Author: Joshua Webber

The BRRR Method Explained

Who Says Work Doesn't Get Done While In Mexico?

The BRRR Method Explained

My wife Mori and I were on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico when I saw an email come over for a new deal. I've been looking for a property for my client Kurt for a while now so when my birddog partner sent this over I knew we would have to act fast.

I got on the phone with one of my team members Brooke to get over to the property as fast as possible to scope it out. Within about 15 minutes of getting the email, Brooke was in front of the property and told me it was a go. It had everything my client Kurt was searching for and more. It's in a great location, in his budget and minutes from my office. I called Kurt, while lounging by the beach, and told him about the property, gave him all the details and he was in.. We made a few more phone calls and sent several emails back and forth between us, and by mid-day the following day we had wired money and closed on the property, all while I was still on the beach.

Now I don't advocate to everyone "sit on a beach to get your work done" but years of experience, trusted connections, and an amazing team were definitely in my favor this time around. The property details are below and I'll be sure to include you on updates as we get things completed. Right now this property is about 50% done, the before pictures are below- it was nasty. I'll send out fresh pictures with updates on our progress in the following weeks.

You may have heard of this really fancy new acronym floating around investments groups BRRR. Well I’ve used this since 2003, and that’s what we’ll be doing on this property (Buy - with cash, Renovate, Rent, Refinance – and pull all the cash back out that’s possible). The concept and reason for this strategy is buying bargain priced homes, that probably need some renovation, where an ability to close fast is what makes them such a great deal. Then after it’s renovated and rented it will appraise much higher than we paid, and so now we’ve bought both equity and cashflow rather than paying full price.

This strategy is what we intend to do here. Upon completion of our renovation, I expect Kurt to have about a 7.4% ROI on the cash investment after all costs of ownership and management – nothing to scoff at. However, once he refinances and pulls most of the cash back out, with a very modest estimate of only 3% appreciation, I expect that ROI will jump up to well over 25% - because we bought him equity he will be able to leave a minimal amount of cash parked in the home and gain appreciation and all the tax benefits on the full leveraged value of the home. DISCLAIMER – I’m not a licensed financial planner or investment advisor.  I am an Investment Real Estate Manager, and for me, ROI is the whole purpose behind rentals.

Updates Needed:

  • Trash Out
  • Cleaning
  • Flooring
  • New Roof
  • Demo Walls/Build Walls
  • New Bathrooms
  • New Kitchen
  • Bedrooms
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing

Renovation Cost and Budget:

  • Purchase Price: $239,990
  • Estimated Home Value: $320,000
  • Total Renovation Budget: $55,000
  • New Rent: $1800/mo
  • Estimated ROI: 7.42%

New Project Needed An Eviction & Repairs

Tenants Not Screened Properly

The home on Bryce Dr is our latest project and is owned by a couple who have self managed 4 properties for years, and have been relatively lucky. They have done everything themselves and have done a great job but never had to encounter a tenant like the one they placed in Bryce Dr. They had no experience with what was about to unfold before them in their rental property.

The tenant couple who moved into Bryce Dr last year changed their streak of good luck. The couple arrived to do a walk thru and immediately looked like a great fit. They were nice and polite and even brought their grandmother with them who supposedly lived down the street. They passed all of the owners eye tests and it was left at that. No true due diligence was done on the couple to uncover their past rental history. It wasn't until after the new tenant couple moved into the rental property that problems started to arise. Several months after they got comfortable is when they took the house "hostage".

Red Flags Started To Appear

The first thing our clients noticed was the yard going downhill. The grass turned brown and was not taken care of properly. After that rent started to become infrequent and was often late and eventually not paid. Repeated attempts were made to collect rent and late fees but were made in vain.

