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The Secret to a Legendary Family Life: Build-to-Rent Passive Income

Jim and Jamie Sheils

Ask almost any entrepreneur or business leader about the downside of success, and they’ll say it’s that the time they spend running their company takes them away from their family and the experiences they dream of having together.


As a busy entrepreneur, I know this feeling very well. I have a great relationship with my wife and son, but I have regrets that I did not always give them the same amount of attention and energy that I gave my businesses. Now that my son, Zak, is 20 and out of the house, I know that every minute we have together is extremely valuable, so I do my best to make sure we never get stuck in a “Cat’s in the Cradle”–style relationship.


With this in mind, my son and I participated in family adventures with Jim and Jamie Sheils, authors of a book “The Family Board Meeting: You Have 18 Summers to Create Lasting Connection with Your Children.” Besides being unforgettable bonding experiences with Zak, these experiences taught me a lot about how to juggle family life and entrepreneurship. 


The secret? Multiple streams of passive income.


I don’t know about you, but the term passive income makes my BS meter light up. However, in further discussions with the Sheils and a few others, I have learned that building passive income through certain types of real estate investments can be highly rewarding. One of the most successful real estate investment models I have learned about is the build-to-rent model. 


According to the National Association of Realtors, the United States is facing a shortage of 5.5 million homes in cities large and small. Millions of houses need to be built as soon as possible to meet the demand over the coming decade.


Savvy investors are building to rent long-term instead of quick flipping fixer-uppers, which can cause huge headaches (as seen on TV!). Renting for the long haul creates immediate cash flow as well as equity to roll into future investments, and it’s a pretty safe bet as long as the investments are made in landlord-friendly states.


Of course, if your goal with creating passive income is to spend more time with your family, you want to make sure that you are not simply creating another job for yourself. That’s why it is key to work with a highly experienced building network and let a professional rental management company handle the rentals and maintenance of your properties. If passive income investments are made wisely, then the result is clear: more time for family and friends and more resources for experiences.


This information inspired my wife and I to invest in property in Mexico, where we are constructing new housing that will be available for rent. From what I have learned, the best way to invest in build-to-rent is to start with building three to five rental properties. Hire a professional management company to take care of the maintenance, contracts and rent collection. After a few years, use the equity built in those properties to buy more properties and continue the cycle.. 


Here are five success indicators for build-to-rent investments. If these five indicators are present, the build to rent blueprint described above is practically guaranteed.


  1. Economic growth – Build and rent in areas where the economy is growing, jobs are being created and businesses are being incentivized.
  2. Population Growth – Build where the population is growing because business and industry are thriving. 
  3. Affordability Index – This is absolutely key. Make sure the median family income and the median home price are in healthy relation in the area you plan to build.
  4. Desirability of Area – Ensure that the area is desirable in terms of lifestyle, weather, amenities, tax rates and schools.
  5. Healthy Supply and Demand – Do your due diligence to ensure that there is more demand than supply, or more tenants than property. 


If all five of these indicators are present, you could be well on your way to successful build-to-rent investing and generating passive income that allows you more free time with your family. I wish I had understood these principles earlier in my career, but now that I have the information, I can modify my family’s future with these strategies and blueprints and enjoy peace of mind with my investment properties in Mexico. In my opinion, if you don’t have a trust fund, this is the best way to create passive income with real estate investing so you can spend more quality time with your family.

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