BiggerPockets Podcast 015: From $80k in Credit Card Debt to 100+ Deals with Glenn and Amber Schworm

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Starting out with nothing is not easy. Luckily – this week on the BiggerPockets Podcast we are talking with husband and wife team Glenn and Amber Schworm, who have successfully done just this and scaled their real estate business to over 100 deals! On today’s show, Glenn and Amber share a ton of great tips and advice about flipping, wholesaling, and marketing for real estate investors – both new and seasoned.

Read the Transcript for episode 15 with Glenn and Amber Schworm

Listen to The Show on iTunes

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

In This Show, We Cover:

  • How desperation (and $80,000 in credit card debt) forced Glenn and Amber to succeed
  • Using a mail-carrier to find deals for you
  • The mistakes made on the first flip that helped them prosper on over 100 other flips
  • Working with your spouse as your business partner
  • Creating systems and teams to build a bigger business
  • Tips for finding private investors to fund your real estate investing
  • The toughest thing Glenn and Amber ever have to face in their business
  • Tips for making money from wholesaling
  • Marketing for motivated sellers

Books Mentioned in the Show:

The BiggerPockets Book on Flipping Houses
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
Think and Grow Rich by N. Hill
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

Links from the Show:

BiggerPockets’ Facebook Page
BP Podcast 010 : Flipping Houses 101 with J Scott
Do You Have the Mindset to be on Shark Tank?

Deals that Keep you Moving Forward….$20K into $85K in 5 days!
BP Podcast 012 : Wholesaling and Marketing with Sharon Vornholt

Tweetable Topics

Don’t be afraid to ask. (Click to Tweet!)

You can read the books and go to the seminars, but in the end – it’s a people business.(Click to Tweet!)

Behavior that is rewarded is usually repeated. (Click to Tweet!)

Invest in your people… they are your future. (Click to Tweet!)

Action equal results. Massive action equals massive results.(Click to Tweet!)

Learn More about Glenn and Amber
Glenn’s BiggerPockets Account
Glenn’s BiggerPockets’ Blog Posts

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 180,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!


  1. 1.How do you determine renovation cost and ARV of the properties you flip? Is it not different in 2008 with a lot of foreclosures on the market?
    2.Where do you find properties today? Do you have access to MLS?
    3.Private Investor – how do you arrange this legally? IE: Mortgage, promissory note, LLP, etc?
    4.You say you manage contractors, are you incorporated like a LLC, carry commercial liability and workers comp insurance and require your subs list you as insurance on their policies?
    5.Some REI’s say flipping is continuous work looking for and managing a source of income vs cash flow from say rentals. What are your thoughts do have a steady stream of cash flow in your portfolio?
    6.Are your PM’s and Susan employees or subs? Do you have any direct employees?
    7.Last question, why are you and BP and not out flipping? Just kidding! 🙂

    Time comment: I think it is a good idea to account for your time in your profits, especially for newbies. IMHO it gives a metric to value it and determine whether or not your time can be better utilized. In your example, in retrospect, not doing the work and acquisitions yourselves, delegating, perhaps your time is better utilized marketing. I think any business that does not constantly monitor time for continuous quality improvements will fail or will not succeed to their max potential.

    • Wow, I did not see all the comments in here, I guess I have some answering to do!! Terry in the future please try to ask MORE questions on the first comment !! LOL, Here we go…

      1 – We have a spreadsheet called our PBR, Project Budget Report. It calculates all costs and investment. We use recent comps to determine the ARV. The numbers are a little different than 2008, but not much.

      2 – We do a lot of marketing. Yes we have access to the MLS. We have 2 agents who work in house and 2 other consultants who run leads and track down houses to buy.

      3 – Mortgage and Promissory Note. Also about $1.5M of our $2.5M investor funds are in Self Direct IRA funding that we have arranged for our investors.

      4 – Yes

      5 – We own one two family. In the future we will more than likely use rentals to provide for retirement. At the moment we are focused on building the cash base from flipping. And Yes it is continuous work. You will see our post this week coming up that we are building our flipping business into a system so we are not directly involved 24/7 thereby making it a cash flow producer on its own.

      6 – Employees and yes we have some subs also.

      7 – Because I am busy answering someones 37 initial questions at 1:16 i the morning! 🙂

      • 37 that means I got 30 more? LOL! You all should have follow-up webinars live Q&A…I can hear it now, “you’re live with BP dynamic duo’s” LOL!

        Serious, thanks again learned alot!

  2. Glenn and Amber,

    Good podcast you guys. Right on about realtors. I am one of them, and realtors definitely need trained. And we should never rely on realtors for the ARV.

    All this sounds so simple – doesn’t it? There is nothing simple about this process. My hat off to you guys!

