Let’s face it—anyone who reads the best real estate books will have a huge advantage over people who just “wing it.” Even though reading may feel boring or useless to some people, it’s the easiest, least expensive way to learn from those who have already succeeded (and failed!) in this space.
The problem is there are tons of books to choose from. Some are very specific, whereas others are much broader. For example, some books will talk a little about everything (taxes, finding the houses, getting tenants, etc.) while others may focus on one topic, such as finding multifamily properties.
The question is: which one do you choose? For simplicity’s sake, this article will take the shotgun approach. These books cover a broad range of topics, so if you want something more specific I recommend doing further research.
BOOK #1: Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down – Brandon Turner
Many investors will say this is one of the best books out there. Even though purchasing real estate with zero money down does open you up to certain risks (like a higher mortgage payment and PMI,) there are clear advantages as well.
So if you do decide to invest a bit of money into each property, this book still sets you up to know:
- How to get great deals
- How to negotiate with the seller
- How to scale your portfolio without taking on too much risk
Just keep in mind that many naysayers will say “that can’t be done!” Well, if it couldn’t be done then books like this wouldn’t exist.
BOOK #2: What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow… and 36 Other Key Financial Measures – Frank Gallinelli
Many new investors don’t realize how difficult it can be to generate regular, positive cash flow from a real estate investment. Even though the numbers initially may seem attractive, certain things like maintenance, rising property taxes and vacancies need to be considered.
As an example, a property that costs you $1,500 a month but rents for $1,700 may not be profitable. Maintenance isn’t cheap, taxes will likely increase over time, and you can almost guarantee you’ll get a vacancy now and then.
Gallinelli covers these critical issues to help you understand the numbers and plan properly for the rainy seasons.
BOOK #3: Real Estate Investing for Dummies – Tyson & Griswold
I know, I know—some people don’t like the “For Dummies” book series. But there’s a reason why this brand has thrived for so long. It breaks everything down into very easy and simple-to-understand terms. This particular book is primarily focusing on the buy-and-hold strategy that most investors use.
The series also has several more books in the real estate investing niche. They tend to get more specific, such as flipping houses or investing in commercial real estate. But this one is the best to start with, as it helps lay the foundation on the market.
BOOK #4:”Building Wealth One House at a Time – John Schaub
Schaub has been around for a while, but his methods and advice still holds true today. Many criticize this book as being too basic. But for a newbie investor, you want everything to be basic, right?
One thing to be wary of is John’s idea that properties always appreciate in value. While they may appreciate, you shouldn’t count on that. Instead, it’s better to focus on the cash flow and amortization strategies that John also discusses.
BOOK #5: Every Landlord’s Legal Guide – Stewart, Warner & Portman
Every business owner should know the basic legal aspects of their industry. After all, all of the money in the world can’t save you if you’re caught doing something illegal!
Real estate investors are no exception, even if you have a great property manager. This book walks you through all the legal aspects of investing in and operating rental properties.
Honorable Mention: The Rich Dad Series
Even though Robert Kiyosaki’s brand gets a bad rap, he does have a lot of products out there that have helped people break into real estate investing. The best rated one is “The ABCs of Real Estate Investing: The Secrets of Finding Hidden Profits Most Investors Miss” by Ken McElroy, but there are a few others that are worth checking out.
So there you have it—these are my personal recommendations for those who are looking for straightforward advice when thinking about investing in rental properties.