There are hundreds—if not thousands—of books on real estate, personal finance, personal development, and motivation. It’s likely you’ve heard of many of them, whether you read about them in an article or heard about them during a podcast. But what are the best real estate books for beginners?
Successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs recommend everything from How to Win Friends and Influence People to The Millionaire Next Door. But deciding which book you should read first or next is a daunting task. Considering throwing up your hands and giving up? We understand—and so we did the heavy lifting.
The Topics Beginners (And All Investors) Need to Study
Okay, rookie. You have a long road ahead of you. In addition to a whole lot of hustle, knowledge will be your key competitive advantage.
There will always be more to learn—but don’t underestimate the power of intense, focused study. Commit to daily, real-world learning plus deliberate study of these topics, and you’ll be better educated than 90% of real estate investors:
- General real estate investing advice
- Real Estate Finances
- Flipping houses
- Building Your Business
- Legal and contracts
These are your educational building blocks. Look at these as the “101 courses” in your real estate investor self-education. The books you read, the experienced investors you meet, and the mistakes you make will all be your teachers.
So, take good notes!
Why Read Real Estate Investing Books in 2023?
Everything is free on the internet these days, right? So why read books?
Well, you should spend a lot of time on sites like BiggerPockets, beginning with our free Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Investing. You should interact in our Forums and ask a lot of questions. But books focus your education—without distraction.
I love your “conversation” with an author like they’re your personal teacher. Even just walking by and noticing a physical book on your shelf can recall ideas and tips.
The 26 Best Books on Real Estate Investing for Beginners
1. The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason
BiggerPockets experts, like our Money Podcast co-host Mindy Jensen, adore this quick read. It’s only 144 pages and can easily be read in a single day or two.
The Richest Man in Babylon highlights a powerful personal finance principle: paying yourself first. Author George S. Clason walks you through a few simple, relatable stories to explain how to get out of debt while still paying yourself.
Clason goes on to point out that saving for saving’s sake is not enough. You need to save to invest.
So once you’ve gotten yourself out of debt and started paying yourself first, you can begin investing those savings. This brings us to the next book…
2. The Book on Rental Property Investing – Brandon Turner
Who could be better positioned to give first-rate real estate investing advice than Brandon Turner? Turner gives clear instructions on the most important aspects of rental investing, from finding and analyzing properties for investing to building a team and finding sources of funding for your first investment.
The book also covers practical aspects of rental property management, such as tenant screening, lease agreements, property maintenance, and legal considerations.
Overall, The Book on Rental Property Investing is a practical guide that aims to help readers build a profitable rental property portfolio and achieve financial independence through real estate investing.
3. Building Wealth One House at a Time – John Schaub
John Schaub is the Warren Buffett of real estate investing. He offers down-to-earth, solid advice from more than four decades in the business as a landlord, house flipper, and lender.
Some people complain that investing in books can be too basic. Those same people often ignore fundamentals while searching for glitzy, more complicated concepts that are—supposedly—” better.” But Building Wealth One House at a Time is all about the fundamentals. Schaub outlines a detailed strategy for achieving financial independence with residential real estate, including finding, financing, renting, and selling properties.
Schaub shows how you can build a fortune and achieve everything you want in life by investing in little real estate deals like single-family houses and small multi-units.
He also discusses real estate appreciation and how it can make you rich. However, be careful depending upon appreciation as part of your real estate evaluation. Appreciation is uncertain and difficult to predict or depend upon.
A more conservative plan is to make enough money using other methods John talks about, like cash flow and amortization of loans. Appreciation may come, but your deal should work without it.
4. What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow – Frank Gallinelli
What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow is about numbers, perfect for real estate nerds. Success in real estate always comes back to the numbers. But amazingly, some so-called investors can’t even calculate them correctly.
This book explains both big-picture concepts, such as deal analysis and nitty-gritty formulas. It covers just about every analysis tool in great detail, along with examples. Beginners will learn a ton; any investor of any experience level should keep it on their bookshelf as a reference and refresher.
Frank also includes free Excel spreadsheets that let you get “under the hood” and see how the formulas in the book actually work.
