BiggerPockets Podcast 320: Hands-On BRRRR Investing and DIY Secrets with Instagram Star Brittany Arnason

by | BiggerPockets.com

Imagine building a business around work you’d do for free. Sound pretty great?

Today’s guest has done just that, and her story may change the way you think about investing. Brittany Arnason is a 26-year-old who’s converted her talent for hands-on work into a cash-flowing, 10-unit rental portfolio.

In this episode, Brittany shares how she learned the business of real estate and construction as a small child, bought her first property for $25,000, and worked on it herself to save money and learn the business.

She goes on to reveal her DIY secrets for adding value at minimal cost, how she applied skills she learned at her 9 to 5 to make her a more successful investor, and how she operates as a woman in a male-dominated industry.

Brittany has an incredible energy, spark, and passion for real estate, and it is infectious. Don’t miss how she uses creative strategies to finance her deals and the BRRRR method to fund unlimited projects.

This is an episode that will leave you pumped up and ready to go get your next (or first) deal. Download it today!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon: This is the BiggerPockets podcast Show 320.

“I left it overnight, cooked them all the way through the next day, gave everyone extremely bad salmonella food poisoning. Like really, really bad. Like the craziest thing. So I ended up getting insurance payout and everyone who felt really sick did and so I saved that money until I was 18 and it paid for a portion of that house”.

You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio. Simplifying real estate for investors large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place.

Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon: What is going on, everyone? This is Brandon Turner, host of the BiggerPockets podcast, here in Denver, Colorado today, of all places. I actually flew into the BiggerPockets HQ, talking to my buddy, David Greene here, who is not here at the Denver office. But anyways, what’s up, David?

David: Dude, I’m doing great. I just got back from New Orleans where I was at the big Keller-Williams training event for the year called Family Reunion and they actually brought me in to speak and I guess to talk about how to take investing knowledge and apply it to servicing your real estate clients, which was a blast. We had a packed house. Tons of BiggerPockets fans within Keller-Williams. That was very exciting to here.

And I have some news. I am hiring for someone who has experience building and running a real estate team. So I’m taking the David Greene team and I’m looking to hire someone who can help recruit and train agents to help get them into production so that I can focus more on the stuff that you and I are doing—a little bit less on actually helping agents to join my team. So if anybody knows of anyone or has experience themselves doing that, I’d love to hear from you.

Brandon: Cool. All right. Well, very cool. Yeah, I saw that video you posted. I think it was on your Instagram of like the millions of people watching you on stage. It was pretty cool.

David: Yeah, it was pretty cool. The downside is just everybody wanted to get to you through me. They were like, oh my gosh, it’s David Greene. Can you introduce me to Brandon Turner?

Brandon: I’m sure that’s it. All right, so on that note—you see how David does that? Turns around a compliment, threw it right back at my face.

David: You have such a guy’s face. I can’t help it. Look at that thing.

Brandon: See, there it is again. All right, let’s get to today’s Quick Tip. All right, today’s Quick Tip is very simple and David Greene’s got it. Go, David, go.

David: Okay, today’s Quick Tip is, you should be posting what you are doing on social media for everybody to see because it will help you raise private money. Today’s guest, Investor Girl Britt, has a very good Instagram. In fact, that’s how we met. Because she had such a good Instagram, she reached out to me and I looked at it and I go, oh, she looks legit. We started talking and she got on the BiggerPockets podcast.

Now, she mentions she does not like to worry about the details of a deal. She likes to focus on the rehab and actually like making it look pretty. Which means she needs other people to worry about the details and the money. Now, I can tell you, if you are considering partnering with someone and you saw her Instagram and how good she is—I mean, she’s got live action video showing her working on the house herself.

You could see all the deals she did. She put together like hashtags for every house. You know this person’s really good so you feel comfortable investing money with that person. If you want to get started and you want to be partnering with people, put your knowledge out there for the world to see so that you look like the experts.

Very similar to what I taught at the Keller-Williams event where I showed people, look, I know how to invest in real estate. Therefore, you should let me sell your house or help you buy one. Because I know real estate, my business blew up. Same thing goes for her. If you know something, let people know that you know it and you should see your business start to scale.

Brandon: That’s a good Quick Tip. I do it on the spot there. I don’t know that you knew I did not have one planned so I just threw it on David and he on the top of his head right there, got it taken care of. So, nicely done. All right, let’s move on. But before we get to today’s show, David, pop quiz. You ready for this?

David: Okay?

Brandon: I want you to name the top deductions for real estate investors. Go.

David: Oh, God. Okay. Mortgage interest, expenses, maybe mileage driving in your car to check on the property. That’s all I got.

Brandon: There’s a bunch more. Those are good, right? But there’s a bunch more. I know this because I’m looking at Stessa’s handy Top 11 Tax Deductions for Real Estate Owners list. If you’re not using this list, you could be costing yourself money by not taking valuable writeoffs. Look, you owe it to yourself to have this cheat sheet. And guess what? It’s free.

So here’s the deal. Sign up for a free Stessa account today. Stessa makes it really easy to track, manage, and report on all of your rental properties in one place. It makes financial management simple and save you a ton of time. I really like this product. I play with it all the time. I love Stessa. I use it in my business. So again, get your copy of the top deductions by heading over to Stessa.com/BiggerDeductions. Sign up for a free account. That’s Stessa like Assets spelled backwards, which I did not know that until forever. But Stessa.com/BiggerDeductions.

All right, and now, it is time to introduce you to a friend of David and mine. This is Investor Girl Brittany—let’s see if I can say her last name correctly—I butcher it every time.

David: Have you ever gotten a last name right in all 320 shows?

Brandon: Arnason? Look at that. So today, funny little story, I got Kevin, our podcast senior producer of the BiggerPockets podcast—super awesome guy—he’s actually here in the studio with me. He is actually normally not in Denver. He is normally actually in Washington, D.C., right?

But both of us converged on Denver today because there is a big meetup happening here tomorrow, which when you listen to this, it will already have happened but we’re in town for that and to hang out at the office and do some podcasts and videos and all that stuff.

Anyway, say hi to Kevin sometime over on social. What’s your Instagram? @KevinDLeahy. All right, say hi to Kevin over there. He’s our producer.

David: I love that you couldn’t get his last name right either. You had to literally just spell it because you gave up on attempting to pronounce it. That’s why you brought him up. You were trying to talk about how you can’t pronounce last names.

Brandon: There you go. All right, with that, let’s get to today’s show with Brittany Arnason.

What’s going on, Britt? Welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast. Really good to have you.

Brittany: Hey, you guys. I’m so excited to be here.

Brandon: Good, good. All right, so let’s jump into this and get your story. Anyway, I have been following your Instagram for forever. You have an amazing Instagram. What’s your handle on this again? I’m going to tell people right away to go follow you. It’s @InvestorGirlBritt. All right, yeah. So go follow @InvestorGirlBritt.

David: One of the best follows you’re going to find in the real estate space.

Brandon: One of the best. Yeah, you do a really good job. So let’s talk about your journey though because I’ve always been curious because I’ve been following you and I see like you doing work and you’ve got like your toolbelt on and you’re nailing things from the ceiling. I don’t know.

You’re like very hands on. But I didn’t know like how you got into real estate. So I told our producer, Kevin, I’m like, Kevin—you’ve got to get Britt. And so, this is how we made this happen. So anyway, let’s start at the beginning. How did you get started with real estate investing?

Brittany: Well, I was always involved in real estate investing since I was really, really young. So I would work with my brother on some of my mom’s rental properties. So she’d get us to do everything from painting to sanding to flooring to really whatever she wanted us to do. So it was fun growing up, doing that kind of stuff. And she also paid us a wage of $1 every Friday. Pretty big deal.

Brandon: Wow, I need to get on that train.

