BiggerPockets Podcast 129 with Mindy Jensen Transcript
Josh: This is the BiggerPockets Podcast show 129.
Mindy: Well, real estate is never going to end. People always need a place to live.
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Josh: What’s going on everybody? This is Josh Dorkin host of the BiggerPockets podcast here with my cohost Mister Brandon Turner. What up, Brandon?
Brandon: For once now I get to be the one to say good to have you back, Josh! Mister traveling all around the country not being around. Yeah, good to have you back in.
Josh: Yeah, I was gone for a week.
Brandon: That was like a lifetime for me. I missed you, buddy.
Josh: It was like a lifetime for me, but I looked in the calendar and you’re gone, like, two out of the next—two days a week for the next six months.
Brandon: I’m gone pretty much continually.
Brandon: See you later.
Josh: Yeah, but I was gone, man. Took the family to New York and that was exciting. Got to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, FAO Schwartz, Central Park.
Josh: Yeah, saw all sorts of cool stuff. Went to the beach and then we went to this—there was a meet up put on by Darin Saeger of New York folks and that was awesome. There were like 200 people there and—
Josh: Yeah! How many went you went?
Brandon: Like 130, you know, people like you more than me.
Josh: That’s not what I hear.
Brandon: No, I get that all the time, like, you’re cool, but Josh he’s the man.
Josh: That’s not—what I hear is I walk in the room, and I forget her name she’s gonna kill me, I walk in the room and the first person to walk up to me is like, “oh my god! Oh my god! Is Brandon here??” I’m like, I don’t understand. I can’t enter a room without them wanting you.
Brandon: No, they want us cause whenever I’m there they’re like, “where’s Josh?” you know, they leave out the lady-crush part, but you know I don’t know. I’m not saying anything. I’m not judging.
Josh: Yeah, anyway. It was awesome and Darin does a great job getting people together. It’s so cool just seeing all these folks just come together, working together. I had a great time. The New York trip was awesome and I do want to just use that as a transition to today’s—
Brandon and Josh: Quick Tip.
Josh: Alright, guys, today’s Quick Tip is: make sure you have keyword alerts set up on BiggerPockets. BiggerPockets.com/alerts is where you will do this. You need to go and set up alerts for your local area wherever you are at. Like, I’m in Denver so I would set up a keyword alert for Denver. If I’m investing in Milwaukee, I might want to set up alerts for Milwaukee. You can set up things for other keywords as well, but this stuff is going to alert you for deals that people have in your area, it’s going to alert you for opportunities in your area and it’s going to alert you to meet ups in your area and it’s so important to get together with people locally.
Brandon: And one more point on that just this week, I don’t know if it’s going to be out by the time this show comes out but it’s very, very soon anyway, you can now set keyword alerts specifically just for marketplace stuff which is pretty cool. So you can choose I just want to know about Milwaukee if it’s in the marketplace nowhere else which is very, very cool thing. I think people will find that very helpful.
Josh: Yep. For sure, for sure. Alright, guys, so that’s today’s Quick Tip is make sure you’ve got those keyword alerts set up and you can also change frequency if you don’t want to get them as soon as somebody mentions it you can set it to send them out to you on a daily basis or on a weekly basis so definitely do that. So that is today’s Quick Tip. Why don’t we bring in today’s sponsor?
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Josh: Alright. Big thanks today’s sponsor! We really do appreciate it. As I mentioned before this is show 129 of the BiggerPockets podcast and before we get into this, we’ve started doing this, we like doing it, I think it kind of, I don’t know, feels good.
Brandon: Makes you feel warm and fuzzy!
Josh: We’re going to share some reviews. Here is our first review from pingliss17, “love the podcast from Brandon and Josh! It’s like talking real estate with two of my sarcastic friends who know their stuff. I’ve gotten in the habit of listening to one a day on my commute and I’m really getting a lot of it. These guys keep up the good work.”
Here’s one from Melissa. Melissa A, “Josh and Brenden—“
Brandon: Close enough.
Josh: Called you Brenden.
Brandon: That’s close enough. You know, that’s my superhero name.
Josh: Yes, “Josh and Brenden put on a fantastic show. They bring some incredibly knowledgeable, motivated individuals to the program that share the details of how they made their way through the real estate game that we all love. The guests have all been open and honest. Ideas and strategies are discussed which open up avenues that I’ve never thought of. All around it’s a good time and I would highly recommend the podcast to anyone in real estate,” so thank you. If you have not yet left us a review, please do so! We’re reading these things, obviously get your five minutes of fame so to speak to the other 6 people listening to show. No, we’re at 55,000 listeners! You get a lot of exposure so leave us a review! They help us they help—the more reviews we have the more exposure we get on iTunes so go to iTunes please and leave us a rating and a review and we definitely appreciate it. With that why don’t we get to today’s show? Brandon, today we’ve got an awesome guest don’t we?
Brandon: We do. Today’s guest is a stalker of mine, which we’ll explain in the show.
Josh: We will?
Brandon: And yours. Yeah, Mindy J. Mindy Jensen.
Josh: Mindy Jensen.
Brandon: Yeah, Mindy Jensen. She is a very, very bright real estate investor and financial wizard all around. She’s very, very smart. I actually go to her when I have questions about financial stuff and that’s why she’s also teaching weekly on the AskBP podcast so you guys can find out more about her there as well cause she is very smart. So we’re going to talk to her today.
Josh: Awesome, awesome. Yeah, Mindy’s great. She’s been in the game for a little bit now doing lots of live-in flips and some other real estate and we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about a little personal finance, some travel hacking if you’re not sure what that is, and frugality which is a good way to build wealth. So let’s bring her in. Alright, Mindy! Look at you on the BiggerPockets podcast! Awesome. Very exciting. It’s good to have you!
Mindy: It’s so exciting to be here! Thanks for having me.
Brandon: We’re happy to have you! This is fun because we’ve never actually had a stalker on the show before, but—
Josh: “I’ve been watching you”
Brandon: The first time I ever met Mindy she came up to me and I think your first words to me, we were at a conference, and your first words to me were something along the lines of, “you’re Brandon Turner! I’m your stalker!” or something along that. Do you remember that?
Josh: She had a knife when she met me.
Mindy: Listen, you have to protect yourself.
Brandon: You do have to protect yourself from Josh.
Josh: Yes, indeed, indeed. Yeah, Mindy’s been a fan of BP for a while and we’ve met Mindy a number of times over the years at a little personal finance conference that we’ve gone to called FinCon and Mindy started writing for BiggerPockets and lo behold one day we put out a job listing saying we are looking for somebody who can help us create content and do cool stuff and Mindy’s like, “I want to do it!” and so we hired her. So, you’re not on here necessarily because you work for us you’re on here because you’ve got a cool story and we just want to share it so hopefully we can dig into that.
Mindy: Yeah, well, ask away. Fire-Lightning round. What is it? Fire away?
Josh: For not knowing what it’s called just put a demerit on the record, but alright, Mindy let’s talk about you. I mean, you’re somebody who’s big into personal finance and you have been for a long time so usually we start with how did you get started in real estate, I think it might be interesting to kind of start with how did you get into this personal finance space and why is it so interesting to you?
Mindy: Well, the personal finance aspect of my life started at birth. My parents were both—both my parents come from a really big family and they went through my grandparents were part of the depression they were very frugal because they had to be. My parents were very frugal because that’s how they were brought up and I’m very frugal because that’s how I was brought up and I met a man who was also very frugal and we got married, we just have always lived below our means.
Josh: Are you guys Jewish?
Mindy: We are not, but don’t hold that against us.