However, this book’s strength—and weakness—is its thoroughness. Beginners may risk being overwhelmed or intimidated by many formulas and analysis methods. Yes, math is important for investors—but so are psychology, momentum, and consistency. Fear of failure or analysis paralysis can kill your investment dream.
Our recommendation? Pick the gold nuggets from this book and learn the essential, basic formulas. Then, return to this excellent resource over time as you grow.
5. The Book on Investing in Real Estate With No (and Low) Money Down – Brandon Turner
This is one of the great books from Brandon Turner, which is thorough and detailed in its coverage of non-traditional financing tools. He practices what he preaches—he has used most of these tools himself to create a great portfolio of real estate.
The title includes “no money down,” which might (understandably) be a turn-off. But realize that the book is not about getting rich quickly with tricks or buying something for nothing. The book simply provides a full toolbox of real estate financing techniques.
You can always use more conventional strategies—go to the bank, put 20 percent down, and take out a conventional loan if you want. But do yourself a favor: Learn how to make money outside of traditional lending. That way, the rest of this real estate game will be a lot easier.
6. Recession-Proof Real Estate Investing – J Scott
In uncertain times, smart investors begin to plan for a possible recession and look for ways to safeguard their investments.
Even though Recession-Proof Real Estate Investing was written with the 2008 recession in mind, its lessons still very much ring true today should the economy move towards a downturn. If you’re looking for peace of mind amidst the panic, read this book. You’ll walk away armed with information on economic shifts, why they happen, and the strategies most likely to help you survive (and even thrive) during a recession.
7. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor – Gary Keller
Mike Summy says this book is “filled with practical, workable advice for anyone wanting to build wealth.” We couldn’t agree more. Super-easy to read, this book relies not just on the author’s own experience building wealth in real estate but on those of over 100 self-made investor millionaires. The book is equally useful as a source of practical advice and as a source of inspiration. It teaches you how to get into the right mindset to achieve investment success and then explains how to put your newly-found confidence into practice. It is suitable for beginners or investors struggling to take their business model to the next level.
8. Set For Life – Scott Trench
Now that you are paying yourself first and making your money work for you, what should your first investment be? A house hack, of course!
Set For Life by Scott Trench, CEO of BiggerPockets, illustrates how to go from $0 in net worth to financial independence in three clear, repeatable steps:
- Create $25,000 in savings by being frugal and efficient with your money.
- Go from $25,000 to $100,000 in net worth by house hacking, which eliminates your housing cost. Additionally, find ways to increase your income, such as earning bonuses and commissions at your job or taking on side hustles.
- Reach financial freedom by becoming a savvy investor and tracking your progress. There are a number of different ways to invest your money, including buying stocks and purchasing rental properties. Scott outlines both of these investment vehicles and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each.
No matter how you invest, you must track your progress. Know your spending, track your investments, and take action to optimize both.
9. How to Invest in Real Estate – Joshua Dorkin and Brandon Turner
The perfect introduction to real estate investing is a book titled, appropriately, How to Invest in Real Estate. It was written by Brandon Turner and Josh Dorkin, the founder of BiggerPockets.
Brandon and Josh detail a number of real estate investment strategies, such as BRRRR investing, fix and flipping, wholesaling, and even apartment investing.
Brandon and Josh provide actionable advice and effective strategies from their own experience—plus the experiences of 300-plus guests on the BiggerPockets Podcast. Seriously, there may not be another book out there that does a better job of describing all the ways you can invest in real estate.
10. The ABCs of Real Estate Investing – Ken McElroy
Written by the seasoned investor Ken McElroy, The ABCs of Real Estate Investing is one of the definitive guides to growing your real estate investment business. It was written with the help and insight of some of the most successful real estate business owners and has an especially useful section on investment myths busting. It’s also invaluable for anyone who wants to learn how to choose properties with real investment potential or needs effective strategies for managing a growing portfolio.
11. Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat – David Greene
Ever heard of BRRRR? David Greene’s clear, practical guide to this popular real estate investing model will show you how to build a real estate investment business that delivers returns in years, not decades. Moreover, the book comes with useful additional materials to get you started quickly.
