Books about real estate tend to fall into two categories: building a real estate career and investing, two of the main goals in the industry. We put together a list of the best options out there to help you stay up to date on best practices, learn new skills, and access professional development opportunities.

Whether you want to explore real estate career options for the first time, or gain further training as an early career agent, you can find advice on how to succeed in the industry in many books written by and for real estate agents. Here we list the best real estate books for beginners to get you started on your reading journey. The information they provide typically includes basic industry concepts, selling techniques, and explanations of growth opportunities. If you’re looking to expand your reference library, you may consider buying some of these books to help you further advance your business.

Best Real Estate Books for Beginners to Help You Start & Build Your Real Estate Career

Sold: Every Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Building a Profitable Business 

Author: David M. Greene

Publisher: BiggerPockets Publishing

Publication Date: February 2, 2021


In the book, Sold: Every Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Building a Profitable Businessauthor David M. Greene shares the realities of becoming a new agent. Greene, formerly a police officer, changed careers to become a successful real estate investor. He shares his experience in order to demonstrate how agents can quickly adapt to their new work environment by shifting their mindset to that of a business owner. His honest assessment and mentoring tone encourages readers to achieve success. The book’s main theme centers around following the PLAN (Prospect, Lead follow-up, Appointments, and Negotiation) to ensure a constant flow of clients. With this PLAN, he breaks down how to earn $100,000 a year based on repeating consistent tasks. However, these tasks require hard work and might discourage new agents who think becoming a real estate agent is a fast and easy way to make a large income. It’s not, and knowing that can help readers make more informed decisions about whether this career makes sense for them.

Your First 365 Days in Real Estate 

Author: Shelley Zavitz

Publisher: Harriman House

Publication Date: June 3, 2019


Shelley Zavitz’s book, Your First 365 Days in Real Estate: How to Build a Successful Real Estate Business (Starting with Nothing) gives a personal account of Zavitz’s experience from day one as a new real estate agent. Her friendly, dry humor brings the reader along on her adventure, starting a new career after finding success in broadcasting for almost 15 years. Expecting her previous success to repeat itself, Zavitz discovers a completely different landscape and realizes that this journey comes with unforeseen challenges. She meets people along the way who help her, including a coach, an accountability partner, a visionary, and a mentor. This book tends to focus more on Zavitz’s life experiences as an agent in an entertaining and relatable way. However, the lack of specific information could potentially frustrate new agents who need a textbook rather than an autobiography. It works best as a supplement to your curriculum, from which you can ascertain general advice.

If, like Zavitz, you want to find your own real estate mentor, we created a guide to help you through that process. 

Real Estate Principles 

Author: Charles F. Floyd and Marcus T. Allen

Publisher: Dearborn Real Estate Education

Publication Date: January 1, 2021


Real Estate Principles by Charles F. Floyd and Marcus T. Allen serves as a self-study textbook that gives the reader a comprehensive overview of all the fundamental real estate concepts. The book is divided into separate units that each feature key terms, a unit preview, and review. The specific topics discussed include property rights, contract contingencies, negotiation, title closings, and the appraisal process. New agents might find this level of detail most useful for real estate test preparation. However, as a college-level textbook, it tends to be a more expensive investment than a general reference manual. Nevertheless, such a thorough coverage of industry topics will function as a crucial reference guide worth keeping on your bookshelf for many years.

Your 1st Year in Real Estate

Author: Dirk Zeller

Publisher: Currency

Publication Date: July 28, 2010


 Real Estate Agent Dirk Zeller, has written over 500 articles and six books, including Your First Year in Real Estate, 2nd Ed.,: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional. It offers a common sense approach to new agents starting their careers. His book provides an overview of how to find the right brokerage company, develop strong relationships, and improve your sales techniques. At times, Zeller’s book interjects inspirational quotes from successful people, such as Henry Ford, to emphasize the need for making the right choices. He also recommends staying away from the “donut bunch” in the office who typically pull in average sales and won’t inspire new agents to achieve more. Some readers may find this book’s motivational flavor unappealing because it doesn’t dive any deeper than what real estate agents already know.

Exactly What to Say

Author: Phil M. Jones, Chris Smith and Jimmy Mackin

Publisher: Box of Tricks Publishing

Publication Date: September 30, 2019


Exactly What to Say by Phil M. Jones, Chris Smith, and Jimmy Mackin guides real estate agents through specific communication techniques for forming stronger relationships with clients. The book suggests phrases that communicate directly to the client’s subconscious in order to influence their decisions. One phrase, “I’m not sure if it’s for you, but…,” retreats from a more aggressive sales tactic for situations that requires a more subtle approach. This book also provides a field guide for agents to learn useful phrases for developing trust and confidence with prospects. The authors wrote Exactly What to Say for new agents who may not know exactly where to navigate their conversation, rather than for an experienced agent with an already established reputation and strong communication skills.

Dictionary of Real Estate Terms 

Author: Jack P. Friedman, Ph.D., Jack C. Harris, Ph.D. and J. Bruce Lindeman Ph.D.

Publisher: Barron’s Educational Services

Publication Date: July 1, 2017


Dictionary of Real Estate Terms (Barron’s Business Dictionaries), Ninth Edition, by Jack P. Friedman, Ph.D., Jack C. Harris, Ph.D. and J. Bruce Lindeman Ph.D., contains about 3,000 real estate terms, with definitions and several illustrated examples. Each term is listed alphabetically to give new (and veteran) agents additional information about common words used in the real estate industry. The key terms cover financing, brokerage law, and architecture subjects. The guide also cross references related or synonymous terms, such as AAA-Tenant and Triple-A tenant. Although they list most real estate terms, some are missing, and new agents may need to seek out additional resources.

Related to best real estate books for beginners: Successfully changing real estate careers

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About the Author
Jennifer Schmidt

Jennifer Schmidt is a freelance writer in Vancouver, Washington, who specializes in real estate topics.