I’m not sure I plan to be a real estate investor, but if I ever decide to, this is the method I will follow. In this book David Greene explains the BRRRR approach to real estate investing. Through the Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance and Repeat (BRRRR) phases he shares lessons learned. In this review I pull out some quotes and give my thoughts.
“The BRRRR model outperforms the traditional model in every relevant statistical category.” – David provides a case study of two real estate investors. One follows the traditional path. Saving 25% down-payments and buying a rental each year requiring light rehab. The other investor follows the BRRRR method. Buying each house in cash, often needing major rehab work to increase their value. After buying, rehabbing and renting, the investor refinances the property to pull their capital out. Then moves on to the next one. This method enables the BRRRR investor to buy more properties over the years. He’s using leverage and bank lending to a greater level.
“The whole goal of BRRRR is to buy a property at a discounted rate, then make it worth more before you finance it.” – If you buy right you can get out what you put in to the property and sometimes even more when you refinance. This is after keeping the lender required equity in the property, usually 20%-30%.
“It’s a well-known fact that cash offers are the strongest offers. This is where we get the phrase “cash is king.” – Greene explains why cash offers are king. They come without inspection, appraisal and loan contingencies. They can close much faster than other transactions. You can buy houses that aren’t eligible for financing. Needing major work that the seller can’t afford or doesn’t want to do.
“Finding talent is no easy feat. It will require a significant amount of work and it will cost you quite a bit. However, the price you’ll pay to work with mediocrity or worse will cost you so much more in the long run.” – Greene stresses the importance of finding rockstars in their specialty. He returns to this in each section of the book for all the people in your real estate team. He shares techniques for finding rockstars. One is to find team members who also invest. They can look at the opportunity from your investor perspective and not just their own.
“Before you ask anyone, for anything, ever, you should make it a habit to offer something to first.” – Greene says if you find a rockstar and don’t bring value first, you don’t have a shot of working with them. He shares how a rockstar contractor told him he couldn’t work with him anymore. He asked why and found a way to help the contractor which enabled them to continue working together. Win, win.
“Upgrade hacking works best on properties that need lots of work. The more you will be ripping out, reconfiguring, or replacing, the more opportunities you’ll have to upgrade hack. This fits so well within the BRRRR model because BRRRR properties typically need significant work!” – He gives examples of how upgrading materials create increased rent, less vacancy and higher valuations. Often these can be inexpensive or in small areas of the home to add great value. Bathrooms and kitchens are good areas to look for these opportunities. Think paint, flooring, vanities, landscaping etc.
“Jobs are the lifeblood of an economy. I avoid investing in any area dependent on just one job market.” – Greene gives examples like the auto industry crash destroying the Detroit housing market. Stressing the importance of proximity to jobs, schools, parks, shopping etc. He also pursues a specific niche when possible. He does a walkable search radius around hospitals. If you can find a rental in that radius, your rent demand will be high. Due to long hours, living close to work is attractive to healthcare workers. Also, hospital jobs provide high, stable incomes, creating a recipe for great tenants.
“Another system I like to create with my PM (property manager) is to have them set a reminder to notify me two months before a tenant’s contract is set to expire.” – He does this for several reasons. It reminds him to do market rent research. Gives the tenant the opportunity to renew before they go month to month. Gives him the opportunity to sell the house if desired. And reminds the PM that the rent is going month to month and a rent increase letter goes to the tenant.
“There are so many people involved in the successful and safe sale and transfer of title to real estate that it’s just expensive and there is no way around that! If a property isn’t being sold both capital gains and closing costs don’t apply, meaning you spend less.” – He highlights all the expenses involved in real estate transactions. And makes the case for buying and refinancing cash-flowing rental properties rather than flips due to expense. There are times a flip makes sense after you’re done rehabbing a property. But he doesn’t generally enter deals with that goal.
“At the end of the day, you got a full rehab on a great property that cash flows, and you walked away with $10,000 more than you had when you started.” – This sums up the goal of the BRRRR method. If you’ve done well on all the phases it is possible to receive money and have a cash-flowing property. Get paid to invest! You have to get a lot right for this to happen. You must buy right, getting a great deal from a motivated seller on a distressed property. Rehab the property so well that the value increases significantly. Get a great tenant and ensure the rent exceeds the monthly mortgage cost that you are taking out in the next step. Refinance 70%-80% of the value back out. Sometimes this might be more than the all-cash purchase and rehab expense you put in to the property.
- Acquiring your first property can take a while because you save the capital to make an all-cash offer. This enables you to get the property at the best possible price.
- By refinancing to pull your capital out and move on to the next deal, you buy more properties over time. An exponential increase to your cashflow.
- Pay close attention to the property area. Proximity to jobs is most important. Avoid areas dependent on one industry.
- Find a great team (realtor, property manager, construction contractor, lender). Treat them right and they can help your investment portfolio thrive.
- Allow your team to do what they do best. If you’re not super handy, don’t spend your time doing tasks that your contractor can handle.
- Ensure your team understands your priorities as an investor. Find members that are also investors.
- You will get better at the entire process the more deals you do. As you go through projects you will learn what works best and what to avoid.