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The Top 11 Real Estate Investment Books You Absolutely Must Read

Episode 065

John Larson and the Real Estate Cowboys talk passive income real estate investing.

Hear new episodes every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. The Cowboys talk about some of the better reading material related to real estate.

Keep the #CowboyCoffee hot while listening to John, and the Cowboys talk about how to #BeACowboy and earn passive income in real estate.

Episode Transcript

Keith Weinhold: Hey, this is Keith Weinhold from the Get Rich Education podcast. You are listening to my friend John Larson and the Real Estate Cowboys. Don’t quit your daydream.

Robert Helms: Hey everybody, it’s Robert Helms, host of the Real Estate Guys radio show, and you are listening to the Real Estate Cowboys.

Announcer: Have you thought about becoming financially free through real estate investing, but don’t have the time or knowledge to get started? Welcome to the Real Estate Cowboys podcast. Each week we discuss passive income investment opportunities in the red hot Texas market. John Larson and the Real Estate Cowboys will show you how to leverage their team to build wealth in real estate through passive investment opportunities. And now here’s John.

John Larson: Welcome back to the Real Estate Cowboys. This is your host, John Larson. This week we are talking about 10 real estate investment books you absolutely must-read. Now for successful real estate investors out there, you’re always learning more, right? From what I know in real estate, really anything but real estate especially, it’s constantly changing. I don’t believe there’s anybody out there that knows everything there is to know about real estate. Real estate is just, it’s a constantly moving thing. The market goes up, it goes down, you know, different markets, they change over time, right? Like for example, Detroit used to be a top-five metro in the entire U.S. Now it’s somewhere in the teens, I believe. Now you look at the growth of what we’re experiencing in Texas, Dallas and Houston, and Austin and San Antonio. All of these cities are just on a major, major growth spurt.

So markets change, you know, areas of the country change for whatever reason, and that’s going to dictate the real estate market. So I believe you know, you need to make sure that you’re constantly educating yourself and actually on the basic practices of real estate, right? And reading other people’s stories, reading other people’s experiences. So when something like that comes up, a similar experience, you kind of know how to handle it, right? You don’t really ever want to be caught off guard in this industry. You kind of want to position yourself to be ready for anything. And so I believe, you know, these books that I’m going to name here are just some of my favorites, but I believe these are some books that you should read in order to better prepare yourself for, you know, investing in real estate or preparing yourself for problems because they will come.

And like I said, taking other people’s firsthand accounts of how they solved the problem or when a problem came up, how they tackled it, how they attacked it, how they got out of it will really help you down the road. And just knowing the basic principles of real estate investing in and out will make it a lot easier on you when making decisions on where to invest your money, what markets to invest your money in, what class of property you invest some money in, what type of properties to invest your money in; Single-family homes, commercial retail, property, land, uh, vacation properties. Whatever it may be, you know, or just private lending and you know, you just want to become a lender, whatever it may be. It’s good to constantly be reading and, and educating yourself on the different options that are available to you.

And like I said, just getting knowledge from people who are more so, I guess, experts in the industry and have been around the block a few times, right? They’ve experienced recessions, they’ve experienced great times with real estate and it’s good to kinda hear how they navigated through a recession, right? How they navigated through a downtime in the market or how they took advantage of a recession to make a boatload of money. Right? Cause I’m a firm believer in going into any recession cash-heavy and buying up as much real estate as you can because you know, real estate is never going to go to zero and it’s always going to rebound, right? Things looked pretty bleak back in 2008 but they’re not looking so bleak today. The real estate market is as hot as it’s ever been. So let’s get into it. Just before we get into the first book, you know, I would just like to remind everyone that you know, whether you’re a new or experienced real estate investor, it only makes sense that you’d want to educate yourself as much as possible, right?

Even myself, I’ve been in real estate now for the better part of a decade and I don’t know everything. There’s still problems that I need to tackle every day. Things that pop up that I didn’t see coming, right? So it’s just good to constantly be reading and educating yourself and talking with other investors, you know, and learning from other investors, going to conferences, going to expos, going and just learning from people that have been doing it for longer than you and may have done more deals than you. Right? Because real estate is all about just it’s doing it. You know, it’s taking action. You’re never really just going to learn from reading a book. It will give you the basic principles and give you some guidelines and give you some advice. But, but really you’ve got to get your hands dirty in this industry. That means you gotta start buying properties, try and flip a property yourself, understand what goes into renovating properties.

It’s not easy. Understand what goes into managing general contractors that are managing crews and you know, all that sort of stuff. On the rehab side, it’s, it’s, it’s very time-consuming. It’s not as easy as you think and it’s tough to do. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you’ve never rehabbed a house before, it’s going to be really hard to manage your general contractor. You’re basically just gonna be taking his word for it when it comes to pricing or timeframes or whatever it may be. So it’s really good to kind of get your hands dirty and do one yourself. So then you can understand what things cost. Do you understand how long things take to get done? And so your, your general contractor’s not going to take advantage of you at that point. Definitely educate yourself as much as possible as I said.

