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Ten Awesome Things I Didn’t Know About BiggerPockets…

by Brandon Turner on December 2, 2012 · 31 comments

  

Last week I was driving into town along the same route I’ve taken daily for years and noticed a large sign on the side of the highway advertising local apartments for rent.  The sign was old, crumbling, and faded from years of exposure – which is why I thought it so odd that someone would bother to put this old sign up to advertise an apartment for rent.  Furthermore – I didn’t even know there were apartments located at that location.

I made the remark to my wife that I found it odd that someone would put up an old sign like this. She looked at me with a funny look and said “Brandon – that sign has been there since before I was born.”

“How have I never seen that before?!”  I exclaimed.

You see, I had been driving by this area for more than five years, nearly every day, and never noticed that sign. No wonder the sign looked so dated – because it was.

This happens to me all the time. Does it happen to you?  Perhaps it’s because I’m always in a hurry – or perhaps because I have too many things going on at one time. Or perhaps I’m simply unobservant.  Whatever the reason, it seems I’m always discovering new things that have been right in front of my face all along.

This has been the case this week over and over as I began to explore, in depth, the BiggerPockets website. For those of you who don’t know – last week I joined the BiggerPockets’ team and officially became the Senior Editor and Community Director of BiggerPockets.com. In other words, I get to devote more time to making cool stuff for BiggerPockets and more time growing and nurturing the amazing community that Josh has built over the past near-decade. This is a very exciting time and I’m thrilled to be able to help Josh make BiggerPockets an even stronger community.

As part of my introduction to the BiggerPockets’ world, I had the privilege of walking through the entire BiggerPockets’ website with the founder and CEO of BiggerPockets and was able to peer into every nook-and-cranny of the site. Do you know what I kept saying – time and time again?

“How have I never seen that before!?”

Today I want to take you with me on a quick journey and show you 10 cool features that I didn’t even know existed (or didn’t fully understand) about BiggerPockets.com.  Even if you are a BiggerPockets’ Pro – I bet there are things here you didn’t know about.  After you read the list, please leave me a comment with any questions or let me know which feature you didn’t know about and are going to start using!

Ten Awesome Things To Know About BiggerPockets

1.) Colleagues vs. Followers

No doubt – if you are a member of BiggerPockets you have seen the words “colleagues” and “followers” before.  Of course, I’ve seen them but failed to make good use of them or clearly understand the difference.   Simply put:

Colleagues:  Individuals you want to mutually connect with are known as “colleagues”. Sending a colleague request means you want to interact with the person and the person to interact with you. It is my goal to interact with as many individuals from BiggerPockets as possible – so head on over to the site and send me a Colleague request! I promise I’ll accept!  Being Colleagues with others allows you to send private messages to them as well – which is great for networking.

Followers:  If you simply want to keep an eye on an investor and receive status updates and their interactions on BiggerPockets – following is  for you. Colleague Request

Tip: To send a colleague request or follow an individual, simply click “Connect” beneath their name on either their profile or simply on any forum post and chose “Follow” or “Send Colleague Request.”

2.) Search Bar at Top-Right

At the top right corner of the BiggerPockets’ website there is a “Search Bar.”  Actually -there are two:

  1. On the Blog (scroll up and look!)
  2. On the BiggerPockets website (see picture below)

Both these search tools are incredibly accurate and useful in finding out information. While the “Blog” search bar only searches the blog, the BiggerPockets’ website search bar searches people, the BiggerPockets blog, the forums, companies,  member blogs, articles, and files! Seriously – this is awesome. Go ahead and try it. Head over to the BiggerPockets site and search for something. For example, I’m going to search for “Hard Money.”  Take a look at the screenshot below:

Notice above – by searching for “Hard Money” I discovered nearly 9,000 results, including 427 posts right from this very BiggerPockets Blog, 5,305 posts in the forums, and even nine companies with “Hard Money” in their profile!  Go ahead and try searching for some terms yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much information BiggerPockets has acquired!

