Business Management

What Would Warren Buffett Do? 12 Quotes for Smarter Investing

Expertise: Business Management, Personal Development, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Investing Basics, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate News & Commentary
170 Articles Written

Regardless of your age, there is one thing to keep in mind as you continue to navigate your life and try to figure out which direction you should go on different things (like investing!). This one thing you should keep in mind is the quote that has gotten me where I am today, that continues to help me decide who I should be listening to and who I should graciously tell to go jump off a cliff, and that simplifies my own navigation.

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“Don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade shoes with.”

Most of us are constantly fed people’s opinions on what we should be doing with our lives. Every time this happens to me—and even when it is people on BiggerPockets responding to my articles or my forum posts—I immediately ask myself if I would trade shoes with that person in terms of their lifestyle and success. If the answer is “no,” I thank them for their opinions and move on. If the answer is “yes,” I start listening very carefully.

Now, who is one person we can all probably agree is someone we might all consider taking advice from? How about the billionaire legend Warren Buffett? I don’t know about you, but if Mr. Buffett were sitting right in front of me dishing out real estate investing advice, I might be pretty keen to listen to it.


Related: 21 Quotes to Keep You Going—Even When the Entrepreneurial Life Gets Tough

Since it is unlikely Mr. Buffett himself will be sitting at your dinner table anytime soon offering you advice on your real estate investing career, I’ve compiled a list of what I have deemed to be some of his best pieces of advice. Take them or leave them as you wish. Maybe they apply to your situation and maybe they don’t, but I’d venture to say they are certainly worth a quick consideration.

12 Warren Buffett Quotes for Better Investing

In no particular order, here are some of my favorite tips from Mr. Warren Buffett himself!

  1. “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” (One of his most famous!)
  2. “A public opinion poll is no substitution for thought.” (Don’t just listen to everyone and their moms ranting off about stuff and take it for gold!)
  3. “Think in terms of income, not appreciation.” (Always be cautious when speculating!)
  4. “You ought to be able to explain why you’re taking the job you’re taking, why you’re making the investment you’re making, or whatever it may be. And if it can’t stand applying pencil to paper, you’d better think it through some more. And if you can’t write an intelligent answer to those questions, don’t do it.” (Yes!)
  5. “Use partnerships to fill gaps in your expertise.” (Be willing to admit your weaknesses and be willing to bring in team members to fill those!)
  6. “Minimize your mistakes and learn from those you make.” (Literally the key to successful real estate investing in my opinion!)
  7. “I really like my life. I’ve arranged my life so that I can do what I want.” (The difference between investing and a job!)
  8. “When you plan to buy, plan to hold.” (Buffett is huge on the idea of holding! Remember the importance of long-term plays.)
  9. “The macro view is more important than the micro view.” (Look at the big picture!)
  10. “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” (Be educated!)
  11. “Embrace the boring.” (Sometimes the boring long-term plays are the most successful!)
  12. “I’d buy up a couple thousand single-family homes if it were practical to do so. Houses are better than stocks.” (Maybe a little biased on my part since this is what I do, but he has a point!)


Related: What Warren Buffett Just Told Me About Real Estate is Great News for Investors

I could probably keep going, as there is no shortage of advice and ideas from the man himself, but use the ones I gave you as motivation to think bigger. Look to the guys who have done what you are trying to do. Do you want to become rich, do you want to become financially free, do you want to be able to choose your lifestyle? Or maybe you are just looking for security for your family. Whatever it is, find the guys who have done it and follow in their footsteps. Nothing personal to people chiming in on the BP Forums, but they are no Warren Buffett!

Always, always take into consideration who is behind the advice being offered you. I can pretty much promise that if you listen to the majority of people around you, you aren’t going to get where you really want to go.

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.

Who are your favorite REI legends or icons or influencers? Who would you most want to trade shoes with?

Let me know with a comment!

Ali Boone is a lifestyle entrepreneur, business consultant, and real estate investor. Ali left her corporate job as an Aerospace Engineer to follow her passion for being her own boss and creating true lifestyle design. She did this through real estate investing, using primarily creative financing to purchase five properties in her first 18 months of investing. Ali’s real estate portfolio started with pre-construction investments in Nicaragua and then moved towards turnkey rental properties in various markets throughout the U.S. With this success, she went on to create her company Hipster Investments, which focuses on turnkey rental properties and offers hands-on support for new investors and those going through the investing process. She’s written nearly 200 articles for BiggerPockets and has been featured in Fox Business, The Motley Fool, and Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine. She still owns her first turnkey rental properties and is a co-owner and the landlord of property local to her in Venice Beach.