And there are many, many different real estate investment books to choose from. But the ones I’ve chosen, a standout is absolute must-reads in my mind. And the first one is The ABCs of Real Estate Investing: The Secrets of Finding Hidden Profits Most Investors Miss by Ken McElroy. And so whether you’re just starting out in real estate investing or a veteran of the field, it always helps to have a handy guide to turn to when you need a bit of guidance. Okay. Because it’s going to happen. And so what Ken does in this book is expertly break down the many concepts that are relevant to this specific industry of real estate investing. And in order to become fluent in the language of real estate, you must first learn the ABCs. And that’s precisely what this book is all about. Okay.

Number two is a book by Robert Kiyosaki, which is Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids about the Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not. Okay. And this has really got some great, great principles and it’s not just about real estate. Um, you know, it goes into detail about how two men greatly influenced his attitude and perspective on money. And so it’s not all about real estate, but it provides a lot of useful tips, right? And just mindset when it comes to investing and things like that. So that’s a really, really good one by Robert Kiyosaki.

Number three is How to Invest in Real Estate for Beginners by Tony Copperfield. And so moving from one career and then transitioning into real estate is not going to be easy, but it can be done if you have a good grasp on what to do when you’re just starting out. In Tony’s book, he’s unafraid to break things down to the simplest terms so that the readers are able to understand everything that they must. Also covered in the book are the common pitfalls that can victimize beginners in the industry. I would read this book to figure out how to expertly avoid those mistakes for sure. So this gives you a lot of good tips on how to get started. Great, great book in terms of just understanding, because there are a lot of pitfalls when it comes to real estate investing and if you’re new to it, you’re not really going to understand the nuances of it. You’re not going to really understand all the pitfalls that are associated with it. There’s going to be people that are going to try and take advantage of you; contractors, specifically, even brokers and agents that are just trying to make a sale and talk you into a deal that’s not the greatest deal. But you know, you got to know, you’ve got to know how to analyze deals. You’ve got to know how to analyze markets. You gotta know how to analyze comps. You need to know all that stuff and you need to know what goes into renovating properties. I’m telling you it’s not as easy as you think and you need to understand the ins and outs and what things cost to really be a professional real estate investor.

Uh, number four is What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know about Cash Flow and 36 Other Key Financial Measures by Frank Gallinelli. So even if you’re able to understand the more complex aspects of real estate investing, that knowledge really won’t be enough to propel you to the top. Managing your cash flow correctly is just as crucial to your success. So this book is all about teaching readers what they need to know about operating incomes, cap rates, and numerous other essential financial terms. So this is really good on the financing side and how to manage your money and how to manage your cash flow when you’re building a rental portfolio, you’re bringing in passive income through real estate. So definitely recommend this one as well.

Number five is The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor: Powerful Tips Anyone Can Use to Deduct More, Invest Smarter, and Pay Far Less to the IRS. This is by Amanda Han and Matthew McFarland. This is a great book to read when it comes to the tax savings that are available to you. Okay? It gives you the tax strategies that you need to know. So when you’re sitting down with your CPA, you’re taking advantage of all the tax benefits that are available to you when owning real estate. And, and I agree tax-related matters, uh, with real estate can become very complex very quickly. If you don’t stay on top of them, they can become your personal nightmare for sure. And so what this book aims to do is provide you with a handy guide for dealing with the intricacies of real estate taxes. The tips included in the book should also help you effectively cut down the amount of time you have to spend working on your taxes.

Okay, so that’s one through five. We are going to take a quick commercial break. When we come back, we will discuss the other five books that I recommend to you. If you’re starting out in real estate or if you’re just trying to brush up and learn more about real estate investing, just making yourself a better investor. Right? And the great investors that I know read daily, they’re always reading new books and it’s not just necessarily about real estate, it’s about mindset. Um, it’s about motivation. It’s about, you know, a lot of books out there that just like talk about the entrepreneurial spirit, you know, which I believe all of real estate investors have that entrepreneurial spirit. So, you know, I recommend beefing up on some of that stuff too. Motivational books, um, books about entrepreneurship, books that talk about people’s success or failures in real estate or, and really in any, any industry because you could apply those success and failures, those experiences to your own life and your own profession. Um, so I definitely recommend books like that as well. But when we come back from the partial break, we’ll finish off with the last five books and also one honorable mention. Stay tuned, Real Estate Cowboys.

And welcome back from that commercial break. This is your host, John Larson. We’ve already gone through one through five on the 10 books that I recommend, um, for anybody that’s looking to brush up on their real estate investing skills. These are books that I believe are absolute must-reads.

