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The Best Commercial Real Estate Books to Read Now


Jun 10, 2020 by Brad Cartier

Education is the backbone of every real estate investor's journey. Whether it's academic or practical, the lessons we learn -- good and painful ones -- build the intellectual scaffolding we need to run our real estate businesses. Part of this education journey involves digesting articles, reports, magazines, and books.

For commercial real estate investors, it can be challenging to find the best commercial real estate books to fill up our bookshelves. With an eye on authors who have been there before, what follows is a comprehensive look at the best commercial real estate investing books, broken down into different categories. Here is an outline of dozens of commercial real estate books and why investors should add them to their reading list.

Books on investing in commercial real estate

Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate: How a Small Investor Can Make It Big by Brian H. Murray and Chris Abell

This is a foundational book for anyone involved in commercial real estate. Crushing It in Apartments and Commercial Real Estate is a bootstrapping guide to investing in this asset class. In this book, Murray talks about finding and financing commercial rental property deals, growing your portfolio the smart way, how to find your competitive advantage, how to improve your net operating income (NOI), and real-life stories of commercial deals -- good and bad. Of particular interest is that Murray focuses on smaller, mom and pop investors and keeps the strategies and tactics simple and easy to understand.

The Commercial Real Estate Investor's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Road Map to Financial Wealth by Steven D. Fisher

Although published over a decade ago, this commercial real estate book is a good one for any beginner in this asset class. Veteran real estate operator Steven Fisher gets into all submarkets of commercial real estate: warehouses, apartments, hotels, retail, mobile homes, and shopping centers. Fisher takes the reader through the commercial transaction and operation process soup to nuts. The best thing about this book is that it contains hundreds of actionable tips for how to optimize your investing and operations, from auctions to tax sales, financing, inspections, and even escrow tips.

The Complete Guide to Developing Commercial Real Estate by Robert Wehrmeyer

Not everyone wants to buy a resale commercial property, so they look to develop. Wehrmeyer gives a comprehensive overview of the commercial real estate development process, outlining each phase from idea to ribbon-cutting. If you haven't done any development before, you need to understand how it's different from a standard commercial real estate transaction and operation.

How to Win in Commercial Real Estate Investing: Find, Evaluate & Purchase Your First Commercial Property -- in 9 Weeks Or Less (Rich Dad Library) by R. Craig Coppola

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a foundational book for most real estate investors. As part of the Rich Dad series, Coppola introduces the commercial real estate investing world to readers. The author digs deep into the different commercial real estate markets, how to weather downturns, and how to master brokering, leasing, and investing in commercial assets. Coppola begins with an extremely important and often neglected topic: goals. In this book, you'll be given a step-by-step process to succeed in commercial real estate even if you're a beginner.

Mastering the Art of Commercial Real Estate Investing: How to Successfully Build Wealth and Grow Passive Income from Your Rental Properties by Doug Marshall

As with anything in life, why reinvent the wheel when there is an existing and successful model? Marshall provides that model for commercial real estate investing. With 35+ years of commercial real estate experience, Marshall delves into every aspect of commercial real estate from analysis to due diligence to operations. In this comprehensive look at commercial investing, you'll be given the six laws to help you build wealth in this asset class, including when not to buy a property.

Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur: What It Takes to Win in High-Stakes Commercial Real Estate by James A. Randel

If you're looking to learn through stories and anecdotes, this book is for you. We learn by doing and experiencing, and Randel takes us through the commercial real estate world with a series of successes and cautionary tales. With candor and honest self-deprecation, Randel gives readers the tools they need to succeed in commercial real estate investing. I would place this book in the category of value-add commercial real estate, so if you're looking to operate in the resale commercial market as opposed to new development, this book is perfect.

The Due Diligence Handbook for Commercial Real Estate: A Proven System to Save Time, Money, Headaches and Create Value When Buying Commercial Real Estate by Brian Hennessey

The one thing any real estate investor can't afford to skip or mismanage is due diligence. This handbook arms commercial real estate investors with the tools they need to optimize their due diligence processes. For instance, Hennessey gets into what you must include in your offer to ensure due diligence success, lease reviews, hidden problems, and much more.

