BiggerPockets Podcast 095: Multifamily Investments, Partnerships, and Raising Your Kids to Be Entrepreneurs With Curt Bidwell

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If nothing else, investing in real estate is an adventure, as well as an ever-evolving learning process, where you can alter your focus to align with the needs of yourself, your clients, and your family. This week on The BiggerPockets Podcast, we’ll learn all about what it takes to branch out in your real estate investing endeavors with our guest Curt Bidwell. 

Curt’s first real estate opportunity arose while he was working as a pastor, when a few good friends asked if he wanted to partner with them on a local fourplex. Since then, he’s acquired quite a portfolio of real estate, including sixplexes, duplexes, new construction, single family homes, townhomes, and mixed properties. He’s done it all — and now he’s even gotten his kids involved! Listen for interesting tips on how to creatively invest, the best ways to find good tenants, as well as how to encourage your kids to get interested in finances and real estate along the way.

Read the Transcript

Click here to read the transcript.

Listen to The Show on iTunes

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Listen to the Podcast Here

In This Show We Cover:

  • What makes a good partnership
    BiggerPockets-Podcast-Cover 300 300
  • How to get started with mixed rental properties
  • Ways to keep your children motivated and setting goals
  • Where to find the best commercial locations to increase your real estate value
  • The positives of renting out large family homes
  • How to choose whether you should have in-house management for your multi-unit rentals
  • Methods to teach your children to be financially wise
  • The best ways to go about obtaining lines of credit for your properties
  • Ways to creatively invest and finance your rentals
  • What exactly a 1031 exchange is
  • Helpful tips to finding a good location manager
  • How to work with local commercial lenders
  • Best ways to screen your tenants
  • And lots more!

Links From the Show

Books Mentioned in the Show 

Connect with Curt

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. Gloria Dulan-Wilson

    Great Podcast – Especially the info on mixed use properties – because some of the properties I’m looking at are in an urban environment, there are some mixed use units. Would it make sense to let them remain commercial units, or transform them into additional apartment space by adding a kitchen & bath?

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Gloria, Thanks for your comments. You will have to see what your municipality will allow. In our case, I tried to convert the back half of our restaurant into 3 apartments and leave the street frontage for retail/office. While the planning department staff was gracious, they also said, “No”. The city council had determined that they would not allow residential on the street level in the downtown core.

      I do like having residential over the retail in that you have live bodies that have a vested interest in the downtown at all hours of the night and day (much like Europe). I’m sure it cuts down on vandalism and crime when there are people actively living there as opposed to a dark empty road.

  2. Andrew Tuquilar

    Why do you prefer to use a HELOC instead of doing a cash-out re-fi? If you were to just refinance, then you don’t have to make any payments on the equity pulled out of the property. Can you explain the key benefits to using a HELOC instead? Thanks!

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Andrew, Thanks for your question! I’ve just been discussing this with my son as he looks to refi his little property in hopes of expanding. I have done total refinances like you suggest, taken out 2nds, and done HELOCS. They each serve their purpose. Here are a couple reasons I like the HELOC for smaller/non-permanent financing:
      1) It costs less. I can get a heloc for about $100 origination cost and $50 annual fee. A total refi could cost $4-6,000 and require full appraisal, title insurance, flood certification, etc… And we already have a good rate on the property that we want to keep.
      2) I can use it again and again and again… without any new fees. A heloc usually gives you 10 years to draw from with interest only. And interest is only on the portion I have borrowed. As you pay it back you can draw from it again similar to a credit card. With a fixed mortgage I have to refinance every time I want/need money.
      3) You stated, “…you don’t have to make any payments on the equity pulled out..” But you do. If I started with a $100k loan and pulled out $25k with a refinance, my new loan is for $125K, I have a bigger payment, and it is a permanent payment until I pay it off, refinance again, or sell -as opposed to the flexibility of paying back the 25K and using it again for another project.
      Hope that helps clarify for you!

  3. Hey Josh,

    Great podcast as usual! You talked a little bit about your “goal” that drives you so hard to work 7 days a week and not take vacations. I’ve never heard you share what your goal is. Would you be willing to share at a high level what your financial goal is?


  4. Hello Curtis.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I took down three pages of notes while listening to your podcast. I am fairly new with REI , and although I have owned Realestate in the past, not knowing what I was doing , I still came out as a winner. Your session here has encouraged me to go on. I am not a “Spring Chicken” but I know, deep inside, that I am a go getter and I have many things I want to achieve , and REI is one of them…I have immediately contacted my son so he can listen to this podcast! I am hoping that it will catch his attention and that he and I could become partners and learn as we go along. My children is my reason for being and if I can give them this gift with all of the BP’s help well, what the heck!!!
    Thank you again!

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Christine, Wow, 3 pages! I’m so glad you found some good information to encourage you forward. Working together with our kids on a common goal is definitely rewarding. I wish you well as you set your goals and work together achieve them.

