HomeREAL ESTATEHow to Start a Real Estate Portfolio with Just $10K

How to Start a Real Estate Portfolio with Just $10K

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Want to know how to invest in real estate with $10,000? For most people, $10,000 doesn’t sound like enough to start a rental property portfolio. But today, you’ll learn exactly how to turn this easily savable amount of money into the foundation for financial freedom. If you want to know the nine ways you can begin building wealth through real estate with $10,000 or less, stick around!

David Greene, Henry Washington, and Rob Abasolo all started their real estate investing journeys without stacks of cash. They had to scrimp, save, and hustle to get to their first property. But, once the cash flow wheel started to turn, all of these investors quickly multiplied their real estate holdings and sailed straight for financial independence. And now, they want to help you do the same!

David, Henry, and Rob all share their favorite ways to invest in real estate with $10,000, the risks and rewards of each of these strategies, and pit each method against the others in a strategic showdown on the BEST way to invest in real estate with little money. They even share the fastest ways to save up $10,000, so you can start investing sooner! So if you want to make 2023 THE year you start investing, even if you don’t have much savings, stick around!

David:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 730.

Rob:
I think this is a very important topic because there is this misconception that you need a lot of money to get started in real estate, and that’s not true. A lot of times you can get started at real estate with low to no money down, but I think $10,000 is a really good achievement for most people because I think it’s an achievable amount that someone can save over time, if they put in some work, if they have a couple of side hustles, if they save their income that they’re making at work, and with that $10,000, I think you can deploy this so many different ways and actually build wealth through real estate.

David:
What’s going on everyone? This is David Greene, host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, joined today by both of my co-hosts on the main show, Henry Washington and Rob Abasolo, and we’ve got a treat for you. Today’s show we are talking about what we would do if we had $10,000 to invest and what you could too. We go through several strategies, give a little brief overview of what each of them looks like, then we each pick a strategy and throw it against each other in a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em style debate over how to spend $10,000. Before we get into the show a quick tip for you. When it comes to how to spend $10,000 to invest in real estate, there’s ways you can do it for free, and that means valuing your education. Biggerpockets.com has tons of resources to help you do that, including the best forum on the planet for real estate investors. You can also follow my awesome friends here, Henry Washington and Rob Abasolo on social media. Guys, throw your handles out there real quick.

Rob:
Robuilt, R-O-B-U-I-L-T. I did it.

Henry:
TheHenryWashington.

David:
And they give you free content, free information just like BiggerPockets does. Guys, you love education. It’s one of the best ways to invest in yourselves. Do it with the people that you got right here. We also talk about ways that we have saved $10,000 ourselves that people can use to get to that first 10 K. If you’re not there right now, buckle your seatbelts, get ready for a great show. Let’s do it. All right, today we have a special show. We are going to start with the list of all the ways that we can think of to get into real estate with just $10,000. We’re each going to pick one of those strategies and then we’re going to deep dive into the strategy that each of us picked, how we would use them, what we would avoid, and how we would maximize the use of that $10,000, looking out for pitfalls and the kind of returns and timeline that we would expect. Really paint a picture for everybody of how we would invest that $10,000.

Rob:
Yeah, I think this is a very important topic because there is this misconception that you need a lot of money to get started in real estate, and that’s not true. A lot of times you can get started in real estate with low to no money down, but I think $10,000 is a really good achievement for most people, because I think it’s an achievable amount that someone can save over time if they put in some work, if they have a couple of side hustles, if they save their income that they’re making at work. And with that $10,000, I think you can deploy this so many different ways and actually build wealth through real estate. I started with I think… No, no, $7,000. So I think this is a good milestone for most people to hit to actually get started.

Henry:
Yeah, I agree with you and you’re right, there are plenty of ways to get started in real estate with little to no money, but it is going to take some money at some level, especially if you’re going to buy and hold, because having some sort of a cushion, safety net way to pay for things that break is also helpful. So getting to that $10,000 point is a milestone, so I don’t want people to think, “All right, I don’t have to go save money to do this.” You should, it’s a great time with technology to be able to make money and then also think about if you can get in with no little to no money, that 10 K can go a long way towards helping you have that cushion and provide you that safety net as you continue to invest.

David:
Yeah, so on the topic of how you would get 10,000, each of you, what do you recommend? Do you think that there’s a side hustle that you should use to save an extra 10 K? Would you look for a different job? Is there things within the jobs people are working? If someone’s just saying, “Well, I don’t even have 10 K, how am I going to get there?” What advice do you have? Rob, I’ll start with you.

Rob:
Ooh, there’s a lot of things. I mean, for me, my side hustle, when I was getting started in real estate, I built furniture. So it was back when pipe furniture was very popular and I remember looking on Etsy and all these pipe coffee tables, the industrial kind of rustic look. I would look them up and these tables were like 800 bucks, and I remember being like, “Whoa, that’s crazy. $800 for this little coffee table. I can make this on my own.” So I did, and it cost me, I don’t know, a hundred bucks to do. So I was like, “Whoa, what if I built this for a hundred dollars and I sold it to people for 800 or a thousand dollars?”
So I actually started a little furniture building business for about two years, and I was glued to my basement for those two years. I’d be in there up until 4:00 AM at night building custom tables and benches and not a lot of skill went into it. It was a very easy trade for me to pick up. Naturally I’m a little handy, but I was able to learn. I mean, I was able to learn the woodworking craft and make thousands of dollars every single month. Now at that time, I think it was like $8,000 a year that I was making on the side, but to me that was monumental for where I was financially, so I think if you have a trade that you’re good at, figure out how to monetize that trade.

