May 28, 2018

best books on real estate investing

Real estate investing is the art of finding value and the science of unlocking that value to create wealth and passive income so you can achieve financial independence.

They say that if you spend 10,000 hours doing something, you will become an expert at it. That may seem daunting, but the reality is you do not need to spend so much time in order to become proficient at it.

The other thing is, you don't want to dive in and start investing in real estate before you read some books on real estate investing. Books are relatively cheap and a great way to learn about the subject before investing a lot of time and money into it.

Plus, it's a fact that the more you read, the more successful you will be.

There are a lot of different niches in real estate and a lot of different ways to invest. So, I will break down my favorite books in a bunch of different areas. You can click ahead to any area that interests you:

Real Estate Investor Mindset Books

In order to become a good investor in real estate, you need to adjust your mindset. Mindset is truly the difference between being successful and just being mediocre.

These books will help you start making that transition from the employee mindset to the investor mindset.

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad

I don’t know how else to explain this, but Rich Dad Poor Dad is definitely the #1 book that I have ever read. It fundamentally changed my life.

…and I know it has changed the lives of millions of other people.

Basically, it turns everything you believe about money and finance on its head. It has since become the #1 Personal Finance book of all time… translated into dozens of languages and sold around the world.

While it's not specifically about real estate, Robert used his mindset to create massive wealth in real estate. So, it's clearly related.

Rich Dad Poor Dad is Kiyosaki's story about growing up with two dads. Basically, his "poor dad" was his own father who actually made a lot of money. His "rich dad" was his friend's father who had a different mindset about money and was much poorer than Robert's father.

Over time, the rich dad became very wealthy while the poor dad never advanced much in his life.

The key difference between the two was their mindset. Robert walks you through his journey and shows you how to change your mindset about money and wealth.

2. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor

If you are seeking wealth and financial independence, you must learn about the models and truths that drive it.

What's interesting about The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is that it compiles the wisdom of over 100 millionaire real estate investors from all different kinds of real estate and backgrounds who have achieved financial freedom.

This book reveals their strategies in a straightforward and easy-to-read way.

So, instead of learning from 1 person, you are learning from over 100 different investor. That's powerful stuff!

It covers:

  • Myths about money and investing which hold people back
  • How to develop the investor mindset.
  • Develop criteria for identifying opportunities to invest in real estate
  • How to identify the terms of any transaction and get the best deals
  • How to grow your team that will help your business

This book is about you and your money. It’s about your financial potential. It’s about discovering the millionaire investor in you.

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor
Click to learn more and read all the reviews about this book.

Best Books on Real Estate Investing by Flipping Houses

Flipping houses is all about finding value, adding value, and capturing that value.

First, you need to find a property that is distressed, mis marketed, or has some hidden value that others are missing. Then, you transform the property and add some value. Finally, you capture the value by selling it.

There are a lot of skills you need to master before becoming a proficient house flipper. You need to be able to estimate the repair costs, the value after repairs are done, and estimate all the carrying costs. Additionally, you need to be able to manage the project quickly and efficiently as any delay can cost you a lot of money.​

These are my favorite books that help take you down that journey.

1. The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs

This is an area that most investors really struggle with, so I'm putting it up front.

This 200+ page book provides a step-by-step methodology for learning how to create a Scope of Work (SOW) and how to estimate rehab costs on your renovation projects. ​

Regardless if you’re a rehabber, a wholesaler or a landlord, this book will teach you the process of evaluating the scope of a rehab project and estimating the cost of completing that renovation. This is the methodology that the author has used to over the years to complete hundreds of rehabs, both for himself and for other investors.

2. The Complete Guide to Flipping Properties

This is one of the first books I ever read about real estate and I’ve come to love every book from Berges. This real estate investing book is a little bit older, but the fundamentals have not changed at all.

In fact, newer books selling you on how things are different now are likely glossing over the important real estate investing fundamentals that you'll learn in a book like this one.

The Complete Guide to Flipping Properties covers all the ins and outs of buying, renovating, and reselling distressed properties for a profit. Steve Berges walks you through every aspect of house flipping – from finding deals to analyzing them, and even negotiating and closing deals. With new information on flipping in a soft market, this is the only guide you need to start turning a profit now.

I really love Steve Berges as an author as he has a ton of great examples and is very experienced. He has a whole collection of books on all aspects of real estate, and I have personally read almost all of them. This is why he gets my top spot above some of the newer and trendier options.

The Complete Guide to Flipping Properties
Click to learn more and read all the reviews about this book.

The Full List of The Best Books on House Flipping

3. The Book on Flipping Houses: How to Buy, Rehab, and Resell Residential Properties

J. Scott, coming in with his 2nd book on this list, is a well known and well respected house flipper.

In this book, you'll learn everything you need to know about house flipping. He derives this information from his experience flipping hundreds of houses. It's also a perfect companion with the first book I linked, the guide to estimating rehab costs.

Get both of them together to learn everything you need to know.

Best Real Estate Wholesaling Books

Wholesaling is not really "investing" but it's often used by investors or new real estate investors who are trying to find a way into the market.

Wholesaling is similar to flipping a house, except you are flipping a contract rather than the property. 