Josh: Okay. I mean, cheap, I just, you know.
Brandon: Josh is Jewish he can say that. I can’t say that so Josh is part of the tribe, I’m not.
Josh: You know what? I get that a lot, but you know it’s not true what they say. Alright, so you were frugal, your husband’s frugal, this frugality is—what does that mean, though? Like, you know, people think frugal people are cheap bastards who don’t want to spend 2 cents on anything and that’s not true, right? Frugality means something a little bit more, right?
Mindy: You don’t spend money on frivolous things. I don’t have a brand new car and I haven’t in several years. I probably will never buy another brand new car. There’s this concept of early retirement where you don’t have to work until you’re 65, you can work until you’re 25, or 30 or 40 and you just save aggressively and you spend less than you make and you get enough money to live on you don’t ever have to work again.
So we started exploring that concept and we discovered that we do almost have enough money to retire and continue our frugal lifestyle and part of what will help us do that is investing in real estate. Having a passive income stream. Maybe, Brandon, you’re familiar with rental properties?
Brandon: I’ve heard of them.
Mindy: Ever heard of the concept? You know, you have money coming in that you’re not really working for. I mean, yeah, it’s still work being a landlord but you’re not out there 9 to 5 everyday making a living and then you can spend more time with your kids and you can do all this. I happened to just get this really awesome job so I’m not going to be retiring early, but my husband may choose to reduce his hours a little bit and spend more time with the kids. Pick up some of the slack that I’m gonna be giving now that I’m gainfully employed.
I was a stay at home for 8 years. Part of being frugal is you can plan ahead, if you plan ahead, you can have kids and stay at home because you don’t have to worry about childcare, you don’t have to worry about making ends meet because you’ve already made ends meet. We planned for me to be a stay at home mom and I’ve been a stay at home mom for 8 years and now I’m ready to jump back in and I already did jump back in about a month ago. I work with this awesome little start-up called BiggerPockets, maybe you’ve heard of it?
Josh: Woohoo! Yeah.
Brandon: Yeah, they suck.
Josh: I want to dig in more on frugality here, you know, I think it’s a topic that would be fun to explore a little bit more. So frugality, I’ve got you on split screen you and Brandon next to each other, so on the right side I see Mindy. Mindy buys Folgers and makes her coffee at home out of the tin and spends $2.50 per week in coffee. Now on the other side Brandon shops at Starbucks. He goes there twice a day—
Brandon: Hey, three times.
Josh: For $6 per cup and spends $6 times 5 is $30 plus per week in coffee. Multiply Brandon’s $50, you know, you multiply that over a year and you’ve spent a lot less money on coffee than Brandon has. Is that the frugality? Is that what we’re talking about here?
Mindy: There are aspects to that, however, I actually don’t buy Folgers.
Brandon: Do you go to Starbucks too?
Mindy: I don’t go to Starbucks very often.
Brandon: You grow your own coffee.
Mindy: Yeah, I grow my own coffee.
Josh: That’s really being frugal! She sews her own clothes…
Mindy: Actually, I do.
Josh: Oh, no! I was making fun of you but it’s true! Uh-oh. Take foot out of mouth.
Mindy: My background is in fashion design as most home flippers backgrounds are. No, but back to the coffee. I actually have a friend who has a coffee company. It’s called Epic Bean and I buy coffee there, but I shop at the thrift store for my clothes, for home items that I don’t really need to pay full price for. It doesn’t matter that that dish has been used by somebody else. You go to a restaurant those dishes have been used by somebody else. I mean, I don’t buy underpants there, that’s gross, but, you know. That’s really gross, but I don’t mind buying shirts there or a pair of pants.
Brandon: I bought a VCR a couple weeks ago at a thrift shop. A VCR.
Mindy: My mom gave me a Warren Buffett video tape so I’m going to borrow that.
Brandon: Nice! We should watch it together. Yeah, we’ll watch it together.
Josh: Nice, nice. Look at this. BiggerPockets podcast putting people together for very useless purposes like watching 30-year-old technology.
Mindy: So, back to frugality, you know, you save money where you can so you can spend it where you want to or where you need to.
Brandon: Ooh, that’s a tweetable right there.
Josh: That is tweetable.
Brandon: Mindy J with a tweetable.
Mindy: I save money on clothes because even though I have a fashion design background I really don’t care what the latest styles are. Honestly, I’m a mom, I have two kids, the latest styles aren’t that flattering to my body type.
Josh: By the way, body type was in little finger parenthesis there everybody.
Mindy: Just for you guys, not them.
Brandon: So this is a side note, but my mom my entire life has had this habit of putting air quotes around things that don’t belong. So she’ll be like Brandon you need to “go to” your room to go and “clean up” and all growing up there was air quotes all the time and I never understood them.
Josh: Your mom is inappropriate air quote lady.
Brandon: She is!
Josh: She would be a Saturday Night Live character.
Brandon: I know! There should be one, yeah. Anyway, so, air quote mom. So, anyway. To go back to the frugality thing real quick; so, first of all, I do spend a lot of money at Starbucks, but not that—I think my budget’s, like, $200 a month total for me and my wife which is a lot, however—
Josh: That is $2400 a year.
Brandon: It is, however—
Josh: In Starbucks coffee.
Brandon: There are two types of people.
Josh: My god.
Brandon: There are two types of people on earth. There are people who want to go and save $6 a day and there’s people who can go out and make $6 a day, which type of person are you? I am hands down the guy that will go out and find a way to earn more money so I can enjoy the things I like in life and I always will. Now, that doesn’t mean—I’ve lived in a one bedroom 350 square foot house when I got started because I needed to save money and be frugal to be able to get the money that I needed to invest. So I house-hacked this little tiny duplex, Kurt Cobain’s that one people know the story, and I mean, we grow our own vegetables in our garden so we pick and choose.
Josh: You’re a little frugal, yeah.
Brandon: Everybody picks and chooses. Like, yeah I don’t drive a new car. I bought an old Prius, but it’s a cool Prius. My baby.
Josh: Nice. That’s your house on wheels.
Brandon: That is my house on wheels. I slept in that for five weeks, well, a bunch.
Josh: Yeah, that is ridiculous. That is frugality. You are frugal.
Josh: So you didn’t spend money on Starbucks—so you’ll sleep in your car so that you can spend money at Starbucks.
Brandon: That’s pretty much it.
Brandon: I don’t mind sleeping in my car, but I like my Starbucks. So you spend money on what you like and I think the other side of frugality too is the idea of as you make more income in life, I wrote a post a long time ago called The One Thing You Need to do to Become a Millionaire and the whole premise was as you get more and more money in life if you keep spending more and more money in life you’ll never become a millionaire, but if as you make more and more money you invest more and more money you will become a millionaire. It’s, like, really simple as that. So anyway, yeah. So I think everyone’s a little bit frugal, and most people are a little bit, it’s just deciding what they want to be frugal about is my theory.
Mindy: Exactly. You choose what you want to save on so you can spend it where you want to.
Brandon: Exactly! Like you said. Way to bring that back Mindy J.
Josh: So where do you spend it? I mean, obviously you’re a frugal person, we lay no judgement, we love you. So do you spend it on your kids? On traveling? What’s your—and real estate, I’m assuming, is probably the primary.
Mindy: Well, real estate is in limbo right now. We’re in kind of a ridiculous market and I’m having a hard time finding deals in my current market. I know nobody else is cause real estate is just exploding everywhere, but no, where do I spend money? I spend money on the stock market. I just invest a lot right now.
Brandon: I want to hear about that.
