How to Rehab a House the RIGHT Way with Van Sturgeon


Episode: How to Rehab a House the RIGHT Way with Van Sturgeon


Guest: Van Sturgeon owns more than 1,000 rental properties throughout the U.S. & Canada.  He’s rehabbed even more-picking up countless methods along the way.


Big Idea: Rehabbing houses is a breeze for highly successful real estate investors.  Buying property cheap, due to condition, then renovating them to force value is one of the most powerful methods of real estate investing for compounding wealth.  BRRR, or the buy, renovate, rent, & refi strategy is one of real estate investor’s favorite strategy for building a large portfolio with a limited amount of capital.





Dan Breslin: Today’s guest, Van Sturgeon, personally owns more than 1,000 rental properties throughout the US and Canada. He’s rehabbed even more, picking up countless methods along the way. Rehabbing houses is a breeze for highly successful real estate investors. Buying property cheap due to the condition, then renovating those properties to force value is one of the most powerful methods for compounding wealth. The skill of rehab is crucial to the BRRRR method. You know, the Buy, Renovate, Rent, and Refi strategy is used to build a large portfolio using a limited amount of capital. During this episode, Van and I will dive deep into the renovation aspect of the real estate business along with other topics such as large multifamily investing and market selection. Let’s begin.

Van:  I went off to University. Graduated. I had an opportunity to go off and become a lawyer. Got accepted to several law schools, but my heart wasn’t in it. And I had a very difficult conversation with my parents saying, “Hey, I just don’t want to do this. I don’t see myself being a lawyer. I really enjoy Real Estate, really enjoy being a junk contractor.” And so, that’s where they begrudgingly gave their approval, and I went off in Chicago and became a general contractor. I started knocking on doors, started to network, started to create relationships with individuals, and trying to grow this business. Thankfully, the early 90s was a period of time that I started to get busier, and one of the things I kept running into were these career Real Estate Investors. People that this was their means of business, whether they were buying and flipping properties or buying and adding them to their portfolio. I started to network with these people. Start to see what these people are doing, and then I got around to actually doing it myself.

The first property, I remember it like it was yesterday, I purchased it for $43,000 or $44,000, something like that. It was a real beat-up little bungalow. I still have some decrepit, little photographs of it for what I did to it because I was so proud of it. I bought it and I renovated it. And several months later, it cost me around $17,000 to $18,000 at the time to renovate it, I put it up for sale. I sold it for 90 something thousand dollars. All in all, I made $30,000. At that time in 1991, to make $30,000, that was a heck of a lot of beans, because the average salary was around $25,000 to $30,000 and I made that in four, five months.

So I immediately got hooked on it and I was like, well, this is something that I wanted to do. So it was sort of, it ran in parallel. I was growing just the general contracting business and at the same time doing flips on the side and growing that side of the business. I’ve been very lucky and fortunate in my life and through real estate, I was able to create a number of successful businesses where I’ve been. I’ve built subdivisions, custom homes, real estate developers, property management companies, and do also restoration work on commercial high-rise buildings. I’ve done everything that you can think of under the sun and I’ve been truly, truly blessed to the point where I’ve got over a thousand properties across North America that I look after and that I collect income from. So it’s been a great ride.


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Resources mentioned in this episode:


Van & I Discuss How to Avoid Capital Gains Tax:

  • Market Selection-according to an International Real Estate Investor

  • Van’s best deal-which turned out even better for the next buyer

  • Why you should own a property management company

  • How to renovate a house on time & on budget


Relevant Episodes: (There are 193 Content Packed Interviews in Total)


The transcript of this episode can be found here.
Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.