Living Room with light coming in through main window

After attempts from the owners to do inspections on the property they were refused even with proper notice. Tenants began to request maintenance. Scheduled repairs were made and the tenants once again would not let the owners into the property. Things began to become heated between the owners and tenant once requests were not being met. Soon we discovered there were as many as 10 people all of whom were not on the lease agreement living on the premises. Requests were made for those living there illegally to leave and they were refused once again. When the situation became clear the tenants were not going to work with the owners they contacted us for assistance in getting this issue resolved the legal route.

We Took Over Management

Dirty Bathroom needing to be cleaned and renovated.

We took management of the home and immediately started an eviction. The eviction process is never a route anyone wants to go down but the only legal option we have to properly remove someone from a rental property. The state of Utah has several policies that must be met and a very clear and definitive guideline that must be followed in order to legally evict a tenant. This typically means a great expense not only for the eviction fees to attorneys and the courts but lost rents collected on the property every month that it sits vacant as the process is followed.

We were able to successfully get through the entire eviction process without much headache or heartache. Once we stepped in we were able to collect money from the tenants to pay these fees. The result is that our clients are out the costs of repairs to the home and were able to collect lost rent and eviction fees. In our research in preparation for the legal process we discovered that the tenants had a 2 previous evictions, 1 bankruptcy, 1 foreclosure all within the last 10 years - and who knows the details of the other 10 people they had been living there.

The home was in decent shape before the last tenants moved in but was on the edge of needing several updates. After everything was done and said it was time to focus on efforts to clean the house up and make some improvements and repairs damages.

The renovation project was started in October and now nearing completion this month right before Christmas. Details for updates needed are below.

Estimated Updates Needed:

  • New Carpet throughout
  • Paint Interior and Cabinets
  • Replace Door Downstairs in Bedroom, Bathroom and Furnace Room
  • Replace missing lights and outlets
  • Fix Kitchen subfloor and install LVP
  • Plumbing under kitchen sink
  • Replace blinds in living room and bedroom
  • Replace ceiling fan with dome light
  • NEW roof, swamp cooler and satellite dish
  • Paint facia and peeling paint exterior
  • Fix storm door and frame on front and back entrance doors

Renovation Costs & ROI:

Total Renovation Cost: $36,000
Judgement Against Tenant: $16,072
Previous Rent: $1500/mo New Rent: $1850/mo
Estimated ROI is 12% with little to no maintenance for years to come.

Time To Assess Damage & Repairs

Property Renovations In Utahs Housing Market

You know everyone talks and writes about smart renovations for rental properties and now we have put it to the test. In our last blog post we wrote about how important it is to make smart renovation choices that will heavily impact your rental property, now we’ve proved it. We wrote about our thoughts and decisions on everything from flooring choices to HVAC to windows and paint. You can quickly read about our top biggest choices we make with every rental property in our last blog post. Smart Renovations in Rental Properties

The Somerset property was one of our 2019 Summer projects we helped our clients turn around from a single family home into a realistic multi-unit income producing investment. We have a few before and after pictures of the renovations we did but we don’t think they truly show how much work and thought actually goes into renovation choices for a long term hold.

Property Details

The Somerset property was purchased by our client in June 2019 as a single family home with a small mother-in-law suite built in the basement. The property has six bedrooms with three bathrooms. The basement has an entrance from the garage and was not separated from upstairs. We did an initial walk-through and gave him our thoughts on the cost breakdown. We also made a list of the major renovations that would be needed walking into it and how to maximize the income potential from a single family home with a mother-in-law suite in the basement.

Our renovation goal on this property is simple: Keep costs low and as maintenance free as possible. Every decision we make is to make sure that the owner/landlord has to never come back to the property to fix anything. 

Cost Breakdown


Before Renovations - June 2019

  • Purchase Price - $343,000
  • Renovation Cost - $58,643
  • Total Investment - $401,643



After Renovations - August 2019

  • Estimated Market Value - $450,000
  • Estimated Rent - $2,300



Before Pictures


Initial Walk-Through

After doing our walk-through we could see right off the bat that the home would need a few major repairs. The first thing we could see is that every window in the home would need to be replaced. All of the windows were old single pane aluminum that can’t keep out the cold or heat. Old windows cause energy bills to be high for tenants and simply won’t last another 20 years.