  3. Glenn & Amber,

    I really enjoyed your podcast. In the podcast you mentioned being upfront with the seller and having them sign off on your company making a profit off their property. If possible, could you provide some more details about what language is in the disclosure paperwork you have sellers sign. I think that is a great idea for full disclosure, CYA.

    Thanks for all the info you provided

    • Hi Lorenzo,

      I think more than CYA, it is a better way to do business so people do not feel like you are being sneaky selling their house as a wholesale. The language is just: Through our marketing, we come across homes that do not meet our criteria for one reason or another. You understand that we will contract to buy your house for $_______ and then attempt to sell it for more than that to make a profit. At the closing you will pay no commissions, only traditional closing costs. We have the right to market the house however we see fit to get it sold. Etc.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Eric Hettena on

    “Not that you kiss your contractors…” hahaha good to know.

    Great podcast. It is always great to hear different points of views. Thanks for taking the time to do this Glen and Amber….and you two Brandon and Joshua.

  5. Cristina Corredor on

    Great story, a lot of “golden nuggets” taken from the podcast. Massive action will lead to massive results!! I´m starting as a wholesaler but definitely when I´m rehabbing will take the advice of 1. price, 2. quality, 3. time, pick two! congratulations for all your accomplishments, really inspiring story.

  6. Great job! Especially about the contractors part. I had hired some contractors for a couple small jobs and gave them a list of the future work … somewhere about $15,000 or so. And they screwed up a little job so now I’m not using them. Why???? Can’t they just do the work correctly so that I can have a good relationship? I hate the process of finding the good contractors.

    • Hi Dawn,

      It is one of the hardest parts of the business, especially if you are a woman. Now let me explain before you shoot me! Amber has been the one to do the majority of that work in our business and she is tough. She always tells me she has to overcome a lot of attitude from most contractors who think they can pull things over on her. She has had rude guys say, Get Glenn out here, he will understand, to which she laughs and says, I can see you don’t know Glenn! But they assume all males prefer to swing hammers. Just remember, you are going to pay the high price one way or the other. One way os very stressful and the other, not so much, but they both cost the same, so find the MRA sooner than later. (Mature Responsible Adult) Hope that helps! Thanks for the comment.

  7. This was a great podcast
    Thanks for all the usefull info
    I especially liked the part about finding contractors, that was so true

    Thanks mark
    Elite property investment group

  8. Glenn,

    I finally found the time to listen to this podcast, I’ve been itching to listen to it since I first read the title earlier this week.

    The entire time I was listening all I could think about was how very similar our real estate careers are (although you are much further along then I am).

    I love the fact that you and Amber went all in and jumped into the deep end with your first few flips. I’ve been there and know too well how it feels to be on your last $1,500 and just hoping/praying that a flip sells so you can pay everyone back and scrape away a few extra dollars (cause thats what it feels like after putting in 15+ hour days for months).

    I’d love to hear more about how you scaled the business and went from a handful of deals a year to dozens at one time. I’ll be in contact soon and signing up on your site.

    Thanks for the awesome podcast,


  9. I really enjoyed this podcast #15, I took a lot of notes about flipping houses. This husband & Wife team are great to listen to, I will listen to this podcast a lot to motivate me to keep moving forward, even when times are tough. Thanks again for this interview. Keep up the great work you guys at BP.

    • Joshua Dorkin

      Thanks for listening, Shawn! I’m glad you enjoyed the show . . . keep listening to the podcasts, keep reading the blog, and jump in and stay active on our forums. We’re here to help motivate and to provide you with the tools and opportunities to be successful.

      Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave us a review there is you haven’t already. We’d appreciate it!

    • Thanks Shawn! Do what you have to to push through the tough times because you WILL have them. Welcome to the game of life! 🙂 I can tell you from experience that pushing through those times will make you stronger and smarter for the next time, and you will build a lot of self confidence in the process. Good luck to you!

  10. Ethan Hamilton on


    Great stuff on this podcast! Very inspiring stuff. I’m trying to start out in wholesaling and then move into fix and flips when my dad retires in April of next year. Help me understand how you got your purchase and sell contracts? I want to ensure I have an out clause and can assign the contract obviously, so would I need a lawyer to draft contracts for me? Tell me about your experience and what’s worked well for you?

    Wishing you continued success!

    Best Regards,


    • Glenn Schworm

      Hi Ethan,

      We use a standard MLS agreement. We have another addendum that is very basic and straightforward. IN a nut shell, it says that we are buying your house but are not obligated to execute the contract until we find a third party buyer. We like to be upfront instead of having “outs” and tying up the property under false pretenses. That has worked well for us and allowed us to develop an excellent reputation as being different from all other investors.

