The 9 Best Real Estate Investing Books of 2020
Educate yourself before making a deal
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Investing in real estate can be a great way to diversify a portfolio while adding a hedge against market volatility. Real estate isn't directly correlated to the market so when stocks rise and fall, property investments can provide stability in a portfolio. There are different ways to invest in real estate—from real estate investment trusts to turnkey properties to multifamily rentals—and each has its own nuances to learn. Reading books about real estate investing is one way to learn the ins and outs before diving in.
Real estate investing books can offer a general overview of how to navigate property investing or drill down to the specifics of different investment types. But which books are worth your time and which ones are just fluff? As you build your library of real estate investing books, here are the best options to help you navigate every stage of your property investing journey.
Best Overall: The Book on Rental Property Investing
Brandon Turner is a real estate entrepreneur and vice president of growth of well-known real estate investing website BiggerPockets.com. He wrote "The Book on Rental Property Investing," and this handy guide explains everything you need to know about succeeding with rental investments as a means of generating cash flow. It also outlines the biggest mistakes rental property investors make and how to avoid them. If you're looking for a primer to rental property investing that's suited to beginners, this book can help position you to get ahead. It's packed with simple strategies and actionable tips for creating and maintaining wealth through income-generating rental property investments.
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Best on Commercial Real Estate: Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate Investing
Commercial real estate is a very different animal compared to residential real estate. Rather than investing in single-family homes or vacation rentals where you're dealing with a single tenant, you're investing in things like office space, warehouses, distribution centers, data centers, public storage, retail units, and multifamily apartment buildings, which can have dozens or even hundreds of tenants. The return potential can be high with commercial real estate but there are also risk factors to consider.
"Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate Investing" explains the basics of investing in commercial real estate, using six specific laws of real estate investing that are designed to promote maximum profitability. Author Doug Marshall explains how to determine when the timing is right to buy a commercial property and when it makes sense to take a pass on a deal, as well as how to position an investment for optimal cash flow over the long term.
Best on General Investing: Rich Dad, Poor Dad
"Rich Dad, Poor Dad" is a treatise on how to build and grow wealth by investing in tangible assets, such as real estate and small businesses. This book rates as one of the best general reads on investing and personal finance of all time, but there are some key lessons to be gleaned for real estate investors. It's less about specific strategies and more about how to develop a wealth mindset that includes real estate as a focal point. The overarching theme is using real estate to generate passive income so that you're working smarter, not harder, to build a portfolio that produces consistent returns. If you're looking for motivation and inspiration as you ease into real estate investing, this book offers plenty of both.
Best for Flippers: The Book on Flipping Houses
If you're interested in flipping houses as opposed to playing the long game that's usually associated with owning rental properties, you'll want to check out J Scott's "The Book on Flipping Houses." As a professional flipper, he's developed a very successful system for finding properties to flip, rehabbing them without eating into his profit margin, and reselling them for maximum gain.
This book covers everything you need to know about flipping as a real estate investing strategy, from how to evaluate potential markets to getting financing for a rehab property to hiring contractors and eventually putting the home back on the market.
Whether you're interested in flipping one home at a time or building a full-scale house-flipping business, this book is a comprehensive roadmap to all of the most important things you need to know.
Best on Real Estate Taxes: The Book on Tax Strategies
Investing in real estate has tax implications, just like any other type of investment. There are a lot of expenses you can deduct as a real estate investor but the key is making sure that you're claiming every deduction you're eligible for. And aside from that, you also have to report the income you're earning from property investments to avoid getting in trouble with the IRS.
Amanda Han and Matthew McFarland are both certified public accountants and they draw on their knowledge and expertise to offer a thorough tax guide for real estate investors in "The Book on Tax Strategies." If you're not sure how depreciation works, for example, or how to use a self-directed IRA to buy real estate investments, you can get pointers on both here. It's a must-read to add to the list if you're looking for strategies and tips to minimize what you owe to Uncle Sam on your real estate investments.
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Best for Building Wealth: The Millionaire Real Estate Investor
Wouldn't it be great to invest in real estate like a millionaire? There's just one problem—you don't have a million bucks lying around to sink into property investments. That's a challenge "The Millionaire Real Estate Investor" addresses. Author Gary Keller draws on the wisdom of more than 100 millionaire real estate investors to create a handbook for building wealth through property.
The book covers the biggest myths about money and investing that often prevent people from achieving millionaire status, as well as how to vet real estate opportunities to find the ones that prove most profitable. You don't have to be rich to appreciate the strategies and techniques Keller advocates but it's possible that you could get rich in real estate by applying the principles he touts.
Best for REIT Investors: The Intelligent REIT Investor
REITs can appeal to real estate investors who want more of a hands-off approach to investing in property. A REIT is a company that owns property investments; as a REIT investor, you get the benefit of dividend income generated by those properties without any of the headaches that go along with being a landlord and having to deal with tenants directly.
"The Intelligent REIT Investor" outlines the most important concepts associated with REIT investing as a wealth-building strategy. Specifically, the authors dive into how to evaluate and choose which REITs to invest in, based on your overall goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon for investing. If you're interested in adding REITs to your portfolio but you have no clue where to start, this book can help you get your feet wet without getting in over your head.
Best for Beginners: The ABCs of Real Estate Investing
If you're just entering the world of real estate investing, opt for "The ABCs of Real Estate Investing" by Ken McElroy. As the title of the book suggests, you'll learn basics like how to achieve wealth through real estate, ways to find and evaluate properties, negotiating deals, how to increase income through property management tools, and much more. McElroy himself has over 26 years of senior-level experience in multifamily asset and property management. Even more, reviewers agree that this is a great starter book, praising how informative and easy-to-read it is for first-time investors.
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Best on Out-of-State Investing: Long-Distance Real Estate Investing
"Long-Distance Real Estate Investing" challenges the myth in real estate that you should only look into investing in your locality. This is a great read for investors who live in an area that's not particularly suited for investing, or for those looking to widen their real estate investments nationwide. Although out-of-state investing is considered risky, author David Greene argues that rules, technology, and markets have changed well enough so you can successfully invest anywhere.
Greene, who has built a multi-million dollar portfolio, goes into the strategies he has implemented from investing in over 20 rental properties. Learn how to find great deals in any state regardless of where you live, how to identify which neighborhoods to buy (and which to pass up on), how to renovate a project remotely, and more.