Watch our walk-through video to get a better understanding.

The roof was a definite concern, in one of the upstairs bedrooms the drywall on the ceiling was torn out from what could only be from water damage. That was a huge concern for two reasons; the cost of replacement and the unknown of water damage in other parts of the home we couldn’t actually see. 

We made our rounds to the furnace room to check out the heating and cooling situation. The furnace looked to be in good shape and had central heat but was cooled with an old swamp. The one swamp cooler the home did have was upstairs in the hallway so we added the installation of central air to our renovation list to make the home more energy efficient. 

The flooring throughout the home was in decent shape, carpet upstairs would be torn out to refinish the hardwood floors and the carpet in the basement would be replaced. Last but not least the kitchen upstairs would need to be completely gutted along with all three bathrooms. We decided the kitchen in the basement was in good shape just needed new appliance and a few small updates. 

We got a great assessment of the home from the initial walk-through and put an estimate together for the renovation budget of $50,000 not knowing if the roof would need to be replaced or not.

The First Initial Renovations

In the first initial weeks of renovations we began scheduling all the major repairs with our contractors. The windows throughout were one of the first things to get scheduled and replaced. It took about two days to have them professionally installed after they came out to get measurements place a bid. During that same time we had the HVAC team outside taking the old swamp cooler out to install a brand new AC condenser. They ran coolant lines and electrical to the homes furnace and got the system up and running that week.

The roof had to be inspected, we needed to get clarity on what was going on with the leak to make a decision on how to fix it. It was a huge cost but after consideration of a long term hold with minimal repairs, the homeowner made the decision to replace it. The soffits around the home were in bad shape so we replaced the damaged ones and painted the rest to match.

The start of demolition in the kitchen and bathrooms began as soon as possible. All three bathrooms in the home needed to get gutted to the walls along with the upstairs kitchen. The basement kitchen was in good shape just need some light updates to the cabinets, appliances and it got a good scrub. One of our standards we adhere to with every rental unit is to install fiberglass shower surrounds in the bathrooms. They are durable, budget friendly, and don’t leak like tile. Fiberglass shower surrounds literally help us sleep at night and we recommend them to everyone that asks. Once we quickly got the kitchens and bathrooms pulled out, we needed to measure and ordered cabinets from Midwest 1983 and appliances for install.

Wrapping Up The Last Half

After we made good headway with all the major repairs, it was time to get prepped for paint so we can get the kitchen and bathrooms installed. Trim, doors, flooring and carpet all had to be pulled out or covered for paint and sanding. Walls were patched, sanded and ready for fresh coats of paint. When it comes to paint we keep it basic, usually going with all white semi-gloss unless the homeowner wants something different. A white semi-gloss paint is easy to patch when tenants move in or out or just normal wear and tear. All of the doors in the home were in good shape along with the hardware which helped save on the renovation budget. We sanded and repainted every single door in the home along with the walls and ceilings.

The kitchens and bathrooms went in quickly once the cabinets and countertops arrived. We always install LVP in kitchen and bathrooms from Mountain States. We never go with custom cabinets in a rental, it just doesn’t make financial sense. We installed granite countertops in Somerset but that’s not always the choice. When it comes to countertops we always go with the most durable between granite and quartz but always depends on the price at the time. Price of granite and quartz seems to fluctuate during the year so we go with the better option at the time. 

We then shifted our focus from the interior to the exterior. The yard was in good shape, it needed to be mowed and a portion of the sprinkler system was broken and needed to be repaired. We cleared out some thick trees and began watering the grass to bring the life back.