Brittany: Oh yeah, it was great.

Brandon: I should get Rosie out there working now. I mean, two and a half so she should be able to hold a hammer.

Brittany: I know, right? Get them started young.

Brandon: That would be much cheaper than any of my other contractors. Anyway, okay. So you started off doing slave labor and then—

Brittany: Yeah, that’s right. And then when I was 18, and I always was really interested in owning my own rental properties. I was always really excited about it so when I was 18, I bought my first rental property for $25,000. Which is pretty crazy.

Brandon: That is crazy. We’re going to walk through that. 18, first rental property for $25,000. Well, first off, let’s clarify—how long ago were you 18? Was this like two years ago?

Brittany: No. Well, I’m 26 now.

Brandon: Okay. So a few years ago. Now, you live in like Detroit, Michigan. Clearly, you can buy a house for $25,000.

Brittany: Of course.

Brandon: Where are you located?

Brittany: The middle of nowhere in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Brandon: Canada. Like I didn’t even know that—I thought like every property in Canada was like $4 billion dollars. I didn’t know that Canada had cheap properties. Is that just because I only know like Vancouver?

Brittany: Yeah, probably. Don’t go to Vancouver. It’s too expensive.

Brandon: Yeah, it is.

Brittany: Come to the prairies. So where the cheap houses are.

Brandon: Interesting. Good to know. Well, people—

David: Was this a little house on the prairie?

Brittany: It was. I mean, know what’s hilarious? My first Instagram name, I started a blog kind of playing around with it a long time ago and I called it Little Investments on the Prairie.

David: That’s funny.

Brittany: And then I made my Instagram handle that and I was like, this is way too long. So it shortened it to Investor Girl Britt.

Brandon: That’s funny. Okay, so $25K back eight years ago, if I’m doing my math correctly, roughly. All right, what kind of property was this?

Brittany: So, a single-family house, and actually the story of how I got the money to get that first rental property was pretty crazy, too.

Brandon: Yeah, please.

Brittany: So when I was six years old, I was at an office Christmas party and the restaurant we were at cooked the turkeys halfway through the night before and they thought they wouldn’t have enough time until the next day to cook them all the way through. So left it overnight, cooked them all the way through the next day, gave everyone extremely bad salmonella food poisoning. Like really, really bad. Like the craziest thing.

So I ended up getting insurance payout and everyone who got really sick did. So I saved that money until I was 18 and it paid for a portion of that house, along with just being extremely frugal. Like I did not spend a penny on anything. So I was just saving everything, working tons of jobs and really wanting to get into real estate.

Brandon: Why, at such a young age, did you think you were like that? Most 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds, or 18-year-olds are thinking, how do I get invited to the Friday night party and how do I impress that girl or guy? Why were you different, do you think?

Brittany: Just with my parents. I saw my mom have rental properties and we worked for her a little bit and I kind of just understood that—I didn’t really grasp it fully at that age but I just knew that I wanted to put my money into something that would make me a return. So that’s kind of what I was prioritizing. That and travelling. So I would just save all my money and put it into real estate and travel.

Brandon: Okay. So that first property, did you pay cash for it then or did you have to get a loan at 18?

Brittany: Yeah, cash.

Brandon: Nice. And it was in good condition, bad condition?

Brittany: It was in decent condition. Not bad, really. And we were lucky because our tenant we got at that time, he stayed for six years and he was super handy so if anything happened to break, he would just fix it. And we’d take some money off his rent. So that was really nice to have. And he was great. Like, sometimes, he’d be slow on payment and he paid every month. And I never had a problem. I was like, landlording is so easy. I think I was pretty lucky with that first house, honestly.

Brandon: You know what’s funny, you actually bring up a good point. Sometimes that first deal, oftentimes on the BP podcast or other places, we’ll say you’ve got to get into real estate whatever you got to do. But at the same time, there’s another part of it that if you start and have a really, really hard experience your first time as a landlord and it just sucks, like you might never do anything. It’s great when that happens because you had a really good experience and you know that sometimes it does suck.

Brittany: Yeah, exactly.

Brandon: All right, so let’s move on. What happened after that?

Brittany: So after that, I think my early twenties, I was kind of confused. Because I always had this idea in the back of my mind that I wanted to get into real estate but I wasn’t sure how to do it. So in my mind, I was like, all right. I’m just going to have to work really hard, get a high-paying job and then I’ll get into real estate full-time. I mean, part-time, but you know, I could try more houses with that income.

So I spent a lot of time—I worked as a server so I had like four serving jobs at once and eventually I got my ticket as a power engineer, so I ended up getting a job doing that. And that was when I really just thought, the 9 to 5 life is not for me.

Brandon: What does a power engineer do?

Brittany: It deals with steam generation. So I was working in a plant and I would just fix these like big machines. So that was fun. So I’d just do service calls and honestly, I didn’t mind the work. It was just that feeling of being so bored. Like it would be hours and then just sitting around to get a call to go fix something.

And so fixing stuff was fun and kind of working with my hands, that part was fun and I enjoyed that. But sitting around and I didn’t like the feeling of the hourly wage. Like I always really like serving because I could work for that kind of commission and the tips and everything, but with the 9 to 5, I just couldn’t. I just felt like not very motivated. And kind of just not fulfilled, really.

David: Sure. I think I love what you’re saying so far because you’re painting a picture for exactly how you became what you ended up becoming, right? Like I can already see it forming together where you took what you learned working on machines because you were obviously very handy and you could operate in that arena and you applied it to real estate. You took what you saw your mom doing at a young age. That’s what Brandon and I always say, that quote you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with is so important.

Because you were around your mom a lot, obviously, so you got an exposure into real estate that other people didn’t get. And then you used the tried and true salmonella formula for building wealth, which I mean, I’ve never heard anyone do that and didn’t succeed. I don’t know why more people don’t do that. It’s kind of like 100% success rate.

In Brandon’s, the second edition on How to Invest in Real Estate, I think they’re going to include that as one of the best methods for getting start. The salmonella method.

Brandon: I mean, I’m going to write a book on that. It’s going to be really good.

Brittany: Hey, that’s my book.

Brandon: There you go. We’ll co-write it, all right? Let’s compromise.

Brittany: Thanks, Brandon. I appreciate that.

Brandon: All right, so let’s go into kind of how you then—did you quit your job right away? Do you still have the job? How did you build your portfolio? And then lead us to where you’re at today with your portfolio.

Brittany: Well, I worked in that job for six months so it didn’t take long but I had a principal residence and I was always house-hacking. So with that principal residence, I was renting out all the rooms and stuff like that. So we were close to the airport, close to downtown. And we furnished it. My brother and I owned this place together. And so we furnished it and rented it out per week. So we were making $700 a week, way paying all the expenses. Like, we were making quite a bit of money on that.

So I felt—and working a bunch of jobs as well. I was saving everything and then I’d go on these like three-month travel experiences, just kind of travelling the world and kind of figuring out what I really wanted to do. But then when I got back and got that 9 to 5, I was definitely like, this is not what I want to do. Even if it is going to make me money and allow me to buy those houses, I still didn’t want to put myself through that.

Like, I just wanted to start and I knew if I just worked hard enough, I would be able to do it. It took a lot of guts, I think, and I gained a lot of confidence, though. Like after the first kind of property, really getting my hands on it and it felt comfortable.

Brandon: I notice this a lot, that people tend to make rules in their head. Like these are beliefs of like, in order to get into real estate, I have to have a job. And then I can do real estate investing once I make good money, right? Yeah, there were these rules. Well yeah, a job can be really helpful. Sure, you have more money but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way.