3.) Notes

One of the coolest, yet most under-used, features on the BiggerPockets’ site (and something I had absolutely no clue about) is the “notes” section. Take a look at the photo below; this is the view you’ll see when you go to someone’s BiggerPockets’ profile (in this case, mine!)

The purpose of the “Notes” tab is for YOU to keep notes on someone else.  No one will ever see the notes you leave! Leave reminders for yourself such as:

  • “This guy is really good with flipping information – ask him”
  • “This girl is really great at wholesaling! Keep in touch with her”
  • “Don’t talk to this guy … he is weird!”

The notes tab is designed to help you keep track of the valuable relationships you forge here on BiggerPockets. Feel free to go check it out and start using it!

4.) PRO Memberships

I’m going to be 100% honest with you – for months I didn’t understand the benefits of being a Pro member of BiggerPockets. However, I only wish I had taken the time to learn when they first were introduced – I would have been the first one in line!  Besides being able to give back and help support BiggerPockets, Pro Members also have numerous benefits including:

  • PRO members can see who is visiting their profiles, property listings, and blogs = meaning free leads!
  • Ability to send private messages to anyone;
  • Add a clickable link and company logo into the byline of each and every forum post you write or comment on;
  • Increased colleague limits;
  • Search users by labels (flipper, lender, etc)
  • Only PRO members can post in the Marketplace… this is huge.  I’m gonna talk more about the Marketplace below.

Again, I wish I had taken the time to research for myself whether a PRO membership was worthwhile long before I finally became a PRO. The minimal cost ($5 per month for PRO Basic or $14.95 per month) is well worth it and will provide far more value than it costs. For more information and benefits  – click here.

5.)  The Marketplace

I mentioned above about the Marketplace and the importance of having a PRO membership in order to post in it. The Marketplace is, by far, one of the most beneficial aspects of the entire BiggerPockets website as it is the only place you are allowed to post ads for your business for all of BiggerPockets to see.  Use the Marketplace to:

  • Post the properties you are trying to sell
  • List the type of properties you are looking to buy
  • Advertise for private money lenders
  • Advertise for potential partners
  • Advertise your new eBook or training course
  • And a whole lot more.

If you are already a PRO member- head over to the Marketplace and post what you are looking for. Everyone is in need of something – the PRO membership is where you can find it.

6.) FilePlace

Located in the “Resources Tab” on the BiggerPockets site is the FilePlace (see image below.)

FilePlace

The FilePlace is exactly what it sounds like: a place for files. Within the FilePlace you’ll find audio files, eBooks, contracts, presentations, and spreadsheets. You don’t need to go out and spend a lot of money buying forms or spend hours creating your own. Find a huge collection of useful files right here, for free.

Basic users are allowed 10 file downloads per week, while PRO basic are allowed 15 and PRO accounts are allowed 20.

7.) News and Headlines

If you are involved in the real estate world or are planning on entering it at any time in the near future – the news matters. News and HeadlinesHowever, sifting through the search engines for news that matters to me and my business is not only difficult but also largely a waste of time.  However, as I just discovered, BiggerPockets has an awesome news pagethat is continually updated with information about real estate that can help you maintain and grow your real estate business.
To access the News and Headlines page, simply go to your BiggerPockets Dashboard and click on the “Learn” tab and select “News and Headlines.”

Go ahead and check it out! Click here.

8.) Real Estate Investing Tools and Resources

Another hugely beneficial area that I failed to take advantage of before is the Tools and Resources page on BiggerPockets. Found in the “Resources” tab on your BiggerPockets dashboard, the page is loaded with a variety of helpful utilities, documents, tools, and links to help you maximize your real estate business. Listing each of the resources would take forever, so I’m just going to show you a quick picture of what’s on that page. I highly recommend you head over there and check it out!

Tools and Resources

9.) Company Profiles/Company Blogs

One of the newest (and best) features on BiggerPockets is the ability to create company profiles in addition to your personal account. Besides gaining visibility for your company, the company profile also allows you to:

  • Create a professional looking public webpage for your business.
  • Add your company logo to your personal profile.
  • Designate the URL for your company on the platform. e.g. http://wwww.biggerpockets.com/co/YOUR-NAME-HERE
  • Share news, links, updates, and other information about your business with visitors and followers via our dashboard.
  • Interact with followers who comment on those status messages in your dashboard.
  • Create a blog on our blogging platform for talking about real estate or your products / services.
  • Interact with followers via private message.
  • Build your own website’s search engine rankings with links from BiggerPockets.