After Pictures


In Conclusion

We were able to finish the entire project in August 2019, just three months after purchase. In the end the project came together quite nicely with just a few speed bumps. Throughout the entire project we worked tirelessly with our client and brought every conversation back to our original goal. We need to keep costs low and make this property as maintenance free as possible. This is a great example of how a rental property in a booming housing market can be bought and turned profitable. This rental property should be nearly maintenance and worry free for another 20 years and bring in constant rent and home ownership benefits for years. 

Smart Renovations in Rental Properties

Smart Renovations in Rental Properties

A big hurdle rental property owners run into is making smart renovation choices for their home. One of the most exciting parts about owning property is making design choices that really turns a house into a home. Homes are a creative outlet that allow you to show who you are and allows you to be comfortable.

However, when it comes to rental properties you have to completely change how you think about your choices and budget. A rental needs to make financial sense and appeal to the most amount of people possible. We have two thoughts on rental renovations. Keep the maintenance extremely low and spend money where it matters most to people. You can read about more of our thoughts with this article. We will be going into our thoughts on the most common renovations choices every investor struggles with and our thought process with our decisions and cost. 

FLOORING: A big costly decision

The type of flooring in your rental is a huge decision and typically one of the most expensive. There are really four flooring types: tile, wood, vinyl or carpet. Our choice is always vinyl, specifically luxury vinyl planks (LVP). They are incredibly strong, waterproof, easy to install and replace if damaged. LVP can range anywhere between $3-$7 per square foot for most brands, colors and sizes and can be installed by almost anyone. Getting durable LVP flooring is a rather expensive cost upfront but well worth the cost over time. With any major immediate cost upfront you have to calculate the ROI. Our rule of thumb with most ROI’s is two years. If we don’t recoup the cost in two years we have to strategize differently. 

The very first thing we take into consideration before installing LVP throughout is: what is the state of the flooring in the home currently? Is it in good or bad shape? Does the home have carpet in bedrooms and hallways as well as tile in bathrooms and kitchens that’s all in good shape? If the answer is yes- don’t spend the money. We repeat, do not spend the money. Let tenants get the use out of the flooring that’s there and when it’s time to change it out throw down LVP throughout the entire home.

LVP flooring in a rental property

Ask yourself “will this help me charge more rent or save me on maintenance?” If the answer is no- don’t do it. We know what you’re thinking already but hear us out. We have never had a tenant turn a place down because it has carpet and tile in the home and not LVP throughout. On the flipside of that we have never been able to charge more rent and claim its because of the beautiful LVP flooring we installed. The ROI you will calculate on flooring is the cost of replacing the carpet every 1-3years between tenants. LVP will last a lifetime with virtually no maintenance. If you don’t need to spend the cost upfront on new flooring don’t do it. The fact is tenants do not care what’s laying on the floor as long as it’s in good shape and clean, you’re good to go. Make smart choices.

HEATING AND COOLING: Not too hot, not too cold.

When it comes to keeping a rental heated and cooled we really change up our thoughts here. Keeping the house warm in winter and cool in summer is more than comfort. Maintenance on swamp coolers or old furnaces adds up quickly. It also plays into your monthly rent, with a failing heating and cooling system in a home you will lose tenants quickly causing unnecessary vacancy. Vacancy is by far the biggest expense in rental properties, every month without a paying tenant is coming right out of your pocket. If you want to weigh the pros and cons between them both feel free to give this a read, these guys tend to know what they are talking about. 

On every rental we evaluate the furnace system. We have the entire system inspected and get a quote on adding coils, condenser and lines to have central air installed installed right off the bat. Quotes range drastically because it depends on the size of the condenser needed, brand and labor to install everything. This is never a cheap item usually in the ballpark of $4-6k to have central air installed to replace old swamp coolers. Typically central air parts have 10+ year warranties and you can find labor warranties as well if parts break. 

