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BP Podcast 052: Buying Apartment Complexes, Raising Millions, and Building a Profitable Business with Ken McElroy

by Brandon Turner on January 9, 2014 · 35 comments

Ken McElroy

On today’s episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast, we talk with one of the most influential voices in the real estate investing world today – Ken McElroy.

Ken, the author of The ABC’s of Real Estate Investing and several other influential books, shares his story of getting started with nothing and building up a real estate investment company with thousands of units and hundreds of employees. Ken has a lot of great advice and knowledge for people at all stages of their investing careers, and shares it in a fun, entertaining manner.

On today’s show we’re going to talk a lot about getting started, raising capital, and investing in large apartment complexes for big wins. Don’t miss a second of this exciting show!

Listen to The Show on iTunes

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

In This Show, We Cover:

  • Getting started with no money – through property management
  • BiggerPockets Podcast _ Real Estate Investing and Wealth Building 9.42.11 AMWhy should someone invest in multifamily properties?
  • Using other people’s money to invest in real estate
  • Investing at a distance vs. investing locally
  • Determining the best locations and markets to invest in real estate
  • Cash flow vs. appreciation: which is best?
  • Ken’s newest $9 million dollar project 
  • Why Ken loves bad landlords
  • How to find amazing apartment complex deals
  • Raising millions of dollars in 20 minutes
  • How to find a great property manager?
  • Should someone start with Apartment Complex Investing?
  • The worst mistake you can make as a real estate investing

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in the Show

Tweetable Topics

The faster you fail, the smarter you get. (Tweet This!)
“You don’t need to be an expert at everything.”(Tweet This!)
There’s a lot more money out there than deals. (Tweet This!)
The best deals are generated from face to face relationships. (Tweet This!)
The entire goal of my company is to replace myself. (Tweet This!)

Connect with Ken


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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Gerald Harris January 9, 2014 at 12:45 am

Amazing Listen!
I am began on single family homes. I think I have shy’d away from Commercial mainly because I did not understand it. As a newer investor I think a good base to start with is finding a duplex or triplex to understand the fundamentals of the business. I think Fear is what stops many of us as newbies from moving forward and investing in that piece of commercial real estate. Taking gradual steps and educating yourself along the way is key.


Lisa Phillips January 9, 2014 at 11:52 am

Sounds like Im your path. Next up, Duplex/Triplex ! :-)


Gerald K. January 9, 2014 at 2:08 am

Wow! Ken McElroy! What a surprise! Who’s next? Robert Kiyosaki himself? What a great Podcast you guys. Some really great information and advice. I like his point about property management being a very important but often overlooked part of a successful deal – makes total sense. It’s all part of the forced appreciaton equation. And there’s definitely no way you can get that successful without surrounding yourself with a lot of great people. Also like the part about studying the demographics, job growth, (since he needs renters) and getting out there and meeting the top people face to face, looking at deals, getting on their mailing lists, etc. – all good advice, same advice he gives in his books.


Brad January 9, 2014 at 4:04 am

The Mac Daddy….wicked smart.


Frank R January 9, 2014 at 5:45 am

Wow you got Ken on the show. Great show.



Seth Williams January 9, 2014 at 7:45 am

Way cool guys. WAY cool! Ken’s book was one of the first real “game changers” for me when I was starting out as a new investor. I am PUMPED to hear this podcast!


Joshua Dorkin January 9, 2014 at 8:31 am

Don’t miss it, Seth. Ken is a good guy and is candid in this fascinating interview.


Douglas Dowell January 9, 2014 at 8:45 am

EPIC times EPIC to the infinite power. Great show Josh and Brandon. Thank you Ken!


Joshua Dorkin January 9, 2014 at 10:01 am

Hey Douglas — It was definitely a great show! Thanks for listening and please share it . . .


Douglas Dowell January 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm

You bet I have and will Josh! Great great stuff that was very sober take on what it takes.


Lisa Phillips January 9, 2014 at 11:13 am

Hey, hey, I read the book and thought it was great! Glad to see him on the show.


Sam Fong January 9, 2014 at 11:16 am

No way! Ken McElroy!? I just downloaded this podcase and CAN’T WAIT to listen to it later in the car. I have read Ken’s “ABC of real estate investing.” It is very inspiring and got me interested in looking at commerical properties. I also just order his other book “The Advanced guide to real estate” from Amazon. It is still in the mail and I can’t wait to receive it and start reading that too!

Josh, Brandon, you guys are awesome. Keep up the great work. BP Rocks!


Joshua Dorkin January 9, 2014 at 11:20 am

Thanks Sam! Let us know your thoughts once you listen — it’s another great one!


Lisa Phillips January 9, 2014 at 11:16 am

Although cheap does not mean that there are no renters. There are many investors doing very well in Cleveland. You just have to analyze all investments individually per submarket.