Like, I think one of the those powerful questions in the world is like how? How do I do it without a job? How do I get—if I hate my job, how can I get into real estate? And that’s where we tell people, if you have a job you don’t like, yeah, you could quit that job even if it means having to go get another job if you have to pay the bills. Get a job serving or doing something you actually kind of enjoy and that’s maybe more flexible. So all right. So what came next? Did you start just buying rental properties and then—I’m assuming what types?

Brittany: Yeah, so mostly single-family homes at this point. We have a few duplexes. Right now, there’s six single-family homes and two duplexes. And all managed by me. I’m doing it full-time now. So it’s like, just kind of transitioning at this point now. I feel like I’ve learned a lot of the background and I’ve done everything hands-on so far.

So now I’m starting to be in that phase of wanting to hire a bit more out. I think I’ve realized now that I’m a little bit more of a control freak than I ever thought. I just kind of want control of everything but I know that the best thing to grow is going to be hiring out a bit more of the work.

Brandon: Sure. Well, let’s talk about that for a little bit, because this is something that we debate quite a bit in the real estate world. I think most of us know, if you want to grow really big and you want to scale, you should hire things out, yet most people I know, including myself got started doing the work. I think, even David, didn’t you do most of the work in your first property? Or did you hire from the beginning?

David: Yeah, but I was so bad at it and it just wore me out. I quickly leveraged it but yeah, I tried.

Brandon: Okay, so let’s talk about the pros and cons a little bit of doing your own work, right? I mean, obviously, when you’re doing your own work, you’re slower, right? But what are some of the things, the benefits, to doing your own work?

Brittany: Well yeah, like the DIY stuff and the renovation is my favorite. Like I was thinking of hiring out more of like the paperwork side, because that’s what I hate doing. Yeah but like, I think I will always be doing a lot of the renovation work. It’s my favorite thing to do.

It’s kind of what gets me up in the morning and gets me excited about real estate. And huge pros like, just that sweat equity created from working on your own stuff is insane. I think we saved probably like half the cost of hiring it all out.

David: Brandon, can you talk about your lifeonaire strategy here where you know like, she’s doing this because this is the part she likes and that’s the goal?

Brandon: Yeah, so I’ll say this. So there’s a book called Lifeonaire, it’s like millionaire, but with the word ‘life’ in front of it. It’s one of my favorite books and it basically makes the point that life isn’t about getting the highest ROI. We oftentimes will be like, no you should do this because it will make you more money. Well, that phrase only makes sense if the goal of life is to make as much money. It’s like, well no, you should not pay off your house ever because you get a higher return if you do this. Well maybe the goal in life isn’t to have the highest return.

Maybe it’s to have the most security, in which case, maybe paying off your house is a good idea, right? So like, for your case, maybe the highest ROI, if you weren’t up there telling all the contractors what to do every step of the day, you could do a few more flips every year or a few more rentals. But that’s the goal of your life, it isn’t to be as efficient as possible in every single moment, right? You love doing the work and I can see that when I watch your Instagram videos of you doing work. It’s like you enjoy that stuff.

And for a decade, I enjoyed that stuff, too, until I put like one, too, many nails through my hands. Then I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. No, like I still enjoy it. I was out drywalling and putting insulation up just a couple of days ago in my new office shed. And yeah, I could have hired the whole thing out. I’m sure it would have been probably done better but I just really enjoy this.

Something about working with your hands that humans are like, designed to do. So I love that idea of still working a little bit. Again, I don’t do everything anymore but I still try to get some stuff done.

David: Well, if it keeps you motivated and it keeps it fun for you, it probably will help your business. It’s doing the stuff that you hate doing that will really slow you down.

Brandon: So what are your favorite things to do on a project?

Brittany: Well, pretty much everything. I love start to finish. Like doing the whole thing myself. I just feel so excited and it feels so accomplishing just to be able to see the work that you’ve done. So really, a lot of these projects, I’ve done everything. Not to say that it’s been easy. It’s really frustrating learning the new skills at the beginning but the more I tried and practiced and had some patience, the easier it got.

So I really love pretty much everything honestly. But the cosmetic stuff, I really like, because you can really transform a space. Like I love to do backsplashes and I did a cool project with like shiplap but instead of buying each individual piece, I just ripped it down into five inch pieces out of a big sheet of MDF.

So it ended up costing only $3 a piece instead of $11 a piece. So it’s like, it saves a lot of money and I love being creative with it, too. I just find it so fun to go in and think of this design and then like bringing it to life myself.

Brandon: Do you have any tips on people who want to do some of their own work? What are some things that were maybe overwhelming to think about doing at the beginning, like wow, that’s a huge project. But once you did it you were like, that’s way easier than I thought. Why do people spend that much money to hire that out?

Brittany: Yeah, exactly. I think that’s the problem. A lot of people get overwhelmed. Because when you look at a whole renovation, you’re like, this is a lot of work. So you kind of have to just break it down. And I think getting something like painting, there’s a lot you could do with paint. If you have a living room, all the walls are white but you decide to pay a dark, nice navy blue or something like that, that makes a big difference in a space.

So I like doing things like that and kind of just—I learn a lot through Instagram, even, and through YouTube, and asking a ton of questions. So you gain that confidence and then just keep going back to it at every step. Keep doing that research and asking a lot of questions. There’s a lot of helpful people online, too. Like you’d be surprise what people—people will answer any question you have. Just search up a hashtag and find a professional and a lot of the times, they will help you out with jobs that you want to do.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s a really good point. You mentioned backsplashes earlier, that you love to do backsplashes. That’s one thing. It’s like these little things that are actually really, really easy to do that makes such a dramatic impact on a property, especially rentals. Most landlords don’t think, I’m going to do a nice backsplash because it’s just a rental. Who cares, right?

When I do an extra little bit like painting an accent wall—it takes no extra work. You’ve got to paint it anyways. Paint an accent wall and add the backsplash up there. Little things like that make such an impact and drive higher rent. You get better quality tenants and you get all those things just for the same amount of work you’re going to do anyways. It just takes a little bit of foresight.

Brittany: I totally agree. There’s so many things that I see if I’m looking at comparable rentals and properties online. It really could have like done a little bit of extra work or spent a little bit more money or a little bit more time that makes the biggest difference. That’s my favorite part.

David: Since both of you two are creative minds, which I just want to say designers but that’s mean. Just because I don’t do that stuff—why don’t you share some of the things that you found for the smallest amount of money that you make the biggest difference when you’re doing a remodel?

Brittany: Well I think, like I say with paint, I think there’s so much you could do and even like a kitchen with cabinets, you could paint the cabinets and change a really cool harbor, like a really cool handle and I think that little details like that make a really, really big difference. And I really do like the feature wall idea. And even just doing some board and bat and something like that. That doesn’t take a lot of effort but it just makes it feel so much more homey and really like a place you want to move into.

Brandon: Yeah, I would say on my side—I mean, I’ve said this before but anytime I can take a two-bedroom house or apartment and turn it into a three-bedroom is like the best return I will ever get on money spent ever. Like almost entirely. I can take a two-bedroom house that will rent for $550 in my area. I can bump that to a three-bedroom if it’s got a large living room or whatever and add like $300 a month to the cash flow.

It’s crazy because like three-bedrooms in my area just rent more. That’s not true everywhere but in my area, three-bedrooms rent way more than two-bedrooms. So that little tweak, I do a lot. I’ll add a wall. Take a closet, move something around.

Brittany: I totally agree with that. And even doing basement suites? Do you guys do that?

Brandon: I haven’t done it myself much.

David: We don’t have it. Where I live in California, there’s not a lot of houses built with basements.

Brittany: Yeah, I figured.

Brandon: You do that up in Canada, eh?