Mindy: We do travel. We do travel a lot, but we do travel hacking. We take credit cards and you sign up for a new credit card, you spend x amount of dollars in a certain amount of months, like $3,000 in 3 months, and then you get 20,000 bonus miles or 50,000 bonus miles or one time we did it with British Airways and we got 100,000 bonus miles and I had a card, my husband had a card, so we had 200,000 bonus miles and we used that to travel quite a bit. When we lived in Madison Wisconsin we could fly out of Chicago and Chicago is an American Airlines hub which is a sister airline of British Airways. It kind of gets convoluted. You have to do a little bit of research, but we went to Hawaii for free.
Josh: Just for signing up for that British Airways?
Mindy: Just for signing up for the British Airways card we went to Hawaii for free for the four of us. I think it cost $95 for the annual fee for each card so that’s what? $190? I got four round trips to Hawaii.
Josh: So here’s what’s gonna happen, I’m gonna cut you off right now, you are going to write an epic post on the BiggerPockets blog about travel hacking. I’m familiar with travel hacking because of this personal finance community, this FinCon community that we’re a part of, but I don’t think a lot of people on BiggerPockets are necessarily familiar with this. I’ve talked to my mom about it and I’m like, “mom, you’ve gotta get this card. This is the right card so you can get the miles, and this, this,” and she’s like, “it’s too much work, I don’t want to do it, bah-duh,” and I’m like, “mom. Just do it”.
Brandon: That was a different mom accent than you usually do.
Josh: That was a different mom accent. She moved to the south or something. I don’t know what happened to her. Something weird.
Brandon: By the way everybody just got to witness a moment of BiggerPockets corporate culture: Josh handing down an order to Mindy. Wasn’t that great right there? Like, “this is what you’re going to do, Mindy J”.
Josh: Mindy J, check it out, travel hacking. No, you know what? It’s such a cool topic.
Brandon: It is.
Josh: And I think it would benefit our community and everyone within it for us to kind of talk about it a little bit so it’s a polite suggestion from the man upstairs that we do that.
Mindy: The man upstairs.
Brandon: Now Josh is calling himself god this is amazing. Wow.
Mindy: Thank you, Josh.
Josh: I spend enough time with you, Brandon, you know, it just—
Brandon: Yep, I guess. Where were we? I don’t even know.
Josh: I was not calling myself god. Let’s let the record show I was not; I was just saying I work upstairs in the office or something.
Mindy: Where are the stairs to get up there?
Josh: Can we move to something else besides me?
Mindy: No, Brandon and I have thought this for a really long time.
Brandon: I want to talk about her real estate. I want to know about her real estate.
Josh: I do. How did you go from this frugal person to buying real estate? I mean, it seems like the anti-frugal buying this property.
Mindy: Oh, no, no!
Josh: Oh, no? So tell us about it please! See how I changed the subject? That was good, wasn’t it?
Mindy: That was very smooth. Yeah, like silk. So, I am frugal. I don’t want to pay for things that I don’t find value in and I was living at home, because that’s what all 24 year olds do, I was living at home in my parent’s house. I had just finished up college, I had my first real job, and a friend was going through a kind of sticky divorce. She had rented an apartment to sleep in at night and then she would go home during the day and take care of her kids and whatever. That stopped working for her and she was stuck with this apartment lease that she couldn’t use and I said, “well, I’ll take it over,” not knowing that you’re supposed to clear that with the landlord or anything, I was much younger.
So I took over her lease and it was like $410 a month for a one bedroom in my town and at the end of the lease I just canceled it. I said, “I don’t want to live here anymore because that seems kind of expensive to pay $410 a month to live in this apartment when I could buy a place that would be the same price,” so I looked around. I found a condo for $49,000, a two-bedroom condo in a suburb of Chicago and I bought it, I moved in, my whole payment was $417 a month. So for $7 more a month I’m now owning the property and, to give you an idea of how long ago this was, I got a smoking deal at 7% interest on my mortgage.
Josh: Wow. I wasn’t going to ask, but since you opened the door.
Mindy: It was 1998 that I bought this property. I sold it, I actually had my dad power of attorney sign the papers for me when I was on my honeymoon, in 2002 I sold the property for $74,000. I made about $25,000 on the property just for holding it for 6 years. I had a place to live, the property went up in value and it was just this really amazing experience because at the time I wasn’t making very much money and that was just about a year’s salary in an instant because, you know, you still need a place to live and if I was renting and stopped to move, you know, my husband had a house so I was selling my condo. If I would have rented I would have had nothing at the end of that experience except just a place to live and I thought, “oh, I’m going to have to buy another one of those properties”.
Mindy: So we lived in his place for a couple of years and then we moved into the city of Chicago itself and rented out his house and that was an experience. It was his grandmother’s house and we bought it from the estate for what it was worth and then housing prices just shot through the roof in the early 2000’s and we sold it for $100,000 more than what we bought it for and it was—we did very little work to that. We might have put in $1,000. It had a leaking pipe or something. There just wasn’t that much and we took that money and rolled it into another property that we flipped, or we fixed up, head to toe.
Josh: And I want to go there for sure and talk about those.
Josh: No, it’s okay, you keep talking just talk, talk, talk, talk. We’re not here. The guests, you know, don’t worry about the hosts. You mentioned that 7% and steal so there’s a lot of people who are listening to the show right now who are thinking, “7%?! Are you out of your mind?!” so 7% was a steal back then and rates change. So the environment that you’re in I just want to talk about it because I want to make sure people understand. There were times, and I don’t know if it was the 80’s or the 70’s, when rates were twice that, you know.
Mindy: 15% early 80’s, yeah.
Josh: I think I remember Jeff Brown telling me about 20% or so rates. I mean, that might have been in the 1900’s, you know, too bad Jeff isn’t here to defend himself, but I mean, rates have been far higher than they are today. We’re in a really good environment as an investor to acquire properties with low rates. So just keep that in mind as you’re buying things and realize we’re in as good a time as we’ve ever had for buying property at least as far as mortgage rates are concerned.
Mindy: That’s actually kind of funny you bring that up. My college was paid for because my dad bought savings bonds when I was little and they matured right around the beginning of the 80’s and he put them in a CD that was locked in at some ridiculous 14% rate or 11% rate or something like that and for 5 or 10 years he just got this ridiculous amount of money and that’s how he paid for my college, my sister’s college, my brother’s college was just this amazing interest rate.
Josh: That’s cool. Nobody buys savings bonds anymore.
Mindy: Nobody buys savings bonds anymore because they’re worth almost nothing.
Josh: They’re worthless, yup. It’s sad. Well, alright. So you bought this property, you sold it, you made some money, you did it again, then you started getting into these live-in flips.
Josh: Let’s talk about that. What is a live-in flip?
Mindy: A live-in flip is when you take yourself and you live inside the home that you are flipping. So you’re living through the construction, the drywall, the hammering, the no electricity, the new furnace installation, all of that. It is super awesome fun! It’s actually not.
Josh: Smell the sarcasm.
Mindy: It can be a little trying, actually. We lived in one flip with no kids and that was awesome because we worked on it and we worked on it and when we didn’t want to work on it we didn’t have to work on it and you could take a little break and you could work on it until midnight if you wanted to, but once we started having kids it was a bigger deal. I can’t help you when the baby’s crying, I have to tend to the baby so a lot of the work kind of got pushed off on my husband for a while and now we’re in a house where our kids are 8 and 5 so they can kind of take care of themselves while we’re working on the house, but it’s still, “mom, I need something,” so a live-in flip is most successful, I think, when you don’t have children, or small children that really need your attention.