Henry:
I did something very similar, Rob. For my side hustle, unfortunately I didn’t put the money to use in into real estate, but needless to say I did have a side hustle that helped me make about 10 grand. So I would look for places where I could buy Amazon, Walmart, online store returns for pennies on the dollar. So a lot of the times when people return these items to Amazon or walmart.com, they just end up selling those things super cheap wholesale to these auction companies, and these auction companies will then auction them off sometimes for pennies on the dollar to the general public. So I would literally buy all kinds of stuff.
And what I found… I would keep the spreadsheet of what I bought, what I paid for it, and then what I was able to sell it for. I would turn around and sell the stuff on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. And the thing that generated the most income for me with the least amount of effort was always furniture, specifically kitchen tables, because all you had to do to put them together was screw four legs in. So I would buy them 10, 20, 30 bucks, sell them for a 100, 200, 300, 400 bucks depending on the table. So I flipped a lot of kitchen tables, but lots of Amazon return furniture, not really electronics because that’s kind of hit or miss when you’re doing returns, but furniture was pretty easy to do. So yeah.

Rob:
Maybe we’ll do an episode on this where we bring in people that are very good at side hustles that make $10,000 so that people can maybe learn how to do this and actually start in real estate with that $10,000. That could be a fun series, I think. David, what were your side hustles when you were getting into real estate? I know you were obviously working as a police officer for a long time. But did you have anything that was making you extra income on the side?

David:
Not massive. I would always maximize whatever I was doing to make as much money as I could. So when I worked in restaurants, I would stay and pick up the last tables at the end of the night. You could usually increase your income by 30, 40, sometimes 50% just working another hour or two because normally they trade tables between servers. At the end of the night they want to get everybody off the floor so they can clean up and go home and stop paying them. So they give all the tables the one person. So instead of I get one out of every four or five tables, I get every single table until I can’t handle it anymore. So I would often double the amount of money that I could make just staying late.
Or I’d pick up a shift if I didn’t have anything going on. If I got done with the class or I’d done my homework, and man, there’s nothing happening tonight. My first thought wasn’t how do I go get drunk? And it was like, who would let me work their shift? Sometimes I’d pay them 20 bucks to let me go work instead, and I’d give him 20 bucks and I’d go make 140. And it was still worth it to me. And then when I became a police officer, it was just overtime. I could figure out ways to always have overtime, and I became the person that all the sergeants would call first when there was overtime. I think this is important before we get into how to invest $10,000, because for a long time in the real estate community, we have told people you can make money through real estate. You don’t have to have a job. And I see you guys are smiling where I’m going with this. And for a long time that was true. There was not as much competition for these assets. It was actually a feasible thing to get into.
And I’m not saying you cannot do it. There’s always a way that it can be done. It is incredibly more difficult to do now than it ever was before. Even if someone handed you a house for free and said, “Here you go, you don’t have to pay anything,” you still need money because things break with that house and tenants leave, and there are expenses associated with real estate that you need money, and I think it is a healthier overall financial picture, especially when you’re getting started to make money with real estate and make money with your job and look for ways to make more money and maybe start a business and do some stuff from there within the world of real estate.
Rather than saying, “I’m going to build my financial empire on one pillar, I’m going to have a table with just one leg and I’m going to hope that it never gets knocked off balance, and I’m going to rely on that completely.” So as we go through these strategies, keep in mind these are not replacements for hard work, financial discipline, doing a good job, looking for self-improvement. They are a supplement to it. You guys agree?

Rob:
Oh yeah, 100%. It’s so hard. I mean, it’s still hard work. It’s not just like, “Oh yeah, I did it. I got my first property, I’m going to go to sleep now.” It’s like, “Eh, you’re going to need to sleep less than you’ve ever slept before.” And that’s okay, that’s part of getting into real estate.

David:
Yeah, it’s kind of like I hear people say, “I’m going to get married so that we stop fighting all the time in our relationship,” and I don’t know any married couples that fight less after they got married. You’re not going to stop having conflict when you get a relationship, you’re just going to have a better, deeper relationship. So this get into strategy number one, I will start. The first thing we’re going to talk about is cheap real estate markets. Now most of the time that’s where people’s mind goes when they’re like, “I don’t have a lot of money, so let me just go invest in a cheap market where I don’t need as much money.” Some of the pros of that are, it’s true, you usually won’t need as much money.
There’s often less competition per property. I think that makes it a little bit easier to get into. You’re not going in there against 10 other buyers as often as you’re going to if you’re trying to buy into the best markets that are maybe going to be more expensive. And getting approved for loans can also be a little bit easier because if the house is only a hundred thousand dollars, your debt to income does not need to be as high to get approved for that as if the house is a million dollars. Now, there’s many cons and we can talk about those also. I think the biggest ones with that is that overall, when you’re looking at the big picture, I don’t know that anybody that I’ve met that made really good money in real estate did it in a cheap market. It is often where you go with your training wheels, this is how you learn how to invest, but even if you’re investing in a cheap market and you’re going to keep maybe a Midwest investor, you still move into the better neighborhoods or the better assets within the Midwest.
None of the people I know that do well stayed as bottom feeders trying to make these really cheap deals work because the problem is you don’t get appreciation in cash flow, you don’t get appreciation in the value of the property, and all the money that you think you keeps getting dumped back into it when it needs a new roof, when it needs a new air conditioner, when one of your tenants leave and the cost of repainting and reflooring one of these houses is exactly the same whether the house costs a million dollars or $50,000, but the percentage of your revenue is much higher in cheap houses than it is with expensive houses. And that’s something people forget, that it becomes a much higher chunk of the money that you’re making when you have to go accomplish a turn, get a property ready for the next tenant, and it’s only worth 50 grand. You guys have any different opinions? I know you guys aren’t supposed to be the experts in this, but I’m just curious if you guys have an alternate point of view or if this is what you’ve seen to also.

Rob:
No, I mean it’s a fine line. My first house that I bought was a primary residence in Kansas City and I bought it right before Kansas City exploded. I think the cost of that house was like 159 K, and three years later it was worth 215. So there was some appreciation there, but obviously for me, when we sold it, it was life changing money. It was like 40 grand or something like that, but that’s because Kansas City happened to explode at that time. If I had bought that house a couple years before that, it would’ve been very little appreciation. So I definitely understand the sentiment behind these cheaper markets, cheaper houses kind of thing, because the appreciation’s probably not going to be quite so juicy.

Henry:
I do see people who can be and are very successful in inexpensive markets, but typically what I see when that happens is that they’re pretty diligent about redeploying gains from either flipping properties or gains from the cash flow they are making into paying these properties off because they’re so inexpensive. And then when the assets are completely paid off, they do cash flow extremely well, and you can get to that payoff point a whole lot easier. Obviously in a cheaper market, yes, you’re paying more in expenses, but when you can get those properties paid off, I think there is some absolute huge benefits to being able to do that in inexpensive market.

David:
All right, Henry, if you want to go ahead and jump into the next strategy.

Henry:
Absolutely. Another strategy to think about is partnering. Everybody says, “If you can’t do it on your own, just bring in a partner. That’ll make it all better.” And it can, it can help you when you bring in a partner. I think a lot of the times what we don’t have honest conversations about is when you are new, what are you bringing to the table to an experienced investor to want to partner with you on a deal? There are some rare occasions when somebody just wants to take you under their wing and give you 50% of one of their deals, but that’s very few and far between. So partnering can help you get into deals, it can help you learn the business, but the catch is you have to be able to provide some level of value.
So whether that’s you go and you drive for dollars, and if you’re out and about every day going to work, going to your nine to five, driving for dollars, tagging distressed homes, then that’s a list you now have that you can take to an experienced investor and say, “Hey, if you market to this list, if you get a deal on this list, maybe I can shadow you, maybe I can get a finder’s fee, maybe I can partner with you on that deal,” but at least you brought some value. I think risks obviously to partnering, you can’t just partner with anybody. I think sometimes people get themselves into quite a bit of trouble when they partner with people who don’t have the same core values as them. It’s like a marriage and a partnership. If you’re not aligned on the big core values, then you could see yourself getting into some trouble.
And if you don’t have the infrastructure or the money that some of these other people do, you could find yourself in a world of hurt getting into these partnerships with people you’re not on the same level as. So yeah, you got to be careful with who you partner with and you have to make sure that you provide value, and I think partnerships can be beneficial, but if you’re not going to be able to bring value, it’s going to be a very difficult path for you to find that perfect partner.

Rob:
I think one thing that most people don’t think about doing, because they’re just getting started when they partner a lot of the times, is get a lawyer involved as soon as possible and have them draft up the LLC with you, the actual operating agreement, because me and my partners talked about everything. We were like, “Oh, this is what’s going to happen. If I get divorced, here’s how this works. If I die…” I mean, not to get too morbid, but you have to cover all those things. And we thought we had covered everything, but once we brought our lawyer in, our lawyer was like, “Well, what about these 50 things? Have y’all talked about all of this?” And we’re like, “Oh, no, we haven’t.” So a lawyer was actually someone who… And it cost us money, it cost us about 500 bucks, but they helped define exactly what the vision was and all of the nuclear scenarios that could happen, and I’ve had very successful partnerships as a result.

David:
All right, Rob, what do you think for the next strategy?

Rob:
For 10,000 bucks, I mean, I always tell people these days, maybe consider getting into rental arbitrage. So a very quick explanation of what it is, is you basically go to a landlord who is renting one of their properties on, let’s say, Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, and you basically tell them that you intend to rent their property on Airbnb, and that the way that you make your money is on the delta between the rent that they’re charging you and the rent that you can charge on Airbnb. So let’s say you have a landlord that’s renting a two bedroom, two bath for 1,500 bucks. You are then going to furnish it and you are then going to list it on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, booking.com, and the idea is that $1,500 a month comes out to about $50 a night. You’re going to have to charge more than $50 a night to turn a profit on that property.
This is actually the very first thing that I did when I was getting into the short-term rental game, and kind of happened by accident, but it was something that I really… I’m very grateful for this accident because it was an accident that was making me one to $2,000 profit every single month. So pros and cons here. Pro, it’s very high cash flow. It allows you to get into a property that you don’t own, you don’t have to worry about the maintenance, and you can cash flow. And anytime that there are issues with the property, like you talked about with the cheap markets, the landlord or the apartment building has to take care of that. Low cash to get in. $10,000, very feasible to get into a rental arbitrage deal for that amount. I think my first rental arbitrage deal was about $3,000, because I really hustled and went to Craigslist free and let go, and I was getting furniture for 10 bucks and it didn’t match and it wasn’t good, but I was just getting started.
The cons of rental arbitrage, I’d say the biggest one is it’s very hard to get a landlord to agree to this, and there are a lot of people that execute this strategy incorrectly, where they don’t tell the landlord about it and then the landlord finds out and what do you think happens? Things hit the fan, landlord wants to evict them. It’s not a good thing. So you definitely want to make sure that you’re very honest with your landlord, you’re going to get 100 nos for every yes. The other big con to rental arbitrage is that there is no ownership of that property and because there’s no ownership, you get no equity, you get no tax benefits, other than typical deductions that you might be able to do furniture deductions and stuff like that.
And then you also have other small risks, like a landlord might want to sell their property after a year and you’ve invested all this time and money and you’re starting to hit your groove and now you’ve got to basically exit that apartment or that home because the landlord has decided to sell. And then there’s always regulation with Airbnb that might hinder your business too. So those are kind of the pros and cons there.

David:
Yep, one of my favorite strategies, next one up is house hacking, this is basically buying a house or the primary residence loan and then renting out parts of the house or most of the house to other people to generate income. The best reason to do this is it takes less money and you get all the benefits of ownership and you of learn how to do real estate investing, but still get into the right neighborhoods, the right areas, the right asset classes. You’re not forced into any of the risks that I don’t like. So you can usually use an FHA loan, which requires 3.5% down or even conventional loans with 5% down, and you can end up owning a house with very little money.
Another one is a REIT or a real estate investment trust. So this is basically, if you consider, it’s very similar to buying stocks that are just based on real estate. So when you buy a stock, you’re getting a share of a company. When you buy a REIT, you are getting a share of a real estate portfolio and you don’t have to do any work. It’s passive, you buy it, the cash flows and the appreciation of that actual portfolio get paid back to the people that bought shares of it, and it can be a very easy way if you want to invest in real estate but you don’t want it to take over your life.

Rob:
Awesome. Yeah. Another strategy here, glamping, glamorous camping. I’ve talked about it every so often, and I really like this for people getting in with not a lot of money as well, because there are so many ways that you can break into glamping for a relatively low cost. So you can buy a tent for $3,000 and go and put that on your land if you have land, or go and rent land from somebody and put it on their land. I know people that have bought Airstreams and they financed them and they went and rented out spots at RV parks. I know a guy that had about 40 Airstreams all around the country. He would go to beach RV resorts and say, “Hey, can I rent the front spot for $500 a month and I’m going to Airbnb.” And they’re like, “Yeah, sure.” So he was always just printing cash that way.
If you already own a home, this is a very creative way to get into it, it’s kind of like a house hat glamping thing. One time I stayed at an Airbnb that was in this Silver Bullet and it was actually behind someone’s house in a neighborhood, so they craned in this Airstream in the backyard, and we stayed in that for a hundred bucks a night or something like that, and they said that it paid their mortgage. So the pros here are that you can get in for less than $10,000. It’s not necessarily going to be easy. You do have to be very stringent with your budget. And then the pros are also that people pay a lot of money to stay in glamping type setups because they don’t want to camp. Typically with camping, you’re freezing outside and you don’t necessarily want to do that. Glamping, it’s a little bit more insulated. You can put a cast iron stove in. There’s just so many ways to do it.
Cons are that a lot of these glamping units are not necessarily built for the elements a lot of the times too. So if there’s extreme weather, you’re always going to have whiny guests or a guest that didn’t read the description. That was actually my biggest con is that I would really lay out what the experience people were getting and they never read any of that. So they would show up and be like, “It’s five degrees outside.” And we’re like, “Yeah, we told you it was. Build a fire.” And then they’re like, “We don’t know how to build a fire.” So you’re going to get a lot of guests that are very temperamental depending on the actual climate. So good and bad here, but ultimately high cash flow, potentially low cost to get into, under the $10,000 if you do it right.

Henry:
I think I stayed at one of your glamping sites.

Rob:
Yeah, yeah, probably.

Henry:
Oh man. Another strategy is lead generation, wholesale, bird dog. It’s had lots of names. But the idea is that you hustle your tail off to find as many under market value leads as you possibly can and then either make money by monetizing those leads by either putting under a contract and assigning that contract to an investor who will close on that deal or passing that lead onto another investor in exchange for a finder’s fee. It is a good strategy to be able to make money if it’s done properly and in accordance with the law, depending on the state that you’re in. But some of the… So the pros are, yeah, you can make really good money doing this. You can range from anywhere making a few hundred bucks to thousands of dollars on a single deal. It just depends on the market that you’re in and the quality of deals that you find.
The cons with this are volume. The amount of volume that you would need to find as far as leads go is going to be quite high. And time. You’re going to analyze hundreds of deals and maybe get one or two that could be viable, especially if you’re doing it on a very limited or no budget to generate those leads. So the amount of discipline that it would take in order for it to produce results is really high. So not a lot of people are willing to put in that type of work or spend that type of money, which results in people typically not getting great results with this type of strategy.

Rob:
And one other thing I wanted to toss out there, and very good news for this one, is that education. And what I like about this is that education doesn’t have to cost 10,000, although it can. Education can literally be free. You can listen to the BiggerPockets Podcast and learn how to get started in the world of real estate. You can go to the BiggerPockets forums, you can go on YouTube University. There’s a lot of free content out there. You can also buy a book. You can buy David Greene’s upcoming book Scale, which is going to be a banger, and that’s like, I don’t know, less than $20 probably. And you can learn how to scale and optimize your business.
You can join a course for under $1,000 You can join a mastermind for under $10,000. So it really depends on what you want, how much you want to invest, but I think investing in yourself will ultimately put you in a network of people that are like-minded, that have also made that investment, that want exactly what you want. And I think you can find partners, I think you can learn at an accelerated rate. And like I said, sky’s the limit. I mean, there’s so much free education out there that you can get started for a lot less than 10,000 bucks.

Henry:
Yeah, absolutely, man. On the topic of masterminds, that is a strategy within itself, investing in a mastermind. So a little different than typical education. Education is you’re learning some particular skill that maybe somebody’s created some course around or there’s some content on the internet around. Mastermind is you getting into a group of other people who are either at the same level or above, hopefully more people above the level that you’re at, and it’s you putting your brain power together, your business resources together. So you’re able to see other people doing what you’re doing at a higher scale, or maybe they’re better at different parts of the business that you’re not great at, and because you are surrounded by these people, either virtually or in person, you’re able to leverage the resources that they have because you’ve all paid to be a part of this same mastermind.
And part of that comes with being able to access other people’s skills, resources, teams, and tools. So there’s a lot that needs to happen within your real estate business for you to get to your goals, and being a part of a mastermind will help you shorten that timeframe because you can just leverage somebody else’s resources or their business practice that helped them generate those resources, and you didn’t have to go spend all that time or money trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

David:
A really good point. That’s why I started my mastermind. There’s a lot of people that will say, “I need to find a mentor. I need to find a person who’s going to help me with this.” And they just look for a random stranger who they don’t know and they have nothing in common with, and they try to force a relationship, versus you join a mastermind or a group of people or you make a friends at a meetup or something, and now you don’t have to go ask them to be your mentor. There’s a connection that you already have that makes them want to share what they’re doing. You get a lot of the benefits of that relationship much easier. So let’s recap what we’ve gone through. We’ve got cheap markets, partnering with somebody else, the arbitrage model, house hacking, investing in REITs, glamping, lead gen, wholesale, bird dogging, basically the elbow grease methods, education, and then masterminds.
Now each of these has a risk profile that comes with it, so just be aware. There’s no perfect strategy. It’s not listening to a podcast like this. You’re going to be like, “Well, I got educated and I found the strategy with all upside and no downside.” It’s not like that. You’re learning about the upsides and downsides of each one to figure out which one might work best for the situation that you’re in. So let’s talk about very quickly for each of these strategies, just risk. I’ll start with cheap markets and I will say cheap markets are probably very risky. I don’t know many people that pull this off. Even Rob’s example, I don’t know if I would call it that, a cheap market. It appreciated from 150 to 220. That’s like a 50, 60% increase over that period of time. I mean that was a cheaper than normal market, but when I say cheap markets, I’m talking maybe $80,000 and below. Very, very risky. Rob’s is an entry level market. That is not quite as risky as what we’re talking about. Next up is partnering. What do you think? How risky is that, Henry?

Henry:
Man, I think partnering is a pretty high risk. I don’t think people talk about the high risk of partnerships enough.

Rob:
Interesting.

Henry:
Yeah, everything in life comes to an end, guys, and I think when people are talking about partnerships, they do not, even partnerships that they did a lot of due diligence on the front side, not a lot of people talk about what does it look like when we dissolve or when this partnership ends. And lots of partnerships end poorly, bitterly, and people get burned. So even the best, well-intentioned partnerships don’t do well, but when we’re talking about this strategy where you’re probably somebody new partnering with somebody experienced, man, that’s a big risk in my opinion.

Rob:
Fair, fair. Okay, and then we got arbitrage. This is a tough one. I think if you do arbitrage correctly and you negotiate with your landlord and they’re in on it, I actually think it’s a low risk. If you don’t negotiate with your landlord and you try to hide them, like a lot of people would go out there, a lot of gurus out there, they say to do that kind of thing, that’s a very high risk. But I actually would probably place it on the lower end of the spectrum because if a landlord’s with it and you’ve negotiated and it’s all in your lease and you’ve patted everything, I see really no huge risks, in my opinion.

David:
All right. When it comes to house hacking, I think this is actually low risk, and that’s one of the reasons that I really like it, frankly. It’s probably the lowest risk way I know of in general to get into real estate, and that’s why you’ll frequently hear me saying, I wrote BRRRR, I wrote Long Distance Investing, I do a lot of stuff. I still tell everyone it doesn’t matter. You should house hack one house every single year, everybody. And then REITs is also relatively low risk. That’s another reason I think that I like it, is you’ve got professionals that are very good at managing real estate that do this for a living, that are making decisions and have a lot of capital to be investing in to cover the downside. So I think risks are also probably a little bit lower on the reward scale, but they’re definitely lower risk.

Rob:
And then we got glamping, glamorous camping. I would probably put this at medium to high risk, mostly because the cheaper end, like the $3,000 tents or an Airstream that you get that you need to renovate for under $10,000, they tend to require a lot of work and maintenance and they can break down on you very quickly. Or if you have a tent, like I used to, have out in the desert where it snows, that snow can really cause that tent to buckle, and that’s a very risky thing. So because of the amount of maintenance and costs that go into maintaining it, I’m probably going to go medium to high.

Henry:
Lead gen wholesale I would call low risk, maybe medium depending on the market that you’re in. But the real risk here is the time you’re going to put into it, and if you don’t stick with it… Because let’s be honest, real estate has been around for decades and decades. People have been finding under market value deals and buying them, so it works. It’s just are you going to be able to spend the amount of money or put in the proper amount of time for it to work? So the real risk is just not sticking it out.

Rob:
Then we have education. I’m going to go zero risk. There is zero risk to making yourself smarter. There is only upside on that. Fight me.

Henry:
Masterminds. In all honesty, I think masterminds are a low risk. I think you’ll hear some horror stories or people saying, “I spent $5,000 on this mastermind and I just didn’t get anything.” A lot of it is you have to put in the effort and you are going to get out of masterminds what you put into them. I think a lot of the times people feel like, “I spent money and all the stuff should just come to me and I should have all this value that just comes to me and then I will be super successful.” No, you still got to go apply what you learn and do the work. And if you do that, I think you have very low risk with masterminds.

Rob:
Yeah, you are the biggest risk in a mastermind. If you do not put in the time into it, if you don’t go through all the resources, if you don’t connect with people, if you don’t use what you’ve learned out in the real world, then you can’t succeed. You have to actually go out there and apply the stuff, just like you said. So I think the only risk there is how hard are you willing to work in a mastermind?

David:
And how much do you expect it to just happen for you. Man, if anyone can take anything out of this episode, please just hear that. There is no strategy, there is no mastermind, there is no group, there is no book, there is no nothing that brings real estate and places it on your table and says, here you go, a cash selling property at 70% of ARV, all for you because you took a course. You still got to go out there and take what you want. These courses, these strategies we’re talking about, they just are ways that you can go and do that, but every one of them will always have that in common.
All right, we have gone through all the strategies that we can think of. We’ve talked about the pros and cons of each. Now we are going to choose the strategy that we each like the most and we are going to compare them in a bit of a royal rumble here to see who comes out on top. My strategy, since I’m the host and I get to pick first, I’m probably the oldest, too, is going to be house hacking. This is my favorite strategy. That’s the one I’m going to defend. Rob?

Rob:
I’m going to go with the arbitrage just because that’s how I got started, so why not?

Henry:
I like lead gen, only because David took house hacking.

David:
That’s why I like to go first. Sorry. Sorry Henry, I’m sure you’ll do a very good job with lead gen on its own. The funny thing is you probably could, as we talk about these, combine all three. You could lead gen for a house hack and then arbitrage it as a short term rental. I guess you couldn’t arbitrage your own property, so maybe Rob’s went through a little bit of a kink in there, but many of these strategies can be combined, so remember that also. You don’t have to pick one out of the 10. You can look for ways to work four of these together with your $10,000.
All right, I will go first with my strategy, house hacking, the timeline is relatively short to execute this. So you basically are going to go to a loan officer, you’re going to get pre-approved. They’re going to tell you this is how expensive of a single family you can buy. This is how expensive of a duplex you can buy. And this is how expensive of a triplex or a fourplex you can buy. And now you go to a real estate agent and say, “I need to see homes that are within this price range and multi-family of these sizes that are within this price range,” and you start looking at emails that come in. You can also get on some of the portals and you can start looking on Zillow or realtor.com and trying to see what is out there? You then have your realtors start showing you homes. You see what you think. You see if they’re in a place that you’d want to live, and if the floor plan of the property would work for having several people in there.
Now, there’s lots of ways to house hack. You can rent out the bedrooms, you can rent out parts of the property. You can turn the garage into the house and live there and rent out the house. You can add an ADU in the backyard and the basement downstairs and then rent the rooms out in the main house and end up with six different tenants if you want. This is one of the things that makes it cool is it’s very creative and it allows you to learn the fundamentals of real estate in a low risk way. And then you’re writing offers. So from contacting a loan officer to closing on a deal could be 90 days or less if you find the deal very quickly and you move forward. Or you could take as long as you need to feel comfortable. But there isn’t like pressure. It’s not like you spent all this money and you got to get a return back on your capital. You don’t really spend any money until you buy the house.
The way you mitigate risk with house hacking is by finding ways to get as many good tenants in that property as you can. So there’s a spectrum with house hacking between profitability and comfort, and the further you move away from comfort, the higher of a profitability that you can expect. So do any of the three of us want to be living in a six bedroom house renting a room from ourselves and renting to five other tenants? Probably not. That’s not very comfortable. We’re not going to enjoy that. However, that would be the most profitable way to do house hacking and it would be the lowest risk way as well. Now the other way could be you get a big house and you get to be comfortable and you live in it, you just rent out a ADU in the backyard. That’s going to be more comfortable but less profitable. The cool thing is you get to choose where on that spectrum that you want to be.
And the way that you get your money back is after you spend that $10,000 on your house hack and you live there for a year or two or three, the property will likely appreciate, you don’t know when it’s going to happen, but you know it will happen. It’s much like a jack in the box. When you’re just turning that wheel… You don’t know when it’s going to pop, just like Will Ferrell in Elf, but you know it is going to pop at some point. So whether you got to wait one year, you got to wait five years, you got to wait 10 years, at some point you get appreciation. You can refinance that house, you can sell it, you can move out of it and go into another property. You can house hack another property the next year if you just save $10,000. So you are basically guaranteed to get that money back at some point.

Rob:
Well, okay, so a couple things you said here. I think there is actually a decent amount of risk with the house hack, and I’ve house hacked several times. But you’re talking like, okay, if you have a house with six bedrooms and you live in one of those rooms, the chances of you living peacefully with five other people are very, very, very low. And I think that there is some risk there with the social community management of managing tenants that you may or may not like within your household and making sure that they all like each other too. So I do think that there is that aspect of risk to consider as well.

Henry:
I think some of the risk that comes with house hacking that people don’t talk about is oftentimes people are just buying any deal and not necessarily a good deal and not considering that they’re not going to live there forever. This is especially risky when they’re house hacking in very, very expensive markets. So when you’re still not covering your entire mortgage by house hacking, you’re still paying a large chunk of it and then always assuming that somebody is going to be there to cover part of that mortgage. That doesn’t always happen and you could get stuck with a very large payment that maybe you can’t afford to pay, but you were able to get approved for that loan because of the income that property does generate when it is rented. So I think people substitute due diligence for just getting into house hacking sometimes and needs to understand that it’s not always going to be perfect. And can you carry this note if you had to?

David:
That’s a very good point. I like that. I also like the fact that you pointed out there is risk. I’m not saying there’s no risk. There isn’t a real estate strategy that is no risk. You will never find anything that is no risk. What is the risk and are you suited as a person and in a financial situation to mitigate that risk? And then is the upside worth the downside? I feel like in house hacking the upside is absolutely worth the downside, which is why I’m such a proponent of it. So let’s move on. Rob, it’s your turn. Throw your fighter into the ring.

Rob:
Yeah, so I’m, again, arbitrage. So this is the idea of rerenting something that you’ve rented from a landlord on short-term rental platforms or whatever OTA, online travel agency, you’d like. So with this strategy the timeline to execute really depends on your hustle and how fast you’re willing to do this thing. I have set up Airbnbs in a weekend, but that required me working every single hour of the day to assemble beds and get couches in place and hang photos and deflate mattresses and oh my goodness, I got so much PTSD just talking about it. But let’s just say that you were like, “Hey, I want to get started. Walk me through the process.”
Well, I’ve already told you that you’re going to be negotiating with landlords and you’re going to hear a hundred nos for every yes. So I think locating the deal is probably the aspect that’s going to take you the longest amount of time, and there are a couple ways you can do this, but let’s just say that you went on Zillow and you found property that fit your buy box or your criteria, I guess your rent box or your criteria. You have to start making phone calls to landlords over and over and over again. “Hi, my name is Rob. Here’s what I do. I’m looking to rent this place for my short-term rental business. Is this something you’d be interested in?” And you really have to coach a lot of these very flighty landlords who think that you’re basically going to be throwing ragers at their house every single day when that’s not how it works kind of thing.
So I would say to locate a deal, it could easily take you a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of four weeks. But as soon as you land on that deal, as fast as you can get furniture, you can launch. So nowadays, I kind of coach people to try to get their Airbnb set up within two weeks. I don’t really necessarily tell people to do the weekend thing anymore, because it’s very hard on the soul. A lot of gray hairs on my head from those times. So I would say if it takes you four weeks to locate your deal, it’s going to take you two weeks to buy all your furniture, set it up, assemble it, stage, and get photography, and then you can launch within six weeks of finding your first deal.
I personally think you could do it within the same month if you’re really hustling, but a lot of the times people are calling Zillow and that’s how they’re finding their leads. I’ve actually found success by going to different real estate meetups and talking to other multifamily investors and telling them what I did, and they didn’t know who I was in this instance. And they were like, “Oh, Airbnb, tell me about that.” And it was a lot easier, because we’d already established rapport, for me to pitch them on the idea of renting their units on arbitrage. So mitigating risk is a big one. How do you actually get everything in a way that’s not going to make your business suffer?
And I think at least addendums are really the biggest way you’re going to do this. So I talked about the seller selling their property or the landlord selling their property. We typically negotiate with our landlords for a two year lease in place, and then if regulation were to hit, we also negotiate within the lease that we’re allowed to break the lease at any time. If the city regulates the short-term rentals in that market, we’re allowed to exit that lease. Basically, if we negotiate with the seller to give them more rent in order for them to let us Airbnb their property, we write that all in the lease. So mitigating risk really comes down to just documenting everything that you’ve agreed upon with the landlord in writing as you should. By doing that, we’ve had very, very little issues.
And then how to repeat, build cash back up, and snowball from there. I mean, for me, when I’m looking at rental arbitrage deals, I’m looking to make a minimum of one to $2,000 a month in profit. So we’ll just call it 1,500 bucks. That’s $18,000 a year that you can make from one property. The best way you can snowball is to not spend your money, and this is what I tell people who are starting in real estate, those first few years are very lonely in the bank account. You should not be touching that money. You should be reinvesting it. So theoretically, with $18,000, it’s possible that you could start two more rental arbitrage apartments with that $18,000. So if you add those two to your three, you’re now making $18,000 on each property, and if you save that, then you can do it over and over and over again. So really the way to snowball this is discipline and living like you don’t make money in real estate and then using all the funds that you make to basically get into your next arbitrage unit. And scene.

Henry:
Very nice. I don’t have an arbitrage rebuttal. I’ve been asked as a landlord would I let somebody arbitrage and I just said no, only not to give it the brain power. Now albeit they didn’t have a very good pitch either. I think your pitch is probably a big deal when you’re trying to find a place to arbitrage.

Rob:
It is. It is. And it’s also about concessions. Henry, if you’re like, “Well, why would I rent to you when I can make the same amount of money with the long term rental?” I’ll say, “Okay, that’s fair. You’re making $1,600. What if I gave you $1,800 a month?” “Okay, yeah, well why would I do that if I could just have someone in place with the stability for 12 months?” I’ll be, “All right. What if I gave you a 24 month lease?” “Yeah, but what about the maintenance and the wear and tear?” Then I come in, I say, “Well hey, what if I cover all maintenance up to 200 bucks a month? You’ll never hear from me unless it’s like a major system fail.” So the idea is for me to be non-existent in your life, I’m the easiest tenant you’ve ever had. Because if the place isn’t nice and well kept, I don’t make money, so it doesn’t behoove me to make sure that it’s falling apart. So I think there’s more of a partnership there, I don’t know, than a business relationship in some senses.

Henry:
See, that’s a good pitch.

Rob:
Thank you, thank you. Hey, will you rent me one of your apartments?

Henry:
Absolutely not. Is it my turn? Can I go now?

David:
That’s you, man.

