One of the more popular Google searches today has to do with achieving financial freedom. Since real estate investing is often part of achieving financial freedom, it’s not uncommon for people to search for the best real estate books. I’ll give you my list in this post.
When I turned 40, we reached a debt-free status, which felt great for about….two weeks. As a periodontist, my life has been centered around setting and accomplishing goals. After getting accepted into dental school then a residency, the next goal was starting a practice then eventually paying off student loan debt and our home. So when I hit 40, I asked myself,
“Hey self, what’s next?”
At that time, we had only ONE income source coming in, and that was from the practice. *Active or earned income is the HIGHEST taxed source of income. Something else that bothered me was the thought of not being able to work. What if I was injured or disabled? How would I take care of my family? I continue to play tennis, basketball, and football with my kids, and we also snow ski annually. Yes, we’re an active family, which increases the risk of injury. Also, what if a pandemic struck, causing the U.S. to shut down? Well, I didn’t ask myself about the pandemic, but I would certainly put it on my list of (what-if’s) moving forward.
I realized that I had to do something about the one income source issue but also wanted to spend more time with my boys before they moved off to college. After doing research and networking, it seemed that passive income was the answer. I had set my new goal: Educate myself and begin acquiring multiple streams of income, which would eventually lead to financial independence.
The next question I had to answer was: How do I get passive income?
The Road To Passive Income
When I first started learning about passive income, it took a while to wrap my head around getting paid for work that I didn’t have to do physically. After maintaining a lawn service for 10+ years and then on to treating patients, the thought of receiving a check each month without having to perform labor sounded too good to be true. My first stop during the education process was to take a look at what millionaires do. If you can’t beat ’em, then join them, right? I voraciously read books either written by or about millionaires to find out how they accomplished their wealth. Some of the books were:
- The Millionaire Next Door
- Think and Grow Rich
- Everyday Millionaire
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Real Estate Is The Key
“90% of all millionaires become so through owning real estate. More money has been made in real estate than in all industrial investments combined. The wise young man or wage earner of today invests his money in real estate.” – Andrew Carnegie
Even though the majority of millionaires achieve their wealth through real estate, that doesn’t mean you will too if you become a real estate investor. But one of the best ways to avoid failure and improve your chances of success is to learn real estate by reading books.
With so much information out there online and on podcasts, you may wonder why I started with reading books. I’ve always loved reading but also learned from the research of the daily habits of the rich and poor that Tom Corley of Rich Habits performed. He found that your daily habits are responsible for your financial circumstances in life. Here are a few stats that he uncovered:
- 86% of the wealthy loved reading vs. 26% for the poor
- 63% of the wealthy listened to audiobooks during their commute to work vs. 5% for the poor
- 85% of the wealthy read two or more self-improvement books every month vs. 15% for the poor
- 88% of the wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day vs. 2% for the poor
- 94% of the wealthy, daily, read newspapers, newsletters, magazines, blogs, and other digital media vs. 11% of the poor
The stats speak for themselves. If you want to be wealthy, learn the habits of the rich, and read. I’m a big believer in never investing in anything that you don’t understand. Real estate is no different. Here’s a list of the seven best real estate books to get you started.
7 Best Real Estate Books
Note: The following books are in no particular order.
In the book, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, author Gary Keller of Keller-Williams Realty interviewed over 100 millionaire real estate investors to put together a guide for building wealth through real estate. If you’re just starting in real estate, then reading this would be similar to taking a Real Estate Investing 101 course. I’m a firm believer that if you want to accomplish anything in life, then you have to start with the right MINDSET. Keller’s book does a great job by putting the reader in the investing mindset. It starts off discussing essential investing advice we all need and then dives deeper into how it can be applied to real estate. Personally, I feel that this is one of the best books on real estate investing.
#2 Rich Dad Poor Dad
The second book on our list of best real estate books is Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad is the ultimate book to get you started in real estate with the right frame of mind.
