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Best Real Estate Investing Books

Few assets hold their value quite as effectively as real estate investments. Many high-profile investors got their start in real estate. Financial guru Dave Ramsey famously began his path to wealth flipping old houses, and no one knows New York’s real estate landscape quite like Barbara Cochran on “Shark Tank.”

However, before you buy your first home or choose an REIT, you’ll want to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible to prevent losing money. If you’re interested in learning how to start investing in real estate, the best place to begin your journey is by picking up a great text on real estate and property investing.  

Quick Look: The Best Real Estate Investing Books To Read Right Now

For Beginners

For Intermediates

For Advanced Investors

What Makes a Great Real Estate Investing Book

Just like any educational resource, some real estate investing books are better than others. While every text will differ slightly due to a book’s focus and the opinions of the author, the best resources all share some common characteristics. All of our picks include these essential elements, which will make or break the authenticity of your book choice.

1. Practical advice

Choosing a real estate investment is a skill that you work to perfect over time. The best texts offer practical, easy-to-understand tips to help you determine which homes or long-term investments are worth your money. If you read a few chapters of a book and haven’t learned anything about selection criteria or techniques, choose a different book.

2. Readable and compelling text

Unless you’re still in school, you’re probably not being forced to read anything. Books on real estate investing should be as entertaining as they are educational. The best authors intersperse their texts with examples, diagrams and a bit of humor to help readers comprehend the material. If you find yourself counting pages to the next chapter or constantly re-reading sections to remember the lessons, chances are, there’s another book on the same subject better suited to your needs.

3. An expert author

There are numerous experts in the world of real estate investing, ranging from economics professors to the DIY pros who make a fortune flipping houses. Only choose real estate literature written by authors who have a history in landlording, practical real estate investment or property economic theory.  Do a quick Google search for their names; if you can’t find anything on them or their credentials don’t add up, don’t feel bad if you choose to move on.

Best for Real Estate Beginners

1. Landlording on Autopilot by Mike Butler

Landlording on Autopilot should be one of the first books you read if you’re considering purchasing and maintaining a rental property. Landlording mainly deals with the business side of real estate investing, with lessons on how to implement your own online rent payment system, how to entice tenants to stay longer by putting a “rewards program” into place, everything you need to know about keys and when to change the locks and even new tenant goody bags.

Butler’s writing style is engaging; he uses his own hilarious stories and management experience to punctuate his lessons. As the name suggests, “Landlording” is written for you if you want to purchase and maintain a single-family rental property or apartment space, but it also delves into long-term investing and property appreciation as well.

While you may not end up adopting every strategy Butler recommends, there’s no way to deny that his book is packed with entertaining stories and useful lessons that can be used by a new landlord or a seasoned veteran.

Get it on Amazon

Paperback edition: Buy it now
Kindle edition: Buy it now
Audiobook: Free with Audible Trial

2. What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow by Frank Gallinelli

What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know is a numbers-focused text for cash flow analysis newbies. Gallinelli’s book takes a deep dive into everything new landlords need to know about using math, statistics and data from surrounding properties to drive real estate purchases and profitably manage rental properties.

The book includes multiple methods for calculating returns on investments. While new investors may find the mere sight of a mathematical formula scary and intimidating, Gallinelli smoothly explains these major concepts and their uses.

The quality that makes What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know a real stand-out gem is Gallinelli’s effortless combination of information on basic principles of real estate investing and the specific formulas and strategies needed to determine great investment. This text will be particularly useful if you’re the type of investor who has a tendency to let emotions sway your investment decision making.

After seeing the numbers laid out with Gallinelli’s 37 formulas, even the most difficult buying or selling decisions become less stressful.

Get it on Amazon

Paperback edition: Buy it now
Kindle edition: Buy it now
Audiobook: Free with Audible Trial

Best for Intermediate Investors

1. Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate by Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries

The long-term real estate investor’s goal is to locate properties for sale under market value in areas that will increase in value over time. But how can you tell where housing prices will rise next? Written by the minds behind Zillow.com, one of the world’s largest and most frequently-visited authorities on housing availability, Zillow Talk teaches you tips and tricks to spot an area that will increase in value and how to sell your properties.