So now we’re on number six and that would be The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan, and Dave Jenks. So with anything, experience, as they say, is the best teacher, right? And this collaborative effort by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan of the real estate franchise, Keller Williams, as well as Dave Jenks of the Free Enterprise Warriors. The readers can learn more about the experiences in real estate by over 100 millionaire investors. Pretty good. You can create your own investing guidelines based on the lessons provided by the people featured in this book in order to boost your chances for success. So you’re going to have, basically, you’re going to learn from experiences in real estate by over a hundred millionaire investors. That’s 100 successful people in real estate that you’ll be learning from in this book. So I definitely recommend this one as well.

Number seven, The Book on Rental Property Investing: How to Create Wealth and Passive Income Through Smart Buy & Hold Real Estate Investing by Brandon Turner. If you’ve heard of Brandon Turner before, it’s probably associated with Bigger Pockets. So this is a book if you’re more interested in rental properties and how to manage them most effectively. This book written by Brandon sheds a light on how investors should handle their rental offerings. It contains specific pointers for better financing and it applies to all kinds of investors. You’ll also be given a variety of detailed investing strategies that you can try out yourself. So book on rental property investing. So this is for my rental property investors out there. They’re listening to the show. This is a good book that you should read for sure.

Number eight, The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs: The Investor’s Guide to Defining Your Renovation Plan, Building Your Budget, and Knowing Exactly How Much It All Costs by J Scott. Now I love this one, right? And I’ve mentioned already twice, twice, two or three times on his episode that you should really know what goes into renovating properties. I mean really, I mean your money is won and lost on acquisition and on rehab. You know, you’d never want to overpay for a property. Definitely, want to get the property for as low under market value as you can, right? Cause that’s gonna build that buffer for that rehab budget for you, but then also give you that larger margin so you can make greater profits on these flips. But the money is won and lost on the acquisition and the money is won and lost on the rehab. You really, really, like I said, you need to know how to find good deals. You need to know that you’re buying a good deal, right? You cannot take a broker, a real estate agent or wholesaler’s word for it. They’ll talk you into it. They’re trying to make a sale. You need to know how to underwrite good deals. If you do that and then you marry that with the fact that you know how to professionally renovate a property. You know what things cost, you know how much time it takes to remodel a bathroom or you know, or to do some flooring in a 2000 square-foot house. You know what goes into that stuff, right? Cause you’ve done it before or you’re familiar with it, right? Fixing and flipping houses has become a cottage industry unto itself. If you’ve always been curious about what a flipping what flipping a house entails, then it would be well worth your time to check out this, this book, The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs: The Investor’s Guide to Defining Your Renovation Plan, Building Your Budget, and Knowing Exactly How Much It All Costs by J Scott. This is a great, great read. The book gets you into how you need to approach potential properties to flip. It will provide you with guidelines to follow as you check the properties. After reading this book, you should be able to quickly tell if a specific property is worth your time and money. This is a good one. I mean, I’m telling you, I have probably stubbed my toe, scraped my knee most in my career by getting taken advantage of by contractors. Um, early on, not knowing exactly what, uh, things costs, whatever, you know, so on and so forth. That is where you can really be taken advantage of. Like I said, it’s pretty much two places. Taking the word of a real estate agent or a wholesaler or a buddy or whatever is saying that that’s a good deal and you go and buy it and you overpay for it or you buy a property that’s really not a good deal. Maybe it’s not the best location, whatever it may be, that’s, you’re going to get tricked there. And then, you know, these contractors, they can smell you from a mile away if you don’t know what goes into renovation, if you don’t know what things cost, they’re going to take advantage of you. Okay, so that was number eight.

Number nine, this is a good one for, um, investors, my investors in California or you know, in New York or in, uh, Arizona, some markets where the real estate market is just really ran too high. There’s not as many opportunities. Um, cap rates are low. Uh, so you’re looking, you know, properties are unaffordable, you know, so you’re looking for other markets outside of your own backyard to invest. Well, number nine, Long-Distance Real Estate Investing: How to Buy, Rehab, and Manage Out-of-State Rental Properties by David Greene. And I’m sure everyone that’s listening to this show, the important thing in real estate is most important thing or one of them is location. So what should you do if you live somewhere where the market is not suitable for investing at the moment? Well, this is a great book. It’ll teach you a how to invest in properties located elsewhere and make those an option for you, right?

