BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

BiggerPockets Podcast 150: Designing a Lifestyle-Based Real Estate Business with Luke Swab

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For some, the goal of real estate is to make tens of millions of dollars. For others, like today’s guest, it’s a way to finance an incredible life. Today’s guest, Luke Swab, shares with us his story of designing his lifestyle through real estate and how you can do the same. Luke’s story will take you from the wild waters of Alaska to a motorcycle trip through Africa to the streets of Michigan real estate and more! Don’t miss this incredible honest, humorous, and informative episode!

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This Show Sponsored By

We just waRealtySharesnted to give a shout out to our podcast sponsor on today’s show: RealtyShares. RealtyShares is a crowdfunding platform that allows you to invest in professionally managed properties without leaving your living room!

Learn more by visiting RealtyShares.com/biggerpockets!

Fire Round Sponsorfreshlogo

A huge thanks as well to our Fire Round sponsor FreshBooks.
FreshBooks customers spend less time on paperwork, freeing up 2 days per month to focus on the work they love. What would you do with that extra time?

Learn more by visiting FreshBooks.

In This Episode We Cover:

  • BiggerPockets Podcast ArtworkWhere Luke is from
  • Details on his main job and career choices
  • How he transitioned from a “career mistake" to real estate
  • What is a land contract?
  • Why get into real estate when you have a good paying job
  • Thoughts on buying a house to live in
  • Luke’s second properties and house hacking
  • A discussion on getting property through the MLS
  • How he rehabbed a property
  • Tips for treating your tenants well
  • Rental property you should avoid
  • How to create a “predictable portfolio
  • What his current portfolio looks like
  • The importance of not having much debt
  • How to make sure your cash flow is there
  • The real estate investing lifestyle
  • How he manages his property
  • What a low maintenance property entails
  • Why BRRRR investing is hard
  • The worst mistake he’s made
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “People need to decide what’s important to them, time, money, relationships, whatever and go from there.” (Tweet This!)
  • “I can learn anything, so I can learn how to do that as well.” (Tweet This!)
  • “If you’ve done a deal, people will look differently than if you’ve never done a deal.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Luke

Luke’s Boat

Luke's Fishing Boat

Real strategies that work for real people seeking to build wealth through real estate investments. Co-hosted by Brandon Turner and David Greene, this podcast provides actionable advice from investo...
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    Mikael Winkler Rental Property Investor from Columbus, OH
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Great podcast, as always, guys!
    Joshua Dorkin BiggerPockets Founder from Denver, CO
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Thanks Mikael!
    Adrian Smude Rental Property Investor from Plant City, FL
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Another great episode! This was one of the better episodes for me because I feel like I relate with Luke more than most. Thanks for the info and stories!
    Donald Cherry from Saint Peters, Missouri
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Interesting approach… Thank you.
    Ryan McGowan Engineer from Victorville, California
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Regarding the humidity issue (48:10), you can purchase a humidistat for the rooms that produce humidity, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. This is actually code now in California due to the new Green Code.
    Matt Morgan Residential Agent And Investor from Scottsdale, Arizona
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Although the advice to “take action” is given in nearly every episode, I love how Luke puts things in perspective when talking about his $20,000 mistake. That mistake, while definitely ill-advised, isn’t nearly as costly as the mistake of failing to act. I think the biggest misconception people have about successful individuals, whether it be in real estate or any other aspect of life, is that these individuals are infallible. This is simply not the case. Read the biography of any well known entrepreneur and you will find a story riddled with bone-head moves. Get rid of the need to be perfect. Real estate, and life in general, will get a lot easier.
    Krystal James Real Estate Agent from Wichita Falls, TX
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Luke, I just finished listing to the podcast. It was great! I loved hearing about how you’re using real estate to achieve your goal of being a professional bum. I have a similar goal. Do you have any other tips for hands off property management?
    Luke Swab Investor from Lansing, Michigan
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Krystal, My first tip is to buy property because without property, all of this is just a mind exersise.
    Alicia Crossen from West Palm Beach, Florida
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Luke, I really enjoyed the podcast! Great accent, too. My question is similar to Krystal’s. When you are away in Alaska fishing, how do you handle tenant maintenance requests? Thank you in advance!
    Luke Swab Investor from Lansing, Michigan
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    So every year I leave for Alaska I have two more houses based on my growth of two properties per year. So this last year was the most I’ve had and what I do is tell my Tenants what I do. I don’t have and just try to skip town. I give them a phone number of a friend who could handle any emergencies they might have, and if it’s a minor problem to call me when I return in early August. So far I have not had any major thing happen when I am gone, but if it does, I have a friend who can take care of the problem until I return.
    Alicia Crossen from West Palm Beach, Florida
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Thanks for your response! I’ll try something similar with my one rental property later this month. I appreciate it.
    Patrick Lim Lender from Pleasanton, California
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Great show. One suggestion to think about – you could go 30yr fixed-rate and make extra payments. It’s free optionality, so worth a mention.
    Luke Swab Investor from Lansing, Michigan
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Patrick, I could definitely do that, but that would tempt me to not apply extra payments. I am kind of forcing my hard at saving, and building more equity. It’s hard for me not to spend the money and I’m thinking more long term than short term.
    Dawn A. Rental Property Investor from Milwaukee, WI
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    I, too, like buying in cash. Nothing wrong with that.
    Carl Latting Investor from Las Vegas, Nevada
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Good episode! I’m in a situation right now where I have to “Pull it off!”
    Jonathan Blum Rental Property Investor from The Dalles, OR
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hey Luke! I really enjoyed your podcast because I am in a very similar situation/ values for investing and balancing lifestyle and having my investments generate passive income to promote lifestyle. I put a high value on working hard for short periods of time to make cash to plow back into the real estate business. I currently have eleven units on six properties and have done 100% of the upkeep, repair, and management myself to this point. I have heard from other investors that this is a difficult number (10-15 units) to grow past because you don’t have the time to do more yourself, but don’t yet have the cashflow to hire help or a management company. I am finding this is the case for me as my time is thin these days. I’ve also been feeling like I’ve been getting to play less as more rentals means more work for me. I was wondering at what point you will hire a management company? Do you feel like you get to travel and do less as you get more rentals? Do you hire out all work/ labor or are you doing the repairs yourself? Thanks for an inspiring podcast about lifestyle and freedom. Most of the BP podcasts are rich on getting rich but poor on enjoying life and realizing freedom. Keep up the lifestyle!