For a while my live-in flip, my current, we’re fixing it up we’re not really flipping it but we’re living in the fixing up and I had a washing machine in the kitchen and my kitchen is 10 x 12. I had a washing machine in my kitchen because all of the rest of the house had no plumbing, or there was no heat so I couldn’t hook it up in the other side of the house.
Brandon: Well, the benefit of that is when you have dirty dishes you just toss them in the washing machine with your clothes and everything comes out good, right?
Mindy: Exactly. Yeah.
Josh: What? Hold on, hold on.
Brandon: I’m just kidding! I don’t do that.
Mindy: My washing machine was in the kitchen. Like, right in the middle of the kitchen.
Josh: Okay, just making sure.
Brandon: She doesn’t wash her dishes in the washing machine. C’mon, Josh. C’mon!
Josh: I wouldn’t put it past the frugal lady here.
Brandon: Save that water!
Josh: Socks and plates in the same load, I mean, c’mon.
Mindy: Yeah, live-in flip is another way to be frugal because I don’t have to rent a separate place, I don’t have to pay a mortgage on a second place, I’m living in the property I’m fixing up and I save big money on the capital gains taxes at the end of 2 years. There was a recent law passed, not recent anymore I guess it was 1997 and that’s a long time ago, whatever.
Josh: Time flies.
Mindy: Yes. There was a law that was passed, I can’t remember the name of it now.
Josh: That’s alright.
Mindy: But you don’t have to pay capital gains taxes if you live in a property for 2 of the last 5 years and own it for 2 of the last 5 years you can just write off $250,000 in capital gains if you’re single, and $500,000 if you’re married. I never made $500,000 off a house so I never reached those limits but it’s still nice to not have to pay capital gains taxes on $100,000 or $150,000.
Brandon: You know I’ve known some couples over the years that, like, that’s what they do for a living pretty much is they’ll go and buy a house to live in and every 2 years they buy and sell it and they make, let’s say, $100,000 on each flip and that is basically $50,000 a year of income and all they have to do is live on a property and flip it and it’s tax free which $50,000 tax free is the equivalent of what $80,000 as a job. So they’re basically making $70,000-$80,000 a year just living in a house that they’re flipping. So, I mean, it’s a strategy. It’s not a terrible idea. So pretty much every house that I’ve bought in the past has been a live-in flip for kind of the same reason so anyway very cool. I love the concept of a live-in flip. So how many have you done now, Mindy? Do you mind me asking?
Mindy: I have done 5 live-in flips.
Josh: And what’s the average hold time?
Mindy: The average hold time is 2 or 3 years. I don’t sell them before 2 years because then I won’t be able to get the capital gains deduction benefit and, you know, sometimes it takes longer to sell. I have tried FSBO because that’s always a successful venture.
Brandon: Which of course stands for…?
Mindy: For sale by owner. I am currently a licensed real estate agent in the state of Colorado. I have sold 0 houses so I’m super successful. I didn’t get my license to sell houses. I got my license so that I could invest and have access to the MLS and get the commission when I sell and buy and yada, yada.
Brandon: Alright, so—
Josh: I have a bunch of questions I know you’ve got a bunch too, Brandon.
Mindy: Before I was a licensed agent I tried to sell it by myself twice. The first time I tried was in a not-very-FSBO-friendly real estate market and it took about 18 months to sell the property.
Mindy: It was also a difficult to sell property. It had a pool, it was a split-level in an area of the country where split-levels are kind of shunned so it was a difficult property to sell anyway, but then when you do it by yourself it just seems to take longer. The second property that I sold FSBO was in Madison, Wisconsin; the largest real estate listing company in Madison is called FSBOMadison.com. I should say when I listed it that was the largest, I don’t know the current Madison market, but in 2012 and it took 18 months to sell that one as well and it was a lake-front property so, again, it’s a difficult house to sell no matter if you’re selling it by yourself or selling it with an agent. Both times we did FSBO we offered an additional commission to the selling agent and I don’t know if that helped or not because they were difficult to sell houses so.
Josh: Interesting. Well, so let’s dig in a tiny bit on this for sale by owner because I think it’s something we’ve actually never covered in 100 and, I don’t know, 30 shows or so. People do for sale by owner I think primarily because they say, “hey, I can save this commission,” because when you sell you pay the commission, right? “I’m going to save all of this commission by selling”.
Mindy: That’s why I did it.
Josh: You know, why would I want to spend that? But then you’re stuck, in your case 18 months, you probably, I’m guessing probably, would have turned the property over sooner and personally I have issue with all this. Like, I think I should be able to list my house for sale by owner, like, in 20—what year are we in? 2015? In 2015 with sites like Zillow and Trulia, I mean, I can post a property up and get all the visibility I want for it so where does that extra marketing come in for a first sale by owner versus realtor? Personally I think what realtors are doing is a lot of them will blacklist for sale by owners because they’re saying, “well, I’m not going to get my full commission so why would I encourage that?” and I think it’s not taken as seriously by real estate agents which, as a real estate agent, you can probably speak to, but I think at some point in the coming 5, 10, 15 years there’s going to be some kind of equality that comes to independent sellers who want to just sell their property and not have to deal with an agent. What’s your take on that?
Mindy: Well, I get why people don’t want to sell with an agent. I understand why they want to try and sell it themselves, and, like you said, with Trulia, and Zillow, and Craigslist even, there’s a lot more options to getting your house sold by yourself than in years past. When I was doing it we had the newspaper.
Josh: What’s that?
Mindy: Yeah, I know, right? It’s this paper where they print the news on it and you can hold it in your hand.
Josh: I don’t understand.
Brandon: What a waste of time.
Mindy: It’s a very foreign concept now, but that’s how you sold.
Josh: That’s like yesterday’s news, though, right?
Mindy: Well, exactly. I still get newspapers today. It’s kind of a habit, but Warren Buffett believes in newspapers. He said that he got his start as a newspaper carrier every year at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, which I attend, I am a Berkshire Hathaway B-share owner, I’m not an A-share owner. For those of you who don’t know what the A-share is $250,000 per share and the B-share is, like, $100 a share? $120? So I went with the frugal option. Anyway, at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting they have a newspaper throwing content every year and the prize is a dilly bar if you can beat Warren Buffett’s throw onto the porch. They have this fake porch. Everybody should go to the Berkshire Hathaway meeting, it’s a super fun time.
Josh: That’s cool.
Mindy: So, anyway, he still loves newspaper and he buys them even though they’re going out of business, but yes back to this. I had to advertise my house in the newspaper. I had to hold my own open houses. What I would do is I would walk people around the house to make sure they saw everything and then I would step outside so they could really look around. Honestly I think that through people off. They don’t want the seller there. The buyers don’t want the sellers there when they are looking at a house. They want to look and they want to peak in the drawers. They want to talk to each other and say, “hey, I really hate that color on the wall,” and I don’t think they feel as comfortable when somebody’s there. When there was a real estate agent showing my property of course I would leave before they got there, but as far as the industry goes I don’t know. They’ve been around for a really long time, real estate agents have, and they’re not going to go down without a fight. We’re not going to go down without a fight and I can understand why people would be really—as a home owner who’s sold houses for sale by owner why am I paying you 6%?
Josh: Yeah, no, that’s a lot of money.
Mindy: You know, when it’s $100,000 on the list price that’s $6,000 okay.
Josh: My house is for sale right now, my personal residence, and it’s a lot of money that I’m paying somebody so it’s crazy, but let me ask you this last question on FSBO is: do you see FSBO as an effective strategy?