12. Real Estate Investing Gone Bad – Phil Pustejovsky
Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something is by learning what not to do first. This engaging and entertaining account of investment strategies gone wrong finds a relatable way to teach budding investors to avoid the common pitfalls of poor planning, choosing investment properties incorrectly, or mismanaging their finances.
It helps that the book is easy to read, too, written by Pusterjovsky, who has written about real estate for Huffington Post, Business Insider, and other nationwide publications.
13. Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate Investing – Doug Marshall
With over 30 years of experience in real estate investing, Doug Marshall is well-placed to advise budding real estate entrepreneurs. From this thorough introduction to real estate investing, you’ll learn the fundamentals of the business. From the six basic laws of making a sound investment to timing your buying activity right, Marshall gives step-by-step instructions anyone can follow. You don’t need any prior experience to benefit from the insights in this brilliant guide.
14. Long-Distance Real Estate Investing – David Greene
Want to live out of state and still reap the rewards of real estate investing? This invaluable, specialized guide will tell you how. David Greene, host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, has built his own impressive real estate portfolio by buying out-of-state properties, often without ever having seen them. He outlines the rules for choosing locations and properties that will give you returns and how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls when investing in areas where you don’t live. A must for the modern property entrepreneur.
15. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie’s bestselling book is so much more than a guide to being a successful businessperson. It has transformed countless people’s personal lives, too. From effective communication strategies to leadership skills, this book will set you up for a life of professional and personal success. So, the next time you negotiate a deal, you can be prepared with behavioral tips that work in your favor.
16. The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor – Amanda Han and Matthew MacFarland
If tax season leaves you feeling frustrated at the amounts you end up paying, you need this book. Actually, every real estate investor needs this book because understanding tax and how you can save on taxes is an essential aspect of running an investment business.
The best part? Han and MacFarland teach you how to plan for your taxes in advance, which makes it easier to strategize and save.
17. The Book on Flipping Houses – J Scott
We like the way the author, J Scott’s mind works. But we bet beginner flippers will love him too—he is systematic, thorough, and understands both the big picture and the details. That’s rare!
This book is a comprehensive guide to the home flipping business. J also dives into the nuances of analyzing and choosing a target market. Many novices miss this fundamental step.
Use his insight to analyze your own market for potential flips—or any future markets you may venture into.
18. The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs – J Scott
Now that you’re well-versed in the basics, dive into flipping finances with this second excellent offering from J. This book, too, is systematic and thorough. It flows well, and you can take the concepts and apply them successfully right away.
We love the way J Scott sections house rehab into 25 components, which makes estimating a flip’s total cost much more accurate. After all, missing just one or two repairs can make a big difference in your profits—so using a system like J’s is critical. Why reinvent the wheel? J wrote the book. Just copy him.
19. The House Hacking Strategy – Craig Curelop
The House Hacking Strategy is a book by Craig Curelop that presents a unique approach to real estate investing you might have heard of—house hacking. The idea behind house hacking is to buy a property, live in one part of it, and rent out the other parts to tenants. This allows the homeowner to generate passive income and potentially live for free while building equity in the property.
Curelop explains how house hacking works, what types of properties are best suited for this strategy, and how to finance the purchase. He also covers the various expenses and risks associated with owning a rental property, as well as the tax implications of renting out a portion of your home.
The book includes real-life case studies and examples of successful house hackers who have used this strategy to achieve financial freedom. Overall, The House Hacking Strategy is a practical guide for anyone interested in real estate investing and looking for an alternative way to generate income and build wealth.
20. Real Estate By The Numbers – Dave Meyer and J Scott
Real Estate by the Numbers is a book co-authored by Dave Meyer and J Scott, which provides an in-depth look at the metrics behind successful real estate investments. The book is designed to help both novice and experienced real estate investors understand how to use data to make informed decisions and achieve profitable returns.
The book covers a wide range of topics related to real estate investing, including understanding the key metrics used to evaluate properties, analyzing market trends, and using financial modeling tools to forecast investment outcomes. The authors emphasize the importance of using data-driven strategies to minimize risk and maximize returns in real estate investing.
