BiggerPockets Podcast 196: LLCs, House Hacking, and Saving on Taxes with Brandon Hall

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What has five letters but causes so much fear that millions of wannabe investors never get started? That’s right: TAXES. But taxes don’t need to be scary — and understanding and utilizing the tax system can actually help grow your business and help you build incredible wealth. That’s why we’re excited today to sit down with Brandon Hall, a CPA and real estate investor who works exclusively with real estate investors to help them strategize and organize their business in the most cost-saving way possible. We cover Brandon’s real estate journey, including house hacking, LLCs, S-Corps, bookkeeping, and so much more. You’ll love Brandon’s engaging and entertaining personality, and for once in your life, you might even enjoy learning about taxes!

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Brandon realized the need for a CPA through the BP community
  • How he grew his firm through the BiggerPockets Forums
  • The importance of giving value to others
  • The details on his three-unit property
  • Tips for hiring a “leverage property manager”
  • How to find investors in your community
  • The details on his second triplex
  • Why he focuses on multifamily
  • How he funds his deals through FHA loans
  • The way he looks at PMI
  • A mistake he is guilty of when it comes to inherited tenants
  • Training your tenants and other management hacks
  • The tax benefits of house hacking
  • Mistakes he’s made in his real estate investing
  • Tips for finding a good CPA
  • Advice for those deciding whether to use an LLC or not
  • What you should know about LLCs
  • Things to know about the “real estate professional” tax designation
  • When to hire a bookkeeper
  • Common mistakes investors make with taxes
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Don’t try to sell yourself. Let your content sell yourself.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You as the business owner should not be in the bookkeeping.” (Tweet This!)
  • “The ongoing tax strategy throughout the year, that’s the time to save money.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Brandon

Show Preview

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. Patrick Roob

    Hey there B Hall!

    I must say, this podcast has been added to my top 5 of favorites through BP, and I have listened to MANY others! With it being the end of year, in addition purchasing my first four-unit (house hack) this past March, and currently on the lookout for my second house hack to close on, this information was EXACTLY what I was looking for on my hour drive into work this morning……. For that I thank you!

    I was just looking at your website today, as I am currently on the hunt for a new CPA, and I see that you offer “uninterrupted access” for CPA advice and knowledge for a monthly rate, HOW COOL! Just out of curiosity on this… Would these services be provided by you directly, or do you have a team to help with that? I could imagine that once you have a large clientele basis it would be tough to juggle time for this in addition to everything else.

    For me personally, I am not sure a monthly partnership would be best at this point, however I would love to connect over BP and discuss prices on other options!

    Thanks again, and great job on this podcast!

    Patrick Roob

    • Brandon Hall

      Patrick – happy to hear you enjoyed the podcast so much! Services are currently provided by me directly, however I am growing quickly and onboarding team members all the time. I’ll be onboarding another CPA likely in the middle of next year. I’m not 100% sure how I will structure everything but I assure you customer experience and adding value are my priorities. I’ve hired business coaches to help guide me through the the process.

      Please do connect if you haven’t already – I’m pretty swamped but will get to you if you’ve already connected 🙂


  2. Mike Dymski

    Brandon, where you separate yourself from some of the other pros on BP is that you provide complete answers on the forums rather than partial trolling answers that require members to contact your business. Most members are looking for answers, not a soft hand-off to a service provider. The hard hand-off comes with the expertise and client relations that are exhibited in the answers and articles. Well done.

  3. Adam Treece

    Really enjoyed this podcast…tons of great info, and especially interesting perspective about the virtual relationships with clients. As someone looking to invest from overseas (military), having someone who is savvy with virtual relations is of great importance to me. Establishing a network or team from a distance is a great challenge, but using technology is a great way to overcome that. Great podcast and keep up the great work!

  4. Philip Humphrey

    Thank you, Brandon – excellent podcast for a beginner like me! You answered my main questions about LLC’s and real estate professional designation. One thing I would like to do is have the tenant responsible for basic maintenance on the rental property (I have seen $300 as a threshold on some posts). By doing this, are there any negative tax implications like reduced depreciation deductions or anything else? Is there a set threshold for these situations? Thank you in advance!

  5. Chris Luksha

    What a great Show! Thank you Brandon for the amazing amount of nuggets in this episode. I had to pull over to write notes and questions to ask on the forums because I was listening mostly in the car and kept smacking myself in the head with ‘Ah-Ha’ moments.

