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BP Podcast 068: Being a Superhero House Flipper, Investor, and Team Leader with Mark Ferguson

by Brandon Turner on May 1, 2014 · 41 comments

Mark Ferguson Podcast

Today on the BiggerPockets Podcast we sit down with real estate investor Mark Ferguson to talk about his adventures in flipping and renting single family homes in the Colorado market. Mark is truly a real estate superhero: managing a real estate sales team, flipping houses, making offers, being a landlord, and writing about real estate all while working less hours than the normal employee (all while also having twin toddlers at home!)

Mark has truly mastered the art of delegation, team building, and using systems to stay on track and find success in his business – and he shares all his secrets with us today, so don’t miss a second of this incredible show!

Listen to The Show on iTunes

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

In This Show, We Cover:

  • Should you get your real estate license?BiggerPockets Podcast _ Real Estate Investing and Wealth Building
  • Tips for buying properties on the MLS
  • Using electronic signatures to get more deals
  • Why Mark doesn’t buy multifamily properties
  • How to find a niche and strategy for your investment business
  • Finding the “sweet spots” in your market
  • Working with Portfolio loans
  • When should you hire an employee to manage your rentals?
  • Why Mark chooses to pay off his loans
  • Finding and managing contractors
  • How Mark decides if he’ll flip or rent a house
  • Finding time to fit in all the busy parts of life
  • The team members who help Mark work less than 40 hours per week
  • Why Mark wants to buy 100 houses
  • How to invest when the bank says “no.”
  • And lots more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in the Show

Tweetable Topics

Take care of your real estate agent and they’ll take care of you. (Tweet This!)

When looking for good real estate deals, speed is the name of the game. (Tweet This!)

When investing in real estate – no one is going to do your job for you. (Tweet This!)

Make goals – and then break them down into actionable steps to accomplish them. (Tweet This!)

Connect with Mark

Email *

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Ferguson May 1, 2014 at 9:50 am

Thanks Brandon and Josh! That was a lot fun.


Joshua Dorkin May 1, 2014 at 9:51 am

Agreed, Mark. Thanks for coming on!


Elizabeth Blazina May 1, 2014 at 11:18 am

Hi Mark, Josh and Brandon,
Once again Great Podcast guys!
You mentioned using portfolio lenders …. and that you are able to get these loans as long as you qualify. Could you elaborate a bit more on the qualifying aspect. I have three rentals and because of deductions( we just purchased one in 2013 which needed repairs) we actually had a loss in income on our taxes. Although I have actual gains in my bank account the taxes show a loss. I know the banks are looking at a debt to income ratio, in conjunction with salary but how can you both leverage to the hilt and also get more loans? What is that sweet spot? T


mark ferguson May 1, 2014 at 11:24 am

Hi Elizabeth,
Yes the banks are going to look at income and this is a problem many investors run into when they max out their deductions and show little income. I make a decent income and show it on my taxes. There is a definite balance of taking deductions and being able to qualify. I would talk to the portfolio lender you find because they all have different guidelines . Many will count more rental income than a conventional lender.

I would also ask you lender how much income you need to show and decide if it is worth paying more taxes in order to buy and qualify for more properties.


Elizabeth Blazina May 1, 2014 at 11:34 am

Mark that’s good advice, Thanks!
Also Brandon could you tell me where again that I might send you a Pm( I am in Seattle, saw you at the Kitsap meeting not to long ago, Great presentation !) regarding portfolio lenders.
Thanks again


Brandon Turner May 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Hey Elizabeth – send me a PM over on the Forums here on BP if you are logged in – my account is at or just email me at Brandon (at) BiggerPockets dot c0m


Joshua Dorkin May 1, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Thanks Elizabeth.


Jordan Kissick May 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Hey Guys,

Great episode! Loved it for so many reasons. I have a background in property preservation, then after joining the bigger pockets community a few months ago I decided to get a real estate agent license, which I just managed to do this last week!

@MarkFurguson, great hearing what you had to say! I’m over in Fort Collins so I really found your imput on what you’ve been dealing with up here in this market very informative.


mark ferguson May 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Hi Jordan, Thank you! You are pretty close in Ft Collins. I have done a few deals there, but not many.


Deadrick Colbert May 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Awesome and really enjoyable podcast!


mark ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:37 am

Thank you Deadrick!


Sharon Tzib May 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Hey Mark! Well it is about time you were on a podcast :) Really enjoyed it.

I know you didn’t mention it in the podcast, but I know from reading your blogs that another reason you pay off your mortgages is they are ARMs.

