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My Top Four Books for Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors are always on the hunt for more information and education. They love to network and grow their mindset to achieve big goals. If that sounds like you, then you’re in luck! I’ve compiled my list of the top four books for real estate investors to help you on your journey. These books have made an enormous impact on my life, and I hope they will do the same for you.

#1 – The One Thing by Gary Keller, Co-Founder of Keller Williams Realty

When I started my acquisitions career years ago, I was overwhelmed with the number of tasks I had to complete each day. Broker relations, underwriting deals, managing leads, meetings with investors, property and asset management, and the list goes on. How do I know what tasks are the most important? Should I take that meeting or visit that property, or try to fit in both? There were no clear answers until I cracked open this book. Here are my takeaways:

1. Everything does not matter the same. Most of the time, 20% of your effort yields 80% of the results. There are a few critical actions that lead to the biggest results. Find out what those critical actions are and focus on those actions every day.

2. Multitasking is impossible. Humans can’t focus our full attention on more than one thing at a time. We can walk and chew gum, but we cannot do two critical tasks at the same time. We only think we can. When it comes time to do important work, shut down everything else so you can focus on that task. No emails, no phone, no listening to a background podcast on the EarPods. The results will speak for themselves.

3. Discipline is only needed to form a habit. After that, it becomes autopilot. It’s a myth to think you need discipline to do something for the rest of your life. 

For example, if you want to start a habit of flossing every night, all you need is the discipline to do it every night for a few weeks. After that, it will become a habit for the rest of your life. Soon you won’t be able to go to bed without flossing. How do I know? I floss every night!

One of the best quotes from the book is “What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” That is the critical question to ask yourself to cut through the distractions and focus on the necessary tasks to accomplish your goals. 

#2 – Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator

The lessons in this book have made me thousands of dollars and emotional dividends in my relationship with my sons. I’ll explain how, but first here are my big takeaways:

1. Be a mirror. Repeat three (or so) of your counterpart’s last words using an upward inflection in your voice (turning it into a question) so you can get more information. Here is an example. Counterpart: “It’s been a tough year. It seems like you’re discounting all the financial and personal stress I’ve been under.” You: “Financial and personal stress?” Then remain silent until they respond.

2. Label their pain/feelings by using phrases like, “It sounds like,” “It seems like,” and “It feels like.” These phrases work better to convey that you understand their feelings or position better than saying “I understand.”

3. “No” is good. A “no” sets the stage for negotiation. Allowing someone to say “no” gives them space to think and to figure out what does and doesn’t work. A “yes” means nothing without implementation. How will the deal get done? Who else needs to agree? What are the next steps after we end the discussion? Without those answers, a “yes” is just a deal waiting to blow up.

Once, when negotiating a deal for land in the Charlotte area, I used mirroring and labeling plus a good summary of the negotiation up to that point to uncover information the selling broker was holding back. The seller was on a tight timeline and needed the deal to close in the next 60 days. Knowing this, we were able to stick to our original offer, which was a fair price, and avoid offering more. We saved thousands and avoided overpaying.

I have two young boys ages ten and seven that have a tough time communicating their feelings when they’re upset. I’ve found the usual questions like, “What’s going on?” or “What’s wrong?” usually yield little information. Instead, I say something like, “It seems like you’re really upset about ________,” or, “It looks like that (situation, person, or whatever) really bothers you?” Then I stay quiet for a few seconds (or minutes). When they respond, I repeat three words (or so) of the last words they said as a question back to them (a mirror). This usually gets them to open up more. I’ve used this many times to find out if a teammate bugs them, or a friend hurt their feelings. My sons get the sense I care and, usually, they are receptive to my advice afterward.

#3 – The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller

This book has had a tremendous impact on my life both in terms of mindset and practical application. I’ve never found a book that so clearly explains the practical reasons why one should invest in real estate and includes the actions one should take to become a real estate millionaire. Everything from understanding your net worth to your network is covered in this book. It’s a hidden gem for real estate investors who want to become millionaires. Let me explain…

Within the first few pages, Gary demolishes the idea that only a few lucky individuals find success. Instead, he suggests big models, big goals, and big success.

1. By studying the actions others took to become successful, we can take the same actions and find similar success in a shorter period. This is what he means by big models.

2. Big goals cause us to think big, causing us to take big actions. Aim for the stars, in other words.

3. Big models lead to big actions, which leads to big success. I’m oversimplifying for the sake of this article, but I think you get the point. 

Later in the book, Gary outlines a daily routine for millionaire real estate investors, and one that I follow daily, with a few tweaks: 1) Meditate and Pray (for spiritual energy), 2) Exercise and Eat (for physical energy), 3) Hug, Kiss, and Laugh with your loved ones (emotional energy), 4) Plan and Calendar (mental energy), 5) Review Budget and Net Worth (investment energy), and 5) Lead Generate and see real estate (wealth building energy). I’ve followed this plan for years. I recommend you adopt a similar routine to bring a sense of order to your daily life.

#4 – Rocket Fuel by Wickman and Winters

For a long time, I was frustrated with myself because I could visualize what I wanted in life and business, but I had problems implementing those ideas. This book helped me understand I’m a visionary/entrepreneur. It’s common for entrepreneurs to have ten ideas, and go 100 mph, but they have trouble handling the day-to-day. Knowing this brought me a sense of relief and excitement. 

On the other hand, the people who run an organization and manage the day-to-day, almost behind the scenes, are key to the success of any organization. These are what the book describes as integrators.

Here are my big takeaways:

1. Visionary/entrepreneurs usually provide inspiration and develop big ideas for the company or organization. They have lots of ideas, some better than others, and love to close big deals. They build relationships and can see the big picture. They often have problems following a standardized process, have little patience for details, and sometimes bite off more than they can chew.

2. Integrators are the glue that holds everything together. They are consistent, accountable, and adaptable. They can be accused of being too pessimistic, but they make sure the day-to-day is handled and the company policies are followed. They move slowly at times and can set the bar too high for themselves. But they solve problems and help everyone stick together.

3. If you’re a visionary/entrepreneur, you need an integrator to get things done. If you’re an integrator and you want to go far in business, you probably need a visionary/entrepreneur to partner with to get there. It is extremely rare for someone to be good at both, and even then, they will need a counterpart to help them along the way.

Hopefully, these brief descriptions help you recognize your strengths and weakness, and the type of people you need around you to accomplish your goals.

Conclusion

I’ve covered my top four books for real estate investors, including big takeaways and a few quotes. If you’re looking for your next book, I hope you’ll pick one from this list. It could change your life.