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10 Best Real Estate Books to Build Your Empire in 2020

Must read real estate investing books for every type of property investor

2020 is almost here and you need to get started if it’s going to be the year you build your real estate empire! No other asset class has created as much wealth as real estate investing but you need to avoid the mistakes made by thousands of other investors.

I started my professional career in real estate, as a commercial property analyst while in college. I instantly fell in love with the idea of taking a property, developing it and turning it into a cash flow machine.

After college, I started buying residential rentals and managed my own properties for years. I’ve since worked as an analyst on real estate investment trusts (REITs) and more recently started investing in real estate crowdfunding.

I can honestly say, there has never been a time when I wasn’t thinking about real estate investing or involved in some way.

But I couldn’t have done any of it without some of the real estate books you’ll find in this list.

There’s plenty of bad information on getting started in real estate investing. Turn on the TV any night after 1am and you won’t have to click far to find someone’s secret to real estate millions. I would say the secret to successful real estate investing is avoiding the scam strategies and hype while finding the best resources to actually know what you’re getting.

Even if you can avoid the outright scams in real estate investing, building a successful property business isn’t guaranteed. Your first couple of years, before you’ve built the cash flow to withstand a recession, are the most dangerous.

You’ll find books in this list for every type of real estate investor. I’ve started with a few real estate books for beginners but make sure you check out some of the more advanced ideas as well.

If spending less than $50 on a few real estate books could save you tens of thousands in bad deals…wouldn’t it be worth it?

Best Real Estate Books for Beginners

Starting off in property investing, you need a guide that will cover the basic strategies as well as the headaches faced by all would-be real estate moguls. That means reaching for a beginner’s book on real estate where you might not get the most advanced approach but you’ll lay the groundwork to be successful and avoid the biggest mistakes.

top real estate investing books 2020
Millionaire Real Estate Investor Book

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller

This is another super-detailed reference guide for starting and managing your real estate investments. Beyond the practical advice for being successful, the book includes real-life stories of other real estate investors that helps make it more relatable.

Take it from someone that struggled to find the best people for his real estate business, the section on developing your real estate investing team is invaluable.

I’ve read quite a few of the author’s books, not just in real estate investing but for business management and entrepreneurship as well. He writes with a style that’s easy to follow and keeps you interested to the last page.

Best Real Estate Books 2020
Best Real Estate Books 2020

The ABCs of Real Estate Investing: The Secrets of Finding Hidden Profits Most Investors Miss by Ken McElroy

Part of the Rich Dad Advisors series, this one is shorter but gets right to it with practical advice for investing in real estate. It’s a basic starter kit including finding properties with real potential and negotiating for a better price.

Some good recommendations of property management tools are worth the read to avoid some of the most common headaches of real property investment.

Most of the books on this list focus on traditional real estate investing but miss one of the best investment opportunities I’ve seen in decades. Real estate crowdfunding is an hybrid approach between direct investment and indirect property investment through a partnership or REIT.

With crowdfunding, you invest alongside professional developers to get a piece of high-quality property deals but without all the management headaches. Investing on a platform like stREITwise is a simpler approach to real estate that us old-timers never had available. Many of the crowdfunding sites are still only open to wealthy investors but the stREITwise real estate fund is open to everyone.

The stREITwise 1st stREIT Office REIT invests in high-quality office properties and as of the date of this video, has paid a 10% annualized dividend. The fund is managed by seasoned real estate professionals that have acquired or managed over $5.4 billion in property and across all property types.

Learn more about the 1st stREIT Office REIT investment here

Best Real Estate Flipping Books

Popularity of flipping houses books comes and goes with the real estate market. It’s a high-risk, high-return business where you’ll make six-figures when times are good but can totally bust when the market falls.

More than any other property investing strategy, I’d say the knowledge you get in these books on flipping houses is absolutely critical. You’ll not only learn how to find good deals and sell your houses but the warning signs to get out before the market turns sour.

house flipping book
Books on House Flipping

Flip: How to Find, Fix, and Sell Houses for Profit by Villani, Davis and Keller

This book is a great step-by-step guide for flipping houses. Two of the authors run North America’s largest real estate rehab franchise and the other is one of the most respected authors in property investing. It’s like getting the blueprints for a house flipping franchise all in one book.

The book takes you through the entire process but the 50-step plan for fixing your flips is worth the price of the book alone. I love how it goes into more detail in this hands-on part of flipping instead of just covering the buying/selling like most flipping books.

The Book on Flipping Houses: How to Buy, Rehab and Resell Residential Properties by J Scott

This book was written in a partnership with the founders of BiggerPockets and is a great guide into one of my favorite quick investment strategies. At 350 pages, you would expect a lot of primer material but this book is all step-by-step into starting and running your real estate flipping business.

