Who doesn’t love a pithy quote?
Well, all right, the Internet can get prettttty cluttered with pseudo-profound inspirational quotes and social media share-bait. But hey, there are still plenty of great real estate investing quotes out there. Given how many famous, wealthy people made their fortunes in real estate, you can’t walk around the real estate industry without stumbling over some good ones.
Whether you could use some motivation, some clarity on your investing strategy, or just a chuckle at how obnoxious famous people can be, here are some classic real estate investing quotes you can trot out at cocktail parties to sound sophisticated and urbane.
Real Estate’s Permanence & Long-Term Growth
Sure, you can flip real estate for a quick profit. But with its permanence and scarcity in an ever more crowded world, the buy-and-hold real estate strategy remains tried and true over the centuries.
The landed gentry knew that owning real estate created long-term, generational wealth. And while pundits can go on about how the industrial revolution pulled the rug out from under wealthy landowners, the fact is that the families who held onto their real estate remain wealthy 200 years later.
But don’t take it from me. Hear it directly from the mouths of those far wiser and wealthier!
“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” – Mark Twain, writer and humorist
A personal favorite, Mark Twain’s classic quip was recommended by our friend and colleague Joy Bender of LuxurySoCalRealty.com.
“It is a comfortable feeling to know that you stand on your own ground. Land is about the only thing that can’t fly away.” – Anthony Trollope, novelist
Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, frames a similar argument in more dramatic terms:
“The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.” – Margaret Mitchell, novelist
Companies and even countries rise and fall, but property is forever. On a lighter note, Will Rogers puts it succinctly:
“Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.” – Will Rogers, actor
Passive income is the foundation for financial independence and retiring early (FIRE). You can earn it from many types of investments, from dividend-paying stocks to bonds to starting a business. But nothing generates passive income as effectively and safely as real estate.
To start with a classic:
“Landlords grow rich in their sleep without working, risking or economizing.” – John Stuart Mill, political economist
Like many people, I first started thinking differently about money after reading Robert Kiyosaki’s classic Rich Dad, Poor Dad. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it as a launchpad for approaching your finances more fluently.
“Real estate investing, even on a very small scale, remains a tried and true means of building an individual’s cash flow and wealth.” – Robert Kiyosaki, real estate investor and author
If you’ve ever read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you probably remember Kiyosaki’s simple breakdown of an asset versus a liability. An asset makes you richer each month. A liability makes you poorer. Our colleague Paul Sian of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Realty puts it like this:
“The best kind of real estate investment is the one that pays for itself and then some with cash flow. Anything that eats more cash than brought in is a bad deal.” – Paul Sian, real estate agent and investor
Always use a rental cash flow calculator before committing to buy any rental property!
Safety & Security
In an analysis of returns on stocks, bonds, and real estate over the last 150 years, researchers found that rental properties offer the high returns of stocks coupled with the low volatility and risk of bonds. That’s a winning combination.
Beyond being able to predict returns by forecasting real estate cash flow, landlords also have far more control over their returns than stock or bond investors. With stocks, for example, you buy and hope for the best. The only control you have at that point is when to sell.
But with real estate, you can actively lower your risk as a landlord, through aggressive tenant screening, landlord-protective lease agreements, and rent default insurance that pays the rent if your tenant stops.
Need more convincing? Here’s what more famous commentators say:
“Land is land, and it’s safer than the stocks and bonds of Wall Street swindlers.” – Eugene O’Neill, playwright
He raises a great point: you can evaluate and verify real estate’s value for yourself, but most people don’t feel confident that they can verify how a stock should be priced.
“Now, one thing I tell everyone is learn about real estate. Repeat after me: real estate provides the highest returns, the greatest values and the least risk.” – Armstrong Williams, entrepreneur
And of course an oft-quoted classic from FDR:
“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. president
Track Record of Generating Wealth
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the wealthiest people in the world aren’t doctors or lawyers or middle managers climbing the corporate ladder. They’re entrepreneurs, and in a surprisingly high number of cases, real estate entrepreneurs.
Just ask the two most iconic billionaires in America’s history, starting with Andrew Carnegie:
“Ninety percent of all millionaires become so through owning real estate. More money has been made in real estate than in all industrial investments combined. The wise young man or wage earner of today invests his money in real estate.” – Andrew Carnegie, billionaire industrialist
And his contemporary, John Rockefeller:
“The major fortunes in America have been made in land.” – John D. Rockefeller, billionaire industrialist
Looking for someone a little more contemporary?
