BiggerPockets Podcast 129: Live-in Flips, Frugality, and Finance with Mindy Jensen

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On this episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast, we’re going to talk about a unique strategy that combines the power of house flipping with the benefits of home ownership. You’ll meet Mindy Jensen and discover how she uses the “live-in flip” strategy to build wealth through real estate. You’ll also learn how a live-in flipper can save significant money on taxes as well as a discussion on the benefits of doing your own work. Don’t miss this enlightening, and hilarious, episode!

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This Show Sponsored By

patchoflandWe just wanted to give a shout out to our podcast sponsor on today’s show: Patch of Land. Patch of Land is a Peer-to-Real-Estate (“P2RE”) lending marketplace that matches accredited and institutional investors seeking high-yield, short-term, asset-collateralized investments to borrowers seeking more timely and consistent sources of funding for rehabbing properties across America.

Learn more by visiting Patch of Land!

In This Episode We Cover:

BiggerPockets-Podcast-Cover 300 300

  • Who Mindy Jensen is
  • Her thoughts on personal finance
  • Frugality, as defined by Mindy
  • A debate on Starbucks (as well as Priuses) and frugality
  • Where she spends her money
  • How Mindy got started in real estate
  • Details on her deals
  • 7% as a steal?
  • The ins and outs of performing a live and flip
  • Getting a real estate license as a means to invest
  • What you should know about For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties
  • How she advertises her houses
  • The pros and cons of live and flips
  • Why women can and should fix houses
  • The importance of home inspections
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Frugality is save money where you can, so you can spend it where you want to or where you need to.” (Tweet This!)
  • “I didn’t get my license to sell houses. I got it so that I could invest and have access to MLS.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Nobody likes your house more than you.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Mindy

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. Kate H.

    Ah Mindy, you’re now officially my new favorite BP person (sorry Josh/Brandon)! I love your take on personal finance and how well it works with real estate investing. We’re big PF nuts and are just getting started with real estate. An exciting road awaits us …

    • Mindy Jensen

      Damien, you can realize up to $500,000 in tax-free profit for a live-and-flip if you are married. I won’t lie, it can be tough to live in a large-scale flip. But a nice big pile of cash makes it a whole lot easier!

      • Allan Smith

        Mindy – I couldn’t help but wonder why the 1031 exchange can’t be used for tax deferring here. If I understand it correctly, can’t you sell real estate, and as long as the money goes back into more real estate within a certain time period, you don’t pay capital gains? Or are you saying the $500k has essentially the same effect?

        • Mindy Jensen

          Hi Allan.
          With a 1031 Exchange, eventually tax is owed. With the living in it for 2 years deal, tax is not owed, up to $500,000 profit. If I were doing these flips on a Will Barnard scale, I would be making serious cash…

  2. Angel Rosado

    Just as mentioned in the Podcast, I love hearing a female that is as involved as you in RE. We need way more as part of our community. I love your point of view on frugality.

    Now I’m waiting for the post for travel hacking article.

    So what’s the first tool one should purchase as a live in flipper?

    • Mindy Jensen

      Thanks, Angel.
      Here is that Travel Hacking link.

      One of the most versatile tools is the electric drill. The big box stores will frequently sell them as a package deal with another tool like a hammer drill, circular saw or even a reciprocating saw, along with a battery charger and two batteries – all for slightly more than you would pay just for the drill itself plus one battery and charger. Having the extra battery is super helpful, because batteries today don’t give much warning before they just flat-out die.

  3. Yasmine Bisumber

    Live in flips! Genius! Really enjoyed this podcast, and can relate when it comes to doing the work yourself. When I ran my contracting business it was hard to get off the ground so we (my dad and I) ended up doing a lot of the work ourselves in the beginning. He can do anything construction with his eyes closed but for me there was a learning curve and lots of YouTube / DIY videos. Since then I have fallen in love with rehabbing and have really gained some confidence.

    You really CAN do it yourself 🙂 and yes females get their hand dirty as well.

    Thanks for sharing your insight and tips.

    • Mindy Jensen

      Thank you, Yasmine.

      I started out before YouTube was around. It is such a HUGE help! And I love that there are so many different videos about the same topic, so if one isn’t helpful, there are still others to view.

      One thing I want to point out is to start small. If you are attempting your first DIY project, don’t try to tackle rewiring the house. Start off by replacing the light switch that isn’t working. (TURN OF THE POWER FIRST!!!)

      Anyone can paint. Anyone can install tile or hardwood flooring – with the right tools.

  4. Michael Rogers

    Enjoyed your podcast, Mindy. I’m a big Buffett fan and have also gone to a couple shareholder meetings. So much fun!!!

    I’m looking forward to reading your blog on vacation hacking and which credit cards offer the best vacation rewards.

    • Mindy Jensen

      Hi Michael.
      Here is the Travel Hack post:

      I didn’t recommend specific cards, because they change so frequently, but there is a link to a site in the post that does have more frequent card recommendations.

      Did you go to this year’s shareholder meeting? It was crazy with so many people there for the 50th Anniversary. But Charlie was much more engaging this year than last.

      • Michael Rogers

        Thanks Mindy! I appreciate it.

        I didn’t make it this year. I’ve been twice and the last time I went was about 4 years ago. I got to meet Becky Quick (CNBC anchor) and get within about 5 feet of Buffett. He had lots of security so they weren’t letting us get any closer. 🙂

        I wish I could have made it this year for the 50th anniversary. Sounds like you had a great time. Did you go to Gorat’s or Piccolo’s for dinner?

  5. Jonathan Makovsky

    Hi Mindy,

    Congrats on an awesome show – I really enjoyed it! It’s so impressive what you’ve done and that you and your husband are almost at the point of retirement.