Mindy: Not currently. With the exception of Madison Wisconsin because of the FSBOMadison and you would not believe how FSBO friendly Madison is, or was when I was there 3 years ago, and it was really nice to be able to list my house and sell it for a 4% commission instead of a 6% commission and that was my most expensive house. That was the lake-front property, and, you know, $24,000 is a lot of money.
Josh: Yeah, that’s a lot of money.
Brandon: Wow. Lot of money.
Mindy: No, I can’t do math. It was more than that, but still that’s a lot of money. Maybe it was $30,000…
Josh: I wasn’t following the math but I was assuming you were right. So, hey, let’s talk about live-in flips again. Live-in flips, beyond the disruption to your life and your family and the challenge, I mean, it’s like house-hacking we talk about a lot. House-hacking is perfect for young people in their 20’s, it gets harder when you’re married and have spouses and it just kind of becomes more of a challenge, but beyond that kind of obvious are there other negatives to doing live-in flips? I guess I’ll put it to Mindy, and Brandon you can chime in too.
Mindy: Well, it’s dirty. You know, you walk into a kitchen—my first live-in flip we ripped out the whole kitchen and then I was washing dishes in the bathtub and I was making dinner in my bedroom and that’s not such a huge deal when you’re an adult and you can just make a sandwich or hey, look, it’s peanut butter and jelly tonight, but when you’ve got kids you have to kind of—it’s a lot easier when it’s just adults in your flip. Dry wall days are the absolute worst because dust just gets absolutely everywhere and it’s a massive mess. So you are washing dishes in the bathtub and you are making dinner in your bedroom and it’s kind of a pain in the butt to wash your dishes in the bathtub because you have to bend over and your back hurts and you’re already dirty.
Josh: Can I ask an obvious question?
Josh: If you’re live-in flipping and you have one bathroom and you’re working on the bathroom…
Brandon: How do you use the bathroom?
Josh: Are we using the kitchen sink or should we not go there?
Mindy: I have 2 bathrooms.
Josh: Thank goodness.
Mindy: I’m not—
Josh: So don’t ever do more than one bathroom at once while you’re doing a live-in flip?
Mindy: Oh, no! Absolutely. We have—the house that we’re currently living in it was a 1-bath, 2-bedroom house and we just finished the bathroom two weekends ago and before we could finish that bathroom we had to add the other bathrooms. Now we have a 4-bedroom, 3-bath house so we had 2 bathrooms done before we started on the original bathroom.
Josh: I’m just making sure. There’s always a working functional bathroom at any given time is the key, here.
Mindy: There has to be.
Brandon: There has to be! Unless you want a port-o-potty and a hose.
Josh: I’m just—
Brandon: I was going to say port-o-poty and a hose that works for me, but.
Josh: That’s really horrible, yeah.
Mindy: That is not my ideal.
Brandon: No, it’s not.
Mindy: Even I have limits.
Brandon: So live-in flips that I do, okay, here’s the problem a lot of people do, right? Not even problems, just the downside of live-in flip, right? Is you never get to fully enjoy the property you’re living in because it’s like, “alright, we finally just finished this today! We’re going to list this today,” right? Like, it’s like you never get the full—so what I try to do, and I did it with the house I’m in right now pretty well, I got it and then I spent 3 months remodeling it. Like, every day my wife and I were over here fixing every single thing we could up so that way when we moved in we’d at least be able to experience the house mostly done. Still that was 3 years that I moved in now and now we’re thinking about maybe we’ll sell it soon, but I’m like we never really got to enjoy—my wife keeps saying is, “I don’t really want to move until we at least can say we lived in a finished 100% house and not just finished the day we moved out,” which is how it usually is, but anyway. So I don’t know. People can keep that in mind. It is possible. You can do that. You can fix it up first then move into the house and live there for 2 years and then sell it and still get that IRS tax thing. Of course, I’m not a CPA and neither is Mindy or Josh, but consult with your CPA and all that good stuff.
Josh: That’s a good idea by the way.
Brandon: Yeah, so let’s talk about, real quick, what I just there is I came in and my wife and I worked for 3 months fixing our house up. Do you guys do your own work as well, Mindy? Or do you hire things out?
Mindy: Ah. We have hired people twice and each time that we hired somebody we had to fire them and hire somebody else because the first guys didn’t work out and we do a lot of work ourselves. We do most of the work ourselves. When we add a story onto the house, as we’ve done our last two flips, we pay somebody to actually build the structure and put the siding on, the windows, the roof, and then we come in and we finish it. We coordinate the drywall, I’m never doing drywall again by myself, we coordinate the drywall, we do the tile work ourselves, we do the plumbing, we do the electricity, we do everything once the structure is waterproof, weatherproof, on the outside. I would never do insulation myself because it is actually cheaper to hire somebody to come in and do it than it is to buy it yourself.
Josh: Hey, Mindy?
Josh: Quick, quick, quick question: when you say “we” you mean your husband Carl, right?
Mindy: My husband and I.
Josh: No, I mean, but you’re a female why would, you know, females do this work too? I mean, I’ve never heard of such a thing.
Mindy: Yes, females do this work all the time Mister sexist man.
Josh: Oh, yes they do. I wasn’t being sexist, I was proving a point that this is something—
Josh: That more women A: women are doing, and B: not enough attention is being paid to those women who are, actually, doing this, and C: to the women that are listening this is something that you can definitely do and I definitely want you to talk more about that because that’s one of the coolest things about what you do is you’re playing with power tools and roughing stuff up aren’t you?
Mindy: I am. I have my favorite power tools Betty and JoJo. No, I think a lot of people, women and men, are afraid to try. They don’t want to mess something up and you don’t start by building a house from scratch. You start on small projects and you gain confidence and then you move on to something else. You know, anybody can paint a wall and I’m sorry to all the professional painters out there, but it’s really not that difficult a task. You know, you don’t have to tape off the ceiling, you can learn to cut in which is painting up to the wall without painting the ceiling too. It’s a concept, or it’s a procedure. It’s not a concept, it’s an actual thing. I’m looking up at my ceiling because I haven’t really sprayed it to paint in here and I haven’t gone back to cut in to the ceiling yet. I’m sorry, but yeah anybody can paint a wall.
I installed all the hardwood floors in my house and if you can do this, it’s a hammering motion, if you can do that then you can install a hardwood floor. It’s really not that difficult, and—sorry?
Brandon: You were probably going to say what I was going to say, I was going to say there’s a million videos on Youtube about how to do everything.
Mindy: There’s a million videos on Youtube. You are a mind reader.
Brandon: I am. That’s what they say about me.
Mindy: Jedi connection, yeah.
Brandon: That’s why they call me “The Jedi”.
Mindy: There is a million videos on Youtube to show you how to do anything and you can do electricity. You start off small. Turn off the power! That’s step number one and then you take out the outlet that doesn’t work. You match the wires; the black one goes with the black one, the blue one goes with the blue one and then you stuff it back in the wall and turn the power on and try it again. See if it works. You know, you turn off the water to the sink and replace the fixture. You can do it yourself. You can watch videos, you can get books out of the library, it’s really easy to do your own work and nobody likes your house more than you. Nobody cares about your bottom line more than you and I am so sick of paying contractors twice.
Brandon: I will add that I agree. I do a lot of my own stuff as well. A lot of states, including the state that I live in, I can no longer do electrical on my rental properties at all. Like, even if I’m the owner of them. So some states have the rule now that I can’t touch electrical in a house even if I own it. Now, if it’s my own primary residence I can, but a rental I can. So, anyways, just people make sure you know your laws, but live-in flips I do almost everything myself.
Mindy: Oh! Thank you.