  5. Shelly Ditzhazy

    Hi Curtis, I just joined bigger pockets today and this is the first podcast I listened to. I really enjoyed it! I am a newbie looking for a mentor, and am interested in multi family. I am very impressed with what you have done for your kids. Interestingly enough, it was my 25-year-old son who got me interested in real estate investing instead of the other way around. He found an ad for a local real estate investors meeting and asked me if I wanted to go. I went with him and fell in love with it. He moved onto selling solar, and with the money he is making he’s looking for his first property. Anyway, your story is very inspirational; thank you for that!!! Shelly

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Shelly, welcome to BP! I’m honored you would hear me first! Glad it was an inspiration to you. There is a lot of excellent input from the podcasts, blogs and forums to help with any questions you have moving forward. I hope we’ll be hearing of your son’s first deal before long! Good luck!

  6. Roger Lin

    I’ve been a BP member for a year and ashamed to say this was the first time I listened to the podcasts. This is AWESOME! I am more inspired than ever to educate my kids the way Curt does.
    Thanks for doing this, Josh and Brandon.

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Roger, Thanks for the good word! Glad you ventured into the Podcasts. I’m sure you’re familiar with the blogs and forums. I’ve found a wealth of information there as well. Giving our kids appropriate information as they grow and opportunities to use that information will go along way in making them financially independent. And you’ll learn a lot yourself as you do, I know I sure did!

  7. Pat Danaher

    Hello Curtis,
    Thank you for the podcast, it was very interesting and nice to hear from someone that just jumped head first and now has so much experience with different investments.
    You stated that you will not be looking for mixed use properties going forward and sticking with residential, what is the reason that you are leaning away from mixed use properties? I currently only have residentail and have been pondering the mixed use properties mainly becuase it seems that you can get longer leases (atleast on the commercial side) which in my limited view would help control costs and reduce the effort in managing the property

  8. Curtis Bidwell

    Pat, Thanks for the comments and questions! There are definitely some good upside considerations for mixed use and commercial. Part of my own hesitancy going forward is my restaurant space which has been empty for a long time. It’s a significant decision to effectively repurpose that space. Commercial is also subject to more whims of beauracracy. Our legislature recently passed new elevator codes. It will cost me $2600 to become compliant and $720/yr in additional maintenance fees. City council passed a new tax on fire sprinkler systems this summer. There goes another $60/mo.
    On the other hand I seldom get calls from my office/retail tenants and they do have longer lease terms – we have a 3 year minimum. From my limited experience in commercial I would recommend staying with smaller units. My spaces run 500 to 800 sf. I can keep those occupied relatively easily with a variety of businesses or offices. The larger spaces (3500sf restaurant) doesn’t get the $/sf and when the economy sinks it’s one of the first businesses to go.
    My experience is in residential, from SFR to moderate apartments (24-38 units). It is my area of confidence and therefore my comfort zone. I would like to expand on that.

  9. Michelle Joiner

    Great Segment!
    I enjoyed hearing about the various real estate deals~ obstacles that were overcome, along with information on financing strategies used to acquire the properties and partnerships. Also, hearing stories about the various types of tenant was hilarious at times but can be a problem too if not addressed. Thanks for sharing!

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Michelle, I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast! There are definitely many ways to make a deal happen. And there will always be obstacles. The winners are the ones that find the most efficient way over, through, or around them to get to the goal.
      Yes, we have met a lot of ‘unique’ characters along the way and we have learned a lot about people and how to work with them too! Keep learning!

  10. Charlie Stewart

    Great Stuff! I have a 3 year old daughter who is excited to teach her all about real estate and finance. Its a shame that our educational system lacks a strong financial curriculum. I hope to have my daugher follow in your son’s foot steps. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  11. Curtis Bidwell

    Charlie, Thanks for taking the time to listen. Kids are fantastic and it’s always fun to watch them develop! Seeing them grasp concepts and begin to apply them will thrill a dad’s heart for sure! Children learn best from us. Keep educating yourself and applying what you learn and she will have the best inspiration to take bold steps in her own life.

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Burrell, Just a quick question based on your profile … What will you do with the info you’ve been getting? A goal to purchase something is good. But do you also have a specific plan to reach the goal? Map out the steps that will lead you to your first purchase and then check off each step as you accomplish it. Seeing the specific progress will build your momentum until it becomes a reality. Good luck!

      • Burnell B.

        Thank you I’m currently in a lease until next year and plan on looking for a duplex or quad plex to purchase for my family and I. I also notice that Market oploy wasn’t listed under the book section . The book is out of print so I have been searching and searching and finally found a place that has a copy to sale.

  12. Burnell B.

    That’s my plan, right now there isn’t any multifamily units for sale but doesn’t mean there won’t be next year. I think the one thing I really took from your podcast is that you did not over extend your reach and that you are still learning about the business . Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Jonathan, Thanks for investing some time in the Podcasts. If you search the BP website you will find great information on most RE topics. Most the info here will be about the real estate side with guys who buy and sell property, shopping malls, mixed-use, etc. and less about the business side of running a store. You will find a host of information whether it is purchasing and developing land to build on or negotiating the purchase of an existing store! Good luck!

    • Curtis Bidwell

      Don, Thanks for your comments! Training kids up financially wise teaches them to fish instead of just giving them a fish! Both my boys are doing well today. One now works for Google, and the other is a Pediatric Resident. Both the intentional and passive training we gave them helped guide them in specific areas as well as in general direction, motivation and ambition. Blessings on your family as you raise up a generation of capable kids!

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