      Hope that helps, glad you enjoyed the podcast. Good luck to you as you begin your career

  11. Glenn and Amber,

    It’s so great to hear about your ethics and practices to go the extra mile when working with people (brownies are a great idea!).

    My wife and I are new to REI. She just recently finished school to transition to teaching and isn’t too excited about learning another field of work, even though she is interested in it.

    She has a degree in advertising and a minor in graphic design so she loves art and style (a great eye for it too, much like Amber) so I feel as though her place in all of this lies with approving and picking out the aesthetics?

    Was this an obstacle you two had to overcome at any point?

    How did you agree on your roles within the company?

    Thanks so much for your response!

    • Hi Taylor,

      We were on vacation for 2 weeks and are just getting back in the swing of things. Thanks for the comment.

      Amber and I have always worked well together. From day 1, I loved making the deals happen and she was great at the details and design. It was a great match and is one of the reasons for our success.

      Our roles just sort of took care of themselves, we did not really have a formal business plan or role definitions when we started. They happened over time. I think one of the keys we had is that we BOTH were excited about it. I do think that is a key for working with your spouse. While it is great to have the full support of your spouse, sometimes you may have to just get their permission and go and prove to them it can work. If you do that, you can MAKE them excited and get more on board.

      I hope that helps! Have a great week and Happy 4th.


  12. Collin Goodwin on


    I was very intrigued by your comment “money is everywhere, you just have to ask.” At my point in my career, I am trying to move away from conventioal financing and migrating towards private investors but dont want to just ask for money like you said. I feel it is essential to have a package ready to present to investors, but along with that comes SEC guidelines and financing knowledge. You said you offered referral fees and presented opportunities through letters, would you mind sharing the general language you used in these letters? I am specifically interested in simple interest vs. amoritized options to lenders (what I hope to bring to them in return)

    • Hi Collin,

      I am not sure where all of these SEC comments are coming from, you are my second today. We use private investors like a bank does on a property. They give us money and in return they get a mortgage and note for their protection. Simple as that. No SEC regulations are involved with this type of lending. It is about the same as me giving you a loan that is collateralized by an asset. As for language, go to our site then to the “Invest with Us” tab. User: SHBInvest PW: Sold case sensitive. The information has not been updated for a few years but the principals are the same. Feel free to check it out. When we started, we printed this info out in professional binders and mailed them out with cover letter just saying we were looking for investors and did they know anyone who may be interested. I hope that helps.

  13. Glenn,

    Really enjoyed listening to this podcast today. I have gained a lot of informaiton from the others but this one was perfect for me right now. I have a business partner and we are working on that first deal and your podcast gives me a lot of hope.

    See you at the next Action Investors Network meeting and hope to meet you in person.


      • Hi Glenn and Amber,
        As new investors, I am curious how fast you grew your business, particularly within the first 1-2 years. How many flips did you do? Did you wholesale any of the deals you couldn’t do back then? If not, do you wish you had also wholesaled along with the flipping when you first started? Thanks!

        • Glenn Schworm

          Hi Jessica,

          In our first year I think we officially did 1, then 3 the next year, and it was then we started to use private lenders and expand accordingly. We did not start wholesaling until about 2 years ago and we have gotten serious about it in the past year. It is a great way to make money for sure, but it does take marketing and systems to make it work consistently and correctly. In the early days we used the MLS to find deals so we did not have enough leads to find wholesale deals, had we started marketing earlier we may have started wholesaling earlier. I would advise you to start marketing sooner than later if you can afford it. One solid wholesale deal can pay for your marketing for a year. Hope that helps!

  14. Glenn and Amber,

    Enjoyed your podcast. Question: you mentioned 12% interest rate from personal investor. Is the rate normal for you? I found that most states have usury laws that indicate 10%+ rate loan are not lawful. So I was wondering in case of the loan goes wrong, is the lender protected by law?

    Another question is that most commercial loan only charge 6% or so. So I am guess you use personal loans as downpay, then get commercial loans on top of it. But how can you get commercial loan if banks see you cannot even afford the down pay? Just curious how the whole system works.

    • Glenn Schworm

      Hi Howard,

      I am not aware of any usury laws. We use private mortgages that range from 8-14%, as we are more experienced these days we are offering 8-10% returns which are still great. The buyers have a note and mortgage so if we were to default they would foreclose on the property and have that to recoup any losses.

      We currently do not use any commercial loans however we are in discussions with our bank to possibly do so.

      Thanks for the comment, hope that helped.