Brittany: Yeah, so even the place we just recently bought—so my boyfriend and I—this is in Saskatoon. So it’s kind of like the hub but most of my investment properties are outside of this city. So we bought this place for $160,000 and we’re putting a basement suite in and we’re probably going to do an Airbnb upstairs. We’re going to make it a really cool like industrial farmhouse feel. I can’t wait for it. I even just went antique shopping and I found the coolest stuff. I can’t wait to just design it and have people come in and really want to visit Saskatoon and want to stay in this house. So I can’t wait.

And then there’s going to be a suite downstairs or they can rent the whole five-bedroom altogether. And the comparables are crazy around here. It’s kind of like an up and coming area. It’s really close to downtown. So I think like it’s going to be a really good one in the long-term. It’s just starting to turn around like right now. They’re just replacing all the sewers and everything. I think it was a perfect property.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

David: So you’re clearly good with rehabbing. You have a very strong eye for design. I can tell you’ve got an inner Joanna Gaines just busting out. That’s probably why you and Brandon get along so well. So does he.

Brittany: Yes.

David: But tell us a little as to how you’ve applied this to your overall business model. I still don’t really have a great idea of what you’re doing. So are you flipping houses or are you buying rentals? How many rentals do you have? Let us know how you’ve taken these skills and applied it to your business.

Brittany: Well, they’re all rental properties. Now, it’s six single-families, two duplexes, and my boyfriend and I have renovated completely start to finish and he’s still working a full-time job right now. So these properties, some of them are up to four hours away from where we live. So we’re buying these—the first few, I actually bought on a personal line of credit, which is kind of a different way to do it, I think.

So unsecured. Interest rate was higher but because these properties are so cheap, that was the best way to do it because we couldn’t get financing otherwise. The banks just weren’t really interested in lending these lower cost properties. So I had to get that personal line of credit and this was back when I was still working.

So I got $75,000 and that allowed me to buy three properties. Which is pretty crazy. So we’ve refinanced a few now, did a few BRRRRs, but mostly haven’t sold any and haven’t done any flips. They’re all rental properties.

Brandon: Let’s dig in a little bit here on this personal line of credit thing. I actually think this is a great strategy that we don’t talk about enough. So can you explain what that is? And obviously, the rules might be slightly different between Canada and the U.S. and that’s fine. But give us a general idea. What was this loan like? What was your kind of interest payment or things like that?

Brittany: Yeah, so interest at the time was 6.7% but it as variable. So I mean, it’s gone up since then a little bit so I mean, it’s good. But sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes to make it work. A lot of the time—if I would have just got rejected by those banks for getting a mortgage, it just would have been the end of the road.

But I was like, what else can I do? Could it be credit cards? Will I still be making enough rental income to cover all those expenses? And then eventually I just found someone at the bank who said they’ll give me this $75,000 personal line of credit. So obviously, a higher interest but the rental income still covered all of the expenses. So it just made sense to me.

Brandon: Really, really cool.

Brittany: Yeah. So I still have that. It has saved me so many times.

Brandon: Yeah. So you basically are buying properties with this and occasionally just refinancing those properties once they are fixed up so you can pay that back. It’s the BRRRR strategy. When we talk about the BRRRR strategy, for people who don’t know, we’re talking about buying fixer-upper nasty properties and then rehabbing them, renting them out, and then refinancing to get your money back. Because you typically can’t but a nasty, cheap, little property with a bank loan. Banks don’t like to lend on nasty properties, right?

So you’re using a short-term funding source like a personal line of credit, a home equity line of credit, a credit card—I don’t necessarily recommend that but people have done it. Cash, a partner’s money, a parent’s money, whatever. Hard money, private money. Whatever you need to do, you buy that and then you go and take that and you refinance it and pay that back. So you can go do it again. Repeat. That’s the buy, rehab, rent, refinance, repeat. Very, very cool strategy. And again, a personal line of credit.

I actually did a couple of properties a couple of years ago where I had bought a fourplex for my daughter, Rosie. I talk a lot about that one, I love that property. I bought a fourplex and I got a private lender who was willing to fund $100,000 of it. But the whole project was going to cost me around $150,000. So we bought it for like $45,000 and he was going to fund like the purchase price and a good chunk of the rehab. But I think we came up with like $50,000.

So I went to my local US Bank and I went there. And I just got a line of credit for $45,000 that covered almost the entire thing. So at the end of the day, I maybe put in $5,000 or $10,000 into that project entirely. And then I went and refinanced it and paid everything off. So I love that. A personal line of credit if you can get that. Go to a bank. Go to several banks. Talk to them. See if you can get it.

Hey, it’s Brandon. I wanted to take

Hey, it’s Brandon. I want to take a quick break from this week’s podcast to invite you to this week’s webinar, which is like an online class. And this week is going to be something that’s really, really popular around BiggerPockets. How to Buy Small Multi-family Properties. Because look, small multi-family properties changed my life and they can be one of the best real estate investment vehicles out there, especially those who are fairly new to real estate. There’s so many benefits to buying small, multi-family properties, which is why this week, I’m going to be dedicating like 90 minutes of just direct training on how to get started with this. You’re going to learn how to find them, how to analyze them, how to finance them, as well as some of the dangers. There’s like four specific dangers I call out that you should know before you even make an offer. So don’t miss this. Just go to BiggerPockets.com/multiwebinar. Again, multi. So BiggerPockets.com/multiwebinar and I will see you there.

Brandon: All right, moving on. What else are you doing for financing? Now that we’re talking about financing, do you typically get bank loans on most of these things, then?

Brittany: Yeah, I mean that’s pretty much been my strategy, buying it with a personal line of credit, whatever cash that I had saved up. And since my boyfriend, Scott, is still working, he is able to personally guarantee. So we do have a holding company now because it is a lot better for tax purposes. So we have all our properties there and then Scott was able to personally guarantee the refinance. So that’s mostly what we’ve been doing.

Brandon: All right, good deal. So where do you see yourself going in the future with all this stuff? Do you want to keep buying these singles and duplexes? Do you want to buy larger thing?

Brittany: Well yeah, I’ve been thinking about that a lot because I love like the single-family houses. I love doing the renovations and all that but I am starting to think about the multi-family investing. I’m really excited about that. I’ve been looking at apartment complexes just because I think it makes sense. It’s going to be hard after a while, having all these single-families kind of spread out all over the place. So I am looking to get a little bit more centralized, a little bit easier to manage and things like that.

So I think, eventually I am looking for a partner, if anyone out there listening—someone who maybe has the money and the financing side of it covered but looking for someone who’s willing to put all that hard work and sweat equity and finding the deals, negotiating a good deal. That’s what I’m good at, my strengths. So kind of looking now for the financial side of things to partner up with.

Brandon: Cool. No, that’s great. So are you doing anything with new builds or do you just Airbnb? Any other strategies you’re working on besides rentals?

Brittany: We have done two new-builds as well.

Brandon: Okay. Tell us about that. I’ve never done one.

Brittany: So we did two. Those were the duplexes so I guess this was hard money. So we have like that hard money lender and then after the build was complete—and we did almost all of the work ourselves through that as well so that’s how I gain a ton of my skills. So yeah, and then after we refinanced and we got a home equity line of credit, so as we pay that down, we are able to take that money out again, which is pretty cool. It’s a step-down mortgage, or step-up mortgage? Do you guys have those?

Brandon: I have something called—I don’t know if it’s exactly what you’re talking about. Explain what that is.

David: Yeah, describe what that is.

Brittany: Yeah, so we got it refinanced, this new bill. Paid our hard money lender back. So they gave us a loan for $272,000 and 65% of that can be a home equity line of credit. So as we pay this mortgage down, we will be able to take the money back out again. Which is pretty cool.

Brandon: I don’t think we have that.

Brittany: Yeah, we’ve done that twice now with two different places. So as we start to pay these places down, we’re going to have that money available to us again to take out and buy more property.

David: I’ve heard they do that in Australia as well. Their mortgage almost becomes like a bank account and as you pay it down and that equity is available, you can take it right back out.