Creating an account is easy. Simply go to http://www.biggerpockets.com/signup#company and sign up.

10.) Twitter/Facebook

Finally, I wanted to touch on an area I was not real comfortable with until the last several days: Twitter.

I honestly never “got” Twitter. I have my Facebook and even signed up for a Twitter account – but never used it. It wasn’t until I realized one simple fact that my opinion changed completely:

Facebook is a community based around people you like.  Twitter is a community based around interests you like.

When I used to post on Facebook about my awesome real estate news, or link to a great article on the BiggerPockets’ blog via my Facebook – no one cared. Most of my family and friends are simply not interested in real estate investing.  If I want to see cute pictures of cats, fake lottery ticket winners, or what my high school friends’ child did in the bathroom – Facebook is where I go.  However, when I want to share something cool about an interest I like (such as real estate investing) – Twitter is quickly becoming my favorite destination.

Everyday, the BiggerPockets Twitter account posts a lot of great links to important real estate stuff and before I had Twitter, I didn’t get a lot of that interaction.

I’m not suggesting Facebook is bad or to stop using it. I will still be using Facebook and we will continue to be publishing status updates from BiggerPockets there as well. However, I just want to personally invite you to join us on all the social networks that you currently engage on. Below are a list of links to all our current social networks.

If you have a Twitter account – come follow me by clicking here! I’ll follow you back right away :) Also – if you read this far – will you leave a comment below letting me know which of these ten you do use and which one you are going to start using?

Come Connect With us!

BiggerPockets: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube

Josh Dorkin:  Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn

Brandon Turner: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Dale Osborn December 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

Another great article hits the presses. I will have to start exploring these additional uses of the website. Thanks for the information!

Dale

Reply

Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Thanks Dale. Let us know if you find anything else cool! With a site as big as BP – there are a lot of nooks and crannies! :)

Reply

Joshua Dorkin December 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

Definitely do, Dale! There’s so much to do on BP . . . sometimes I forget that others have a learning curve because I know it so well. I’m glad Brandon put this one out there.

Reply

Geoff December 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

I have only used the “forms” section of the site, hadn’t really explored too much of it. With this article I am going to join as a pro to take advantage of the whole site.
Thanks Brandon

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Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Nice Geoff. Yeah – I’m going to start taking more advantage of that Marketplace. Seems like a vastly underused place with huge potential.

Reply

Joshua Dorkin December 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

That’s great to hear, Geoff! Whether you’re interacting on the blogs or perusing the resources on site, there’s a ton more you can do than just interact on the forums (though there’s no better place to network and meet like minded-folks).

Reply

Sharon Vornholt December 2, 2012 at 11:30 am

Great post Brandon! I had no idea how to use most of these things on BP. I was actually wondering where the area went to post properties. If i understand correctly, only those PRO members can post and SEE the properties.Is this correct?

This is definitely a post that I will keep for future reverence.

Sharon

Reply

Joshua Dorkin December 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Sharon –
ANYONE can see posts made in the Marketplace. So, if you’re promoting a deal, financing, a product or service, or other real estate opportunity OR if you’re seeking partners, deals, financing, coaches, mentors, partners or other opportunities, posting in the Marketplace is pretty much a no-brainer. The average post gets hundreds to thousands of views from a TARGETED real estate investor audience, and the cost to post is a PRO Basic account for $5/month. There aren’t many other advertising options available for people that have as much impact for as little money.

So . . . anyone with haves or wants in real estate should definitely consider posting there.

BiggerPockets Makes Deals Happen!

Reply

Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Thanks Sharon! I think Josh answered that a lot better than I could! :)

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Tiffany H. December 3, 2012 at 1:12 am

Okay. You may have convinced this penny pincher to let go of 500 more pennies per month. I do think that’s a pretty good deal for the content.