Throughout the book, Meyer and Scott provide practical examples and case studies to illustrate their points, and they offer valuable insights and tips based on their own experiences in the real estate industry. The book is written in an accessible, easy-to-understand style, and it is an essential resource for anyone looking to build a successful real estate portfolio.
21. First-Time Home Buyer – Scott Trench and Mindy Jenson
First-Time Home Buyer by Scott Trench and Mindy Jenson provides guidance and advice for people who are looking to purchase their first home. The book covers various topics such as the home buying process, how to determine your budget, how to choose the right neighborhood and property, how to work with real estate agents and mortgage lenders, and how to negotiate the best deal.
The authors emphasize the importance of being financially prepared for homeownership and provides strategies for saving money for a down payment, improving your credit score, and minimizing debt. They also advise readers to approach home buying as a long-term investment and to consider factors such as future market trends, property values, and potential for resale.
Overall, “First-Time Home Buyer” is a comprehensive guide that aims to help readers make informed decisions and avoid common mistakes when buying their first home, making it a perfect book for real estate investing beginners.
22. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
There’s a good reason this is our most-recommended book on the BiggerPockets Podcast. Rich Dad Poor Dad has helped tens of thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—of people change their mindset and build serious wealth.
Author Robert Kiyosaki outlines a number of ways the rich separate themselves from the poor by sharing stories about an actual rich dad and a poor dad in his own life.
The “rich dad” is a friend’s father, who is a successful entrepreneur in Hawaii. The “poor dad” is his actual father, who works a job and makes good money but never buys any assets and ends up never accumulating wealth.
Kiyosaki explains how to get out of the rat race and separate yourself from those who never accumulate assets and wealth.
The three biggest takeaways are:
- Make your money work for you instead of working for money
- Know the difference between assets and liabilities
- Focus on acquiring as many assets as possible.
23. The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferris
There can’t possibly be anything left to learn about becoming a successful real estate investor. Right? Yes, by now, if you’ve read all of the books before this one, you have all the tools necessary to invest and start to skyrocket your net worth—but there’s still one thing you should learn how to do. Create systems for your business so that it can grow and scale without you having to manually do all the work.
Tim Ferris’s book The 4-Hour Workweek illustrates this concept perfectly. He outlines how to create a lifestyle business that can be run for as little as a few hours a week (hence the title).
Most important? Define your goals, focus on the most important things, and outsource the rest. By following his approach, you create a scalable real estate business that spits out cash flow and constantly grows—even when you aren’t working.
24. Real Estate Rookie – Ashley Kehr
Real Estate Rookie by Ashley Kehr is a beginner’s guide to real estate investing and is one of the best introductions you can get into the world of real estate investing.
The book covers topics such as finding and analyzing deals, financing options, building a team, and managing rental properties. Kehr draws on her own experiences as a real estate investor and shares practical advice and strategies for those who are new to the field. The book also includes case studies and real-life examples to help readers understand the concepts and apply them to their own investing journey.
Overall, you really can’t go wrong with a book like this.
25. Wealth Without Cash – Pace Morby
Wealth Without Cash is a comprehensive guide that takes you through the world of creative financing strategies, enabling you to close real estate deals faster and at a fraction of the traditional costs. Morby’s book dives deep into various innovative approaches, including seller finance and subject-to deals, which have played a pivotal role in his own success story. By implementing these strategies effectively, you can acquire properties and build a substantial investment portfolio without the need for significant personal capital.
Whether you’re a beginner taking your first steps in real estate investing or a seasoned investor with an established business, Wealth Without Cash equips you with the tools and knowledge to thrive in the industry. The book goes beyond the fundamentals and delves into advanced topics, ensuring you’re fully prepared to navigate the complexities of real estate transactions.
26. Pillars of Wealth – David Greene
In this latest addition to the BiggerPockets bookstore (and third book on this list from this author), real estate investing expert David Greene opens the door to a proven roadmap for financial liberation. Drawing from over a decade of hands-on experience as a real estate investor and as the host of the BiggerPockets Podcast, Greene unveils a comprehensive strategy tailored for aspiring investors seeking genuine wealth-building strategies.