Brandon: I know some people in the U.S. will actually buy real estate entirely with a home equity line of credit. I mean, not like to have a home equity on their property and they go and buy something else, but like, the actual house they’re buying, instead of a mortgage, they have a line of credit instead. I mean, there’s like a mathematical line of strategy where it has to do with the days and the month and all that kind of stuff but you can pay off a property like half the time by using this strategy, by putting the income in and using it as a checking account.

Anyway, kind of crazy stuff. I’d give them a shout-out if I can think of their name but there’s a guy who does this—I’ll see if I can find a link to it, I’ll put a link in the Show Notes at BiggerPockets.com/Show320 but there’s a friend of mine that has a website that does this exact thing that teaches you how to do that.

David: Brandon, are you like me where every time you try to learn how this thing works, you jump into it determined and then you get lost and I just don’t understand. I got lost. I can’t figure this out. At a certain point, you’re like, well they must be smarter than I am and it’ll work. Like, it’s like having faith. Okay.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what it is. So what happened with the new builds? Did you sell them? Did you turn them into rentals then, the ones that you built?

Brittany: They are rentals. We plan to sell them but didn’t sell them for what we wanted and we did have a deal and it fell through kind of last minute and we were like, if we rent it, we’re going to be making cash flow on it so we might as well just do that. That’s kind of what I wanted anyway because we know how this mortgage, where we’re going to be able to take out of it again. So it’s been really great. And our tenants are awesome and you know, they love it. Maybe later on in the future, we’ll sell some of these places but for now, we’re just keeping that cash flow going.

Brandon: Cool.

David: I wanted to ask, for somebody who is like you, they’re more inclined to the design element of stuff. I always know them because when they hear I’m in real estate, they’re like, oh I love real estate. I’ve always wanted to be a home stager. There’s like way too many people that want to be a home stager than there’s actual like a need for home staging in real estate. But what I know is what they’re saying is, I love design. Or maybe they love construction.

They’re really comfortable with their hands. That’s where they feel good. They can go in there and rehab a house but they want to be an investor. They just don’t know how to bridge that gap and get into it. What advice can you give to that person who knows they’re good with their hands or good with design, but maybe they’re not as good with numbers or they’re not as good with details. They don’t know how to analyze a property from like the mathematical side where a person like me tends to be more comfortable.

Brittany: Right. I mean, that’s the trickiest part to all of it. You just have to—I mean, that’s great. If you have that skill, you already have something that’s going to motivate you to want to keep going and know that you have something that’s going to benefit you. So I think just really taking the time to learn but that’s all you can really do.

It’s just like do all your research and the cool thing about it, too, when I’m doing these properties or driving out to my properties, it’s because they’re four hours away or whatever it is, I’m listening to all the books, all the podcasts. Discovering BiggerPockets was so awesome for me because it really helped me get through. Like learning a lot of that background stuff about the numbers, finding a great deal, and all that sort of thing.

So I felt like it felt comfortable because it just made sense. I’m like, I could buy this house for $25,000. I could, if I fix it up, get $975 rent. Everything is covered. It just made sense so I think just—or finding someone who could help you through it. Instagram’s so cool with that because you can message the people who have those skills.

Brandon: You know, I’m reading this book, one of Tony Robbins’. I think it was the very first book. It’s calld Unlimited Power and so in there, he talks about, I put this on my Instagram the other day. It talks about the idea of modeling. Like, if there’s somebody you see that you want to be like, if you just model them. Do what they did. The actions they did. So I’m a huge believer in this.

Again, I posted it on my Instagram. I’m such a big believer. You don’t have to make this stuff up. If you see somebody out there, and you’re like, I really like what Investor Girl Britt is doing on Instagram, model what Investor Girl Britt is doing on Instagram. What’s she doing? What kind of cool backsplash is she doing on her property? I steal every idea of every project from somebody else.

I am not Joanna Gaines. As much as I want to be Joanna Gaines, I am not. I look at what Joanna Gaines is doing and I just copy the exact same thing, or what—Chip Gaines. We’ll go with Chip. By the way, if anybody knows Chip or Joanna Gaines, I would just love to get them here on the podcast. Hook a brother up.

David: That’s such a good idea because Brandon and Heather area Chip and Joanna. She is really, really good with design ideas. She has a really good idea and Brandon is like a complete hambone. I don’t really know what skills he brings to this thing, and I just like having him around. You guys are them, just probably like three feet taller.

Brandon: That’s funny. All right, so anyway, model people, look on Instagram. Reach out to them. Or on Pinterest or on whatever, you know, social network you like to follow. You don’t have to make this stuff up. The same thing is true about investment strategies. We actually get a fair number of Canadians on this show and the thing I constantly hear is, yeah, I just can’t do what you guys are doing in Canada. We can’t find properties under a million dollars in Canada. Oh, okay. I didn’t know differently until today.

Clearly, not in Vancouver. But that’s just like somebody in San Francisco saying, yeah, I can’t buy property either because I live in San Francisco or the Bay Area. And then David Greene is like, well, watch this. Hold my beer. And then he does it. David goes and buy 30something properties out of state. He’s just like—I don’t know. It’s all possible and you’ve definitely proven that it’s true. You kind of break the mold.

Last question I’d like to ask this when we have women on the show. Have you—how do you feel about being a woman in a generally male-oriented world of business? Contractors are usually male. Most real estate investors, I think 70% of our audience is male. Like, how do you approach business as a female? Anything you do differently or any advice you want to give the women who are listening?

Brittany: Well, I think, I mean honestly, I don’t give a f*ck what people think about me. Sorry, bleep that out. But it’s true. It’s like, honestly, you just have to go into it and prove that you’re a hard worker. Honestly, I was thinking about that because on Instagram, I started doing the timelapses because I’m like, I’m actually doing the work.

Because people were commenting like, oh, your boyfriend is doing all the work. You’re just like taking pictures with the tools and I’m like, nope, I’m not. I’m just going to timelapse everything and here you go. I’m actually doing the work. So maybe I feel like, some women probably feel like they have to prove themselves a little bit more, that they’re actually like getting in there and getting it done. I don’t know. I’ve never really felt hindered by that at all.

Like I’ve just always felt pretty confident in it. I just like do what I do. I know I’m a hard worker. I know I’m going to make the right decision. And do whatever it takes and I don’t know, it’s never really made a huge difference for me.

Brandon: That’s why I think people respect you, because you’re not out there trying to get people’s approval. It’s really easy to fall into this like harmful, negative cycle where you’re trying to get other people’s approval and then you look weak because you’re trying to do that and then they don’t approve of you and then you feel like you have to try even harder, whereas if you go the other route which is the, I don’t give a bleep route—I’m just going to do a really good job here, people are like oh, she’s good.

That’s why Brandon and I both started following on Instagram. I believe that’s how you and I met was because we’re both in the real estate space, and I saw your stuff and you come across as someone who knows what she’s doing. I never once said, oh, she’s a woman. How could she know what she’s doing because you didn’t come across like someone who’s like, I’m just a woman. Somebody please tell me that I’m doing a good job.

And I think that same attitude will make you successful no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re in stocks or you’re a mechanic or you fly airplanes. It doesn’t matter. If you just focus on being good at what you do and you don’t worry about impressing people, the irony is that will impress people and you’ll have what you wanted.

Brittany: Exactly. I think that’s a reason why I’ve been working so hard like learning the background of everything because I like to know what I’m talking about. I spend so much time learning and I just try so hard to learn the background of everything and I love being able to talk to contractors or if we’re hiring a plumber. Because we hire out electrical and plumbing and that’s pretty much it.