Mindy: Yeah, no, I don’t have any rentals right now, it’s been a while since I’ve had a rental, so that’s good to know. I should look that up before I start monkeying around with rental property electricity.
Brandon: Here’s another quick tip for ya, well, for everybody out there, so my contractor that I’m working with right now just hired a new employee and the reason he hired this employee is cause the employee just got hit with a $10,000 fine from L & I, like our department of Labor and Industries the ones in charge of having workman’s comp insurance on your people, anyway cause this guy was out on a roof roofing or whatever for somebody else and he didn’t have his own license and bond. Anyway, they came by and asked for his whatever information and he didn’t have it and he got hit with a $10,000 fine. So that’s my quick tip for everybody is: if you’re going to do work for anybody at all that’s not your own property make sure 1,000% you do it right and follow the rules because you’ll get in big trouble.
Josh: Yeah. Hey, Mindy, but, and I appreciate everything you said, and I do try to make a point anytime we have anybody of the female persuasion on the podcast to actually emphasize the fact that they are of the female persuasion because you go on BiggerPockets and we are a male-dominant industry. We are a vastly male-dominant industry so I think A: it’s important to have strong female role models in the business and you are one of them.
Brandon: Mindy Jensen you’re my hero.
Josh: You are. You are, but I think it’s always important to hear from kind of the horse’s mouth so to speak, you know, c’mon. Everybody’s—you guys are ridiculous.
Brandon: It’s alright, it’s alright.
Josh: Grow up.
Brandon: If you want to call somebody a horse that’s fine, whatever.
Josh: You know, we get a lot of guff in the comments about childish jokes. Like, c’mon Brandon. Jeez, man.
Brandon: From the horse’s mouth, alright.
Josh: Hey, Mindy, no, to all the female listeners what would you tell them to those who are like, “hey, I’m afraid to do this,” or, “I don’t want to deal with the nonsense from the guys and the contractors,” you know, what do you say to others who might be listening?
Mindy: Well, that’s a really interesting question. I just read a couple of forum posts, well, one forum post this woman said that she doesn’t contact contractors by herself. She’ll have a male friend come over so that she gets a decent price because she has found that when she doesn’t ask a man to come over to her house she’s given just ridiculous prices because it doesn’t seem like people know and then that same woman sent me an email just a couple of, I think this morning, saying, “I’m so inspired by you and the men just don’t understand and thank you,” and that really, like, made my week. That made my year that somebody would say that because honestly I don’t really think it’s that tough you just have to jump in.
You know, I installed the hardwood floor all by myself. This one here that I’m looking at and you can’t see it but it’s gorgeous. I installed that by myself. Your first line has to be absolutely straight so you take your time with that line and then you just go. It’s just—you stop when you’re done and it’s easy. You take your time and you do it right and, like I said, you watch Youtube videos, you read books and none of this is really all that hard. I said that anybody can change out a plumbing fixture, I actually hate plumbing.
Mindy: I always just slam my hand into the wall or pinch my finger in some way.
Brandon: My record is 11 trips to Home Depot in one day for plumbing. I hate plumbing too.
Mindy: Okay, so yeah you never get the right part?
Brandon: Never get the right part that I need, and yeah. It’s—
Mindy: I was checking out at Home Depot and the lady’s like, “hmm, you look familiar,” I’m here every day! Every single day. Literally I am here every single day of course I look familiar I’m here more than you.
Josh: Hey, Mindy, so you’re doing live-in flips, you’re doing floors, you’re doing all this stuff, is that all that you guys are doing? You said you’re not doing any rentals. Are you doing actual non-live-in flips or is this really the strategy that you guys are going to be following hereto forward?
Mindy: Hereto forward we are looking for non-live-in flips. We want to do that BRRR, like Brandon’s always talking about, BRRR.
Josh: He made that word up and now I’m seeing it all over the place.
Brandon: I know, people say it.
Josh: I love it.
Brandon: For people who don’t know what that is it’s the buy-rehab-rent-refinance-repeat that’s what it stands for. BRRR.
Mindy: Yeah, and that’s a really great, you know, that’s a really great term. I want to get some rental properties. Like I said, my current market is just absolutely ridiculously hot in my price range. If I wanted to buy $500,000 houses then I would not have so much competition, but there’s nothing under $200,000 in my local market and up to about $300,000 everything is all cash offers, fore-going appraisals, fore-going inspections, you know, and I don’t want to subject myself to that kind of risk. I don’t want to buy a property with no inspection and discover that it needs a whole new foundation and it’s built on top of a snake den.
Josh: That’s very smart. So what would you tell people who are in a market like yours? I mean, because it’s really easy to get caught up in the I can actually get this if I go all cash and forego this stuff, is that a good idea?
Mindy: I don’t think so. I have bought and sold 10 houses. We did 5 live-in flips and I don’t think that it’s a good idea for a new investor to go out and buy a property that they don’t know what they’re walking into. You don’t know what you don’t know. I just had a post recently, and I’ll just say this again for the three people who didn’t read it, my husband and I were going to buy a condo closer to the city of Chicago and we went through, it looked beautiful, we had a home inspection and the guy off-handedly said, “oh, make sure that this exterior stucco is real stucco and not EFIS. What’s EFIS? Well, it’s fake stucco and when it’s used in dryer climates, like Colorado and Arizona, it’s not a big problem. They don’t have a lot of moisture, but when it’s used in the wetter climates sometimes the window seals fail and water gets inside between the stucco and the wall and there’s no place for it to go and mold grows and there’s been homes that they’ve just had to tear them down completely. There’s no fixing it. The mold has just gone everywhere and without a home inspection I wouldn’t have known that and that would be pretty scary to lose that much money that early in my career, you know, in my investing career. You don’t want to lose the whole pot, and a home inspection is, like, $500. If you spend $500 and you find nothing then that’s money well spent and if you spend $500 and find a potentially hazardous condition, or a potentially problematic fix that you don’t want to handle that’s money well spent.
Josh: Yep. For sure. Good advice.
Mindy: So, yeah, no, I wouldn’t suggest foregoing inspections and with an appraisal if you’re paying $3,000 for a house that’s only worth $2,500 that’s just foolish.
Brandon: There you go.
Josh: Good advice.
Brandon: Alright, let’s get this thing moved towards the end. Next we’ll go to the world-famous, what’s it called, Mindy?
Mindy: Lightening round! The Fire Round! The Fire Round! The Fire Round!
Josh: Famous Four.
Josh: Yeah, we have the lightning—we have the Fire Round first.
Mindy: No, you have a Fire Round.
Brandon: Alright, Fire Round.
It’s Time for the Fire Round.
Josh: I like how she’s all red and embarrassed now. I love that.
Brandon: Lightening round.
Mindy: That’s a real sunburn.
Brandon: Alright. The Fire Round are questions we ask directly from the forums so we don’t actually ask them, BiggerPockets members do. So, Mindy, I know you’re in the forums a lot so you’ve probably seen these, maybe even jumped into the conversation which would make this cheating, but that’s okay.
Number one: why invest in real estate? After all there are a lot of things to invest in; stocks, bonds, precious metals, collectibles, what makes real estate so attractive to you?
Mindy: Well, real estate is never going to end. People always need a place to live and you can get by without having stocks, you can get by without having bonds and precious metals, but you have to have—well, I guess you don’t have to, but most people want to have a roof over their house—over their head!
Brandon: I do. Cool. I like it.
Josh: Nice. Right on. Alright, next question: is flipping still a good business in 2015?