    Really great stuff and I can’t wait to post some of my questions that came from this. Away I go to do so…


  6. James Masotti

    Awesome show Brandon! I agree with many of the other posts that this was extremely well done and that your input on the forums has been beyond valuable. I wish you the best of luck and continued success. Perhaps as I grow my business a bit more and find myself in need of some tax strategizing our paths will cross.

  7. Kevin Wood

    Hey Brandon hello from another podcast guess. My questions is how did you get your site up and running. I’m in the process of getting a site and really like your look. It looks like a site. Did you design it yourself or what are some resources I can use to make an up to date website?

  8. Chuck Buck

    Hello Brandon,
    That podcast was fantastic and quite information dense. I imagine I’ll watch it a few more times to get everything. I did have a question about Quick Books. I have been using Fresh Books the last year. Its not bad for invoices and tracking of funds. Is there a reason you recommend Quick Books over Fresh Books? Is it personal preference? Or does one offer more than the other?

    • Brandon Hall

      Chuck – glad you liked the podcast so much! QB is the most robust accounting program out there. Granted, I have limited experience with Freshbooks, but mainly because QB is so reliable. But from an “accounting power” perspective, I think QB is hard to beat.

  9. Jake M.

    Great show. Wanted to mention something so people don’t get the wrong idea. When discussing whether to use limited liability entities, an example was given about a guy who did not hold his real estate assets in entities and was sued due to his son injuring someone while driving drunk and the father was somehow found liable, putting his real estate assets at risk. Because the father was found personally liable of a tort in that case, having his real estate assets in a wholly-owned entity would not have provided any protection against his personal creditors. This is a commonly misunderstood topic. Putting your assets into wholly-owned limited liability entities (when done correctly) generally protects your other assets from liabilities arising within the entities. It does NOT protect those assets from your personal creditors, which would view your ownership of the entity as an asset just like the cash in your bank account or a rental home owned in your personal name.

    • Ewan McInnes

      Good catch JAKE M. I was going to post the same thing. I have obtained judgments and executed on LLC membership interests. In Utah, judgment creditors executing on membership interests take an “assignee’s interest” which in the simplest terms entitles the judgment creditor to distributions from the LLC including proceeds from the disposition of the asset. In multi-member LLC the operating agreement or buy-sell can contain buy/liquidation provisions that are triggered up death, bankruptcy, judgment etc.

  10. Julie Marquez

    I really liked this podcast because Brandon is so real, but also so smart. The conversations around getting your tenant to pay on time was invaluable, and nice to know that we are all human and all have struggles. Thanks for all the help on tax questions!

  11. Shannon Shue

    HI Brandon,

    Thank you Brandon. I appreciate all that insight and incredible insight.

    I use Xero for my flips and my buy and holds. One of my biggest disappointments with Xero is they have no customer service phone number, so they only allow for chat session (which are not very helpful, I have been on many) and emails back and forth to address issues. Quickbooks has a 1-877 number. I went to Xero because it is user friendly and I have a CPA (who I introduced Xero to 2 years ago…and now more people are using it of her clients).

    Something you mentioned about Quickbook Online VS Xero, I want to ask a follow up question(s):

    1. To confirm what you mentioned in the podcast, Quickbooks online has an ability to manage flips as separate projects (where as Xero does not). How is it managed inside Quickbooks? Is there a work around for Xero (so far we just list different projects under the same asset category by project street name)?

    2. Do you feel transitioning my books from Xero to Quickbooks is fairly easy to do?

    3. If I have a few LLCs (maybe an S-Corp soon), can I manage them inside quickbooks together or needs to be done separately?



  12. Billy Evans

    Great Podcast! I have a quick (hopefully) question. When you make more than $150,000 and are treating your spouse as a full time real estate professional so you can capture depreciation, is it necessary to file as a married filing separately, or can you file jointly?

    Thanks so much for the information you’ve already provided!

  13. Cece Liu

    Hi Brandon,

    This podcast is great, addresses a lot of my questions. And I have two more:

    1. I have a 2BR condo, and currently rent out one room, is the monthly condo fee deductible just like insurance costs?
    2. The condo was for personal use for 3.5 years, then househacked for 6 months and fully rented out for 6 months — in this case would I still fully qualify for the Section 121?

  14. Cece Liu

    Hi Brandon,

    This podcast is great, addresses a lot of my questions. And I have two more:

    1. I have a 2BR condo, and currently rent out one room, is the monthly condo fee deductible just like insurance costs?
    2. The condo was for personal use for 3.5 years, then househacked for 6 months and fully rented out for 6 months — would it still fully qualify for the Section 121?

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