But I love if a plumber comes by, I know exactly what I’m talking about. I feel like people can’t take advantage of me that way. And so I think that attitude as well came from my mom. She just does not care. She’ll just do anything. She has a lot of confidence. Not really a lot of fear around it. Because people will judge you, right? A young landlord, too.

David: You survived salmonella poisoning at such a young age, right? Like you were a fighter right away. Your mom might have even planned that. I’m going to make this girl into a boss. She’s going to go through a possible death scenario at a young age and come out of it with confidence. How could you not be confident after that, right?

Brittany: Exactly.

Brandon: All right, so we’re going to move onto the next segment of our show, which we lovingly call our Deep Dive.

Brittany: Yay.

All right, you guys hear me talk about SimpliSafe a lot but don’t take it just from me. Investors are singing its praises in the BiggerPockets forums. Jim, a contractor from Pittsburg, says he secures his vacant property using SimpliSafe. He likes how he can set it up at one property then easily take it down and move it to the next. And for 24/7 professional monitoring, you pay just $15 a month. So try SimpliSafe today. It feels good to fear less about your property. Plus, there’s a 60-day risk-free trial with free shipping and free returns if you’re not 100% satisfied. You’ve got nothing to lose so visit SimpliSafe.com/Pockets today so they’ll know that we sent you. That’s SimpliSafe.com/Pockets. Save today!

All right, let’s get to the Deep Dive. This is the part of the show where we dive deep, obviously, into one particular deal that our guest has done. So Britt, we’re going to go into one of your deals today and let’s start with—we’ll just ask you a bunch of questions about it but we’ll start with this. What kind of property is it that we’re talking about today?

Brittany: So, it’s a single-family house and this was the property that really got me posting a lot of the process on Instagram. So I think that’s really cool because if you look up the hashtag #HumboldteHouse and then there’s a little house emoji afterwards, and if you click on that hashtag, you’ll be able to see the whole process, start to finish.

Brandon: Okay, can you spell that? Humbled?

Brittany: HumboldteHouse and a little house emoji. And once this episode comes out, I’ll post something on my feed just so you’ll be able to click on it and see the whole thing. Which was cool. Yeah, I love this place.

Brandon: Cool, okay

Brittany: So this house is a hundred years ago.

Brandon: Wait, wait. A hundred years old? Wow, okay.

Brittany: It is very solid. I am really impressed with it. So I found this one just searching through Realtor.ca. So I made my settings into houses $50,000 and under within like a certain radius of my city, Saskatoon. So I found this place and I was like wow, this is actually such a great deal because it was a bigger city and I thought, oh, this $50,000 house. That’s pretty impressive. I think I’m going to look into this a little bit more.

So it was listed for $49,900 and I put in an offer, I think it was under $40,000, I put an offer in. Because it was a lot of work. It was just disgusting but I could tell the bones were really good and they were really solid. It had a new roof, the foundation was great. There’s a lot of bonuses to it. New electrical, things like that. And square footage, because that’s something I look for. So it’s a four-bedroom, two-bath house and it was about 1400 square feet.

Brandon: What’d you actually end up paying then? Final price, what did you end up paying?

Brittany: Yeah, $40,000. So it was listed for $49,900. Paid $40,000 for it.

Brandon: All right, cool.

David: Okay, next question. Tell me how you negotiated it.

Brittany: I mean, the funny thing about the negotiating part is, like I really only have a certain amount of money and I can’t go over it. So I’m like, hey, this is my offer. Take it or leave it. Like it wasn’t really hard for me to negotiate because I’m like, this is all I have. If you don’t take this, then I’ll go find another place.

Brandon: That’s actually a great negotiation strategy, too.

Brittany: I only have this much.

Brandon: You only have this much so when you’re serious about that, you’re not going to get emotionally sucked into paying more. Literally, this is not a joke. This is all I have. Okay, how did you fund that deal then? You just paid cash for it? What about repairs?

Brittany: Well, it was on that personal line of credit.

Brandon: Oh, okay. Perfect.

Brittany: So I paid for it on a personal line of credit and then I moved out there. So I do all the renovations live-in, which is super fun. And my boyfriend, Scott, would come. He is such a hard worker and he would come and work every weekend and drive just about two hours to the property every weekend.

Brandon: Did you pay him $1 every Friday as well?

Brittany: Exactly. That was his wage.

Brandon: You learned a lot from your mom. This is awesome.

Brittany: Yeah, I know, right?

David: Did he have to go through the salmonella trials as well? Is that how you initiated him into your business?

Brandon: If he hasn’t got that yet, you might need to hook him up with that. Cook some chicken tonight.

Brittany: That’s why I don’t cook meat.

David: Cook it halfway.

Brittany: Scared.

David: There you go. Okay. What did you do with this deal?

Brittany: So, we completely gutted. We did everything, including the exterior. So floors, I did a lot of cool feature walls, a lot of subway tile. It looks inspired by Joanna, of course. Some shiplap and it was kind of like a farmhouse feel. So I really, really like how the design came out. I was really excited about this place.

And so we spent about $30,000 on the rehab and then we got appraised for $131,000 so we were able to get a mortgage, which again was that step-down. I can’t remember if it was called a step-up or a step-down. Anyway, we got a mortgage on it. So we refinanced that and got 80% out of it.

Brandon: Perfect. That’s a perfect BRRRR. That’s what we talk about when we talk about a perfect BRRRR. So what lessons did you learn overall? Good or bad on this project?

Brittany: I learned a lot from this place. I think I really started feeling super confident in my DIY skills as well because I was alone at this property just like working super hard every day. And I started to feel very confident in it. Because when you’re first starting these new skills, and you’re not working in it every single day, like it takes a while.

So it took a lot of patience. Definitely a lot of patience and to be persistent with it and ask it a ton of questions online and you know, it really, really helped me out that way. Also, just by getting that mortgage, I went to three different banks and I think, two different mortgage brokers. It took me a lot of time to find someone who would refinance this property.

And then we ended up finding a really great mortgage broker who wanted to work with us. But it took a lot of time and the first bank I went to, they were going to do it but only at 65% loan to value. So just like continuing to push and ask questions and like find the right person who’s going to make whatever you’re looking for come true.

David: No, I’m glad you mentioned that because it kind of amazes me sometimes when people come up to me and say, David, I don’t know how to do the BRRRR strategy. I can only find a bank that will do 65% loan to value. And I’ll say, how many banks did you talk to? And they’re like, well the one that my agent said to talk to. You stopped at one and you’re telling me I don’t know how to do this?

Like, it’s okay to have to work a little bit to try to find what you need but odds are, you’re going to go to 20 or 30 banks and when you find one, you’ll never have to look again, right? Because you can just use that bank. And if you did have to look again, now you know what worked and you can find the next bank in five to ten tries instead of 20 to 30. I love what you’re saying because it’s okay for it to be hard in the beginning and then as you get better at it, it’ll get easier and easier.

Brittany: Yeah, exactly. So I think I learned a lot of lessons through this house. And the really cool thing about this house, too, and I just when I was preparing for the podcast, I realized that the exact amount of equity that we were able to pull out of it was $34,000. So we refinanced it. It was $104,000 and so we got $34,000 out of it. The next property we bought for $28,000 and the rehab ended up being exactly $34,000. So it was like, that paid for the entire property and the entire rehab just with that equity we were able to pull out.

Brandon: That whole BRRRR strategy that we’re talking about, I mean, there are some downsides, some things you’ve got to be aware of and so it’s not like you just go buy any property and fix it up, right? But this is why it’s almost like a domino effect. One can lead to more equity and to go to the next and that’s why the repeat part comes in, because you can do things over and over and over. One good deal and you can recycle that money and make a lot more.

I know David Greene’s got a new book coming out actually called Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat coming out this spring at some point. I’m not sure the exact date but I just got my hands in—actually, I’m in the Denver office right now and got like to see the actual copy of what it looks like and it looks really pretty. So anyway.