Mindy: Yes if you’re in the right market. There’s a guy in my market who buys houses at full market value and flips them into some of the most amazing houses I’ve seen and sells them at even more of full market value. He’ll take a smaller house like I did and top of the line everything. He takes a 2-bed/1-bath and makes it a 4-bed/3-bath or a 5-bed house and he puts in subzero refrigerators and who’s the oven guy? What’s the oven company?
Brandon: Viking maybe?
Mindy: Viking ovens!
Brandon: Mmm, yeah.
Mindy: He puts in the high quality, the really high-end finishes. I don’t have a Viking oven in my house, I’ve got a Maytag or Whirlpool or something.
Brandon: Yup, because you’re frugal.
Mindy: Because I’m frugal. A Viking is a very good product. If somebody gave me one I’d be happy to have one, but he puts all these high quality finishes in and it looks awesome and he sells them for $150,000 more than what he bought them for or $200,000 more than he bought them for. So he’s making a good living, but that’s not my personal goal. Well, I don’t want to make a good living, no, that’s not my personal flipping style so I’m having a hard time finding a flip in my current market. I’m going to go north to Cheyenne, Wyoming and see what I can do up there.
Josh: Ooh, fancy.
Mindy: They have far lower priced houses.
Brandon: That’s what I hear. On that topic of flipping; so I obviously have a lot of Facebook friends now from BiggerPockets, like, I don’t even know most of the people that friend request me anymore and I just accept everybody so I have this wall of just BP people that are talking about their real estate. Like, my whole Facebook wall is just real estate stuff now. It’s kind of fun, but the thing that I’m noticing over and over and over is people saying, “three days on the market and I have fourteen offers!” like, “six days on the market and I’ve got seven offers!” like every day I see two or three of those posts come up about people bragging about how, in a good way, about how well so yeah, to answer that question also, is flipping still good business? I think right now flipping is probably the best business I’ve ever seen since I’ve been involved in real estate it’s beginning to look a lot more like 2005, 6 and 7 so I don’t know if that’s a warning sign or not, but man everything is going quick and for lots of offers.
Josh: When everybody gets excited, listen, I’m the biggest proponent of real estate as an investment, but when people start getting excited, when you hear people start talking about it at McDonald’s and all over the place, I mean, when the average guy is talking about how good the real estate market is I start to get a little nervous. I’m starting to get a little nervous about how hot the market is feeling in a lot of areas.
Brandon: I’m nervous with Denver because you guys are insane.
Josh: It is nuts here.
Brandon: It is nuts.
Mindy: I can’t wait for it to pop so I can buy something!
Josh: I talked to somebody today and she’s like, “yeah, I’m working, I’m learning, I’m just waiting for it to happen,” and I’m like, “it?” and she’s like, “oh, yeah, I’m waiting for the market to completely collapse and I’m going to buy like crazy,” and I’m like, “alright, that’s a great strategy. Sit on the sidelines. Yup. cool.”
Mindy: Warren Buffett says when everybody’s buying you should be selling and when everybody’s selling you should be buying. Oh, wait, no, when everybody’s selling you should be buying. He doesn’t say anything about selling.
Josh: You just said that.
Mindy: Yeah, no, he doesn’t say anything about selling, though, he holds it forever.
Brandon: That’s true.
Josh: This is true.
Mindy: His favorite holding period is forever.
Brandon: I like it.
Josh: I love that.
Mindy: That’s what he says.
Josh: You’re a big fan, aren’t you?
Mindy: I am a big fan of Warren Buffett. I do like him quite a bit. He’s pretty smart.
Josh: He is, he is.
Brandon: He would have to be. Alright, what are the common things that you can do to reduce a rehab budget and save money without being shady or doing shawdy work?
Mindy: Ah, well, yeah, number one: you could be shady, number two: you could do shawdy work, no, you should do it yourself. Why hire a painter to come in and paint your room for $300 when you can do it for $30 which is a gallon of paint?
Josh: Minus your time.
Mindy: Minus your time, plus your time, whatever. You’re still making money on the end if you’re—you know, it all adds up. If you hire an electrician and it’s a minimum of $1,000 that they’re going to be there because they have to charge for the time there, charge their hourly rate, and do all the information, or all of the work that they need to do. The plumber is—when we were selling our house they wanted an air gap added to the dishwasher that we had forgotten to put in and it cost us $1,000 to do. It was an hour of work, maybe two hours of work and it was $50 in parts and that doesn’t translate to me versus $1,000. You know, I don’t make $1,000 an hour although I’d like to.
Brandon: Did you hear that, Josh? You hear that?
Josh: Yeah, me too.
Mindy: Wait, you don’t make $1,000 an hour?
Brandon: Aw, c’mon. C’mon.
Josh: What a disappointment, jeez.
Mindy: It is. I really thought you were just loaded.
Brandon: I did write a post on the BiggerPockets blog, and on Entrepreneur.com a while back called How To Make $1,000 An Hour so I will link to that in the show notes. It’s actually really cool.
Mindy: Oh, that’d be great.
Brandon: Yeah, How To Make $1,000 An Hour.
Josh: That would be nifty. Maybe you could teach it to me.
Brandon: I could teach it to you. You do make $1,000 I’m sure, and so do you, Mindy, it’s just you only make it for a couple minutes a day. So the goal is: how do you make it for longer periods of time? That’s a little teaser, go read the post on the show notes!
Josh: That’s fascinating. That’s awesome. Alright, Mindy, last question: I’m a first-time investor should I purchase a duplex or a fourplex?
Mindy: Ooh. Well, how much money do you have Mister first-time investor? A duplex, a fourplex, I don’t think there’s a real lot of different there except in price. I mean, if you’re gonna live in one unit and rent out the other unit the duplex is gonna pay all of your expenses, or most of your expenses, if you have a fourplex when you live in one unit you’ll probably make money when you rent out the other three. I don’t think you’ll make a lot of money in the duplex just by house-hacking it. Both of them you can get a first-time FHA loan which has low down payments so you could afford more property in theory. There’s a lot of reasons to—there’s a lot of information that goes into that question that’s kind of a big question just for—
Brandon: I think you answered it well.
Josh: It was a good answer for sure, and yeah, it all depends on a lot of things so nice.
Brandon: But I do think if you could do a duplex you could do a fourplex. I firmly believe that so as long as it’s within your price range, like, trying to learn how to handle 3 other tenants instead of 1 other tenant is not that big of a learning curve. Coming up with 3 leases, picking up 3 rent checks, I mean, people can do it. People get overwhelmed with that stuff, but it’s really easier than they think. Anyway. Moving on. Let’s get out of here and end with the world famous—
Brandon: Alright, these are the questions we ask everybody. So, Mindy, number one: what is your favorite, besides mine, what is your favorite real estate book?
Mindy: My favorite real estate book.
Mindy: Would have to be The Book on Flipping Houses by J. Scott.
Josh: That is a great book.
Mindy: That is a great book. I can’t believe there’s anybody that knows more about flipping houses than J. Scott. Maybe Brian Burke who did that awful cat litter house, did you ever see those pictures?
Brandon: Yeah, that was terrible.
Mindy: Disgusting. So, yeah, they are probably tied but Brian didn’t write a book, J. Scott did. The Book on Flipping Houses.
Mindy: Yeah, conveniently it is printed by BiggerPockets Publishing, but that’s not why I like it. I just, you know, I’m a big fan of the site.
Josh: Yay, alright.
Mindy: That’s a good book.
Brandon: I do also agree. That’s the best flipping book I’ve ever read.
Josh: It is.
Mindy: It is the best flipping book.
Brandon: That is the best flippin’ book. Yeah.
Josh: Yeah. Alright. Best business book. Best business book, what is your most preferred, or best business book?