Swamp coolers have a tendency to need a lot of maintenance every season. They must be prepped for winter and have water turned off and drained. Cooling pads, water lines and motors go out often in swamp coolers. That’s just the beginning, swamps also pump in a lot of moisture into the home with the cool air and if not fixed the water line leaks set in and damage roofs, walls and floors. The next time you are driving through a neighborhood take a look at the homes with swamp coolers and count the number of water leak damage you can spot from the road. Almost every house in the neighborhood you can see the water line leaks that destroy homes. For us we would rather buy $4-6k AC unit then replace a $20k roof before its time. Not to mention tenants are always more eager to live in a home with central air. 

Protip: Think preventative work, low maintenance, low effort. You want the most bang for your buck and a worry free future. 

PAINT: Keep it simple stupid.

Everyone has a different take on paint, if you were to ask 10 people you would hear 10 different opinions on what you should do. We stick to the basics on this, one tone semi-gloss white paint. That’s it, nothing fancy at all. We try and paint every house solid white from the ceiling to the trim. Semi-gloss white cleans up well, doesn’t go out of style and is cheap to repaint when needed. Some tenants will want to paint their walls after they move in. If they paint and have a certain shade of grey or tan matching that one room to the rest of the house will be a headache and take quite a bit of your time. Even if tenants didn’t paint and you splurged and went with an awesome light grey you have more prep work in tail and if those walls get dinged up a little matching that patch will be hard. If everything is white you stick some primer over it and start from scratch. 

Walls get damaged with tenants moving in and out, children and their artwork, pets with claws and teeth. The goal here is to quickly patch scratches and bumps with no extra headache. Paint is another one of those things that don’t add any value to the rent. Remember to ask yourself, “will this help me charge more rent or save me on maintenance?”If the answer is no- don’t do it.

KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS: Think waterproof and tenantproof.

The two rooms in the house with the most traffic and moisture need to be sealed up tight and be incredibly tenant-proof. Just like installing central air in every unit we will immediately install a fiberglass shower surround. If a shower has anything other than a fiberglass surround it has huge potential to leak and we all know how bad water is for a home. Tile looks amazing and we would install it in our own homes every day of the week but the fact is that tile is a lot more upkeep than fiberglass. Fiberglass surround designs have come a long way since the 80’s, are very affordable, leak resistant and available in a variety of colors.

Tenantproof kitchen

Kitchens have the most foot traffic in every home and can cause the biggest maintenance issues in rentals. From clogged pipes to broken appliances they can turn into money pits. When it comes to most appliances we try to provide the least amount possible so when they break we don’t have to fix them. We try not supply fans, refrigerators, microwaves, washer or dryers. Having a kitchen that can withstand the test of time and tenants is worth its weight in gold. Every kitchen needs two things: storage and utility. Make sure your kitchens have plenty of storage space for food and kitchenware. In our opinion every kitchen needs a garbage disposal and dishwasher. These two things help to not clog up pipes with food being washed down them and dishwashers go a long way with renting a place quickly.

Protip: The amenities in a home can allow you to charge a few dollars more in rent. Supplying appliances at tenant request you can typically charge and additional $50 per month. 

Funny enough but having a dishwasher is a huge renting opportunity. With that said, when a tenant comes to us and asks for an appliance or two we work that price into an increase in the rent. It doesn’t happen often because tenants usually have their own appliances so be prepared for tenants that do want you to provide them.


If you take anything from this entire article it’s this one line. “Will this help me charge more rent or save me on maintenance?” If the answer is no- don’t do it. We try and live by that rule when it comes to our rentals with the few exceptions we wrote about. When possible change out all flooring to something durable and that will last for years. Always consider installing central air. Use semi-gloss white paint from the ceiling to the trim and make your kitchens and bathrooms as tenant proof as possible.

When it comes to planning your renovation choices and designs you need to think completely different than if it were your own home. Rental properties need to make financial sense and appeal to as many people as possible. We perform free Rental Market Analysis to everyone. It's another way to verify your rental financials are in a good spot. Send us some basic info and we will perform one for you to talk numbers and make sure you're at market value. Make smart choices that will save you time and allow you to spend your money where it matters most.