5 Things Dad Taught Me That Made Me the Real Estate Investor I Am Today

by | BiggerPockets.com

Some might complain that it’s just another “greeting card holiday” but I believe Father’s Day is a time to honor the man in our life who was likely responsible, above all else, for crafting our character, work ethic, and personality.

Last month, I wrote about “Five Things my Mom Taught Me that Made me the Real Estate Investor I Am Today” and it was great to sit back and reflect on all the way’s I’ve grown as an investor because of her.

However, mom was only 1/2 the equation.

Today, I want to look at five things I learned from my Dad – about life, about business, and about character – that helped create the kind of person I am today.

Have you learned these lessons from your Dad? Definitely be sure to leave a comment below and share your stories!

Family First

I honestly don’t know how he does it.

Nearly every day for the past 30 years, my dad has woken up and driven to a job he doesn’t love to provided for a family that he loves completely. It doesn’t matter if he wants to be there or not. It doesn’t matter if he’s not feeling well (I’m not sure he took a “sick day” in my entire growing-up life!) He shows up and works hard every day to provide – because for my Dad – family comes first.

I’ve learned from him that true love takes sacrifice. It takes getting up in the morning and sometimes doing the things you don’t want to do because it will benefit someone else.

However – just because life means working hard – it doesn’t mean only work either.

In the same vein, vacations were not some inconvenience but rather a chance for the family to be together, to explore, to interact with the world around us. You see – vacation was about family as well.

My Dad once said to me, “You know, I could have skipped all the vacations and fun times we had, and probably had millions of dollars in my retirement fund… but then I’d be an old rich man with no memory of the things that really matter in life.”

This lesson is one of the most important lessons I have ever learned – and something I believe most investors need a constant reminder of. In our quest for success – it’s important to take a page from my Dad’s book and remember – he who dies with the most stuff still dies. Work hard, provide for your family, but enjoy the time you have. I, for one, plan to never forget that lesson. Family first.

Encouragement Can Go Miles

Many people complain of their father being distant, un-emotional, uncaring, hard.

Not my Dad.

From t-ball to high school musicals to starting my real estate business – my Dad has always encouraged me and showed me how proud he was of me (though I think he’s still shocked I didn’t choose Law School and instead spend my time with ruffians like all you real estate investors!)

His encouragement has given me the confidence I’ve needed to take (calculated) risks and pursue entrepreneurship with the gusto I have.

Just yesterday morning I woke up to an email from my Dad letting me know how proud he is of the accomplishments I’ve done. I can’t adequately express how much those words mean.

Real estate investors: this is HUGE.

Don’t forget to encourage those around you. Let your team know that you appreciate them. Let them know when they’ve done something right. Celebrate their accomplishments.

The Value of Turning Ugly to Beautiful

It’s so obvious now – I’m not sure why I didn’t see it growing up.

My Dad loves to buy ugly cars and turn them into something beautiful. Over the years, he has gone through dozens of vehicles that he bought for cheap, fixed them up, and either sold them or gave them to his family to drive.

I’m sure you can see it – but up until last year, I never made the connection.

I never realized how much of my real estate entrepreneurship I gained from this side business of his. Just as my Dad bought ugly cars and either “flipped” or “held” them – I’ve done the exact same with houses. I’ve learned that finding the right deal often takes research and hard work – but the payoff is all worth it.

It might take looking at 99 deals to find the 1 that will bring you success.

Human Connection is Key

My Dad is probably the friendliest guy you’ll ever meet (well – you probably won’t meet him.)

As such – he makes a lot of connections with people. We have a joke in our family that no matter where he is in the world, he will always run into someone he knows. As a kid, I use to complain because we’d be walking through DisneyWorld and would have to stop and talk to someone for 15 minutes that he knew from his past. However, I now realize that one of my Dad’s strongest gifts was his ability to make friends and build trust.

In real estate – this is one of the most important character traits you can have. This is a “people game” and as such, those who can navigate the muddy waters of networking often do the best. I’ve learned from my Dad not to be shy, but to be open, friendly, and engaging with everyone I meet.

Do you do the same?

Be a “Righteous Man”

Finally, there is a phrase my Dad used time and time again as I was growing up. Above all – he wanted me to be a “righteous man.”

I looked up “Righteous” today in the dictionary, and it said

(of a person or conduct) Morally right or justifiable; virtuous.

Everything my Dad taught me growing up revolved around this. Helping those who needed help, making the hard decisions because it was the right thing to do, and standing out as someone to be trusted were all lessons that were taught not only with words, but through example.