    The German
    Replied about 11 years ago
    I believe that the best real estate sales happen in the country side. It is a win-win situation and that is a market that can never slow down. In an area like rural Germany or France, the vistas are so beautiful that people can’t resist it. And the price is also pretty realistic. Nice article and all the 4 points make sense. Thanks 🙂
    Crystal Tost
    Replied over 9 years ago
    I find the advertising in other countries and in mediums that are not real estate related a waster of money and time. I think targeted advertising coupled with good pricing and proper presentation will get the house sold to a local buyer that is likely out there as we speak. Why focus on an audience that you are not even sure exists in mediums that are not targeted?
    David Grbich
    Replied almost 9 years ago
    Setting a realistic list price at 10% below market may lead to a very lonely existence as a realtor – not many sellers in the California market have the equity to price 10% below market – but yes that should get the home sold. Great point overall – thanks.
    Christopher Smith Investor from brentwood, california
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Excellent Article: Although I gained most of my financial background through more recently acquired academic and hands on real world experience, Buffet’s principles for investing are truly timeless and solid gold. They not only address a fundamental understanding of basic finance, but also (and perhaps more importantly) a basic understanding of human nature (fear, greed, command/control of one’s own emotions, etc.). I’m currently reading “Security Analysis”. It really represents the seminal effort in the world of modern finance and investments and was the bible that Buffet himself read as a very young man to learn the business from the true luminaries of the day. In fact, he still recommends it as the #1 read for those attempting to achieve sustained investment success in whatever area of investing that one chooses to enter (which is why he has written the book’s forward). Its no light read for sure (about 800 pages), but if you are willing devote the time and focus to really understand it you come away with all the fundamental tools and the vision necessary to make in this business. I personally started investing heavily in real estate in the 2009 to 2011 time frame, based in large part on Buffet’s principles. I also recall when he made the statement above about going out and buying 2000 SFRs, which was very heartening to hear as I was just beginning to make a significant commitment of money to the area at roughly that time.
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Hey Christopher! All great info, thanks for sharing! Great book recommendation, thank you.
    Mike Riordan Investor from Stoughton, Massachusetts
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I should probably read this every day for awhile.When you plan to buy plan to hold is my favorite,if uncounted on appreciation makes selling the only reasonable choice…oh well,but this attitude will give staying power long term.
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Hi Mike! Can never hurt to reread things over and over in support of letting them sink in! 🙂
    Caleb Friberg Investor from Longview/Kelso, Washington
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great post Ali! You should create a motivational print out poster of these quotes so people can hang in their office for daily reminders. Keep it up! 🙂
    Jeremy Hanna Lender from Wichita, KS
    Replied over 1 year ago
    @Ali Boone, I agree with @Caleb Friberg that you should create a print out of the quotes! Beyond that, This article has power to motivate and guide, which is why i am using it as a resource to create some accountability checks in my life. Thank you for taking the time to write it!
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks Jeremy! 🙂 Haha…if I print them out, do I sell them on Etsy? 😉
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Ooooh, I like that Caleb! 🙂
    Theodore Renka Investor from Highland Lakes, New Jersey
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great article. The 1st quote is my favorite. Donald Trump is my favorite real estate icon. He changed the game in a lot of ways and his books are great.
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Which ones do you recommend Theodore?
    Colin March Rental Property Investor from Portland, ME
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Was this comment about Trump sarcastic?
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Which one Colin?
    PJ Muilenburg Rental Property Investor from Sapulpa, OK
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I told myself I’d read some of his literature if he won the presidency (not sure why that matters ha). I assume The Art of the Deal should be my go to or what?
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Haha PJ…so many comments in response, so little time 😉
    PJ Muilenburg Rental Property Investor from Sapulpa, OK
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I’ve heard #12 before and it fascinates me considering his stature and portfolio. Certainly encouraging to us small single family landlords.
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    I thought so too PJ! 🙂
    Alex Saleeby Specialist from Beaumont, TX
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great article Ali. Mr. Buffett’s wisdom is invaluable. I’ve saved this post so i can go back and re-read it periodically.
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Awesome, Alex! 🙂
    Don Alberts from Frankfort, Illinois
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Mr. Buffet’s quotes are timeless to success Thanks to all. Don
    Ali Boone Business Owner & Investor from Venice Beach, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Thank you Don!
    Matt Millard from Lewisville, Texas
    Replied 11 months ago
    Learned a lot from my decades long studies & 5 trips to Omaha for Berkshire Annual Meetings & the Private Parties & related events!