Adam Greene January 9, 2014 at 5:07 pm

I was introduced to McElroy from “The Real Book of Real Estate” I then read his ABC books then listened to the Real Estate Guys talking about him.. Now he is a Bigger pockets podcast contributor and I am on the verge of Idol worship :). Seriously though K.M. Thanks for the help, and Bigger Pockets you continue to impress me this site is awesome..


Joshua Dorkin January 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Thanks Adam!


Albert January 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm

This was a great podcast, really enjoyed it. Its good to also know hes a good guy that always is a plus. Lots of good insight.


Joshua Dorkin January 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Thanks for listening, Albert! I’m glad you enjoyed the show.


Will Barnard January 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Great podcast guys!
Regarding job growth studies for due diligence as to where to buy, I would love for Ken to provide some more details. Example, here in So Cal, we have had some recent job growth, unemployment decline and such, but I would not consider buying apartments here simply due to the low cap rates.
In his Dallas example, he found the northern parts of Dallas such as Plano as the place with the job growth. How would he compare that specific job growth to say growth in San Antonio and decide which area to buy (assuming he was an investor just buying one or two).


Jason January 10, 2014 at 9:49 am

I second this suggestion by Will. I too would love to get some more insight on how to determine where to buy.


Tony January 10, 2014 at 5:34 am

Hey guys…. great podcast…

I have been trying to download the mp3 and it keeps throwing up a new page with the podcast on it, Here is the link when i click on the “download” button.
So how do i down load to listen to in my car?



Joshua Dorkin January 10, 2014 at 7:39 am

Tony –
Try the Podcast app on an iPhone, or Stitcher app for Android.


Jason January 10, 2014 at 9:39 am

I’ll be reviewing ABC of Real Estate this weekend. I had bought the book some time ago and forgot I owned it. I found it on my bookshelf this morning.


Randy January 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm

In the interview Ken mentioned the due diligence docs that he used when purchasing a building. His team used in when walking through the 200 plus units. I went to his site and I could not find the forms, do you know where they are located?


Doug Benson January 12, 2014 at 9:21 am

Randy, go to “Resources” in the upper right hand corner of the site.


Jonathan Scott January 12, 2014 at 9:46 am

Hi Randy,
Go on to Ken’s personal website and click on the “Resources” icon (top-left of the page). It will ask you to register, once you’ve done so you will have access to a number of documents, one of which is the due diligence checklist.


Julius January 11, 2014 at 1:06 am

I learned a lot this is one of my favorite podcast


Carima January 11, 2014 at 5:52 am

I’m a senior in college looking to purchase a multi family in New Haven, CT. I found someone who would lend me 65% to value of the house but I have no money to actually put down on it. What should I do? Is there a way for me to get the property for less and still pay closing costs?


Doug Benson January 12, 2014 at 9:18 am

What a great interview. Each of Ken’s replies deserves another session! Thank you Joshua and Brandon for providing this kind of insight into Ken’s world. Ken is a great example and quite honestly is simply further along the same path that is available to all of us. Very inspiring and thank you again.


Shaun January 12, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Great job on the interview guys.
This was one of the better episodes (and that IS saying a lot!) you’ve had.

Ken had so much great information and awesome stories about getting to where he is now.

Like many others have said I read the “ABC’s” book a while back and it was a foundational book that really helped propel my interest in investing.


Joshua Dorkin January 13, 2014 at 8:40 am

Thanks Shaun. We’re aiming to bring more high level interviews this coming year . . . keep listening!


Sharon Tzib January 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Totally amazing podcast guys! I love what a down-to-earth guy he is, who never talks over your head. Definition of keeping it real.

He’s got me thinking that my experience/background in property management could be some awful good leverage when I get to Houston and start investing again. Wheels churning…..


Taylor Jennings January 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Two big aha moments… One where I realized probates are really going to be in full effect within the next 10 years (sorry baby boomers) and secondly when I put together the fact that Ken’s research keeps him in multiunits seeing how the biggest generation is now coming into the workplace (boomer’s kids).

The second makes sense since a high percentage of my generation don’t see owning a home as the American dream.

Development where I’m at has really increased with luxury apartments…….. Is this a shiny object or something to really be thinking about? Two big turn of events over the next 5-10yrs.


Jay O. January 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Incredible show, Joshua and Brandon!
Love these Podcasts!

Loved it!
Ken was Awesome!

Running out and getting his books asap!
Got a lot more confidence now in developing my niche for Multifamily and Apartment Complexes.
Thanks again guys. Great big thanks to Ken also for sharing his personal experience in REI and taking out the time to speak with all of us, answering a lot of really important and informative questions. Greatly appreciated.

Thanks again Ken.

Have an Awesome week guys!




Joshua Dorkin January 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Awesome, Jay! ;)


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