With a focus on unlocking earning potential, implementing effective budgeting, and embracing astute real estate investment tactics, Pillars of Wealth isn’t just about amassing wealth; it’s a guide to attaining the elusive freedom that comes from intelligent financial decisions. Whether you’re entrenched in debt, swimming in savings, or navigating a diverse asset portfolio, Greene’s holistic approach empowers readers to recalibrate their wealth-building strategies, and ultimately achieve genuine financial freedom. This book is an indispensable resource for beginners eager to forge a path towards enduring financial success through real estate investment.
Real estate investing can be a lucrative and fulfilling venture for beginners, but it’s crucial to have a solid foundation of knowledge before diving in. Fortunately, there are many excellent books available that cover a range of topics, from the basics of real estate investing to more advanced strategies. By reading widely and taking the time to learn from experienced investors, beginners can develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the real estate market. So whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your existing portfolio, be sure to explore the resources available and invest in your education.
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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.
As someone deeply immersed in the world of real estate investing, it's evident that the article provides a comprehensive overview of essential concepts for beginners venturing into this field. The article emphasizes the significance of education and recommends a variety of books covering diverse aspects of real estate, personal finance, and wealth-building. Let's break down the key concepts mentioned in the article:
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason is highlighted, emphasizing the principle of paying oneself first and the importance of saving for investment.
General Real Estate Investing Advice:
- The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner provides clear instructions on various aspects of rental investing, from property analysis to building a team and securing funding.
Real Estate Finances:
- Building Wealth One House at a Time by John Schaub offers down-to-earth advice on achieving financial independence through residential real estate, covering aspects such as finding, financing, renting, and selling properties.
- The Book on Flipping Houses by J Scott is recommended as a comprehensive guide to the home flipping business, covering market analysis and choosing target markets.
- The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller is praised for its practical, workable advice, drawing on the experiences of over 100 self-made millionaire investors. It covers mindset, practical advice, and serves as a source of inspiration.
Building Your Business:
- Set For Life by Scott Trench outlines steps to financial independence through frugality, house hacking, and strategic investment, offering insights into various investment vehicles.
Legal and Contracts:
- How to Invest in Real Estate by Joshua Dorkin and Brandon Turner serves as a comprehensive introduction to various real estate investment strategies, including BRRRR investing, fix and flipping, wholesaling, and apartment investing.
- What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow by Frank Gallinelli is recommended for its focus on numbers, explaining big-picture concepts, deal analysis, and providing practical examples.
No/Low Money Down Strategies:
- The Book on Investing in Real Estate With No (and Low) Money Down by Brandon Turner is highlighted for providing a toolbox of non-traditional financing techniques.
- Recession-Proof Real Estate Investing by J Scott is suggested for its lessons on planning for economic downturns and strategies to thrive during a recession.
Mindset and Success Principles:
- The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller and How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie are recommended for their practical advice, inspiration, and mindset-building aspects.
- The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor by Amanda Han and Matthew MacFarland is highlighted for its insights into tax planning and saving strategies for real estate investors.
Commercial Real Estate Investing:
- Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate Investing by Doug Marshall provides a thorough introduction to the fundamentals of commercial real estate investing.
Long-Distance Real Estate Investing:
- Long-Distance Real Estate Investing by David Greene guides readers on investing in real estate in locations where they don't live, offering rules for choosing locations and properties.
Estimating Rehab Costs:
- The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs by J Scott is suggested for its systematic approach to house rehab, helping investors estimate total costs accurately.
- The House Hacking Strategy by Craig Curelop introduces the concept of house hacking, guiding readers on how to buy a property, live in part of it, and rent out the rest for passive income.
- Wealth Without Cash by Pace Morby explores creative financing strategies, enabling real estate investors to close deals faster and at lower costs.
Overall Wealth-Building Strategy:
- Pillars of Wealth by David Greene provides a proven roadmap for financial liberation, emphasizing earning potential, budgeting, and astute real estate investment tactics.
These recommended books cover a broad spectrum of topics essential for beginners and offer valuable insights from experienced investors. By delving into these resources, aspiring real estate investors can build a strong foundation of knowledge and increase their chances of success in the real estate market.