The 5 Best Methods to Start Learning About Real Estate Investing
Want more articles like this?
Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inboxSign up for free
What is the “right” source for you to study? Where do you find the best real estate knowledge? Let’s explore several of the most common learning methods you can use to obtain knowledge about the particular real estate niche you want to focus on.
Just thinking about buying a home for the first time brings waves of emotion. It’s both an exciting and frightening concept for most people. First and foremost, know you’re not alone! Over one-third of all Americans are considering buying a home in the next five years. Our First Time Home Buyer’s Guide prepares you for the road ahead.
The 5 Best Methods to Start Learning About Real Estate Investing
When I first got started investing in real estate, I fell in love with real estate books. The summer after I decided that real estate was going to be my future, I read more than 100 real estate books, averaging almost one per day. I didn't pay for most of them, because I simply went to my local library each week and reserved a handful of titles I wanted to read.
Books have a way of changing the way you think, because you are spending so much time inside an author’s head. By reading this book, today, you are getting a glimpse inside my mind and learning how I think about real estate. It took me a decade to learn how to get where I am today, and you will learn everything I know about rental properties in the next few hours!
Does that excite you as much as it does me?
I want to give you a list of my favorite real estate books, so you can head to your local library or hop onto Amazon.com and pick up a few for yourself, but rather than taking up space in this book to do so, I’ll simply invite you to go to BiggerPockets.com/BestBooks to find my list of my 21 favorite real estate books, written by such authors as Gary Keller, Spencer Strauss, J Scott, Larry B. Loftis, Frank Gallinelli, and Ken McElroy!
Related: 4 Toxic Habits That Sabotage Even the Most Promising New Investors
The last thing I want to say about books before we move on is this: don't just read. When you are first getting started, read as much as you can, but after a while, you will need to stop reading and start doing. You might brag to your friends that you read 20 books this month, but if you didn't learn anything or take action on the information in those books, what was the purpose? You would be better off reading just five books in a year and taking action on what you learned! So with this book, set a goal for yourself of reading every word, maybe even twice, and then putting the lessons in it into action.
Perhaps the newest educational medium on this list, podcasts are audio shows you can listen to online or on your smartphone. When I decided to take a more active role at BiggerPockets, the first thing I insisted to Josh (our CEO) was that we start a podcast, largely because I was addicted to listening to other podcasts, and I knew the power they had to help and inform people.
We launched the BiggerPockets Podcast in January 2013, and within days, we hit the top 10 list of ALL business podcasts on iTunes—and we’ve remained the number one real estate podcast in the world ever since. We’ve recorded more than 250 shows, covering everything from losing millions of dollars to investing while working a full-time job, as well as about wholesaling, lease options, rental properties, landlording, flipping, mobile homes, commercial investing, and so many other topics. We’ve asked every single guest about the real estate and business books that changed their lives. We’ve discovered the secret to their success and what they believe sets successful investors apart from those who give up or fail. We’ve asked them about their mistakes, failures, victories, and routines. And we’ve done all of this to help you become a better investor.
Podcasts are free, and you can listen to them while you drive, while you work, while you fold laundry. You can listen with your spouse, with your kids, or alone. You can even listen at double speed to fit more shows into your busy schedule.
I often talk about the power of the people with whom you spend your time and the influence they can have on your success. So why not spend a few hours each week taking in a real estate podcast and learning from other investors? Podcasts have an incredible way of making you feel like you know the host or guest, as though you are actually sitting down with them for coffee.
Every BiggerPockets meetup or event I attend, I hear that sentiment from dozens of people I’ve never met before; they tell me, “I feel like I know you!” And the funny thing is that because they have listened to so many episodes of our show, I feel like I know them, too. Keep in mind, if one show per week is not enough for you, there are dozens of real estate podcasts available (including BiggerPockets Money Show and BiggerPockets Business Podcast), some better than others. I’d recommend the BiggerPockets Podcast, of course, but my other favorites are The Real Estate Guys Radio Show and Just Start Real Estate with Mike Simmons, but if you look around, you may find others you enjoy also. And if you find a good show you enjoy, help the podcaster out by leaving him or her a rating and review on iTunes. Producing a podcast is the most time-intensive activity I do each week, so I know how much work goes into them.
Give your favorite podcaster a boost by improving their rankings in iTunes with a positive review!
If you had said the word “blog” 10 years ago, very few people would know what you were talking about. However, today, blogs are everywhere. For those still unaware, a blog is a collection of articles, called posts, published online for free. Anyone can start a blog and share their knowledge, which makes blog posts one of the best ways to gain real estate education without having to pay a penny. The Internet has hundreds, if not thousands, of real estate investing blogs written by real-life, practicing real estate investors and covering practically every real estate niche and strategy.
Books are amazing sources of information, and blog posts can offer terrific insight, but both of these sources are “one directional.” In other words, you only receive information. Engaging in a conversation with either one is difficult, if not impossible. So for this aspect of your education, I recommend getting involved in an online real estate investing forum.
Forums are essentially online conversations around a particular topic. One person starts a “thread,” or conversation, and anyone in the community can respond with a post to offer advice or knowledge or to in any other way further engage in the discussion. Forums are great, because when you are investing in rental properties, situations will arise that no book or blog post has ever addressed. For these “what if” questions, being able to ask for input from others in the same position via a popular real estate investing forum, such as the BiggerPockets Forum, is really nice. And most forums are free to use.
Related: 3 Feasible Ways to Start in Real Estate Wholesaling as a Complete Newbie
Not only are forums great for asking questions, they are also a fantastic way to network. When you jump into a forum to engage in conversation (no matter what your experience level is), people see you and connect, just like in the real world. You can quickly establish yourself as someone who is serious about the business and find potential lenders, partners, deals, and other valuable resources and opportunities. I often hear stories about individuals in the BiggerPockets Forums who are finding incredible success because of their participation there. I strongly encourage you to do the same—take 10 minutes each day to interact with others and build your reputation on the BiggerPockets Forums or the online forum of your choice.
Want to hear a secret?
YouTube has more than just cute cat videos! Shocking, I know. But with 432,000 hours of content being uploaded to the site every day, YouTube is actually filled with a lot of great educational content that can help you grow as a rental property investor.
Keep in mind that I’m not just referring to videos on real estate investing. You can also find videos on business management, motivation, home repairs, and pretty much anything else you need to help you become a more successful real estate entrepreneur. Just don’t get too sidetracked by all the cat videos. There are a lot of them!
What’s your favorite source of real estate knowledge?