BiggerPockets Podcast 152: Building Wealth and Passive Income with Rental Properties with Ben Leybovich, Brian Burke, and Serge Shukhat

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How would you like to own ten, fifty, or a thousand rental units? That’s the topic of today’s podcast roundtable with three previous guests of the BiggerPockets Podcast, Ben Leybovich, Brian Burke, and Serge Shukhat. These three investors have three very different business models, and in this fascinating discussion, each shares how they use rental properties to build wealth and passive income. We discuss (and debate) every aspect of the investor’s journey — all in an effort to help you succeed! We also discuss the big dangers rental investors face and how YOU can avoid those problems! Don’t miss this incredibly powerful episode with three fun, smart, and successful rental property investors!

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This Show Sponsored By

b2rfinance-logoWe just wanted to give a shout out to our podcast sponsor on today’s show: B2R Finance

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • BiggerPockets Podcast ArtworkWhere is the rental market headed?
  • Is planning for appreciation useless? (Debate!)
  • What mistakes do new investors make?
  • Overcoming challenges to investing in TODAY’S market
  • Is it too late for newbies to buy rental properties?
  • The best “single tip” from each panelist for newbies
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Connect with The Panel

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. Vincent Crane

    FINALLY a show with the trfecta of the real estate legends. You guys have been talking about doing this for like 3 months now haha. Glad to see it finally came to fruition. Shout out to all 5 of you for taking the time to do this show together.

  2. Allen Thomas

    I never comment on the podcasts (even though they are always good), but this one was phenomenal! For a guy like me, still finding himself and currently transitioning from SFRs to Multi, this was gold. It was packed full of great info and very entertaining. Keep killing it fellas!

  3. Chad Carson

    Great interview guys! I loved the exchange and dialogue between smart people on a valuable topic.

    I didn’t think you could pull it off with that many people, but nice job.

    My only complaint is that you all got much to agreeable and nice to each other by the end of the call. Brian agreeing with Ben. Josh not ripping on Lima, Ohio enough. Serge inviting Ben to move-in next door.

    Way too nice:)

    Congrats on the book Brandon. Glad to see the launch is taking off.

    • Brian Burke

      I hate to say this Chad, but I agree with you. Agreeing with Ben made me feel dirty…like I needed a shower after. But he brings up a good point every once in a while. As they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes. LOL. Just kidding Ben…call off the assassins.

    • Brian Burke

      Thanks for the comment, Jacob.

      The most important thing is to look closely at comparable sales, and pay attention to the condition of the comps and any credits & concessions given at closing. This analysis will give you a good idea of what your potential acquisition is worth if it were all fixed up (you are buying properties with some type of correctable defect, right?). Then, make sure you can negotiate a discount to that value, even after factoring in your rehab costs.

  4. Donald Cooley

    Absolutely incredible show guys! Truly was amazing listening to all of you interact and share some great knowledge. Probably going to have to listen to it a couple more times just to get a grasp on all the things you guys discussed. Thank you for the honesty and not sugar coating the business. I wish you all the best and continued success. Truly look forward to listening to you guys again.

  5. Clint Okayama

    I’ve listened to every single podcast at least once, and this is my absolute favorite. Already told my partners/property manager to listen to this ASAP. Incredible, invaluable, awesome.

    It could also be valuable to hold group podcasts with investors who have a single area or model in common (all SFR/multifamily, all Midwestern, all rrrurral/urban, all $50 million+ in sales, etc etc) – smaller audience, more specific insights? Though I definitely appreciated the different POVs/angles due to your different experiences.

    No matter what, looking forward to more grand slam discussions like this.

  6. Great podcast. I just listed to this podcast today so I missed out on the books/videos/forms package by one day. Would have been great to get them at the reduced price. Super Bummed!

  7. Donald Capwell

    I never considered “short term buy and hold” as a strategy, but I can see tremendous value in this approach. I also really appreciate the reminder of the dynamic nature of real estate, in general, and that it would be a challenge to predict “the market,” because the mutually exclusive way each segment interacts and coexists within the industry. As investors, we need to be ready, willing, and able (educated) to move across and within these different segments if we are going to be successful in the long term. “Complacency breeds mediocrity.”

