Advice for some newbies?

24 Replies

Hey everyone! My husband and I are new to BiggerPockets and learning about real estate investing. We have bought multiple books and listened to podcasts and we want to match all of our learning with legit actions. What has resonated with us the most is using the BRRRR method to acquire rental properties and building our portfolio that way. Only problem is we're in our early twenties (23 and 24) And we don't have a big stack of cash sitting around. We're trying to learn some ways we can actually start instead of feeling like we don't have the capital so we're limited for the next 5 years.

We've thought of doing some small scale flips/wholesaling to gain capital or using a hard money lender for our first BRRRR project but aren't sure if financing the first property is the best route. Any advice or outside tips for taking action within our means right now?

Welcome to BP. It really depends where you are located and how much capital you have. You don't need a lot of cash to get started. Wholesaling isn't easy like how the books made them out to be. If you both have a steady job, then you can try to go for a FHA loan and hack the house that way.

@Jessica Schenk I have to second @Simon W. in that it's really hard to go wrong starting with a house hack. It increases your savings rate dramatically which helps you get to deal #2 faster and you begin benefiting from the appreciation/amortization that comes from owning RE.

Have you considered going that route? Also, what market are you in?

HI there,

It depends on where and how much you want to invest. I would recommend reading Brandon Turner's Book "Investing in Real Estate with Low or No Money Down".  It was a lot of information on ways to get private funding and being creative on how to invest with little money down.

Originally posted by @Jessica Schenk :

@Simon W. I appreciate the thoughts on Wholesaling. We do have steady jobs and about 20k saved up to invest.   

@Daniel Haberkost We are in Salt Lake City. 

So you’d suggest financing our first home and house hacking to generate cash flow for property number 2?

Yes, I'm not sure what small multifamily costs in Salt Lake but even if you have to go the route of a single family house hack it's a great way to start. It eases you into being a landlord and has very little downside risk relative to other options.

Have you looked around at all to see what's on the market?

Originally posted by @Jessica Schenk :

@Simon W. I appreciate the thoughts on Wholesaling. We do have steady jobs and about 20k saved up to invest.   

@Daniel Haberkost We are in Salt Lake City. 

So you’d suggest financing our first home and house hacking to generate cash flow for property number 2?

In my opinion, if you have the opportunity, means and want to House Hack, then this is the best way to get started in Real Estate. You can do this 2 or 3 times if you want. Or, just once, then you have a rental with steady income and your residence.


Hi Jessica, welcome to the forums. House hacking is a great way to get going. Flips and BRRRR are harder to get right straight away as you need a low buy in to make them work, and if you're playing with hard money you could get badly burned.

Right now SLC Multi family in SLC is minimum $250k for Magna, $280k for West Valley, $330k for Poplar Grove/Glendale/Rose Park, and at least $360k for SLC proper. It sounds like you have a decent amount of cash saved up, and buying a duplex to live in one side, or purchasing a home with a mother in law (or potential to put one in) would be your best bet. 

If you're handy or willing to learn to do some renovation work, a SFH live in flip is another great way to get started. The SLC market still has ridiculous inventory issues. If you take an ugly house and make it nice, folks that want a nice house will bite your hand off for it when you sell or rent it in the future.

What part of the valley do you want to live in? Where are your family/ friends? Where do you work? Have you spoken to a lender? What payment can you afford if the rental unit is empty? These sorts of things will dictate when you can buy, where you want to be, and what type of property you want to buy. The time to buy is now and the next few months. Rates are still crazy low. Come February you'll be fighting off scores of other buyers, and that just gets worse and worse through spring and summer.

I can't throw a rock without hitting a wholesaler these days, between them and all the realtors plaguing the streets (no offense to anyone they can both be great) it might be tough competition. Also every contractor I know is booked out 3 months, so unless you can do work fast yourself, flips might be scary with a hard money loan. I'm working on my first rental renovation and I'm already a month over schedule because little surprises keep popping up. The taxes insurance and utilities are $500 alone, add in mortgage and interest, i could lose thousands if I didn't have the time to spend 5 days a week working there now. Fortunately I can work on it full time, but you guys are both working, are you willing to put 4 hours each after work every day into a separate flip? I'm not saying this to discourage, just to give reasons why house hacking is such an incredibly great strategy

Hey everyone, I am also a newbie . I live in Skokie IL which is a suburb of Chicago. I own the condo that I currently live at.

