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  • Writer's pictureRaphael Collazo

My Top 5 Must Read Commercial Real Estate Books

One question I often get asked is, "What are some of your favorite books on commercial real estate?" Although I’ve read countless, there are definitely a few that have stood out and have helped me immensely in my career. In this article, I’ll share the five most impactful commercial real estate books I've read. Whether you're a business owner and/or a commercial real estate investor, you'll gain value from reading each of these titles.

Commercial Mortgages 101 by Michael Reinhard

Prior to beginning your search for commercial property, it is important to understand the financing process. As a result, “Commercial Mortgages 101” by Michael Reinhard is a must-read for anyone who is interested in purchasing a commercial building. Michael is a highly successful commercial mortgage broker in Dallas, TX. During his 20-year career, he has closed over $500,000,000 in commercial loans for all types of commercial deals. Given his breadth of knowledge and experience helping countless clients achieve their commercial real estate goals, he decided to write a book that outlined the commercial financing process. In this book you’ll learn:

1) The most common terms bankers use during a transaction and definitions for them.

2) What documents you will need to provide your banker to streamline the underwriting process and how to properly generate them.

3) What bankers look for during the underwriting process and how you can stand out in a positive light.

4) How to interpret loan terms so you can select the best loan possible given your unique situation.

5) As well as many more…

As a commercial real estate professional, I thought the author did a great job simplifying complex concepts in a way that was easy for the laymen to understand. If you’re in the market to buy a commercial property, here’s the link to purchase the book:

Due Diligence Handbook for Commercial Real Estate by Brian Hennessey

Once you have financing in place and you put a property under contract, your “due diligence period” begins. Your due diligence period is defined as a period prior to closing where you have the right to inspect the property and analyze its financial and legal documents. If during your review you uncover information that goes against your initial assumptions about the property, you have the right to either renegotiate the contract terms or back out of the deal without losing your earnest money deposit. To that point, my second recommendation is “The Due Diligence Handbook for Commercial Real Estate” by Brian Hennessey.

Commercial buildings have an array of complex components that need to be properly inspected. These may include the roof, HVAC system, water heater(s), plumbing, parking lot(s), elevator(s) etc. Along with that, there are often an array of financial and legal documents that must be carefully scrutinized. These may include rent rolls, P&L Statements, utility bills, leases, service agreements etc. If you’re not careful, you may miss pertinent information that can cost you thousands, if not, millions of dollars. Lucky for us, Brian lays out exactly what to look out for and shares checklists you can reference as you perform your own due diligence. If you’re interested in purchasing this book, I’ve provided the link here:

P.S. Brian was a guest on one of our LREI MeetUp virtual meetings where he discussed this very concept. If you’re interested in watching the video, here’s the link:

The Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book by Joe Fairless

If you're an investor interested in creating a “real estate syndication”, “The Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book” by Joe Fairless should be the first book you read. A real estate syndication is one where a group of investors pool money together to purchase larger commercial properties. The benefit of this approach is that investors can purchase properties they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford on their own, thus, achieving greater economies of scale. Joe Fairless is a well-known apartment syndicator who operates a fund that manages over $1 billion dollars in multifamily real estate assets. In this book, he distilled the knowledge and insights he’s gained through the growth of his business into a book that provides a comprehensive blueprint on how to start and operate your own syndication fund as well as raise capital for deals. The reason why I like this book so much is that it provides beginners with a great starting point on how to analyze deals, raise capital, perform due diligence, and eventually purchase your first investment property. If you’re interested in purchasing this book, I’ve provided the link here:

Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur by James A. Randel

If you're a real estate investor, especially one interested in commercial investing, you need to read this book. “Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur” is a book written by James A. Randel, a prolific real estate lawyer and entrepreneur who has a wide range of experience investing in commercial real estate. Some of his projects include a factory outlet center in the urban US, a power center development in Albany, New York, an early condominium conversion project, an early self-storage facility, an adaptive reuse of warehouses, apartment buildings, offices, factories, and retail buildings in New England and Miami etc. Through these diverse experiences, James shares intricate details about his decision-making process as well as some of the missteps he experienced along the way. He is an absolute all-star and one that you should follow in the commercial real estate space. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in excelling as a commercial investor. If you’re interested in purchasing the book, I’ve provided the link here:

Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Leases by Martin Zankel

Finally, if you’re a landlord or business owner interested in leasing commercial property, you must understand how to properly structure and negotiate commercial real estate leases such that your best interests are represented. That’s where this book, “Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Leases” by Martin Zankel, comes into play. Martin is Emeritus Counsel at “Bartko Zankel & Bunzel” and has been practicing real estate law for over 40 years. Throughout his career, he has worked with some of the largest corporations on the planet to help them effectively navigate the commercial real estate landscape.

Throughout the book, he does a great job walking through a seemingly endless supply of contract provisions and verbiage that you should consider as you negotiate your commercial lease agreement. This is extremely beneficial because it will help you mitigate the risks inherent in drafting and interpreting a complex legal document. Although it reads like a law book at times, this by far the best book I have read on the subject of commercial lease agreements. If you’re interested in buying this book, I’ve provided the link here:

I hope you enjoy the book recommendations I provided. If you have other books you’d like to recommend, feel free to reach out! I’m always seeking to expand my knowledge of the commercial real estate industry. Along with that, if you’re in the market to buy, sell, or lease commercial property in Louisville and its surrounding areas, feel free to reach out to me. My phone number is (502) 536-7315 Or you can reach me via email at Looking forward to hearing your feedback!

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