BiggerPockets Podcast 182: 674 Multifamily Units in Three Years with Jake & Gino – [Corrected]

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(The previous version of this show had some small errors in the editing so we uploaded a new version here! If you don’t know what we’re talking about… good!)

Whether you own a single property or 1,000 units, systematizing your business is the key to growth. That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to Jake Stenziano and Gino Barbaro, a real estate partnership that’s scaled to 674 units in just the past three years. In this explosive interview, Jake and Gino share their story of building a sizable portfolio using a variety of creative methods. You’ll learn about the “hard lumps” they took on their first deal, the mindset changes they needed to take to transform their business, how they financed a 200+ unit apartment for no cash down, and a lot more. This incredible show will not only change your business — it might just change the way you look at life.

Listen to the Podcast Here

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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!

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How RadioShack changed Jake’s life
  • How Gino was investing for several years before they met each other
  • Why they chose multifamily over single family
  • How Gino and Jake got into a partnership
  • The importance of giving a good customer service experience
  • The story behind their very first deal
  • Thoughts on knocking on doors
  • Why you should manage yourself in the beginning
  • The importance of a good elevator pitch
  • How to create systems
  • A discussion on mom and pop landlords
  • How to nail down the right rental rates
  • Why they like to read books and give back via life coaching
  • What you should know about cost segregation
  • How many hours they work
  • What’s next for these two
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Everyone should have a customer service or some type of sales job because you learn how to interact in the public.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Get your first deal. Get your momentum. The little snowball starts snowballing a little bit more.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The more uncomfortable you can get, the more quality you’re going to have in life.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.” (Tweet This!)
  • “I’m still working hard, but I work a little bit smarter now.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Jake & Gino

Cutting the Pine Tree

Cleaned Pine Tree

Leadership, I’ma, and the Chainsaw (by Jake and Gino)

My definition of a leader is one who sets the tone for his organization and is willing to work harder and sacrifice more than his peers. He is willing to get the job done and issues no excuses, only solutions. Every problem that is encountered has to be viewed as an opportunity for growth, and leaders are not born, only created. They embrace the “I’ma” mentality — “I’ma” do this, “I’ma” do that. Yet they soon learn that building an all-star team is the only way to grow the business and achieve personal growth. For some of us, it takes a bit longer to realize you can’t do it all yourself.

After our entertaining podcast with Josh and Brandon, Jake and I immediately drove out to one of our properties to inspect the damage from a fallen tree. I was ready to fly back to Florida, but my partner had his sites set on saving a few bucks.
We had just gotten a quote for $1,000 to remove the fallen tree, and our “I’ma” mentality went into overdrive. We were determined to make it happen and get the job done. Josh wittingly poked fun at us for owning a large portfolio, yet still going out and trying to save a few shekels.

When we arrived, Jake quickly got to work, while I admired his chainsaw skills. As lady luck would have it, one of our maintenance techs drove by and offered to give us a hand. At this point, Jake was about to call another tree company for a quote, when our employee asked us if he could remove the tree for us. He was willing to remove the tree for only $300, and we happily agreed.

What I admire about Jake’s leadership is his willingness to get the job done at any cost. He sets the tone for the entire organization by his actions, and employees follow his lead. In this situation, Jake created a win-win with his chainsaw. He saved the partners $700 and our employee earned an additional $300. Only a true leader has the ability to create win-win scenarios by inspiring his team and taking personal responsibility. I’m just glad that I didn’t have to use the chainsaw!

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

    Fantastic podcast! You guys are doing great and said a couple things that really hit home. Especially the part about making things a habit or else I’ll just slide back into the old ways. I’ve got a few of those I need to get over if I want to make it to the next level.
    Ok, now I’m no arborist, but I’m gonna make a second guess on that tree: American Chestnut?

    • Gino Barbaro

      Look into coaching. A coach will hold you accountable so you don’t slide back into those habits. People who are successful just have habits that lead to success, and vice versa. Try to eliminate bad habits and adopt healthy ones. I know, easier said than done, but awareness is the first step.

