along this book list.
How to Invest In Real Estate
By Josh Dorkin and Brandon Turner
This book is a good one for beginners. It teaches how to begin investing in real estate part-time while you are still working a job. It also explains the spectrum of real estate investing strategies. It describes how to get financing. The book also lays out details of specific investment strategies.
This book will provide a good foundation on which to build or will at least satisfy the curiosity of anyone interested in finding out what real estate investing is all about.
The Book on Rental Property Investing
By Brandon Turner
The is another book from an author associated with BiggerPockets, the hosts of one of their podcasts. This book focuses specifically on using rental properties to build wealth. Brandon shares some of the strategies he uses to find good deals on properties and to maximize his rental income.
The Unofficial Guide to Real Estate Investing
By Spencer Strauss and Martin Stone
This is a bit older book than some of the others on the list, the latest edition having been published in 2003. The author points out that real estate investing had become the cure for the problems associated with investing in businesses based on the internet. At the time, Strauss and Stone published The Unofficial Guide to Real Estate Investing, the real estate world had not yet experienced its own version of the internet bust. Despite this irony, this book lays down some timeless principles for approaching real estate investment.
Long-Distance Real Estate Investing
By David Greene
This book was written by a man who built his real estate investment portfolio while working on a police officer salary. The book provides real estate investors with geographic flexibility by showing how to invest in real estate from a distance. The information and strategies described in this book make real estate investing accessible to pretty much anyone independent of where they live.
What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow
By Frank Gallinelli
This book takes on real estate investing from a very business-centric approach. Gallinelli covers real estate investment strategies from the approach of working through returns on investment and other financial metrics that are commonly used to determine how one investment compares to another.
The ABCs of Real Estate Investing
By Ken McElroy
In addition to covering the fundaments of real estate investing, this book also explains how to take on projects that are bigger than the typically single family or small multi-family dwellings. McElroy describes how to make money with apartment complexes and other large real estate rental projects.
The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down
By Brandon Turner
This is another book by Brandon Turner, the man who created this list of recommended books from BiggerPockets. The focus of this book is explaining how to create real estate income without using your own money. The author uses the term “creative” quite a lot to explain what he considers to be a “mindset” towards real estate investments. While there is certainly much to be learned about these strategies, it’s important to understand that using leveraging techniques, as described throughout this book, is inherently risky, as are most investments that involve borrowing money.
Many successful real estate investors would advise against using some of these strategies because of the risk involved. However, the book is still worth reading simply to have the understanding of how those strategies work.
How I Turned $1,000 into Five Million In Real Estate in My Spare Time
By William Nickerson
This book documents the approach taken by Nickerson to go from part-time investor using $1,000, to a real estate made millionaire. It’s a follow up to his original success story in which he used $1,000 in his spare time to create a net worth in excess of a million dollars. This book describes why those strategies still work, and adds knowledge gained by the author as he moved well past his first million.
Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book
By Joe Fairless & Theo Hicks
This book, written with the collective knowledge of people who have built their real estate investment empires with large, multi-family dwellings and apartment complexes, naturally focuses on using that approach for building wealth in real estate. This book, which is most useful for experienced investors, but also useful for beginners, describes the many aspects involved in finding large house opportunities, financing them by attracting investors and other methods, as well as other details necessary to make large residential real estate projects profitable.
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor
By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
This book was written by the authors to be a guide and template and system that can be used by people interested in making real estate investing a lucrative career. The book draws on the strategies and practices used by real estate investors throughout the United States to help potential new investors establish the correct mindset and have confidence in their abilities to succeed in real estate investing.
Making Big Money Investing in Real Estate: Without Tenants, Banks, or Rehab Projects
By David Finkel
This book explores methods for investing in real estate with methods that not only non-traditional, but often tricky, and sometimes hard to duplicate. In the latest edition of the book, the author joined with Peter Conti to explore even more unorthodox approaches to profiting in the real estate industry.
If you search the internet for information about Peter Conti, you’ll find lost of critics who would argue that he is better at teaching how to invest in real estate, than he is in actually using the methods he teaches.
The Book on Flipping Houses & The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs
By J Scott
These books use the fix and flip flavor of real estate investment. The book on flipping houses describes method of finding flipping opportunities in upward and downward trending markets throughout the country. The book on estimating rehab costs helps investors understand how to take on the home repair and upgrade aspect of fixing and flipping homes for a profit.
J Scott, the author, uses the strategies he explains in both of these books, in his own real estate investing business.
Landlording on Auto-Pilot
By Mike Butler
This book uses a technology oriented approach to help existing landlords and new rental investors understand how to make their real estate rental businesses not only successful, but highly tolerable. The book covers topics that include dealing with zoning and regulations, automating landlording through technology, and even identifying markets and specific properties that make the most sense.
How to Manage Residential Property for Maximum Cash Flow and Resale Value
By John T. Reed
This book explores many of the business facets of operating a residential rental business. In addition to explaining how to find properties and fill them with quality tenants and how to best finance those arrangements, Reed describes how to set up and manage an entity with employees to make your rental business operate smoothly.
The Book on Managing Rental Properties
By Brandon and Heather Turner
In this book, Brandon Turner brings in the perspective of his wife to describe what they g=have learned about managing rentals. They share their advise about the tenant selection process and describe how to find the best and least intrusive renters. In this book they also share what they’ve learned about identifying those who will cause headaches for landlords so you can avoid them.
The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor
By Amanda Han
Many people, including me, get started in real estate with the purpose of minimizing tax liability on the money they earn from their successful businesses. This book shows real estate investors how to use their properties to reduce the amount of taxes they own, but it also goes further. Han describes how to operate a full fledged, tax-minimal real estate investing business.
Set for Life
By Scott Trench
This book serves as a mentor to young, inexperienced up-and-coming investors (older ones too), by describing how they can purposefully transition from nine-to-five employee to independently wealthy. As expected, Trench discusses the role of real estate investment in accomplishing that objective.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
By Robert Kiyosaki
You’ve certainly heard about this book before. It has sold over 58,000,000 copies worldwide and has served as the source of principles that have created the financial foundation for millions of wealthy people. The book is by no means strictly about real estate investing, but following the collection of principles and strategies described in this book are certain to make you no only a better real estate investor, but a more financially sound decision maker.
If you haven’t read this book before, this BiggerPockets recommendation might be the incentive you need.
The Richest Man in Babylon
By George S. Clason
I read this book shortly after high school upon the recommendation of my uncle who gave me his copy. The book is a story narrative that walks through the principles of becoming wealthy, including investing in your own home and other opportunities that you know much about. Clason describes with persuasion the importance of making your money work for you and intentionally creating a future for yourself and your family of wealth and prosperity.
I credit this book, along with The Millionaire Next Door, The Book of Mormon, and Bible, with setting the vision that I’ve had for the last two decades about wealth building, generosity, and prosperity.