So David Green shows you how to succeed with your out of state investments. The lessons from this book should also make it easier for you to determine which specific markets are worth investing in moving forward. So I definitely recommend this one. If you are an investor in the some of the states that I mentioned where the real estate market is just too, is ran too high, cap rates aren’t there, opportunities really aren’t there. They don’t make sense. Well, still want to invest in real estate, right? It’s still the option that’s made the most people wealthy in the entire U.S. has been real estate investing, but it’s just your own backyard doesn’t make sense. So you got to look outside of your backyard, right? America is a pretty large country. There’s other markets, other states out there in the union that make better sense for the type of investments that you’re looking for, you know, or investments that fit your goals. So definitely recommend this book.

All right, number 10 the last book I have here, Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing: The Blueprint to Quitting Your Job with Real Estate – Even Without Experience or Cash by Michael Blank. Wow, that sounds pretty good. Quitting my job. Start in real estate and I don’t need any experience or cash, I’d love to, for those of you that that fit that mold, that are looking to quit your day job and get into real estate so you can live a more fulfilling life, free life. You know, we all talk about all the time, what’s your return on life? You know, if you’re making over $100,000 a year, but you hate your job or your hours are terrible, you know, it’s not, it’s no way to live. You know, I have some buddies back in Michigan that work for the big three, and their hours, they’re working 50 60 hours a week to make over a hundred thousand dollars. That doesn’t sound very attractive to me. Right? So this is a great book to get started with that. And you know, obviously the allure of real estate investing is hard to resist if you want to do it right, even without a ton of experience and money, you’ll need some great tips. Okay? And I think all of these books that I mentioned will really help with that. But Michael Blink helps readers by offering pointers that will be very useful once it’s time to negotiate a deal. Michael also provides tips for raising funds. If you need some extra cash, you also gain valuable insight into an apartment building, investing from his book. So that’s a great one to check out too.

And then finally we have an honorable mention, which is The Passive Income Guide: What is Your Return on Life by yours truly, John Larson I threw this one in there because like I said, I promote it pretty much every time I’m on the show. It’s a quick, easy read. It’s only about 50 pages. We got some great information in that book. We give you, uh, you know, 89 questions or something like that to ask your property manager before you hire them and you don’t have to ask them all 89, but you should familiarize yourself with some of these questions when you’re vetting out a property manager. Information on vacation rentals, how to earn passive income from those; information on self-directing your IRA or 401k; information on uh, the difference between stocks and you know, what are the pros of stocks, what are the cons of stocks and related to real estate, um, information on private lending, how to become a private lender, what is private lending? And information on, on rentals specifically. You know, what to look out for when you’re purchasing a rental property. You know, so you make sure you’re not buying yourself a lemon. But this book is really good, really fast, quick read, very inexpensive. The foreword was written by Keith Weinhold of Get Rich Education, which is another great podcast. If you don’t listen to that one, definitely subscribe to that podcast. And, uh, you know, for the value of the book, I mean, you get it on Amazon. I think the e-book is like under $3, something like that. Uh, go ahead and, and download that book. Read it. It’s gonna give you some basic principles on what we do at the Real Estate Cowboys and American Real Estate Investments. And um, you know, it just gives you some good insight. Like I said, if anything, the property management questionnaire is a big one. And also, you know, just how to, how to look for a good rental property. You should definitely know that stuff, you know, cause otherwise you’re gonna get taken advantage of. And I give some, a lot of good basic principles that you can read where you can decipher what is an A, B and c class property. You know, how do I find the most passive income rental properties out there on the market? What things should I avoid? So I’m not buying a problem. I’m not buying a job. I’m not buying a money pit. Okay.

So, hey, reading these 11 books or at least some of them will go a long way for giving you the inside information you need to really excel in real estate investing. And if you have any other questions after reading some of these books, you can always opt-in. and A member of my team will be standing by to answer any more questions that you may have about real estate investing. Uh, you can always email me as well. You can contact me from the Real Estate Cowboys, DFW website and I’m always available to answer questions also. Or if you’re the investor out there who’s educated themselves enough and you’re ready to take action, you want to start becoming a private lender, buying rental properties, get a vacation rental, whatever it may be. Um, interested in investing in the growing cannabis industry, CBD. We have a CBD business as well. Uh, we have a lot of options for you, so just go to and If you’re ready to get started making money, putting your money to work for you, ready to take action, we can help you. Uh, so that’s it. That’s all we have for this week. So glad that you tuned in. Hope you enjoyed the episode. Hope you go out and get some, or all of these books that I just named and really, uh, you know, brush up on your, on your real estate investing skills. And in the meantime, always remember what’s your return on life. Have a great week everybody. This is John Larson signing off.

Announcer: All opinions expressed by the host of the show are the opinions of American Real Estate Investments LLC and do not reflect the opinions of guests or sponsors. No personal or professional advice on this program should be considered an endorsement to follow a real estate financing or investment strategy. Before acting on any information, seek advice from your financial tax, mortgage or real estate advisor, as the information is not guaranteed and investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss.