The Formula for Building Wealth and Massive Cash Flow in Real Estate Investing

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4 green houses, and then a Red Hotel.

That is the formula for winning Monopoly.  The formula was drilled into my head as a child for building wealth and winning the game.  I had no idea at the time that the formula could also be used in the real world for building wealth and massive cash flow as a real estate investor.

In the game of Monopoly, you want to invest in as many properties as possible.  Once you own properties, you can collect rent from your opponents every time they land on your space and must rent your space for their turn.  Land rents for the lowest price without any buildings on it.  This is great at first because you are starting to collect rental income.  But, once you get a taste of rental income (cash flow), you want even more.  The next step in Monopoly is to improve your land and add rental income by investing in homes on your land.  Each house you invest in on your property increases the amount of income you can collect as rent.

Once you have invested in rental homes on all your properties, there is only one thing left to do to maximize your income.  It’s time to trade in the rental homes (using 1031 Exchanges) for an even bigger building on your property that will bring in more income. You trade your rental homes for an investment in a red hotel or apartment complex. Investing in the apartment complex maximizes the amount of rental income (cash flow) you receive. The more properties you own with red hotels, the more rent you can collect.  The more rent your property collects, the bigger your rental income becomes and the faster you become wealthy.

Once you’ve invested in a few apartment complexes on your properties, the game becomes easy.  You can sit back and wait for your opponents to rent your properties and collect the rental income.  This is the time in the game when you become truly wealthy.

To win the game Monopoly, you need to grow your wealth.  You do that by buying properties and renting them out to strong renters.  You start by investing in small single-family homes.  You add even more homes as you go.  Then, when you have maximized your rental income through single family homes, it’s time to exchange them for bigger investment properties.  You do this by investing in apartment complexes that collect even more rent.  They help you grow your wealth rapidly.

Doing this over and over again allows you to build your wealth and income.  It makes the game easy, allowing you to buy more properties and create even more income.

4 green houses, then a red hotel or apartment complex is the formula for success in Monopoly, but it is also the formula for building great wealth and massive cash flow in real estate investing.

Photo: Fiona Shields

About Author

Spencer Cullor

Spencer Cullor has spent the last 10 years as a real estate investor and currently owns single family, multifamily apartments, and commercial properties with his investment partners. Currently he is the Director of Acquisitions and Principal of ApartmentVestors, a multifamily real estate investment company.


  1. Great article! I always enjoyed playing Monopoly as a kid, your right! Just out of college I bought my first investment property and have been slowly expanding since. Once you get a taste of positive cash flow, you want to keep buying better income producing properties!

  2. one other key I have found over time, is its better to buy more of the blue and green properties (on the board and in real life) than it is to buy a bunch of the purple properties, which are cheap but cause big enough headaches to delay strong portfolio growth.

  3. Thank you all for your comments. I’m glad you found the article informative. It’s definitely the approach we use as we grow our business as well. Now, instead of trading green houses for red apartment complexes, we trade red apartment complexes for bigger red apartment complexes.

    Kevin, I couldn’t agree more with buying more of the blue and red spaces instead of just the cheaper ones. I would take quality over quantity anytime.

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