  2. Sam Risinger

    I used the download to listen to this episode so I’m not sure how it is when you listen on the page but it seems like it’s not quit edited right, it has the intro and outro together along with some extra talking the cuts into the interview at a weird spot

  3. Carolyn Morales

    Who is moving to Jacksonville Florida? My husband and I are zip code experts via our day job. I have been here in Jax Fl. since 1975 We are investors as well with experience in land flip and sfr landlording and owner financing our properties to buyers. If you need any advice on location or another team player hit us up. We are about to do a probate flip, our first true flip in our portfolio. I am eyeballing a tri plex that has commercial mixed use zoning after this flip. We have every rehab tool any rehabber would ever need and we know how to use them. I have helped out of area people find properties free of charge just to buiilld relationships with other investors.

  4. Justin Kling

    You mentioned there were bed bugs at one of the apartments. I’m curious how the extermination went to get rid of them. My neighbor works at a retirement community in Milwaukee & they have major issues with bed bugs (can’t just treat the affected unit as they scatter to the adjacent units, recurrences in treated units, got dropped by insurance due to so many claims).

      • Mike Dymski

        I’m great thanks and thanks again for you and Jake spending time with me on some of my investing questions. You gave me great advice and two particular pieces of information that are game changers for both a property that I currently own and a potential acquisition. I am following the same ma and pa strategy and this podcast is spot on, is packed with great information and is a direct road map to follow. Best of all, you are successful, down to earth and entertaining…it’s just brilliant.

  5. Brett Campbell

    Great Podcast! I was actually driving home to North Carolina from the farms of Bergen, New York (Western New York) while listening to this podcast yesterday. Man did this one get me pumped up! Lots of great knowledge and energy in this one! Thank you Jake&Gino, I am defiently going to check out the recommended books and your podcast!

  6. Luke DeRienzo

    Greetings Gentlemen,

    REALLY enjoyed the show. Also coming up out of upstate NY and knowing how economically depressed (and depressing in general it can be up there at times) I appreciate now also living in Florida.

    In addition, the idea of financial freedom and long-term wealth building through real estate is also a much loved and cherished pursuit of mine. And, also like you gentlemen, I’m looking to get into multi-family buy-n-holds. I may be reaching out to you guys in the not too-distant future on that :).

    However, my question is this…
    I believe towards the end of the show, Gino was asked what his favorite book (or books) where, and he mentioned a book about developing one’s ‘financial intelligence’ to help one learn to ‘think big’ and overcome limiting belief’s and ideas about money. I didn’t quite make out the author’s name enough to be able to google it, and I didn’t see it mentioned in the ‘Books Mentioned in this Show’ section of this page. I was wondering if you might be able to mention it here.

    Thank you very kindly!


  7. Sonia Spangenberg

    Love your podcast. You guys are so cute and your interaction is fun to watch. remind me of my Business partner and myself as to how you get along and interact. My partner is a credit/lending genius. I like to interact with the contractors and do networking stuff. We are investing somewhat remotely in SW Virginia, so not so far from you in East Tennessee! You guys are very down to earth and I hear wisdom in your stories. We are a bit older than you and are a couple of years behind you in partnership. We also have my husband, a class A contractor, as our sometimes free consultant and worker bee : – ) We have acquired 4 four properties in the past 1 1/2 years since we started. One is our first mixed use MF, 4 units residential + 2 commercial spaces, in process of a gut rehab. We are learning a lot as we go. Each property has taught us something. But we are not loosing our shirts and have started to have some cash flow. We have make a few small mistakes that have cost us a little more than we should have spent. We count that as tuition and plan to continue to forge ahead. We are learning to work with each other’s idiosyncrasies and have pretty much identical long term goals and the same commitment to the business’s success. Your discussion of priority for finding team members, need to develop systems and digging in to do the work jives with what we feel we need to do or have done. We are just starting to explore focus on MF. We have just signed up with our REIA developer for coaching in this arena. She is a great example of making this happen herself. Your podcast was very encouraging and inspiring to me, and I will look at the book “Traction”, thanks for the recommendation. All the best.

  8. Luke DeRienzo

    Thanks a ton for the book info Jake, have another question from the podcast for you…

    At the end, during the fire round, you where asked “Who is the best person to create a relationship with?”, you replied “Broker, then Banker”.

    You then say “You want to know why?” and I guess there wasn’t enough time to go into it but I have been curious to know why if you still feel up to expanding on that.

    Thanks again!

  9. Julie Marquez

    That was a fun podcast! I already have it on 1.3 speed for listening, but you guys are fast talkers! I’m going to work on my elevator pitch now, and gather up that confidence to quickly let people know what I do. Have fun on the golf cart!

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