House flipping isn’t for everyone but if you can manage a more active real estate investment then there is definitely an upside. This book covers it all from financing to the Flip Formula and closing the sale.

Best Books on Buying Rental Property

Buying residential rental property is the most popular form of real estate investment for Main Street investors but it comes with its share of risks and headaches. Single-family houses were my first investment out of college and I bought into all the hype of easy money and passive income.

The truth to rental property is that it can be a full-time job managing properties if you don’t know how to do it right. Before you jump into this form of real estate investing, make sure you read a few books on buying property and managing tenants.

rental property investing book
Rental Property Investing Book

The Book on Rental Property Investing: How to Create Wealth and Passive Income by Brandon Turner

BiggerPockets is arguably the most popular website on real estate investing. Brandon’s rental property investing book is one of seven he has published covering different strategies in real estate investment including The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide and How to Rent Your House.

At 400 pages, it’s a start-to-finish guide on rental property investing from finding properties and tenants to avoiding the mistakes that bankrupt so many investors.

Build a Rental Property Empire: The No-nonsense Book on Finding Deals and Getting Financing by Mark Ferguson

This is another long resource guide for real estate investors at nearly 350 pages and one of the most recently published. A realtor since 2001, Mark started investing in his own rentals in 2010 and now owns 16 properties.

The book reads like a memoir of his experience and everything he’s picked up along the way. I like the guide for its focus on rental properties and deals as opposed to the more general books on real estate investing.

Books about Real Estate Investing

Every investor should have real estate in their portfolio. It’s almost a law of investing, getting that diversification from stocks and bonds through property. Real estate not only offers the inflation-protection of a real asset but also solid cash flow and returns.

Not everyone is cut out for direct investment in property. That’s why I recommend crowdfunding and other indirect investments like REITs. Investing in these structures gives you access to all the benefits of real estate investing without the constant hassle and headache of direct ownership.

Investing in REITs: Real Estate Investment Trusts by Ralph Block (Bloomberg Book 141)

Reads like a text book but this one will give you everything you need to know about REITs and how to invest. It starts with a history of REITs and how they fit with real estate investment in America.

The book isn’t as easy to read as many of the others on the list and it can get technical at times but this is a must-read for investors serious about picking REIT stocks. It’s going to show you the difference between REITs and other types of stocks and detail exactly how to value this investment. If you aren’t ready to read this book, just invest in a REIT fund and forget about picking individual REITs.

reit investing book
Best REIT Investing Books

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

This one is a little less technical and easier to read than the Bloomberg REIT book but leaves out some of the detail. It’s still packed with solid information on investing in REITs and what to look for when putting your money on the line.

One of the things I liked about this book is the dual perspective from the authors. One is a financial journalist covering real estate and REITs while the other works in the industry as an executive and former analyst. Together, you get different viewpoints on what to look for in REITs and how to invest.

Real Estate Biography Books

I love non-fiction reading but sometimes it can get so dry that you never end up finishing the book. I like to turn to biographies of successful people for a more entertaining read that can teach me something as well. Property is one of the oldest investments and has created some legendary real estate investors to show you the ropes.

Not only can you learn a little from these famous real estate investors but the books are a source of inspiration for new investors. With creative financing, there’s no other investment that you can use to turn so little into so much!

Real Estate Biography
Real Estate Biography

Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran

Shark Tank star Corcoran made her billions in real estate, starting with a small office in New York City. The book isn’t quite as focused on her real estate business as it is a motivational tale of rags to riches but it will keep you turning the pages. The book is filled with business and life lessons that everyone eventually faces, sometimes the hard way, and is a great road map to success.

Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson

This one isn’t a real estate book but easily one of my favorite business biographies. Did you know, before he became a billionaire, Branson ran his own student newspaper for nearly a decade. So many lessons in this book about running a business, being successful and how to do it on your terms!

I’m always surprised hearing how many new real estate investors choose to start in the asset class with little more than a couple weeks’ of thinking about it. It usually means making the same mistakes thousands of other investors have already made many times before.

Do yourself a favor and give yourself at least six months to learn through books on investing in real estate. Learn how to be successful and some of the mistakes others have made before jumping in with your own money.

Best Real Estate Investing Books to Read
Best Real Estate Investing Books to Read

Real estate investing isn’t just a get-rich-quick strategy but should be a critical piece of everyone’s investing strategy. You can get indirect exposure through real estate investment trusts for diversification from stocks and bonds. Investors reaching for higher returns should check out some of these real estate investing books and a more direct route in 2020 and beyond.

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