      Merry Christmas and Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


  15. Glen and Amber,

    You are so inspiring! I love hearing about spouses working together. My husband and I also work very well together and up until the last few years, have always worked side by side. After your podcast I was even more inspired to get him involved in future investing. Also, I really like your attention to detail by sending a thank you brownie to anyone you have business contact with. That’s an excellent touch that really makes them remember you long after you’ve concluded your contact.

    Thanks for sharing your story!


    • Glenn Schworm

      Thank you Vana, we think the little touches are what set us apart from other flippers. Hope you and your husband can get back to working together, once you define your roles and respect each others space, all is well! 🙂

      Thanks again,


  16. Hi Glenn and Amber,

    Thanks for all the great information! On the podcast, you mentioned that you’re starting to build up a team around you to facilitate your business as it grows. As someone completely new to the business (well, currently licensed as an agent in DC, but no deals under my belt), I’m looking to join a team and was wondering how you found your employees and what needs you had that required the additional support.

    Any info you could provide would be very helpful. Thanks again!

    • Glenn Schworm

      Well, I think that all depends on what you actually need. If you haven’t started yet, mu thought would be that you don’t need any employees yet. Once you start investing, if you find yourself too busy to even think straight, it is probably time to hire help to take some of that pressure off of you. In other words, if you are too busy to be out doing what you are the best at (finding deals, negotiating deals, etc.) then you need help so you can continue to work ON your business and not so much IN your business, Hope that helps and best of luck to you!

      • Hi Glenn,

        Thanks for the response! Really appreciate it! I’m afraid I didn’t explain myself clearly, so sorry. As I have very little experience currently, I’m looking to apply what skills I have to help an investor as a member of their team. For instance, I’m looking to apply my knowledge of contract management/profitability maintenance (or simply stuffing mailers, if needed) to help out a seasoned investor as a contractor or employee. On the podcast, you and Amber spoke about your efforts to build up a team and how careful you were at choosing your employees/contractors. So I was wondering what you were looking for and how you found your employees/contractors.

        Thanks again!

        • Glenn Schworm

          My apologies, I will try again! Our first assistant was for all of the paperwork we did, so we looked for the things I was not god at, like organization and many details. I am not sure what investors in your area would be looking for. I would suggest that you investigate who the leader in your area is and offer to be a volunteer to help them and in return you can learn as you are around their business. As for how we find contractors, we ask a lot of questions to qualify them, like experience, insurances, crews, skills, etc. Then we get references and go from there. I hope that was better!

  17. Yasmine Bisumber

    Thank you very much for sharing, I enjoyed this podcast. I think it is amazing how your wife and yourself turned your lives around through true hard work and sacrifice. It it always more rewarding when you know you gave it your all and you succeed.

  18. Michelle Cobbs

    Hi Glenn and Amber,

    Great podcast, listened on the way to work now I am again to get some notes, I am interested in learning more on how you structure the private funding Glenn do you a have articles on your blog that will cover that a bit more that I can read. Especially the part about your investors getting the mortgage, is that 2nd mortgage or line of credit on their current home so they are able to invest I am a bit confused on the details I will listen again to podcast for sure you both were great. Thanks again As always.. you guys have done well Josh and Brandon. 🙂


    P.S. Also like the small gifts you send to people you have worked with I learned this nice tips from Bob Burg a few years ago after reading one of his books. I used this tip as a Candle Distributor and still do I will most definite incorporate it with Real Estate that is genius.

  19. Glenn Schworm


    I do not have any further info on a blog regarding get topic. In a nut shell, someone can take out a line of credit on their home lets say at 4% and loan it out at 10-15% and make a decent return on borrowed money. There is a little more to it to make sure you are protected, but that is it. Hope that helps, best of luck!

  20. Bennett V.

    Great info on your start and how you grew your process and scaled everything into a profitable business. I am hoping to make my first investment this summer and some on the info was very applicable into what I am looking to do, especially to leverage the first couple of investments for the future.
    I was back looking at some of the older podcasts done on here and stumbled upon this one but recognized your name from seeing around here in Albany. Glad to see you and your wife doing so well several years after the release of this podcast. Its also very interesting to hear how things work on the local level. Any areas in the Capital Region that you avoid in particular? I am looking to get my start with rental investments.

  21. Julie Marquez

    You guys are the sweetest people! I just want to surround myself with positive people like you who do so much good for the community. So many little great business tips that just make you successful in life, like brownies and thank you notes. I really appreciate tokens like that I think everyone can learn a little something from you guys. All that best to you and your family!

  22. Matt Dunn

    Amber and Glenn, thanks for taking the time to be on the podcast! Excellent work ethic and business practices on full display. Great to hear from such incredible investors. You mentioned that you had put a couple houses under contract with the intention of flipping, but then wholesaled them. Would the contract they are put under be the same if the intention is to wholesale as it is to flip?

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