Essentially, an investor puts a property under contract then they find another investor who wants to buy it. They either charge a fee or increase the price of the property and the wholesaler gets to collect the difference.

Then the house flipper gets the contract, closes the deal, and flips the house.

1. The Real Estate Wholesaling Bible

Than Merrill is a well known real estate investor and has one of the top books on real estate investing.

The Real Estate Wholesaling Bible teaches what you need to know to profit from real estate wholesaling without needing a lot of capital or previous experience. He shows you a business model that is relatively simple, profitable, and perfect for today’s real estate market.

This model will work in good or bad markets, so you can feel assured to do alright when the market takes its next turn.

I like this book because it gives you a system you can use to create a real business rather than just some side cash.

2. The Book on Negotiating Real Estate

Here's another one from J Scott, but this time it was also written with his wife Carol and friend Mark Ferguson (another well known house flipper).

Combined, the authors have over 1,000 successful real estate transactions. It's really a crazy number when you think about it!

Here, you'll learn all about the negotiation process for real estate wholesaling. It starts with the first interaction with the seller up through renegotiating, due diligence, and concessions. 

This book is geared toward investors, agents, and wholesalers of every level.

It also contains tons of true-life stories that show how excellent negotiation can result in better deals and more profit. There is also a step by step system and dialogue that shows you what to say and teaches you when to say it. This is key to closing profitable deals.

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The Full List of The Best Wholesaling Books

Great Books for Real Estate Agents and Realtors

You might be interested in becoming a real estate agent and growing that business. Even if you are a successful investor, being an agent requires a totally different set of skills.

There are a lot of synergies between the two fields, so learn the fundamentals of being an agent in order to become a good investor, or learn how to be an investor so as an agent you can work with investors.

So here are the best books for real estate agents and Realtors.

1. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent

As one of the founding members of Keller Williams, Gary is one of the most influential real estate people ever born. I read this book when I first got into real estate and he truly lays out the exact blueprint you should use to start and grow your business as a real estate agent.

The advice in this book is truly timeless. Not only does he show you the fundamentals of getting started as a real estate agent, but he gives you the direction you need to grow your business. My favorite part is where he actually outlines what employees you should hire and at what stage in your business.

If you get this book and actually follow what is written, you will undoubtedly be a top producing agent and probably own your own brokerage one day.

2. The E-Myth Revisited

The best thing about E-Myth is so many people credit it with taking their business to the next level.

Michael changes your perception of owning a small business and shows you what it truly can be. He uses some great stories to show you different pitfalls and also finds ways to help you grow your income.

By the end of the book, you’ll be finding ways to work less and earn more.

This book is important because as a Realtor or real estate agent, you need to start thinking about growing your business early. It’s easy for this business to take up more and more of your time until you just have no time left to grow.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
Click to learn more and read all the reviews about this book.

The Full List of The Best Real Estate Agent Books

Top Books On Single Family Real Estate Investing

Most likely, when you think about real estate investing, you are thinking about single family homes. In many places, investing and single-family are almost synonomous.

That's because single-family real estate is one of the most well known and most seen types of real estate. Even so, it is one of the least understood areas of investing.

Just about everyone can invest in single-family homes, but few people who do invest actually understand investing. So, don’t be like everyone else. Learn from these books before you start investing in real estate.

1. The Complete Guide to Real Estate Finance for Investment Properties

Like I mentioned earlier, Steve Berges is one of my favorite authors of real estate investing books.

The value to this book is how to value property. It will walk through the valuation process of any single-family, multifamily, or commercial property. It's great to learn the different methods because different types of property are valued and evaluated differently.

He'll also walk through deal structure with partners, which is a huge part of real estate (even if you don't realize it yet).

One of my favorite parts is going over the financial measurements and ratios (yea, I'm a numbers geek). He goes over things like capitalization rates and gross rent multiplier ratios, and more. 

2. Building Wealth One House at a Time

John Schaub has a 9-step system to help you accumulate one million dollars' worth of houses debt free. The goal is to do it in any market and to create long-term and steady cash flow.

While I'm not always a huge fan of having super low leverage, I think the system overall makes sense and is a good place to learn from.

One of the valuable lessons is to recognize and capitalize on various real estate cycles. It's important to know how to invest in an up, down, or sideways market.

Building Wealth One House at a Time reveals how virtually anyone can accumulate houses debt free and earn an income for life.

Building Wealth One House at a Time, Updated and Expanded, Second Edition
Click to learn more and read all the reviews about this book.

The Full List of The Best Single Family Real Estate Books

Best Multifamily Real Estate Books

Multifamily real estate is one of the best ways to generate wealth. Multifamily is usually anything over 5 units, there is always demand for rentals, and it has very high returns when compared to other investment types.

Additionally, with multifamily, you get economies of scale so maintenance and management costs are generally lower than single family.

These are the most influential multifamily books that helped me get started.

1. The Complete Guide to Buying and Selling Apartment Buildings

by Steve Berges

Whether you’re a first-time real estate investor or a seasoned professional, The Complete Guide to Buying and Selling Apartment Buildings helps you map out your future, find apartment buildings at a fair price, finance purchases, and manage your properties.