Brittany: I can’t wait to read that one.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s going to be a game-changer. So anyway, nice work, David Greene.

David: Well, I’m glad the book itself is just as pretty as I am. That makes me feel good.

Brandon: All right, speaking of that, we’re going to move onto the next segment of the show called the world famous Fire Round.

It’s time for the Fire Round.

Brandon: All right, let’s get to the Fire Round. These are the questions that come direct out of the BiggerPockets forums so we’re going to fire them at you right now. Investor Girl Britt, you ready for this?

Brittany: Yeah, I am.

Brandon: All right, number one. I love this question. This is fantastic. Okay so, Roger said, I do almost all of my own repair work. I’m just curious, what are your three favorite tools in your tool arsenal? I love that. I’m going to answer this after you do.

Brittany: Three favorites. Okay. So of course, power tools. I love, I’m going to say grinder. I love using the grinder. I use that all the time. So handy. And the multi-tool, that is a new discovery and it has helped me through so many projects now. It is awesome. And then I guess probably a chop saw. Gotta have one of those.

Brandon: I have a new chop saw as well. I love it. All right, so I’m going to throw out one of my favorite tools ever. This costs me like $3.00 but my all-time favorite tool, all right? This is going to sound really funny. So when I’m doing a project, my most annoying thing in the entire world is losing my carpenter’s pencil. Like the little pencil that I carry around. I lose it all the time so I can’t mark on stuff.

So I got this little thing at Home Depot where it clips onto my belt and it literally puts the pencil on a retractable little string so then I can pull it out and I can write on stuff and then I just let go and it goes, snaps back to my pocket. It is my favorite tool in the world.

Brittany: I need one of those.

Brandon: It is so good. I don’t know. This is my favorite thing ever. All right, anyway.

David: It’s value like this that makes BiggerPockets be the #1 real estate podcast in the world.

Brittany: That’s right.

David: Okay, next question. This is from Patrick Britton in Washington. Let’s assume I have a fixer-upper that needs everything. Which areas could I do the best myself? My personal opinion is I can do a lot of the demo and I’ve heard I can install my own cabinets to save some money. What are some of the best areas to DIY without a ton of experience?

Brittany: Well, I definitely think demo is a huge one because that does cost a lot. So you can save a lot of money with that. And like I was kind of saying before with paint, you could do so much with paint, even painting like a cool design on a wall. Like there’s so many things. Look into Pinterest and Instagram as well and get some cool ideas.

But yeah, I think that’s great. Like starting out with demo. I also think flooring is definitely possible. My best friend just did a renovation on her house and she did all the laminate flooring and I kind of guided her through a little bit, but she had never did it before. So that made a huge difference. So it saved a lot of money.

Brandon: Yeah, you can watch a ten-minute video on YouTube on how to install laminate flooring and like do your own flooring and save a ton of money. I mean, it’s really an easy job and it’s time consuming. That’s why people charge a lot, because it’s kind of boring and time consuming but I actually kind of enjoy it because you just get into this groove and you just work and you put on music and you just work for like five hours and get a good workout and yeah. Anyways. Cool.

All right, number three. Ben from Sandy Springs, Georgia says, does anybody have a quick method for rehab costs? I know, I know. I should read Jay Scott’s book on the subject. I promise I will. But are there any quick formulas based on like square footage? I’ve got no background in construction. I just need something to make a quick offer before I go more in-depth.

Brittany: I mean, this one’s tricky. I actually get asked this all the time on Instagram and I never have a great answer. I actually refer people to that book because I’m like, I don’t know. I think because we do all the work ourselves, it’s so cheap. I know now, at this point, I just know how much the materials will be and how much the flooring’s going to cost and I don’t know. I think that comes with time. I don’t really have a good answer for it.

Brandon: That’s all right. I’ll tell you what I do. I was going to say, what I do, and this isn’t always perfect, but I take my phone out and I walk through a property with my phone whenever I’m planning a rehab. And I make a video and I talk out loud. I’m like, now I’m walking into the living room. It looks like it needs new paint. The flooring’s pretty nasty. This is probably a 12×12 room. Now I’m walking into the kitchen. It looks like we’re going to need new cabinets, do whatever.

Anyway, I walk through the whole house and make a 20-min long video, usually, and then I go home and I type the whole thing up in like a big list of all the things that have to get done and then on BiggerPockets now, we actually have a rehab estimation calculator that helps you. It’s like fill-in-the-blank next to all the categories.

So I just go through and I fill in all the categories and do my best guess on what do I think the paint is going to cost? Well, it’s probably going to be a few days’ worth of work. So I kind of group it in terms of like paint and carpet. Anyways, that’s how I do it. I usually get pretty close that way. I usually add 15% on at the end for overages and I’m usually about right.

Again, it just comes from experience and getting out there and asking somebody, how long does it take to paint a whole house interior? Well, if you’re going to spray, it’s going to take about two days. Okay. Well, what does that cost for a contractor to come in and do that? It’s just asking those questions.

Brittany: And also expect that you’re probably going to end up paying more than you thought.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s always more than that.

Brittany: Almost always.

Brandon: Fixing a house is like budgeting for a trip to Disneyland. You’re going to pay more than what you thought you were going to pay. Those $9 sodas add up.

David: Last question from me of the Fire Round. It’s two-fold. I’m curious how many calls, showings, and applications you see before having a signed lease. This is for a rental. How many times should they show a property? And then second, do you have any suggestions for showing a home remotely?

Brittany: Yeah, so we have a lockbox outside. If we’re ever not around, we have a lockbox. People can go through and then we always have neighbors. Our neighbors are really awesome, too. Just to keep an eye and make sure everything’s fine. But we kind of do the application a little bit ahead of time. And usually, they only view the property once.

Like I’ve had a lot of long-term tenants, so it’s not a ton of turnaround in these places. But yeah, that’s usually what I do. And usually, with these smaller cities and towns, people are just pretty chill. I’ve never had any problems with it so far. So that’s what I’ve done.

Brandon: All righty, I like it. So with that, it’s time to move over to the next and last segment of our show called our Famous Four. Which are the same four questions we ask every guest every week.

Britt, number one, what is your favorite real estate related book?

Brittany: I’m going to have to say your book, David. The Book on Long Distance Real Estate Investing.

Brandon: Look at that. I’m so proud of her, David.

Brittany: I love that book. And you know, I recommend it to people all the time because even through Instagram, I get messages constantly like, I’m in this crazy expensive market and I just can’t get into real estate because how am I supposed to afford a rental property for $500,000? I’m like well, the best thing to do is go outside.

Honestly, I didn’t grow up in Saskatchewan. I grew up next province over and I pretty much moved here for family but also for real estate. So I kind of went to the extreme moving here to be closer to the cheaper properties. But you don’t have to do that and David’s book is so great for that. And gives some really, really solid advice.

Brandon: Did David pay you to say that?

Brittany: He did not. Oh, and Brandon, your journal. I have to mention that.

Brandon: Thank you.

Brittany: I love it.

Brandon: Thanks. We’re actually coming out with another version of it, I think, July. So.

David: Another version?

Brandon: Well like, an updated version. Version 2. I made some changes, made it a little better.

David: So something I’ve noticed about you, Britt, that I want to mention is you show extreme dedication to what you’re doing. Like you mentioned earlier, every flip you do is like a live-in flip. That’s crazy. A lot of people would just not do that. And that you moved to the area where it makes sense to invest in.

Like there’s a reason you’re succeeding at this and a lot of people who don’t have your level of commitment or not, not everyone has to do that but man, if you want to get started, upping that level of commitment is a great way to make sure you will.

Okay, next question. What is your favorite business book?

