BiggerPockets Podcast 177: Using Fixer-Upper Rentals (BRRRR) to Achieve Financial Independence with Ben Walhood

by |

When you hear the acronym “BRRRR,” what comes to mind? Winter? Well, today on the BiggerPockets Podcast, we’re going to talk about BRRRR — and, no, we’re not talking about the temperature! On this powerful episode, we dive deep into one of the most popular and exciting strategies for real estate investors today — the BRRRR strategy (Buy-Rehab-Rent-Refinance-Repeat). We talk with Ben Walhood, a real estate investor from the Chicago suburbs who has found tremendous success buying properties in several states using BRRRR, as well as several other strategies. You’ll learn why it took Ben nearly ten years to “take off” as an investor, as well as the best tips he has for finding success today. Grab a notebook and pencil — because this is one show you’ll want to take some notes!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Watch the Podcast Here

Help Us Out!

Help us reach new listeners on iTunes by leaving us a rating and review! It takes just 30 seconds and instructions can be found here. Thanks! We really appreciate it!

This Show Sponsored By

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

A new commercial lender offering loans specifically for rental investors. B2R Finance could help you unlock equity from existing properties so you can get cash out now.

Learn more by visiting:

Fire Round Sponsor

freshlogoA 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:

  • Tips for switching from the linear path of a sales person to a real estate investor
  • What a “no doc loan” is
  • How Ben bought his first house in college to house hack
  • How he learns each market he gets into
  • The story of how he failed horribly on his second deal
  • What to do when you get calls from tenants in the middle of the night
  • Why every strategy could work
  • How he got better with his type of properties over time
  • The best deal he’s had
  • Why you have to fail to succeed
  • Tips on the BRRRR strategy
  • How many properties Ben has
  • What you should know about CapEx
  • Tips for using insurance companies
  • How to perform a walkthrough of a typical BRRRR deal
  • The downsides to this strategy
  • Tips for short-term financing through crowdfunding
  • Where is Ben going with his investing
  • How we was able to quit his job through investing
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “I just hated the idea of throwing away money on rent every month.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Find people that choose to rent and not ones that need to rent.” (Tweet This!)
  • “I had to try and fail before I could figure out what success looked like.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s all about putting in the right people and putting some terms in your lease.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Ben

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. Matthew Pinkston

    Great show! I was so happy to finally hear from someone who got started in Iowa! My first deal was also back right before the crash in my old college town (Ames). Though I did go to UofI for a year, so I wonder if we might have crossed paths lol.
    I don’t think this was mentioned on the show, but the crash didn’t seem to affect my property values very much. I think Iowa college towns seem to be pretty sheltered economically. Did you have the same experience in IC?
    Anyway, I’m really glad to hear of your success after those years of struggling. Cheers!

    • Ben Walhood

      Hey Matthew,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the show! Yes, I completely agree about the economic shelter in Iowa. I don’t typically invest in college towns, so I’m not sure if that was the primary factor or if the Iowa market simply didn’t see as large of a bubble/bust cycle. But my rental there nearly stayed flat in value since before the recession. A little appreciation would be nice!

  2. Chris T.

    Thanks Ben ! Great information, and your quote, “everyone falls down, winners get up and top winners get up faster” My goal is to be where you are currently, hope to learn from you more and see you around.

  3. Brian Loper

    Hey Brandon, you had a note on your board during the podcast about a free rental book, at least I think you did, lol. Curious if you gave that away didn’t hear you mention it in the podcast. Another good show. Thanks

  4. Ryan Murakami

    Great show Ben! I heard you mention that you’ve used unsecured business lines (UBLs). What did you need to show the lender to qualify for the UBL? Cash flow statement? Tax returns?

    I know there are ways to get UBLs for newer LLCs as there are a few companies that claim they can get them for you (for a pretty big fee). Im trying to do this on my own and I can’t seem to find too much info on it. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!! and congrats on your success in real estate investing!!

    • Ben Walhood

      Hey Ryan, I’m glad you enjoyed the show! What I use, mostly, is an Unsecured Promissory Note (fancy term for an IOU). This is a situation where you buy money from someone (typically friends/family who know and trust you) and you give them a piece of paper that says when and how you’ll pay them back. The note is only as valuable as the integrity of the person borrowing the money, so make sure you say what you’ll do and do what you’ll say!
      As far as the UBL’s you’re alluding to, these seem to be popping up everywhere right now. If you search for business loans, business lines of credit, and business credit cards, you should be able to find ample information and ‘cut out the middle man’.
      Best of luck!

  5. Julie Marquez

    That was a wonderful podcast Ben! I am in the process of buying a home that is a live in flip, plus house hacking with the mother-in-law downstairs. I love this process and it’s great to hear that it works so well for you! Thanks for sharing all your great information!

  6. Dmitriy Fomichenko

    Really enjoyed the podcast. Like you said, every strategy performs differently for individuals, so keep your distance from the ones who claim there’s to be the best. Using real estate crowdfunding is another excellent thing to keep in mind, especially considering the quick fund processing.

    Thanks for sharing!

Leave A Reply

Pair a profile with your post!

Create a Free Account


Log In Here