Also, I read the other day that the average age of a realtor is 57 and NAR reports their average income is $43,500 (as of 2012, source: This may explain both why many are not so tech savvy and/or don’t invest in real estate (or maybe not, but I thought the stats were interesting anyways). I fully intend on getting my license when I move back to the States, as you and many others have convinced me how beneficial it can be.

Thanks for a great show and may you reach all your goals!


mark ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:39 am

Thanks Sharon! That is true about the ARMS, I want to get those paid off before they can adjust.

Those statistics can be misleading. The average income for all real estate agents is pretty low, but the average for full time agents is something like $58,000 a year. They actually make pretty decent money if they are full time.

Good luck on getting your license!


Sharon Tzib May 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Not trying to be misleading, Mark. You’re right-many realtors have varying degrees of involvement, so income will vary based on involvement, of course. The thrust of the article is, however, that realtor incomes are on the rise once again, which only makes sense after the downturn. My theory was that perhaps limited income is why many realtors don’t invest (they need to spend more time on BP and learn how).

The other stat on the right that I found interesting was that 44% of realtors don’t use social media. Don’t know how you can run your business without it, but it does demonstrate there’s still a segment of untech savvy realtors out there, and perhaps that’s because of age (??).

Of course, you can make a stat say anything you want, so who knows :) Thanks again, Mark!


Mark Ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:22 pm

The great thing about real estate is there are so many ways to do it! A lot d old school agents still do it by word of mouth and referrals. Your right, there is a lot of wasted opportunity out there.

Jeremy Baker May 1, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Great podcast guys! I’m from the Denver area (SE Centennial/Aurora) and have been tossing around the idea of getting my license. I really like my agent and he’s a friend of mine, however, because he’s a great agent, he is also very busy and I’ve discovered that we are just not acting fast enough (for many of the reasons covered in this podcast). This podcast gave me the motivation to sign up this morning w/ a real estate school and work towards getting my license in the next 4-6 months.

We are currently looking in other market besides the Denver metro for investment opportunities, yet, we are not giving up here and hopefully having my license will give us a better chance at landing deals locally.


mark ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:40 am

Hi Jeremy,
I think that is a great decision on getting your license. I have heard the Denver market is pretty crazy, but Anson Young is still getting a lot of deals in the area so it is possible.


Micki McNie May 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

I haven’t even finished listening to this one yet and I’ve already gotten a great tip and tweetable topics out of it. I recently hired an assistant and the best thing he does for me is check my email at 7am – he’s a morning person and I am not. Mostly because if I get online at 7, next thing I know it’s noon and I haven’t eaten and I know I’ll be working late into the evening. Because I totally agree on the speed thing (in Denver it’s crucial), I’m going to have him send out deal alerts in the morning as well rather than waiting to do it myself. Thanks for the tip.

I’m also amazed at the number of fellow RE brokers who do not invest. How can you not when we see such great opportunity all the time??

Lastly I love that Mark said “there are no rules” that’s my mantra!

Thanks guys, I get more inspired every time I listen.


mark ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:41 am

Thanks Micki! hiring an assistant and then multiple assistants was the best thing I ever did!


Tom Keith May 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

Great show today Guys! Thanks so much for the learning. Tom


mark ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:41 am

Thank you Tom!


Kim H May 2, 2014 at 9:37 am

Another great podcast! I think they get better every week.


mark ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:42 am

Thank you Kim!


Ronnie Boyd May 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Great show , learned a lot from this podcast. It’s nice to hear things you can put right into practice.

Great to have people with a lot of experience to learn from.

Nice to see behind someones current operation.


Mark Ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Thanks Ronnie!


Dawn Anastasi May 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Have you always done straight purchases or have you done cash-out refinances?


Mark Ferguson May 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Hi Dawn, I have done a couple of cash out Refis. Right now it is pretty much straight purchase.


Jerry Kaidor May 7, 2014 at 6:00 am

Something about Mark’s description struck a chord with me. I have two jobs – a little one and a big one. First the little one:

I own 81 units, consisting of a 52-unit complex, a 20-unit complex, an 8-plex and a condo. I do all the off-site administration. I do payroll, marketing, checking out prospective tenants. I write custom software to automate the business. I do procurement and pay the bills. I arrange for maintenance & repair and field calls from tenants: “Bob is parking in my spot! The upstairs folks are making noise late at night!” I also cruise the Internet and MLS looking for new properties. That’s the LITTLE job.

The BIG job is as follows: I have a pair of twins. Boy and girl, six months old. I have the duty from 5:00 in the morning when mom goes to work, till 3:00 in the afternoon when she returns. Somehow, the Duty generally extends itself past 3:00. My girl has special needs. We have a LOT of medical appointments. I do landlording business with my cell phone in doctors waiting rooms.