    A big “THANK YOU” to each contributor for giving of yourselves and sharing your experiences here. Very informative, and lots of notes to review.

  8. Kelli Ford

    Thank you so much guys for such valuable wisdom and knowledge of the business. There was so much information, I just have a couple of questions?

    Brian, you talked about properly setting expectations and creating strategies in markets that have a predictable and logical path to success. I would like to know how to learn how to do that? I’m new to this so I don’t know what a proper expectation would be?

    Ben or anyone else, what is the difference between Intrinsic value and Capitalized Value?

    I now understand the concept of buying at the intrinsic value, thank you for the response to the previous question Jacob had.

    • Brian Burke

      Expectations and strategies: this can mean so many things…here’s a couple of examples. 1. I’m going to build $1 million in net worth in the next two years. 2. I’m going to buy rental houses with no money down and get $10K/mo cash flow within a year, in the San Francisco Bay Area. 3. I’m going to flip houses in the Midwest and profit $50K per house.

      All three of those examples are strategies…and all three are coupled with unrealistic expectations. When those expectations aren’t met you get discouraged and give up, feeling like a failure.

      Properly setting an expectation and creating a strategy with a predictable and logical path to success is the part that many people skip. I could write a whole book on how to do it but I’m too busy executing my logical strategy to write a book. 🙂

      Here’s a example of a viable strategy coupled with reasonable and logical expectations: I’m going to buy that house across town because there are a lot of buyers looking for move-in ready homes over there and I can buy it for 25% less than an identical home sold for last month, even after accounting for the cost of the repairs. If I complete the home I three months I can make a 10% net profit.

  9. Pete Sailhamer

    Great podcast. I’ve been making the transition this past year to small apartment buildings (8, 12, and 24 unit properties) so I found this show fascinating.

    Here is my question (specifically to Ben): I understand buying below value if using your own money so you can add value and make a return on your investment. However would you consider buying an apartment (long term hold) AT market value if you were able to buy with none of your own money (bank plus seller financing) and the numbers still working?

  10. Neil Da Silva

    Amazing panel of distinguished investors!

    I’m very interested to know how the 3 of you are doing at this time? How are you guys tweaking your portfolios two years later? markets are still rising in some areas and things are questionable what do you experts think! the HOLLYWOOD crew! lol

    • Brian Burke

      Glad you enjoyed the show, Neil. I can’t speak for my distinguished colleagues, but I’ve only made minor alterations to my strategy since the show was recorded. Most notably, I’ve added to the depth of my team so I can cover more territory and buy a lot more. But I’m also underwriting to a ten year hold with stress-tested assumptions–so I can hold through an adverse market cycle if necessary. I’ve changed up my debt strategy to get better terms but also to employ more conservative leverage–another defensive strategy.

  11. Alek Liskov

    This show was absolutely amazing. Thank you Josh + Brandon for getting these guys together. I highly recommend you do it again in the near future so we can learn as they learn. Every single sentence in the conversation was soaked with experience and knowledge and for a newbie – that’s priceless. I loved Ben’s point that real estate can be just a means to an end but I also completely agree with Brandon that a person’s goals, aspirations and dreams evolve. Best of luck to all!

  12. John McMillan

    This episode was terrific. I enjoyed hearing everyone’s perspective and their different “why’s”. Ben, hands down is my favorite guest. Sorry Serge and Brian. I was stuck in traffic for a few hours this weekend and this episode’s humor really lightened the drive. I listened to a few others but this is the one I remembered. Great episode, thanks!

  13. Christopher Roedema

    Hey i’m just starting out with rental property. Been looking to finance an apartment complex but I am stuck on the net worth qualification. seems like there is no way around it banks wont even consider you for a loan if you have a low net worth. just wondering if anyone knows how to bypass the net worth qualification and get funding. Im literally stuck cant move forward without it.

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