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Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

Agreed Tiffany – especially when you can post info about that cool calculator app you sell for real estate investors! I’m sure the return on investment on that $5 will be huge!

Ann Bellamy December 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Great article, Brandon. I’ve shared it with my network, and I’ll take a closer look at some of those things I didn’t know about either.

Reply

Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thanks Ann – much appreciated!

Reply

Joshua Dorkin December 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thanks for doing that, Ann! You know I really appreciate it. It is nice to see you here on the BP Blog; definitely be sure to stop by more frequently and leave your feedback.

Tip: Go to Gravatar.com and set up a profile. That way, when you comment here or on any other Wordpress blog, your pic will appear and people will know who you are!

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Al Williamson December 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Thanks for doing my homework for me Brandon. Thanks for the summary.

I’m fired up about posting my new eCourses and eBooks in the Marketplace. Plan to be a regular in there.

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Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

No problem Al! I look forward to seeing your stuff!

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John Sinclair December 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I like the website info and bogging within bp.

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Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

I agree John. Did you also know that companies can create blogs as well? Do you have one?

Also – tip of the day: go to Gravatar.com and you can attach a picture to your email so when you post on a Wordpress-based blog (like BiggerPockets) your picture will show up! :)

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David Patterson December 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I’m working my way up and can use some more info

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Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Hey David,

That’s great! Be sure to check out the BiggerPockets forums and be sure to sign up for a free BP account if you haven’t already. There is a lot of good information in this community!

Reply

John E December 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

How did I not know about the Company Profile!?

Seems neat, I’ll be creating mine soon.

Reply

Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Awesome John! There is a lot of great stuff with the company profiles I didn’t even get to. Let us know when you have it up and running!

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Joshua Dorkin December 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

John – The company profiles are a great way to get exposure for your business. Definitely jump in and get your company profile set up.

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Kurt Lieberman December 3, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Thanks Brandon, that was really helpful. Being new to the site articles like this will only help me understand, participate and grow faster

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Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Awesome Kurt – thanks for the comment! Let me know if you have any questions and send me over a Colleague request!

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Joshua Dorkin December 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

Kurt – Getting active on our forums is a fantastic way to grow your network, and to learn. Jump in here and over there and you’ll see that the interaction is well worth your time!

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Geoff W. December 4, 2012 at 5:30 am

I am brand new to RE investing, and just joined BP recently…and now upgrading to Pro! :) I joined FreedomSoft for $200/mo to get a lot of tools all in one place, but didn’t know about all the stuff listed in BP’s resources tab – whoa! (time to cancel FreedomSoft membership?)
A big problem I have is finding comps in Texas since many of the data sites don’t have up-to-date info. I guess because the MLS data is very restricted here, not sure.

It’s just amazing to me how all of these BP features work so well together – searching, marketplace, pro membership, FilePlace, tools & resources, profiles, social, and news!!! I’m starting to think that BiggerPockets might be the place for me. Many thanks to both Josh and Brandon.

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Brandon Turner Brandon Turner December 4, 2012 at 8:45 am

Hey Geoff – Glad this article helped. Yeah, we stay as far away from the expensive guru stuff as we can and try to provide incredible value for minimal cost (and usually free.)

Let me know if you have any questions moving forward and be sure to connect with me over on the BiggerPockets site!

Thanks!

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Michael December 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Hi Brandon –
This was excellent and very helpful. I can’t wait to dig in! I will discuss all this with Ralph to get more involved in this. I am just crazy busy these days & email management seems like a job alone. LOL.
I look forward to working with you and Josh at Bigger Pockets. Keep up the great work!

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John Shaw December 6, 2012 at 3:51 am

Great article Brandon…..eye-opening and informative. I also have a Twitter account but have never really used it. I will now begin to use both accounts more frequently.

Regards,
John

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Mike December 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Thanks Brandon, never really considered Twitter until you mentioned “interests”. Appreciate the short sweet 10 points, I’m a noob here and look forward to absorbing this site and making good use of it. Market Place, here I come!
Mike

Reply

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