Not much time for hobbies.

– Jerry Kaidor


Mark Ferguson May 8, 2014 at 7:26 am

Jerry, those are both two huge jobs! Have you thought about hiring someone to take part of the responsibility of the complex off your hands? Having to answer calls 24-7 seems like it could drag you down after a while.


Jerry Kaidor May 8, 2014 at 11:17 am

I have onsite staff. They take care of all the after-hours stuff. My tenants don’t know my real telephone #. I have a 888 number through RingCentral. It supports working hours. After 6:00PM it turns into a pumpkin, and their calls go straight to voicemail.

With the level of automation I have set up, I figure the business costs me 20 hours a week. For example, I just completed a payroll module that takes that task from an 8-hour ordeal down to a quick hour and a half.

The babies alas are not amenable to automation.


mark ferguson May 8, 2014 at 11:28 am

Okay, that’s good to know.
The babies are tough like you said. If you want any help or tips let me know on the babies. [email protected]
My wife was awesome, partially because she had quadruplet brothers and sisters who were born when she was 15. She had plenty of practice!

Melodee Lucido May 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Josh Brandon & Mark,

Great podcast! Fell over laughing at the start when Brandon said Julie Andrews taught him to “start at the beginning”. Toooo funny.

Mark I have enjoyed your blog posts and input here on BP. There was so much good in this one I will listen again.

Mark, the only thing I missed was hearing your fav marketing technique. Marketing is my passion.

Thank so much


Mark Ferguson May 8, 2014 at 7:28 am

Hi Melodee, thank you.
What type of marketing? We do marketing for our real estate team, rental properties, blog, and some to sellers.

My favorite marketing is Facebook. I find being yourself and posting interesting things gets the best results. Facebook my not be the most effective marketing but it is the most fun.


Bill Coleman May 9, 2014 at 8:46 am

I am in Westminster, CO and I was wondering who your lender is? Sounds like you have a really good relationship and they are very pro investor. I have a banking relationship currently but I am always open to having another option especially if I max out my current lender.


Mark Ferguson May 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm
Sandeep May 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Hi Mark,
I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast and being a long term buy-and-hold SFR investor myself – I could relate to so many of your investing philosophies and techniques.
And the best part was the very end of the show where you also picked both of my absolute favorite books! I started investing in 2008 and now have 10+ rental SFRs and have worked around the 4 & 10 loan limits. Until recently, my goal progressed on the lines of “Enough income for Retirement days” to “financial freedom” and then to “replacing my job income”. But then few months ago, I read Millionaire RE Investor followed by the Think and Grow Rich. Both books have changed my perspective and given the previous goals were getting achieved so quickly – I have now picked a HUGE goal for myself: “Receive 1 million dollars every year” (cash flow + equity gain ) ! This will keep me “busy” for a long time without having to come up with new goal every year… :)

I probably concur with all of your investing techniques with the exception of your method of paying off the loans (while still expanding the portfolio).

Great podcast! Josh and Brandon do such a great job at organizing and moderating it.



Mark Ferguson May 11, 2014 at 12:20 am

Thank you Sandeep, I went through the same transformation. From being satisfied with getting by, to wanting rentals and a decent retirement, the to wanti to really make it big. It is amazing what we can do once we believe we can do it!


Shaun May 11, 2014 at 12:05 am

Great Podcast again guys.
Mark lots of great points and insightful tips.
Will definitely be listening to this one again!


Mark Ferguson May 11, 2014 at 12:18 am

Thank you Shaun!


John Soforic May 14, 2014 at 5:59 am

Hi Mark,

I was very impressed by your candor about coaching and business psychology. The books you say are your favorites are my favorites. THINK AND GROW RICH is the Bible of business psychology, and I love the Keller books. I am very familiar with Jack Canfield, dream boards and so on- and practice it all daily. This is important stuff, in my opinion, but it takes a real stud to talk about it to the world. Once we get deep into business, I think we all need to have our heads straightened out to keep pushing forward and juggling the weight of the world. To expand our businesses we need to expand our thinking. Your advice is awesome for those who have the wisdom to use it. Thanks for sharing it all.


Mark Ferguson May 16, 2014 at 9:16 am

Thank you John, I used to be very apprehensive about sharing my goals and techniques I use for personal improvement. Then I started sharing bits and pieces on here and on my blog and people loved it. That gave me the confidence to share more and although some people may not agree I think I have helped at least a couple people!


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