I have around 30k to start investing on my first deal and wanted to hear your thoughts about which way you think would be best to go with. House hacking?  Or turn key provider? I did speak with @Zach Lemaster from Rent to retirement and he seems knowledgeable.  I do read a lot of info here and try to listen to many podcasts from Bigger pockets .

What's your guys thought / suggestions ?


Wow I appreciate all of the responses here. It's awesome to see people here are serious and willing to help with the knowledge that they have. This has been GREAT and I think that we are going to start with house hacking until we've gained more experience and capital like everyone mentioned.

Thank you all!

@Ofir Weintraub Welcome! What area are you looking to buy in? Staying around Skokie, or elsewhere? If you're not opposed to moving, I would see if renting out your current condo is a possibility (sometimes HOAs restrict rentals). If you can rent it, I would definitely look into buying a small multi-family to house hack. Then again, this depends on your goals. 

@Ofir Weintraub

What Mia said is good advice. If you own the condo free & clear you have lots more options.

1) either way (if you still have mtg) look into Airbnb (higher rental rate but more turnaround)

2) if you own free and clear you take out a heloc or cash out refi some more cash to invest into another property

3) what it'll come down to I think is your situation and how much work you want to do. Do you want to manage yourself or have it turnkey? If you want turnkey then look for the best COC return and I'd suggest investing in markets that can appreciate like Atlanta, Texas (Dallas/Fort worth, Houston and San Antonio), Az/Phoenix that way you get the equity when you sell.

@Jessica Schenk

This is exactly what I did over the past year. I bought an outdated duplex in an appreciating neighborhood with 3.5% down. I grew up in construction so the repair work has been all done myself and am self managing since I’m house hacking.

When you put 3.5% down, you'll be stuck with PMI for the life of the loan unless you refinance out of it. So, you can either for appreciation through rehab or wait for the market to appreciate and refinance. Or, you can put 10% down now and once the LTV dips below 80%, the PMI will drop off. Depending on the market and what value you can add, this might happen while you guys are still living there.

Reducing or eliminating your rent/mortgage is great but you should still make sure the property’s bank account is increasing every month to account for future repairs, vacancies, cap ex just as you would if you weren’t living there. Those reserves become your new rent. Still less than you’d pay renting I’d assume.

House hacking the duplex has given me a lot of experience I could not have gotten if I chose to save for another year and buy a property purely as an investment. I highly recommend it and wouldn’t change a thing.

@Ofir Weintraub

Thanks for the shout out!  We try to do our best to assist investors in anyway we can even if they are not interested in the TK route with us.  As you can see from our reviews we've assisted many investors with building a successful rental portfolio using many different strategies.

@Jessica Schenk

Do you have any rentals, or is this your very first rental?  Do you have a RE background at all, and how much time do you have to dedicate to starting this journey?  Also, what market are you in?  This will help me to give a more specific answer to your question.

Hi Guys,

I'm from California but I'm considering going to AZ to do the BRRR method. I do have roughly $50k to spend.

Currently looking for hard money/private money loan. I have an investment focus real estate agent lined up. I also have 3-5 contractor ready to call once I find the perfect property. I can easily get a conventional loan based on my credit & job history to do a cash out refi.

 So far I believe the only thing holding me back is the hard money loan.

Any advice for me or should I watch out for anything else?


@Jessica Schenk My husband and I were in almost the exact same spot you were a few months ago. We are a few years older than you but were asking ourselves the same questions. I highly recommend house hacking. Get @Craig Curelop 's book on House Hacking and see what you think. We live in Loveland, CO and the prices are much higher than where you are located, so we are house hacking a SF 4bed 2bath. One of the most important reasons I would recommend starting this way is for the experience. You learn so much about real estate investing and landlording by doing!! It's a fairly low risk way to get into the "game" and you learn so much through the experience!

@Jessica Schenk If you can, try and practice the lifestyle of the FIRE movement, or financial independence, retire early. By cutting your expenses down, you’d be surprised at how much money you’ve got left over. I’m 24 myself and work as an electrician. By cutting down expenses, I’m on track to save roughly 30k in this first year with a annual income of 60k. Especially as a couple, I’d imagine you’d be able to save a pretty penny as well.

@Jessica Schenk congratulations for starting young and having some savings already! I think there is a lot of great advice here to consider. I'd especially pay attention to your budget and keep your personal finances in order. It sounds like you are saving money already. If I was starting over, I'd probably start with house hacking. Flipping and BRRRRing is a lot less stressful when you have some cushion in the bank account. Also, having some capital to put into projects can lower the LTV for private lenders to help offset the risk for them lending to a newer investor whenever you do get into those strategies.

Best of luck,