Brandon: Wait, can I guess?
Josh: The Warren Buffett Way.
Brandon: The Debt Snowball, isn’t that what it’s called? No, the something-something Snowball. The Snowball something.
Josh: I’m saying The Warren Buffett Way.
Brandon: No, the Snowball is about Warren Buffett that’s why I assumed it was that one. Apparently not.
Mindy: Yeah! Oh, what’s that book? I think it’s upstairs. I think it’s called The Snowball.
Brandon: I think so.
Josh: Is that the book?
Mindy: Yeah, somebody wrote a book about—
Brandon: Was that your answer? Did I guess it right?
Mindy: No. That’s not—
Brandon: Oh, dang it.
Josh: What’s the book?
Mindy: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clayson? Classen?
Josh: Clayson, yeah.
Mindy: Clayson, Classen, whatever. Sorry, George, I don’t know how to pronounce your name.
Josh: I think he’s, like, long gone.
Mindy: Yeah, it was published in, like, the ‘20’s which makes it an even more amazing book. The basic premise is: don’t spend more than you make, save a little bit, invest it, invest it wisely, and you can do what you want with life.
Brandon: Very good. By the way, the book was called The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. That’s the one I was guessing you were talking about, but I was way off.
Mindy: That’s number two. Close second.
Brandon: Nice. Okay, good. I’ll take it.
Josh: Excellent. Alright, Mindy, hobbies. What do you do for fun?
Mindy: Oh my goodness. When it’s winter time I snowboard, when it’s summertime I’m on my bike or playing with my girls. Well, I’m playing with my girls no matter what time of year it is, but wintertime it is snowboard and summer it is biking.
Josh: Excellent. Where do you snowboard?
Mindy: My favorite place is Breckinridge just up the road.
Brandon: I was going to say your backyard.
Mindy: Yeah, my backyard. My backyard is 7 square inches. I have the smallest yard of any house I’ve ever owned in my life in this house.
Brandon: Nice. Well, you could put the snowboard on that and just jump up and down a few times.
Mindy: I sure could. Obviously you’re a snowboarder.
Brandon: That’s what I do. I jump.
Josh: Clearly, clearly. Right on.
Brandon: Okay. My final question of the day: Mindy, what do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail, or never get started?
Mindy: Getting started. You have to do a deal to be a real estate investor. I don’t think you can call yourself a real estate investor if you never invest in real estate. There’s a lot of people who read about it and then they’re scared, they don’t have enough money, if you don’t have enough money read The Book on Buying and Selling Houses With No and Low Money Down, what’s the name of that book?
Josh: Woo! That was close enough.
Brandon: Close enough.
Mindy: Yeah, by this little-known author Brandon Turner.
Brandon: You forgot good looking and talented.
Mindy: Good looking, amazing, 7-foot-9 Brandon Turner.
Brandon: Yes, thank you. Josh is shaking his head.
Mindy: Why are you shaking your head, Josh? Why are you shaking your head?
Josh: Because he just—he’s encourage-able.
Brandon: Well, thank you for bringing up my book cause I didn’t do it—actually I did it three time already, but I’ll take it. I’ll take any plug.
Brandon: There you go.
Mindy: Yes. You need to jump in and do a deal and that doesn’t mean jump in blindly, you have to do your research or you are going to lose giant wads of cash. We’ve all lost giant wads of cash and we just call that education and I don’t think you can write it off on your taxes unfortunately. I’d have a big tax write off.
Brandon: You could try. They do have a spot for education for deductions.
Josh: Let me know how that goes, Mindy.
Mindy: Yeah, so when I’m audited I’m going to refer them back to here. Brandon my CPA gave me legal advice…
Brandon: Brandon on the BiggerPockets—
Josh: Nah. Nah, don’t do that please. Alright, Mindy, show 129 on the BiggerPockets podcast. You can check out the show notes at BiggerPockets.com/show129 and you can leave Mindy feedback, ask her questions or just interact with her on BiggerPockets. Outside of all that, Mindy, where can people find out more about you?
Mindy: Pretty much that’s it. BiggerPockets.com.
Josh: Right on.
Mindy: I was a stay at home mom for 8 years so I have a pretty thin resume as of late.
Josh: Nah, you’ve got a great resume.
Mindy: I’m on the forums. I’m in the forums a lot. I’m on the blog. Current podcast the AskBP podcast. You can find me on almost every facet of BiggerPockets.
Josh: Perfect. Perfect. Well, Mindy, thank you for joining us. We really appreciate it and we will get you right back to work as soon as we hang up with this call so.
Brandon: Get back to work, Mindy!
Mindy: Thank you very much. This was a lot of fun.
Josh: Alright, we’ll talk to you later.
Mindy: When do I come back for number 2 and number 3?
Josh: Oh, now, don’t start being like Ben, now.
Mindy: Hi, Ben!
Brandon: Nice. Mindy, take care.
Josh: Mindy take care.
Mindy: Alright, bye! Have a good day.
Josh: Alright, guys, that was Mindy Jensen. Big thanks to her for coming on the show! Obviously if she didn’t come on the show I could force her to, but I wasn’t going to do that. I couldn’t’ force her to! She would take me on.
Brandon: Yeah, she would.
Josh: She would. Nah, it was great.
Brandon: Is she taller than you, by the way?
Josh: She might be. That’s not hard to do.
Brandon: We should back-to-back you guys sometime and we’ll see who’s taller.
Josh: Oh, yeah? Why? Is there any, I mean, do you get anything out of that other than the joy of making me look even shorter?
Brandon: I want to know if you guys fought in a ring who would win. If you guys are both built—
Josh: What is your obsession with people fighting in a ring?
Brandon: I don’t know, but the next BiggerPockets conference we have we are fighting in a ring.
Josh: What is wrong with you?
Brandon: We are fighting in a ring.
Josh: You have problems. I think you and I might be put in Sumo Suits and we should get into a fight.
Brandon: We should do that. We’ll do that. Sumo Suits.
Josh: That would be a lot of fun.
Brandon: I like it.
Josh: Awesome. Well, guys, thank you for listening. Hopefully you enjoyed the show. Big thanks, again, to Mindy for coming on and if you are not already engaged in BiggerPockets like Mindy is jump on today, get involved. I was talking about the New York meet-up; the cool thing about the meet-up we had 200 people like I said, Brandon only brought about 130, but beyond that because cool, cause it was, was the fact that the people there A: they were amazing, but B: they had talked about how engaging on BiggerPockets was so valuable to them and those people who hadn’t were hearing that from their peers and were really kind of getting that, and understand it, and feeling it and jumping in. A lot of people said that to me. They were like, “hey, Josh, I don’t know anything. I’m new, what do I do?” and we said, “start out welcoming new people. Welcome other people who have joined the site and just talk to them. You’ll at least start to network and build connections,” this is a business that requires connections. You know, you can be successful without them, but the more connections you have the more likely you are to find success because these peers of yours can be your partners, they can provide leads to you, you name it. So, get out there, make things happen, jump on BiggerPockets. We are the place for investors to connect so get on there and make it happen.
Brandon: Do it.
Josh: With that, let’s get out of here. I am Josh Dorkin signing off.
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Brandon: Let’s get out of here and end with the world famous…Fire Round.
Mindy: That’s not the thing! We just did that!
Brandon: No, that was the Fire Round, now it’s the Fire Round. Alright, Fire Round.
Mindy: Okay. Fire Round.
Josh: This is the Famous Four. Dude! C’mon, now.
Mindy: This is my first podcast, not yours!
Josh: Way to mess it up.