Henry:
Awesome, awesome. Yeah, so I love lead gen as a strategy. The main reason I love lead gen as a strategy is because this is a way that’s going to teach you several skills that are vital to you as a real estate investor in general. It’s also going to get you focused on finding good deals, and good deals are the common denominator amongst almost every real estate exit strategy. You have to have some level of equity in a deal for it to be able to be monetized. So part of the reason why I love this is because you can make a profit on that 10 grand without having to spend a whole lot of that 10 grand. There’s plenty of ways for you to hustle and generate free leads for distressed properties. We’ve talked about driving for dollars, but it’s more about can you get your line in the water in enough places where people are actually looking to sell at a discount?
And if you can get your line in enough places and be relentlessly consistent in your pursuit of those leads, and I think that’s where people fail when they’re trying to find that first deal through generating leads themselves, is the relentless consistency isn’t there. They try one way and they try it at enough volume or they don’t leverage enough other people to help them with that. So what I say about that, if it was me, if I was going to lead gen right now, starting from scratch, I would be on Craigslist marketplace and Facebook every single day scouring the real estate sections, both the for sale and the four rent sections, contacting as many owners as possible and asking if they’d be ready for an offer. I would be also generating niche lists that I could then cold call or hire someone to cold call.
And there are so many third party services out there right now that you can pay someone who they already have people trained to talk about real estate investing to sellers that you can pay maybe a thousand bucks a month and they can call for you, filter you the good leads. And you also can hustle, do some of those calls yourself. There’s very inexpensive ways to talk to a lot of sellers. I think what people don’t realize is that you have to talk to so many sellers in order for you to find that deal. So people don’t do it. And that’s what gives you the advantage if you are willing to make lead gen your job. You go to your nine to five because that’s what you need to do to make money to pay your mortgage and to live so that you can do your job, which is lead gen to find you that deal, which is going to springboard you into real estate investing.
So you can spend a fraction of that money, a third of that money doing different strategies relentlessly, consistently, and then turn that deal into money. Or you can actually buy that deal because there are ways for you to get deals financed if you’re buying a really deeply discounted deal. And trust me, when you get a really deeply discounted deal on the hook, you will be very motivated to go figure out those ways to do it and to get that deal financed. The problem is people want to figure out the financing beforehand, so they get scared. They don’t want to do… And lenders don’t want to talk to you if you don’t have something for them to look at. So getting that good deal and finding that lead is going to help springboard you into real estate investing and you can monetize it because trust me, David, if somebody brought you a phenomenal deal tomorrow in a market you were interested in, chances are you would probably buy it. So it’s about can you put in the relentless consistent effort in order to generate those leads.

David:
Which comes down to can you have a strong work ethic? Do you really want this? If you can’t get into real estate to get around work ethic, “I don’t like working hard, so let me get into real estate instead,” you’re just going to have a hard time here. You had a hard time. The hard work in this definitely pays better, but you still have to do hard work. So to recap here, my method is house hacking. I like that because it’s low risk and I feel like it’s relatively high reward. Rob’s was arbitrage. That’s lower-ish risk with still a pretty high reward. And Henry’s was lead gen wholesaling, which is a low to medium risk. Really, I think probably arbitrage and lead gen are the lowest risk of all because they might require no money. There’s a chance you could get into those and still keep your $10,000 for something different.
But as you notice, there’s always a spectrum. The lower the risk goes, either lower the profit goes or the higher the work goes, and the less work you want to put into it, the lower the return goes and the higher the risk goes. There’s always, always a trade off. And that’s what I’m trying to get at because so many gurus will pitch you on real estate investing strategy and only highlight the high points and not tell you about the low points and then people don’t take action and it doesn’t work. Okay, last question, Henry and Rob, would either of you switch your preferred method after hearing somebody else’s pitch?

Rob:
Not really. I mean, maybe house hacking only because I’ve done it and I love it and I think the faster you can get out of paying your mortgage, the faster you can build wealth. There’s a little soft spot in my heart for house hacks. I would definitely not ever be… That’s honestly probably what I would recommend to most people first, but you got to choose first, so I had to choose a different method.

David:
Does it make you feel, Rob, like when we’re doing the intro and I say all the best parts of the show and say, “What did you like, Rob,” and you’ve got nothing to pick from?

Rob:
And I’m like, “Uh, real estate?”

David:
How about you, Henry?

Henry:
Man, I totally agree. I house hacked and it changed my life and often when I’m talking to new investors, I tell them, “You should buy a multifamily on a low down payment loan every year forever and ever until your spouse tells you I will never live in another multifamily again.” That’s just what you should do.

David:
I love that. I mean honestly rock that thing… It’s like that Honda Civic that you bought in 1989 and is still running. Rock that thing as long as you possibly can, it’s the best way to go. So thank you guys very much. I appreciate your contributions here. And listeners, if you enjoyed this, please consider giving us a five star review wherever you listen to your podcasts, apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, whatever it is. Those help us a lot. Before we get out of here, Henry, where can people find out more about you?

Henry:
Yeah, best place to find me is on Instagram. I’m @TheHenryWashington on Instagram.

David:
Rob?

Rob:
You can find me over at YouTube or Instagram on @Robuilt, R-O-B-U-I-L-T. Like Rob built it, but one B.

David:
Robuilt, not Robuilt. That’s a very pet peeve of his. When he hears that, his quaff starts to go at an angle. He looks like a dimetrodon, one of those dinosaurs and he gets pissed. Don’t turn him into the dimetrodon. You can find me also @DavidGreene24 on YouTube, Instagram, and all the other social medias, and it’s not like you can mess up my name. I didn’t do a confusing one like Rob, that everyone’s like, “Well, wouldn’t there be two Bs if it was Rob, built, it should be Robuilt.”

Henry:
But you have the E at the end, so-

David:
That’s true. That’s a very good point. Some other imposter out there without the E is probably soaking up all my follows right now. All right, I’ll let you guys get out of here. This is David Greene for Henry “the bird dog” Washington and Rob “dimetrodon” Abasolo, signing off.

 

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