Books on commercial real estate negotiations

How to Finance Commercial Real Estate -- How to Structure and Close the Deal: Acquisition, Loan Financing Deal Terms and Conditions Explained by Arthur VanDam

Without mastering how to negotiate and structure deals, real estate investors will be left with expensive and poorly producing assets. Based on experience in the New York City commercial real estate market, VanDam has over $2 billion in commercial transactions under his belt and gives readers anecdotal lessons on how best to negotiate and finance commercial deals under different circumstances. Best of all, the author takes readers through the entire process with a fictional case study to provide better insights into this real estate asset class.

Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals for Dummies by Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield

The best real estate investors know what they don't know. This book gets into the basics of negotiation and leases in the commercial real estate world. As the title suggests, this is a foundational textbook for operators in this space looking to optimize their leasing, a make-or-break component of any commercial real estate investing business. In this book, Willerton and Grandfield get into the legal rights and responsibilities of commercial landlords, negotiation best practices, the ins and outs of leases and renewals, and the laws that govern commercial leasing.

The Book on Negotiating Real Estate: Expert Strategies for Getting the Best Deals When Buying & Selling Investment Property by J. Scott , Carol Scott, and Mark Ferguson

This is one of the best books out there on how to close more real estate deals. With over 1,000 deals under their belts, Scott and Ferguson present their real-world experience and take readers through the science of negotiating real estate, starting at the very beginning when you interact with a seller or buyer. Some of the highlights of this book include optimal first offers, counteroffers, overcoming objections, concessions, contract contingencies, using agents, and much more.

Books on commercial real estate salesmanship

Brokers Who Dominate: 8 Traits of Top Producers by Rod Santomassimo

Even if you're not looking to become a broker, understanding this critical role in the commercial real estate transaction process is crucial for investors. With 25 years in the commercial real estate brokerage business as a broker, Santomassimo recognizes there are no "silver bullets" and takes readers through the "success levers" of commercial real estate brokerage. Most importantly, this book discusses the ongoing habits operators in this space must master in order to weather any market cycle.

Confessions of a Commercial Real Estate Broker: Daily Lessons Learned From Life and CRE by Jim Baker

Baker uses historical context to take readers through sophisticated perspectives on the commercial real estate world. Using advice and humor, this book chronicles commercial real estate lessons through 365 days of the year, each day with thoughtful lessons learned and reflections. This memoir of sorts is a passionate take on a life lived in commercial real estate operations, the ups and downs, and a perspective that will give readers a better understanding of the industry.

Thrive: Ten Prescriptions for Exceptional Performance as a Commercial Real Estate Agent by Blaine Strickland

Performance is key in commercial real estate operations. Challenges will arise on a regular basis, but how you respond to them will dictate your successes and failures in this industry. Strickland prepares readers for these challenges with proven strategies that will help accelerate your performance as a commercial real estate operator. Of particular interest are the sections on building a commercial investing team, becoming the local expert, and how to create deeper relationships with your customers, team members, and peers.

Books on the laws and management of commercial real estate

Pain In the Asset Manager: Improve Performance Through Opportunistic Gains by Tim Nichols and Jonathan Gilstrap

This is an excellent and humorous book that takes readers through hundreds of hours of interviews with professionals involved in the commercial real estate management business. The idea behind the book is that amidst the thousands of tasks associated with commercial real estate property management, there are a select few that have a much greater impact on asset performance than the others. Nichols and Gilstrap focus on these tasks and give readers a practical take on how best to manage their portfolios of commercial real estate.

The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decision-Making and Investment by William Poorvu

You've got a deal under your belt and are handed the keys. Now what? Understanding the principles and systems behind effective commercial real estate operations is critical for all investors in this space. Poorvu takes us through real estate property management generally based on decades of experience and teaching at Harvard Business School. Through storytelling, the author gives a nontechnical perspective on how the players, properties, markets, and environment all factor into how we manage our real estate assets.

Books on commercial real estate leasing

The Art of Commercial Real Estate Leasing: How to Lease a Commercial Building and Keep It Leased (Rich Dad Library Series) by R. Craig Coppola

In another great commercial real estate investing book from Coppola, we get an in-depth perspective on the commercial leasing world. Coppola provides actionable advice that beginner investors who lack practical experience may not think of or may miss when leasing their commercial buildings. Of particular interest are the techniques Coppola uses to maximize income and minimize and optimize expenses. Coppola focuses primarily on corporate office space, so if this is a sector you're looking to gain a better perspective on then this book can be foundational.