Rascoff and Humphries offer readers a rare, science-backed, behind-the-scenes look at real estate investing through data they’ve accumulated from Zillow.com.

Zillow Talk focuses on compressing Zillow.com’s myriad of data into easily-digestible chapters that anyone can understand. No background in mathematics or economics is required;  Rascoff and Humphries take the guesswork out of interpreting data.

This leaves you with useful takeaways that you’re encouraged to use when listing a property. It is equally useful for you as a property investor as well as if you’re the head of household who simply wants to get the most money possible when selling your abode. Zillow Talk is a great primer on how to find surprising hidden gems in the world of real estate.

Get it on Amazon

Paperback edition: Buy it now
Kindle edition: Buy it now
Audiobook: Free with Audible Trial

2. The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner

The Book on Rental Property Investing focuses on finding properties that will increase in value over time which produces a worthwhile steam of rental income. It covers the strategies used to determine an area that’s poised for growth and how to get started with an approved rental property loan.

The book is unique because it features an entire chapter on why some property investments fail and lessons that help you avoid a similar fate. Turner’s text is eye-opening and fun to read and also delivers need-to-know truths that ensure you’re running your real estate investments like a business instead of a hobby.

Written with a focus on smaller investors, The Book on Rental Property Investing is a solid choice if you want to learn about how to be a profitable rental property owner and choose homes that will rise in value over time.

Get it on Amazon

Paperback edition: Buy it now
Kindle edition: Buy it now
Audiobook: Free with Audible Trial

Best for Advanced Investors

1. The Intelligent REIT Investor: How to Build Wealth with Real Estate Investment Trusts by Stephanie Krewson-Kelly and R. Brad Thomas

Many investors incorrectly believe that the only way to invest in real estate is by purchasing properties and commercial spaces directly to rent out or flip. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) offer a less labor-intensive way to make money in real estate. REITs specifically pool money from investors to buy property, rent property out and then pay out at least 90 percent of rental income to investors through dividends.

REIT investing allows you to make money in real estate from the comfort of your home, but how can you tell which REITs are worth your investment?

Enter: The Intelligent REIT Investor, a comprehensive guide on finding, choosing and purchasing REITs. A great resource for beginners, the book starts from the basics and works its way up to criteria for selecting a REIT to purchase. It also includes information on the history of REITs as well as access to historic performance data from some of the longest running REITs in the United States.

A comprehensive crash-course in everything you need to know about REITs, The Intelligent REIT Investor is required reading for the new real estate stock investor.

Get it on Amazon

Hardcover edition: Buy it now
Kindle edition: Buy it now
Audiobook: Free with Audible Trial

2. Real Estate Investing For Beginners: Earn Passive Income With REITs, Tax Lien Certificates, Lease, Residential & Commercial Real Estate by Michael Ezeanaka

Considered a must-read by many for real estate investors of all scopes, Real Estate Investing For Beginners is a comprehensive guide to investing in REITs and physical properties. Ezeanaka’s text offers 10 ways investors can make money in real estate. These range from conquering the emerging industrial real estate market, to investing in real estate adjacent stocks and making money from vacant lots.

From essential information on zoning rights to everything, you could possibly want to know about REIT investing, Real Estate Investing For Beginners is the ideal text if you have a lot of options. It provides guidance on how to invest your money in real estate when you want to consider every possible option before making a final decision.

Get it on Amazon

Paperback edition: Buy it now
Kindle edition: Buy it now
Audiobook: Free with Audible Trial

Final Thoughts

Real estate can provide a great opportunity for long-term investing and as a reliable stream of passive income. However, many investors misunderstand the term “passive income” to mean “income with no work or effort.”

While the books mentioned on this list are a great place to get started when beginning to learn the ins and outs of real estate, you’ll want to get a feel for the specific housing climate of the area you’re looking to invest in. Consider consulting with local property management experts and real estate agents before making a decision to buy or sell a property.

You may be surprised by just how much of a difference a bit of local expertise can have on your bottom line.

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