The real estate market can a difficult industry to get going in successfully, especially when you’re first starting out. Having a better understanding of what’s important to focus on can mean the difference between making a savvy investment and buying a headache, and one of the best ways to develop the skills you need is to read about the experiences or study the advice of those who came before you.
This means that before deciding to enter the field, you should familiarize yourself with the prevailing wisdom of the professionals already working there, as well as gain a better understanding of some of the other aspects of the industry. To help, 15 members of Forbes Real Estate Council, below, share some of the essential books people new to real estate should read in order to get a feeling for what approaches work well when investing, or gain important perspective on business operations.
1. The Book On Investing In Real Estate
Most beginners think that you need a lot of capital to get into real estate investing. The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down: Real Life Strategies for Investing in Real Estate Using Other People’s Money by Brandon Turner will teach you how to get into real estate investing with very little money. The strategies taught in this book are the same strategies I implemented to launch my real estate investing career when I had very little money of my own to invest. – Ben Grise, InvestWithBen.com
2. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor
A very useful book is The Millionaire Real Estate Investor. In it, the author, Gary Keller of Keller Williams, interviews over 100 millionaire real estate investors. Learning from previously successful investors is critical to any beginner’s success. – Joshua Fraser, Estated
3. One Rental At A Time
One Rental At A Time: The Journey to Financial Independence through Real Estate by Michael Zuber is a solid read for those looking to begin building a real estate portfolio. Zuber’s book equates real estate investing with a Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best is now.” – Gary Beasley, Roofstock
4. How A Second Home Can Be Your Best Investment
How a Second Home Can Be Your Best Investment: New, Tax-Free Methods for Using a Vacation Home for Recreation, Retirement…AND Investment! by Tom Kelly and John Tuccillo. This is a must-read primer for a new real estate investor. Written by two leading experts—Kelly, former real estate editor of the Seattle Times and a syndicated real estate columnist, and Tuccillo, then chief economist for the National Association of Realtors—this book explains in plain language the ins and outs of real estate investing, beginning with the purchase of a second home. – Kevin Hawkins, WAV Group Inc.
5. The Book On Estimating Rehab Costs
I would say read The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs: The Investor’s Guide to Defining Your Renovation Plan, Building Your Budget, and Knowing Exactly How Much It All Costs by J. Scott. There are tons of great books out there on real estate investing, but a lot of them gloss over estimating the true cost. Every property is different and can come with surprises, so having a well-rounded knowledge on the costs of investing in a property can be the make-or-break difference. – Bill Lyons, Griffin Funding, Greendoor, & Revestor
6. Keepers Of The Castle
Keepers of the Castle: Real Estate Executives on Leadership and Management by William J. Ferguson. This is not a “numbers” book but rather a book that focuses on real estate executives and their thoughts on leadership and management. If you are looking for a “soft skills” book this is a good one that will teach you who the big players are in the industry and how they think in a rapidly evolving business landscape. – Todd Blanding, Platform Ventures
7. Rich Dad Poor Dad
The best book for beginners is Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki. This book offers a broad but specific understanding of the basics of personal finance and investing, since most of the population is not financially literate—including first-time real estate investors. This book will give you the foundational understanding to get more educated before investing in your first deal. – Collin McDowell, Greg Garrett Realty.com
8. Who Moved My Cheese?
Read Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson. A book about a mouse in a maze, it sets the tone for how important adaptability and openness to change are in life. Change brings about stress (and real estate investing can be stressful). This easy read will help to put things in perspective and prepare the reader for all of life’s surprises. It’s fun and light and the perfect read for anyone starting out. – Michelle Risi, Royal LePage Connect Realty
9. The Entrepreneur Mind
Beginning real estate investors read all the books, articles and blogs they can find about real estate investing. However, what many don’t realize is that real estate investing—even if it’s just their first property—is building a business. The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs by Kevin D. Johnson is useful for aspiring investors to develop the right entrepreneurial mindset to “get it right.” – Julien Leclair-Dionne, HomeFluent
10. Mastering The Market Cycle
I would recommend Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side by Howard Marks. While this book concerns itself with the stock market, the focus is on understanding and evaluating risk. In addition, Marks helps the reader understand the importance of identifying market cycles. If investors focus on mitigating risk and understanding where they are in the cycle, they are well on their way to success. – Mark Tiefel, Capital Equity Group, Inc.
11. How To Win Friends And Influence People
Read How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. As the adage goes, “Real estate is a relationship business.” In a business that operates on a foundation of relationships, a new investor will need the confidence to put themselves out there, each and every day. An investor can have all the technical acumen in the world, but if they can’t clearly communicate their ideas, they will have limited success in real estate investing. – Spencer Hilligoss, Madison Investing
12. The Power Of Moments
Investors should read The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, as it is a book that shows how a business owner can create tremendous value through intentional brand building and unique moments via small actions that are memorable. This book is useful in particular for beginners, as it will help them stand out in a crowded industry, and establish a brand that residents and tenants will love. – Benjamin Pleat, Cobu (formerly known as Doorbell Communities)
13. The E Myth
Real estate investing isn’t that complicated and there are many good sources of information. What most people starting out don’t understand is that they are starting a business. And there are a lot of things about business that have nothing to do with real estate. The E Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber is an excellent book to help new entrepreneurs understand the difference between a business and job. – Jeremy Brandt, Fast Home Offer
14. Think And Grow Rich
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a must read before you build your real estate empire. If you build your real estate knowledge and you do not invest in your mind, you will still make a lot of money with real estate but you most likely will lose a lot, too. As our net worth grows through real estate, business or investing in stocks, our thinking will ultimately be the true governor of what we’re able to keep and multiply in the long run. – Chris Ryan, Beyond Properties Group (eXp Realty)
15. Emotional Intelligence
Real estate can often involve one of the biggest decisions a person will make in their personal (residential real estate) or professional (commercial real estate) lives, or at least one of the most capital-intensive decisions. That level of decision making is a recipe for irrational behavior and emotional impact on logical moves. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman will prepare not only you, but also your clients! – Bryan McLaren, Zoned Properties Inc.