Open for Business: The Insider's Guide to Leasing Commercial Real Estate by Tyler Cauble

This book opens up with cautionary tales about how commercial operators fail due to poor execution on commercial leasing. OK, you have my attention. Cauble takes the renter's perspective and gives readers an overview of understanding space requirements, location best practices, and how to negotiate commercial real estate leases. He also outlines best practices when finding a commercial broker to add to your team of real estate professionals. Although a book more for prospective commercial tenants, this perspective is critical for investors in this space to understand and master in order to effectively manage leasing and tenants.

Suite Deal: The Smart Landlord's Guide to Leasing Real Estate by Alice Devine

A winner of several book awards, Suite Deal is an excellent resource for those looking to become leasing professionals. Devine digs deep into the entire leasing process and how to build and maintain relationships with tenants and your commercial investing team. The book discusses several key action steps to an effective leasing strategy, how to craft proposals, and understanding different lease clauses.

Books on raising capital and mindset

Magnetic Capital: Raise All the Money for Any Worthy Venture by Victor J. Menasce

This book is not about the tactics associated with operating a real estate business but how to make yourself a magnet for other people's money (OPM). Most real estate investors, even in the commercial space, will need to attract outside capital to fund their projects. This involves trust and relationships, and Menasce dives deep into these principals in Magnetic Capital to give investors the tools they need to manage and attract outside investors.

Real Estate Handbook: Making Impossible Possible by Bruce M. Firestone

This is a great mindset book from a seasoned real estate entrepreneur. Firestone delves into the reasons real estate, including commercial assets, helps protect wealth through inflation, forced savings, and cash flow. Taking advantage of real estate opportunities requires a different way of looking at the world, and Firestone helps readers develop that entrepreneurial mindset as it relates to real estate investing.

Raising Capital for Real Estate: How to Attract Investors, Establish Credibility, and Fund Deals by Hunter Thompson

In this brand-new book, Thompson uses real-life stories to help readers develop the mindset to raise capital effectively. Because in the commercial real estate space you're likely dealing with more capital-intensive projects, raising outside funds from investors will be a cornerstone of your investing business. Just because you have a great deal doesn't mean the money will automatically show up. You have to go find it, and Thompson gives readers the tools and techniques on how to raise funds. Sections of note in this book include how to create content that attracts investors, offering decks, digital marketing, mastering investor calls, and the language used by sophisticated real estate syndicators.

Raising Private Capital: Building Your Real Estate Empire Using Other People's Money by Matt Faircloth

Many of us have heard of the BiggerPockets blog, but they also released a book last year about raising capital. Faircloth guides readers through practical techniques, systems, and tips to raising money from private investors. This roadmap is an effective strategy for growing and scaling your commercial real estate investing business. In the book, Faircloth outlines where to find private money, what you need to begin raising it, how to structure your deals, asset and fund protection, and exit strategies, all with an eye on protecting yourself and your investors.

Foundations of Real Estate Financial Modelling by Roger Staiger

Part of attracting outside capital is actually knowing what you're talking about and being the expert in the room on your chosen asset class. For commercial real estate operators, a cornerstone of your business will be financial modeling. Staiger gives us the technical tools needed to build robust pro forma modeling around our real estate assets.

This not only allows us to make better decisions but shows your partners and investors that you have an increased level of sophistication and knowledge about the assets under your management. Staiger provides in-depth knowledge around interest rates, amortization, valuations, rent rolls, waterfalls, simulations, risk quantification, and so much more. Used as a foundational textbook in many real estate classes, this acts as a reference book that you will use throughout your commercial investing career.

The bottom line

To get to the next level in the commercial real estate industry, we need to optimize our experience and knowledge. In order to achieve this, we need to get out of our comfort zones and learn new tools and techniques that will make us better commercial real estate investors.

The above are the best commercial real estate investing books out there, all of which will help you populate your physical and intellectual bookshelf to help you succeed as an investor.

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