He obtained life lessons from his poor dad (real dad) that held a Ph.D. in education and a “rich dad” that was a successful business owner (one of the wealthiest in Hawaii) who only had an eighth-grade education. In the book, Kiyosaki shares six important lessons that he learned over thirty years from his rich dad. These lessons include:
- #1: It’s not how much money you make; it’s how much you keep. (aka, spend your money wisely!)
- #2: The poor and the middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them.
- #3: It’s not the smart who get ahead, but the bold.
- #4: Corporations are the biggest secret of the rich.
- #5: The rich focus on their asset columns while everyone else focuses on their income statements.
- #6: People who avoid failure also avoid success.
For many real estate investors, “The ABCs of Real Estate Investing” by Ken McElroy is their best go-to book that teaches the basics of real estate investing. McElroy has over 26 years of senior-level experience in multifamily asset and property management. In it, he discusses how to achieve wealth with real estate by:
- negotiating deals
- finding and evaluating properties
- using property management tools to increase income
- plus much more
Even though the book mainly focuses on apartments, most of the concepts can still be applied to other types of real estate investments too.
When I first started investing in real estate, two things stood out:
- I needed to learn a new set of terminology.
- Math is a big deal in real estate!
The fourth book on our list of best real estate books is Frank Gallinelli’s What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow, and 36 Other Key Financial Measures can help you figure it all out, especially for newbies. The key to evaluating deals is knowing your numbers, and this book does a great job breaking that down for you. Some of the terms the book details are:
- cash-on-cash return
- equity multiple
- cash flow
- net present value
- internal rate of return
- cap rate
You’ll also find thorough explanations of all the calculations you need to learn and use to evaluate real estate deals.
Yes, another Kiyosaki book makes this list! This time it’s the sequel to Rich Dad Poor Dad titled The Cashflow Quadrant. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I’m a big Kiyosaki and Grant Cardone fan. Do I recommend or agree with everything they say? No. But I do enjoy both of their styles of teaching financial freedom using real estate. The book centers around the four quadrants he claims we all fall into:
Image Courtesy of Wealthfit.com W? Kiyosaki claims that most people are on the left side of the “poor side” of the quadrant. They’re either employees or are self-employed. Most physicians and dentists are in these categories, as you can see from the pictures above that they mainly trade their time for money. For them to make money, they must perform, or they don’t get paid. The goal of the book seems to motivate the masses to move from the left to the right side of the quadrant….and he does a pretty darn good job of it too.
Do you want to reach financial freedom sooner rather than later eventually? There is no better source to learn from than someone that has done just that by the age of 37. Real estate coach Chad Carson put together a comprehensive guide to financial freedom called Retire Early With Real Estate. Can’t beat that title. His book provides a five-step process for creating your real estate early retirement plan. Other takeaways include:
- How to use rental income to pay all your monthly bills
- A step-by-step process for using rental properties to retire within 10-15 years
- Case studies of everyday people who have used real estate to retire
Investing and owning residential real estate is one of the most popular ways active investors currently invest. When I first started learning about real estate, investing in single-family homes was my first stop. The Book On Rental Property Investing’s author, Brandon Turner, is the co-host of the “Bigger Pockets” podcast, which is one of the best resources for real estate investing. If you’re just getting started or want to learn more about building wealth with real estate, look no further than Turner’s book. The book highlights:
- how to find deals, even in competitive markets
- strategies to finding good paying tenants
- finding property financing
- why cash flow is so important
- tax reduction strategies as a part of your investment strategy
- plus, much more
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a way to build wealth plus diversify your portfolio, then real estate investing is critical. But before you begin to deploy your money, make sure you start the self-education process (as with any type of investing). A great way to do this is by reading some (or all) of the books on our list. However, reading these books is only one way to gain real estate knowledge. Consider other options such as:
- real estate mentor(s)
This article originally appeared on Your Money Geek and has been republished with permission.