Now revised and expanded, this Second Edition includes tax planning advice, case studies of real acquisitions, and appendixes that add detail to the big picture.

Plus, it includes a handy glossary of all the terms investors need to know, helpful sample forms that make paperwork quick and easy and updated real estate forecasts. With this comprehensive guide at hand you’ll find profits easy to come by.

The Complete Guide to Buying and Selling Apartment Buildings, Second Edition
Click to learn more and read all the reviews about this book.

2. The Perfect Investment: Create Enduring Wealth from the Historic Shift to Multifamily Housing

by Paul Moore

The American Dream has shifted…Not long ago, Americans were bent on homeownership. Most viewed it as one of their great life goals and their largest investment. No more. Almost overnight, the demographics have shifted. For an increasing number of Americans of all ages and backgrounds, renting is in, and home ownership is out.

Experienced commercial real estate investors know that the risk profile, returns and tax benefits of large-scale multifamily are virtually unmatched. Unfortunately, access to these investments is unavailable to most investors. This volume provides investors with a clear path to minimize risks and maximize profits from this coveted asset class.

The Full List of The Best Multifamily Real Estate Books

Best Books on Commercial Real Estate Investing

Apartment buildings are technically commercial real estate, but this section focuses on everything other than multifamily.

Commercial real estate can be offices, warehouses, self-storage, retail, etc.

1. Buying NNN Retail Properties: Your 1031 Acquisitions Guide

By Jonathan Florin

NNN properties are leased to tenants on a triple-net basis, meaning the tenant is responsible for and pays for all real estate taxes, insurance, and property maintenance. This unique lease structure makes NNN properties a largely passive commercial real estate investment.

Jonathan D. Florin, an NNN-focused CRE veteran with over $600 million in closed transactions to his name, guides you through the benefits and process of buying NNN properties for investments or as part of a 1031 exchange.

Starting with the advantages of acquiring NNN properties, Florin provides a comprehensive primer on the acquisition process, due diligence, financing, and 1031 exchanges. You’ll discover the importance of using a professional NNN team, how to select a property, and the real estate terminology needed to understand NNN transactions. You’ll also learn to identify common obstacles to the acquisition process and how to overcome them.

NNN properties include retail, office, and industrial real estate, and include nationally recognized tenants such as Walgreens and CVS. Discover how to leverage NNN properties to your advantage and reap the rewards of commercial ownership—without the NNN expenses or day-to-day management responsibilities.

Buying NNN Retail Properties: Your 1031 Acquisitions Guide
Click to learn more and read all the reviews about this book.

2. How to Invest in Self-Storage

By Scott Duffy

I personally love the idea of self-storage and I’d love to own a facility, though I just haven’t been able to find one. Self-storage investing is definitely high on my priority list and this book is useful if you are looking at them as well!

“How to Invest in Self-Storage” is an easy-to-read book filled with self-storage information and advice that can be extremely valuable for anyone seriously considering the business of self-storage. Looking at the industry from its earliest beginnings to the market today, it examines not only the reasons to get into the business, but also the common myths that surround the industry as a whole, as well as a step-by-step guide for developing and/or acquiring a facility.

How to Invest in Self-Storage by Scott Duffy, RK Kliebenstein (2005) Paperback
Click to learn more and read all the reviews about this book.

The Full List of The Best Commercial Real Estate Books

Other Books Related to Real Estate Investing

Here are a couple of other books that didn't really fit into the other lists.

The Psychology of Selling

The book is obviously geared to sales people, but there are a few nuggets of gold in there for the rest of us.

The biggest one that stood out to me was how he said you will only earn + or - 10% of what you think you're worth

He gives an example of commission only sales people who work harder and longer to hit their goals on days that are slow but when days are really busy, they leave work early once they reach their goal.

It's definitely a must read.


Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

This is another book on sales, but it has amazingly valuable insight into how the human mind works when you pitch something.

Not only can you use these methods to sell something, but also to raise capital. You will observe the person, learn how to overcome their objections, and close the deal (or raise the capital.

Another one of my all-time favorite books.

Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal
Click to learn more and read all the reviews about this book.

Closing Thoughts

We've covered a lot of different topics and subjects on real estate. Honestly, you could read a book about real estate investing every single day of your life, and never read them all.

The problem is there is too much information out there. That's why I only put a couple books in each category.

There is always something new to learn, but you don't need to know everything before you get started. You just need to know enough to get the job done and avoid the major mistakes.

So, if you aren't sure which book on real estate investing you should get, just grab a few at random and start learning. Once you've read a few, then start building your team and thinking about your first (or next) purchase.

Did I Miss Any Good Books?

Leave your thoughts below.

About the author 

Eric Bowlin

Eric is an investor that achieved financial independence at the age of 30. He started in 2009 with the purchase of his first triplex and now owns over 470 rental units. He spends his time with his family, growing his businesses, diversifying his income, and teaching others how to achieve financial independence through real estate. Eric has been seen on Forbes, Trulia, WiseBread, TheStreet, Yahoo Finance and other financial publications. You can contact Eric by emailing him at [email protected] or with this contact form

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