George Samuel Clason tells us in his book Richest Man in Babylon, “Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those who are skilled in its keep.” These words serve as a reminder that while there is no formal training required of landlords and (in some jurisdictions) property managers, to oversee rental properties, rental investors looking for a good return are wise to be well prepared before investing money or taking on the task of managing rental properties.
One of the best ways to prepare for, well, anything is by reading as much as possible about the subject at hand. There are a number of great books about investing in and managing residential rental properties and an equal number of good reads about real estate and business in general.
Here is a list as recommended by some of the best in the business. Some consistently make the top ten lists, while those that do not are still great reads.
Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill) – One of the most widely read books on this list and for good reason, is given the number one spot for its’ outstanding ability to change the thinking of its readers around the world. According to Napoleon Hill, “the most powerful instrument we have in our hand is the power of our mind.” In this book, Napoleon Hill studies the lives of 40 millionaires and shares the wisdom and philosophies he extracted. Whether your goal is to be rich or not, if you have any intentions of being successful in whatever you do, this book is a must read.
The E-Myth: Revisited (Michael E. Gerber) – Slightly less popular than its predecessor, this book remains high on the list of small business owners and entrepreneurs as a reminder of “what not to do” that causes so many small businesses to fail every year. It also serves as a guide on what steps to take and systems to put into place for the journey to entrepreneurial success.
The 4-Hour Work Week (Tim Ferris) – While Tim’s style and methods are a bit controversial, there is a lot to be said about the paradigm shift this book brings about for many of its readers. Far too many entrepreneurs become successful at the expense of a healthy and balanced life, but the concepts in The 4-Hour Work Week can help provide that balance for open-minded and ambitious readers.
Landlording: A Handy Manual for Scrupulous Landlords and Landladies Who Do It Themselves (Leigh Robinson) – This book makes the list because of its useful and practical advice for the both the novice as well as the veteran landlord. It’s been referred to by some as the ‘bible’ for landlords and is one of the only books on the list that is constantly updated. Beware this book has several editions, each one offering good, solid, relevant advice about how to manage your tenants and your money.
Buy It, Rent It, Profit (Brian Chavis) – In some circles this book is touted “the guide” for multiple unit investors, and may be to property managers what Leigh Robinson’s book is to landlords. It provides very good, practical insight into the ‘how to’s of managing rental properties. Be warned there is some self-promoting in this one and some of the websites and resources mentioned are no longer relevant.
The Landlord’s Handbook (Daniel Goodwin and Richard Rusdorf) – This book provides some great real life scenarios for beginning and intermediate landlords to consider along with some practical advice on handling disputes, what to include in your leases and more. This book is considered an easy and enjoyable read.
Landlording on Auto-Pilot: A Simple, No-Brainer System for Higher Profits and Fewer Headaches (Mike Butler) – If you wish to place your landlording business on autopilot, this is the book for you. This book is said to be beneficial to both the newbie landlord as well as the veteran. It contains such great tidbits as “add a clause in the lease that rent automatically increases 2.9% annually”, and much more.
Streetwise Landlording & Property Management: Insider’s Advice on How to Own Real Estate and Manage It Profitably (Mark B. Weiss and Dan Baldwin) – Mostly geared towards the property manager rather than the landlord, this book is said to be one of the most comprehensive and informative books around for multi-dwelling property managers.
A Fool’s Guide to Landlording (Tony and Sandra Midea) – This guide is a witty and comical account of the life of a landlord at its worse. These real life landlords warn newbies to stay away at all costs, but provide lots of practical, useful advice for the bravest of the bunch. The comic relief provided in this guide is much appreciated.
Property Management Kit for Dummies (Robert S. Griswold) – This book provides everything landlords and property managers need to get started from lease agreements to tips on where and how to advertise. For many, this is the ‘must have’ guide not only for beginners, but as a refresher for veterans as well.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but should be viewed as a starting point on your journey to wise investments and highly effective management of your rental properties.
What are you reading, or have read in the past that has impacted your business?