Real Estate Investment News & Blog

13 Warren Buffett Quotes for Real Estate Investors

If you follow the news, it’s likely that you’ve become concerned about the state of today’s housing market. And it’s no wonder. Just open up the real estate section of any paper, and you’ll see nothing but negative headlines.

To prove my point, here are some recent headlines: “Foreclosure Crisis Continues,” “Home Prices Tumble,” “Housing Woes Won’t End Soon.” I could go on.

I’m not saying that these headlines and articles provide false information. For the most part, their statements are true. But what I am saying is that you should not be using this information to make your personal investing decisions.

You must ask yourself: Am I investing in a market? Or am I investing in a DEAL? If the deal is right and your exit strategy is clear, then the market conditions become much less relevant.

For guidance on investing in troubled times, who better person to turn to than Warren Buffett? I’ve taken 13 of famous Warren Buffett quotes and listed them below. Then, I’ve translated it into practical advice for real estate investors like you. Let’s get going…

Quote #1

“Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.”

REI Translation: Today’s market fluctuations are your friend because they’ve scared off your competition–other investors. They’re also your friend because the fluctuations have created a flood of motivated sellers. And as any savvy investor knows, buying from motivated sellers is the only way to make it in this business.

Quote #2

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

REI Translation: Keep plenty of tools (investing techniques) in your tool belt so that you can adapt to a changing market. What worked best in 2006 doesn’t work best in today’s market. Today, we’re seeing first hand that those with only one investing strategy are taking a beating.

Quote #3

“Our favorite holding period is forever.”

REI Translation: To build true long-term wealth, you must buy and hold real estate.

Quote #4

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

REI Translation: Those who don’t know how to properly analyze, enter, and exit real estate transactions think today’s market is risky. Those who fully understand the intricacies of creative real estate investing continue to participate and profit.

Quote #5

“I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.”

REI Translation: Now’s the time to buy. In real estate and in life, it’s almost always best to act opposite to the herd.

Quote #6

warren buffett quotes

Today’s market fluctuations are your friend because they’ve scared off your competition and because the fluctuations have created a flood of motivated sellers.

“Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.”

REI Translation: Naive people are putting their money into stocks, bonds, and savings accounts right now. Smart people continue to invest in real estate, and they’re picking up more bargains than ever.

Quote #7

“Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.”

REI Translation: If you’re concerned that you cannot sell for full value, then buy lower – at about 60% of value – and sell lower – at about 90% of value.

Quote #8

“We will reject interesting opportunities rather than over-leverage our balance sheet.”

REI Translation: Sometimes the best real estate deals are the ones you don’t make.

Quote #9

“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

REI Translation: If you’re going to hold a property long term, it’s far better to buy a wonderful house at a fair price than a dump at a bargain.

Quote #10

“A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.”

REI Translation: Most Americans think that now is a risky time to get into real estate investing. Do they know more than you? Most likely not. Only a handful of Americans know the specific techniques for profiting in today’s market. And that’s because they read articles like this, they buy REI courses, they attend their local REI meetings, etc.

Most Americans get their “investing tips” from the daily paper. There couldn’t be a worse source. Do you think journalists know how to wholesale houses, do short sales, take over a loan Subject To, etc.? I think not.

Quote #11

“The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect… You need a temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd or against the crowd.”

REI Translation: Don’t worry what the masses are doing. Follow the advice of successful real estate investors, and use their techniques to profit in today’s market.

Quote #12

“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.”

REI Translation: Every deal must work on paper before it will ever work in real life.

Quote #13

“I really like my life. I’ve arranged my life so that I can do what I want.”

REI Translation: Remember, that’s what real estate investing is all about. Arranging your life so that you can do what you want to do when you want to do it.

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About the Author...

Doug Smith has bought and sold over 40 properties using almost every method--wholesaling, rehabbing, landlording, subject to, lease options, and more. He is the founder and president of, a company that provides a constantly-updated list of bargain-priced investment properties in some of the nation's largest metro areas.


  1. andrei says:

    Nice blog! It contains relevant information. Creative real estate investing is probably the most interesting part of rental property investment mainly because in real estate everything is negotiable. If done right it can generate a positive cash flow. Nicely done!

  2. Dario Lorenzo says:

    Great Blog!!! Full of relevant real estate information novice to experienced real estate investors can use in the real estate business.

    Well done,
    Dario Lorenzo

  3. Blue Fern Real Estate says:

    This is great! I especially love quote # 8 🙂


  4. I think its great I am reading Matthew A. Martinez books.
    I want to created or package a deal in SAN FRANCISCO
    What our my options? Apartments is what I am after,
    Looking for a real estate club in the city

  5. I wouldn’t really agree on “REI Translation” on Quote #8. Buffet is talking about “over-leveraging” -a.k.a. Debt to Equity ratio.

    • Howard Kline says:

      This really is a great blog post, but I agree with KC, quote #8 is about over-leveraging. With that being said, I would add that the quote seems to refer to over-leveraging the business rather than a particular transaction. Over the long term, you will make mistakes and bad deals, unless you are risk adverse. The measure should be not whether you occasionally lose money on a deal, but in the aggregate, have you made more money then you have spent. It’s OK to take on a little bit of water to get across the ocean, but don’t sink the ship.

  6. Yanni Raz says:

    I like number 9.
    Quality not quantity!!

  7. Kapembwa Chikuse says:

    I really like Quote #12 A Comprehensive analysis of issues is vital, as you count the cost before venturing into any deals.Thanks!

  8. says:

    Really good stuff!

  9. Asha Singh says:

    This is the Best Sit on based on Real Estate…
    Keep posting ,Good Luck to you too… 🙂

  10. Dan Springer says:

    This is an excellent post! If there’s an authority out there on investing and wealth building, it’s WB. And paraphrasing some of his statements into Real Estate lingo, is a stroke of genius in its own right!

  11. Good advice for anyone wanting or thinking about investing in Real Estate.

  12. Sooner House Buyers says:

    Thank you for sharing, really great post!

  13. Owner Finance OKC says:

    Excellent read.

  14. OK Cash Home Buyers says:

    This was a really refreshing read. Thanks!

  15. Real Estate & Stock Investor says:

    You ought to re-think the comment to Quote #6. To say that “naive people are putting their money into stocks…” is itself a naive statement. The article is quoting Warren Buffett, who is arguably the world’s best investor. The world’s best investor buys stocks; billions of dollars worth of stocks. The world’s best investor is not investing billions of dollars into real estate….

What do you think? We would love to hear your opinion.


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