Brittany: I think for people, if they are wanting to kind of bust this social media world, I’d say Gary Vee’s book, Crushing It. He’s just the man when it comes to that kind of stuff, so. I would suggest looking into that. I also really like for mindset wise, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, which is kind of what I said earlier, by Mark Manson.

Brandon: That’s a really good book.

Brittany: Yeah, I love that book and I think that’s a great attitude to have as well. Like, I posted recently on Instagram, we had a plumber come in who didn’t end up finishing the job and it flooded all of our brand new floors, right? And like a few years ago, I would have been devastated by that, just so upset.

And this time around, I was like, you know what? I’m going to choose not to give a f*ck about this. I’m just going to fix it and move along and just like, things happen. It happens all the time and you just have to kind of be prepared for it.

Brandon: Alrighty, awesome. Yeah, I took a lot of good gold nuggets from that book. So I definitely recommend it.

David: Okay, Brittany, what about some of your hobbies?

Brittany: So I love travelling. That is my number one favorite thing to do. So I’ve been to over 30 countries now, five continents. I spent a lot of time in my early 20s travelling, trying to figure out what to do. And well, it was cool, too. Because I was house-hacking.

So renting it out as I was gone and pretty much breaking even because I’m so incredibly frugal. Like I just did not spend money. Even when I was away, I was like, peanut butter sandwiches. Just not going out to eat and couchsurfing. There’s a lot of ways you could travel for cheap, too.

Brandon: Do you have a favorite location you’ve been to?

Brittany: That’s a really tough one. I would say the country that really was kind of life-changing for me and a huge eye-opener was South Africa. And I did that trip solo and did the five-day safari and did like shark-cage diving, so a lot of cool activities. So much fun but also just like, I gained a lot of independence through that trip as well. So yeah.

Brandon: Were you a big Four-Hour Work Week fan when that came out? You read Tim Ferriss’ book?

Brittany: Yes, I love Tim Ferriss. And it’s just mind-blowing to me, too, because all my favorite people—well, of course you guys are my favorite and then all of Tim Ferriss has been on the podcast and Gary Vee and all these people that I’ve just looked up to for so long. And now I’m on the podcast, too. It’s wild.

Brandon: You know, you’re on equal standing with them.

Brittany: I don’t know about that.

Brandon: I think you’re cooler than Tim Ferriss. You win. All right, last question. Last question from me anyway. What do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail, or never get started?

Brittany: I think there’s so many reasons but I also think having a really clear understanding of the reason why you’re doing it and why you’re working so hard, because I’ve had some really, really bad days and weeks as a real estate investor and just feeling defeated and stressed out. But when I look back to having that 9 to 5 job, like there’s nothing worse than having that unfulfilled and not feeling motivated in what I was doing. So I’ll take those bad days as a real estate investor over that anytime.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s really good.

David: Awesome. If you guys want to hear the Tim Ferriss episode where we had him on BiggerPockets, it is Episode 254. Very good one. Tim’s a smart guy.

Brandon: He’s a smart dude. All right.

David: All right. Whoa. That was cool. We said it at the same time.

Brandon: Jinx!

David: Oh, you got me. All right, Britt, where can people find out more about you?

Britt: Pretty much Instagram is my main thing now. So @InvestorGirlBritt and I try to do a post about all of my properties and give some helpful tips and show what I’m up to so that’s probably the best place. And I am starting to look into getting this YouTube thing up and a few other projects on the go. But I’ll let you know through Instagram.

Brandon: Alrighty. Well, Britt, this has been fantastic. Really, really cool to just kind of dig in and learn more about you. Again, I see you on Instagram but it’s cool to actually hear your story of how you got into it. And what I love about your story, too—we’ve been saying this a lot lately on the show. You don’t have like some super power. You’re not super rich.

You weren’t born with some super skill. You just work hard at something you’re passionate about and you’re finding good success. And when we have you back on the show in a couple of years, you’re going to be even further along, I’m sure. So it’s just like, anybody can do this stuff. Anyway, I love hearing that. So thank you again so much for being on the show today.

Brittany: Thank you guys. You guys are really the best. I appreciate all you do.

David: Thanks, Britt.

Brandon: All right, that was our show with Investor Girl Britt. Brittany Arnason. That was awesome. I knew she was going to bring it. I knew she was going to have good advice and she did not fail to disappoint. Is that the word? She did not disappoint. Maybe she did not disappoint. Fail to disappoint would be the opposite, like a double negative, right? She did not disappoint.

Anyway, yeah. Good advice. I like when people come on the show and do their own work. I mean, I know a lot of people who we talk to are like, I own millions and millions of dollars of real estate. I would never touch anything with a hammer but I like people who are like, you know what? I like doing work.

The reason why is because, as Gary Vaynerchuk says a lot—I’m a big Gary Vaynerchuk fan. He says things like self-awareness is the most important thing. Stop listening to what other people say you should do and what do you want to do? What do you want out of life? What do you want to be when you grow up? Follow that. Follow who you are and she knows who she is. She knows what she likes to do and what she doesn’t like to do and she’s working on that stuff. I just think that’s powerful and more people can learn from that.

David: Amen to that. And now you have something to throw in my face when I try to talk mess to you when you’re putting in your own floors or something like that. Your own chairs or doing your own work.

Brandon: I got self-awareness.

David: Yes, yes you do. All right. Britt is doing awesome and she’s like such an example of the average every-day person who is doing well with real estate investing and building wealth without having to scale at massive levels. There’s nothing intimidating about her. She’s actually having fun doing it.

If you guys who check out her Instagram at Investor Girl Britt, you’ll see a lot of what she does and when you’re there, check out Brandon at @BeardyBrandon and I’m @DavidGreene24 but you can learn a lot about real estate just from looking at people’s social media if you find the right people.

Brandon: Yep, that’s true. All right, well, David, time to get out of here. I’m going to go have some lunch with the BiggerPockets crew and yeah. You want to take us out?

David: All right. This was great. Thank you very much. This is David Greene for Brandon ‘Pencil on a Leash’ Turner, signing off.

You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio. Simplifying real estate for investors large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place.

Be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.

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

Stessa makes it easy for both novice and sophisticated investors to drive operational efficiencies, maximize revenue, and improve overall portfolio performance. Just take a few minutes, add your properties, link your accounts, and everything updates in real-time. Stessa brings the institutional tools used by the pros to the everyday investor for free

Get your free tax guide here: www.stessa.com/biggerdeductions

Deep Dive Sponsor

simplisafeCheck out SimpliSafe Security’s DIY home security systems; an affordable, wireless, cellular, and customizable system that doesn’t require a contract!

If you go to SimpliSafe.com/biggerpockets you’ll get 25% off any new system. That’s an amazing deal.
They rarely do anything like this but they’re doing it just for us!

In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Britt got her first rental property at the age of 18!
  • Quitting her job as a power engineer
  • Pros and cons of doing your own work
  • The Lifeonaire Strategy
  • Things that make a huge impact in a property
  • Using personal line of credit to fund deals
  • What is a Step Up mortgage
  • Doing BRRRR strategy with her boyfriend
  • Finding deals through realtors and MLS
  • How she learned DIY skills from the internet
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Fire Round Questions

Tweetable Topics:

  • “New builds can be easier and more straightforward than rehabs!” (Tweet This!)
  • “If it keeps you motivated and it keeps it fun for you, it probably will help your business.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You have to do whatever it takes to make it work.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Britt

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!

6 Comments

  1. Jan Scilipoti

    First full-on belly laugh while listening to the podcast! The image of Brandon’s pencil snapping back on its’ lead line cracked me up. A great show overall. David, you were joking when you talked about the value, but it’s for real. You two work very well together as co-hosts. And Brit rocks!! Keep the bad-ass women coming. We’re out here listening.

Leave A Reply

Pair a profile with your post!

Create a Free Account

Or,


Log In Here