    I would like to add that I think that the choices you made are great by learning many new trades and skills with power tools and other cool toys. But I think it’s also important for people listening (especially new investors) to know that you don’t need to learn those tools to be a real estate investor/flipper.

    The construction piece is the one thing that personally held me back from flipping homes because I am not handy – AT ALL! But instead of taking the time to learn it, I partnered with someone that does it and manages it well. (Hiring the right contractors can work very well too.)

    There’s something to be said for leveraging off other people’s skills, and focus on what each of us does best to create the most efficient value of our time. We just have to know where our time is best served.

    Thanks again for a really great show!

    • Mindy Jensen

      Thanks Jonathan.
      You do make a great point, not everyone will have the time or experience to tackle large renovations themselves. And even though my husband and I do much of the work ourselves, we still have some things outsourced. We do things ourselves that would cost significantly more to outsource, like tiling with fancy designs and natural stone.

      I have heard from several people that they hesitated to get into flipping because they didn’t know how to do the work necessary. As long as you budget for the repairs, you can still make money flipping.

  6. Robin Secord

    Mindy – I am only halfway through your podcast & I love it so far! My hubby was listening to it & texted me that I really needed to listen to it. When I asked why – he texted me back with “thrifting & travel hacking”. That was all it took – I love both of these ways to save money so that we can put our money elsewhere! I can’t wait to listen to the rest & can’t wait to see your travel hacking tips (thanks for the direction “from the man above”!). Saving money & traveling are 2 of my top passions, so thank you!

    Robin Secord

  7. Jonna Weber

    Loved it Mindy, great podcast! I am excited for your involvement on BP in the months/years to come. As a fellow investor with a “day job” as an agent who is also a mom – I so relate. A live in flip is something we’ve always toyed with but haven’t executed in our busy lives. Good for you for making it happen!
    p.s. – we travel hacked our way to Europe last Summer. Looking forward to that travel hacking post, too!

    • Mindy Jensen

      Thanks, Jonna.
      The live-in flip shouldn’t be taken lightly, although you can certainly do it successfully. It is more difficult with kids – they just don’t understand sometimes. When you are depending on someone else to do the work, it can be draining to have delays. Or days when they don’t show up…
      Travel hacking through Europe? Jealous!

  8. Georggetta Howie

    Thank you so much Mindy, just the inspiration I need as I begin my house search for a live-in flip in the DMV area. The market here is extremely competitive but I am hopeful. I love the area and look forward to what is ahead. Luckily for me I have a partner who is an electrician and god father is a contractor!

  9. Vincent Crane

    Great podcast Mindy. As a DIY rehabber yourself I think you’ll kill it with the BRRR strategy. You can take $50k (or whatever amount you decide depending how expensive of houses you want to buy) and use that same money over and over as long as you add enough value and do the cash out refi- to build a big rental portfolio and I’m sure you’ll save a bunch in rehab costs along the way doing so much of it yourselves.

  10. Amy A.

    I really enjoyed your show! You sound like me a few years ago. I also gave up a great job to stay home and raise our kids in sort of a live-in flip situation. It provided our seed money for rentals and more flips. It’s also difficult to manage rental properties when you have small children. As a note of encouragement, it does get easier. Now my kids are actually helpful – just yesterday my oldest was painting doors and my middle kid was mowing the lawn at a rental. It’s a great opportunity to teach them work skills, even thought they don’t appreciate it right now. Also, they will NEVER be smokers, as I’ve assigned them to pick up the butts people leave on the ground and they think it’s absolutely disgusting!
    I look forward to following your adventures on BP!

  11. Kaylyn T.

    Hey Mindy, loved your podcast! Thanks for sharing some incredibly useful information on your relatively “conservative” journey. Although I don’t think I have it in me to live-in-flip, I like knowing that is always an option as well as sort of realizing that is something I’ve already done. It’s all scarey staring out and I found your story to ease some of my own fears moving toward multi family investing. Cheers! Kaylyn

  12. Barry Smith

    Josh, Brandon and Mindy… I enjoyed the podcast. Keep up the good work Mindy. However, I was really disappointed that Josh and Brandon failed in the opportunity to suggest to you how to make $1000 an hour, and that’s to not waste your time on making time-consuming repairs on your own house. Pay the specialists (yes, including their labor) and concentrate on finding more deals, which most agree pays you a LOT more than installing tile, or doing your own plumbing, etc. You work for Josh and Brandon, so I’m surprised they didn’t give you that advice when they had the chance. Unless, you are training for your own DIY show on HGTV and then you’ll get more than $1000 an hour. Good luck!

    • Mindy Jensen

      Thanks, Barry.
      One of the most difficult tasks in flipping is finding a good contractor. I can’t find anyone to work on my house right now.
      Yes, I could make a lot more money and do a lot more flips, if I could only find a good contractor. If you know one in Longmont, or you ARE one in Longmont, I would love to hear from you!
      I do hear this frequently. But you can only use so many bad contractors, and fire so many and pay twice for the work only so many times before you just give up and do it yourself.

  13. Russell Brazil

    Another podcast where I did not make the immediate connection of who was being interviewed to the person I may know through the forums.

    I think mastering personal finance is something that needs to happen before anyone invests in real estate. You need to be able to run your own finances like a business before you actually run a business.

    Great podcast Mindy.

  14. Alicia Walter

    This is exactly what I am looking to start doing in the San Diego area and I am so happy to have a podcast really dive into the topic. I ended up listening to all the podcasts thus far. I noticed Mindy, that you had said you had a great contractor in the San Diego area. I know those are hard to come by so I thought I would jump on the opportunity. I haven’t started investing yet but I am saving up my runway money, as Scott says and looking to make as many connections as possible in the mean time!
    Any advice or tips anyone has would be great!!

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