You’ve heard it said time and time again in the BiggerPockets Podcast by nearly every single guest –

Integrity is key.

As a real estate investor, it’s important to stand out as someone to be trusted, as someone to feel comfortable doing business with. It doesn’t matter how much money you could make – without integrity, it’s nothing.

So thank you Dad for always molding me, guiding me, and disciplining me into a “righteous man.” Though I’m sure I have a long way to go to reach that point – your guidance and support have meant everything to me over the years and I continue to grow as both a real estate investor and as a person because of the lessons you taught me. Your hard work and dedication to our family has been a shining example for me and the rest of the family to follow.

I love you Dad!

Do you have a lesson you learned from your Father? Share in the comments below!

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didnโ€™t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have โ€œthe good life.โ€ Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, FoxNews.com, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather, and How to Invest in Real Estate, which he wrote alongside Joshua Dorkin. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.


  1. I really don’t know how our modern one person family does it. My mother would have been in an asylum with all 7 of us and no father for support.

    My father was also in the same vain as yours, he was also a RE investor just one of his buildings now funds my mothers retirement, sadly my father had some bad habits smoking and he liked to worry about everything which caused massive sleep depravation which in turn ended his life at age 56.

    Two lessons stood out:
    “A deal is a deal, even if it goes against you, keep your word in all things”.
    “Failure is a process towards ultimate success, like riding a bike you fall off on the way, but do you say that’s it never again?”

    Great advice for long term success in any field of endeavor.

    My dad had all kinds of saying most garnered from his customers who he called very wise Jewish fellows. These guys were all from the old country or at least they were not far removed.

    One of his other sayings I know came from these fellows. “Nobody yells rotten fish in the market!”

    My father was in sales and as he said everyone sells the best, no matter what they are selling.

    Thinking about him I just remembered how he would where high white socks and sandals to the beach, and his size 44 waist and cigars. When we were teenagers we pretended we were not with him or he was a relative, when he went out like this.

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey Dennis, great comment. I love those two pieces of advice you listed. I know I’ve ended up underbidding jobs or screwing up in the numbers – but I’ve always believed it’s better to take a financial loss than a loss of reputation. And my dad also wears white socks and sandals to the beach ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Brandon those 5 lessons are GOLDEN! The one I relate with the most as a seasoned investor is “Integrity”, if I tell you I am going to do something, then no matter the cost, time or energy, I promise you I do IT! I have paid the price to be wrong or to lose sometimes, but that is when I learned the most. Thanks for sharing those valuable lessons. Happy Fathers Day to all who are creating a real estate legacy for the next generation.

  3. Glenn Schworm

    Very nicely done my friend. Your Dad sounds like a great man and in many ways similar to mine. Enjoy the times you have with him as they do not last forever. I especially likes this line:
    My Dad once said to me, “You know, I could have skipped all the vacations and fun times we had, and probably had millions of dollars in my retirement fund… but then I’d be an old rich man with no memory of the things that really matter in life.” It is so important to enjoy life while we have it. Great post brother. I know one day you will be a great father too! Go give your Dad an extra hug today.

  4. Chris Turner on

    Great post about our dad Brandon! Here’s one more lesson dad taught us: “Turn off the lights when you leave the room and only open the fridge if you’re grabbing something!!!” What I learned from this is to never waste resources. Leaving the light on when I leave the room for five minutes or leaving the fridge door open so I can browse may only cost an extra 10 cents, but it is still 10 cents wasted. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Brandon, good lessons. I’m sure he is proud of you, also. I also picked up on the work ethic by watching my father go to work every day and even by how much overtime he worked. Now I am trying to teach my children. Even though I only started investing in real estate two years ago, I still make it a point to take them to houses I am looking at and having them “help” me when I go about my duties. Sometimes I have to bribe them with a slurpee or ice cream to go along, but I want them to learn now rather than later.

  6. Chad Swinford on

    Thanks for sharing this, Brandon. As a father of 6 children with number 7 on the way, this strikes a cord with me. We strive to be great leaders to our children just as your father was to you. It’s awesome that it wasn’t lost on you and I’m sure your father is very proud.

  7. I too was pretty bless with my father and this blog seemed really touched a chord. He’s always been there to listen to my hair brained schemes and keep me on the straight and narrow.

    It was actually his idea to get my investing in real estate 18, starting me on a trajectory that ended with me doing this gig full time. Small encouragements at the right time really make a lot of difference.

    Especially if it’s from the goodness of a loving father’s heart.

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