“A funny thing happens in real estate. When it comes back, it comes back up like gangbusters.” – Barbara Corcoran, real estate investor and media personality
Marshall Field takes it a step further:
“Buying real estate is not only the best way, the quickest way, the safest way, but the only way to become wealthy.” – Marshall Field, entrepreneur
Even conservative personal finance commentator Suze Orman loves real estate:
“Owning a home is a keystone of wealth… both financial affluence and emotional security.” – Suze Orman, personal finance expert and media personality
I rather appreciate Louis Glickman’s succinctness with his take:
“The best investment on Earth is earth.” – Louis Glickman, real estate investor
And finally, the Oracle of Omaha himself:
“We don’t have to be smarter than the rest. We have to be more disciplined than the rest.” – Warren Buffett, billionaire investor and strategist
Where to Invest in Real Estate
Everyone has their own strategy when it comes to where to buy real estate. Some investors look for the cheapest real estate in the US. Others look for the cities with the best cap rates. Still others take a more nuanced approach, combining a range of metrics to find the best cities for real estate investing. (Guess which approach we recommend?)
Here are a few famous real estate investing quotes to bring even more perspectives to the mix.
“Find out where the people are going and buy the land before they get there.” – William Penn Adair, attorney and politician
But how do you know where people are going? John Jacob Astor has a tip:
“Buy on the fringe and wait. Buy land near a growing city!” – John Jacob Astor, real estate developer and writer
Our colleague Glenn Shelhammer likes up-and-coming neighborhoods, which haven’t fully gentrified and which might still see some Section 8 tenants.
“Buy real estate in a neighborhood where you might get shot, not one where you will get shot. That’s where the money is going to be!” – Glenn Shelhammer, agent and investor, Shelhammer Real Estate Group
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One of the enormous perks of investing in real estate is that you can leverage other people’s money to build your own portfolio of assets. Assets that put money in your pocket each month, in the form of passive income.
Real estate investors can borrow 70-80% of the purchase price when they take out a rental property mortgage. If they get creative, they can use down payment hacks to borrow even more of the acquisition costs. In some cases they can even finance 100% of the acquisition costs, through strategies like the BRRRR method!
It’s no surprise then that the big wigs bring up leverage, in their famous real estate investing quotes.
“Rich people use debt to leverage investments and grow cash flows. Poor people use debt to buy things that make rich people richer.” – Grant Cardone, real estate investor and media personality
I admit I get a kick out of how much of a jerk Grant Cardone is. Not to be outdone, Robert Kiyosaki has a few words of wisdom on the subject as well:
“Financial leverage is the advantage the rich have over the poor and middle class.” – Robert Kiyosaki, author and real estate investor
And for good measure, he expanded on that concept to really drive the point home in another gem real estate investing quote:
“People with leverage have dominance over people with less leverage. In other words, just as humans gained advantages over animals by creating leveraged tools, similarly, humans who use these tools of leverage have more power over humans that do not. Saying it more simply, ‘leverage is power’.” – Robert Kiyosaki, author and real estate investor
Misfits & Miscellaneous Real Estate Investing Quotes that Didn’t Fit Elsewhere
While we’re rounding up real estate investor quotes, some don’t fit neatly into a stack. Here are a few good real estate investing quotes that fall into the misfit bucket.
“The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights.” – J. Paul Getty, entrepreneur and oil tycoon.
That last one is a favorite from our friend Conor MacEvilly of MySeattleHomeSearch.com. It brings a certain coy cynicism in its observation that you have to go out and grab life by the cojones if you want to come out ahead.
Speaking of cynicism, our friend Bill Gassett from Max Real Estate Exposure has a few choice words that all novice real estate investors need to hear:
“Let me know how you’re a real estate expert because you watch reality TV shows like House Hunters?” – Bill Gassett, real estate agent and investor
My grandfather always repeated this next quote, which all real estate investors should internalize before attempting to negotiate a real estate deal.
“You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.” – Chester Karrass, author
Finally, let’s wrap up with an ancient proverb that’s still around after 4,500 years:
“He is not a full man who does not own a piece of land.” – Hebrew Proverb
As you set out to build passive income and reach financial independence with real estate, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Learn from those who came before, to avoid their expensive real estate investing mistakes.
Get a coach, get a mentor, get a partner. Read blogs like oh, say, our real estate and landlord blog. Take free real estate investing courses (like ours!)
And collect some classic real estate investing quotes for good measure along the way, to show off how worldly you are.
What are your favorite real estate investing quotes? Share them below!
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About the Author
G. Brian Davis is a landlord, real estate investor, and co-founder of SparkRental. His mission: to help 5,000 people reach financial independence by replacing their 9-5 jobs with rental income. If you want to be one of them, join Brian, Deni, and guest Scott Hoefler for a free masterclass on how Scott ditched his day job in under five years.