BiggerPockets Podcast 087: How to Thrive After The Collapse of a Real Estate Empire with Nathan Brooks

by |

Failure is no stranger in the real estate industry which is why we are excited to bring Nathan Brooks to The BiggerPockets Podcast today, an investor who knows firsthand that real estate can be tough!

Nathan is an investor (both flips and rentals) from Kansas who went through a very difficult period during the real estate crash, losing all his properties and filing bankruptcy due to a shady partner and jumping in too quickly.  Nathan has since emerged as a much stronger real estate investor and carries an incredible story with numerous lessons to share. Get ready to learn how failure can transform your life!

Read the Transcript

Click here to read the transcript.

Listen to The Show on iTunes

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here


Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 6.20.56 PMSpecial thanks to today’s sponsors Pensco. Be sure to check them out at: Learn.Pensco.Com

Links from the Show:

In This Show We Cover:

  • How Nathan found his first business partner at lunchBiggerPockets-Podcast-Cover
  • Why Nathan bought two houses as a newbie – and lived to regret it
  • How to find partners through BiggerPockets
  • The opposite of paralysis by analysis
  • How Nathan ended up filing bankruptcy 
  • Nathan’s current (more conservative) investing strategy
  • Dealing with tenants in a $20k property
  • How to make a unit stand out among the competition
  • Dealing with “Cat Ladies” and “Hoarder Houses
  • How Nathan finds deals
  • Finding mentors and lenders on Craigslist?
  • How to find a real estate-minded attorney 
  • And so much more!

Books Mentioned in the Show

Tweetable Topics

Don’t go into business with someone you don’t know. It’s just stupid. (Tweet This!)

The lessons I’ve learned have made me a better investor today. (Tweet This!)

There’s a deal for everyone, but this deal might not be for you. (Tweet This!)

The job of a Real Estate Investor is to solve problems. (Tweet This!)

Know the answers before asking the questions. (Tweet This!)

Connect with Nathan

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 180,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!


  1. Hi Nathan, Josh and Brandon,
    I really enjoyed the ” good, bad, ugly” aspect of this podcast. Nathan , I was wondering if you could describe in more detail the way you structured the deal with the woman that
    you ended up rehabbing and then selling. It sounds like she was still owner while the rehab was taking place.. am I correct on this? I ask because I actually came across this and had considered a simuliar solution but really didn’t know how to put it together. Which leads me to my next question, when you are doing something entirely new ( as in structuring a deal in a way that has never been done) do you first consult other investors or have a lawyer that you run things by before offering it to the seller?
    And do you REALLY have a 4 hour work week? 🙂

    • Nathan Brooks

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for taking time to reply here! You are correct, the homeowner did fund everything on the rehab for their house. We used a contract that we wrote up together, but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest always doing that. I have a lawyer that I used for contracts very often who is reasonable … and NO, I am not doing a 4 hour work week 🙂 Good luck!

      • Hi Nathan,
        If you don’t mind,could you outline a few specifics on the way that deal was structured?
        For example, how did she fund the rehab? I thought you said she was owing more than it was worth and that she didn’t need to bring anything out of pocket? Did you have private money fund the rehab and then how did you recoup this is the house was underwater already? What was your exit on this one… a lease option?
        Thanks again…

  2. Killer podcast!

    All it takes is one bigger pockets podcast to get me out of any slump I face being an investor, sometimes this can be a very lonely business. Having these to help us remember we aren’t alone, and that others face some problems way bigger than our own (sorry Nathan Brooks!).

    Great content, great motivation and pretty funny.

  3. Great episode Nathan! Thanks for sharing your story. Now I don’t feel so bad about the minUte problems (in comparison) that I’m having with one of my first deals 🙂 Hope things keep going well for you now that you’re in Harmony!

  4. Great show guys! I’m so glad Nathan went on and talked about the bad and the ugly, because while I love hearing all the great things about real estate investing, it’s maybe even more informative to hear about times when it goes badly.

    Nathan, I’m curious regarding the bankruptcy: was it personal or through your company? And you mentioned using a private money lender afterwards; is that how you got back on your feet in spite of bad credit?

    Love your comeback story, man.

  5. When Nathan explain what was in his blog, about the house that could kill you, and he recommended that the owner leave the structure immediately, that was great.

    However, is there a higher duty for the investor to tell the police, and/or tell code enforcement or the fire department or something that the house needs to be checked out because it is a major accident waiting to happen… with electrical in the SHOWER?

    I’m just curious what Nathan, and any other BP people think of reporting this dangerous house to some kind of authority to possibly help save their lives.

    Can you comment?

  6. Brant Richardson on

    Woo hoo! Finally a Kansas City investor on the podcast. Loved it, great warning for the new investor.

    The electrical panel story reminds me of a shower I used in Panama. The instant hot water heater was in the shower with wires dangling, just caps on them. I was young and dumb enough to shower in it daily for a month.

  7. Burnell B.

    Very awesome show really enjoyed the information that was communicated . Living in Kansas it’s hard to imagine being about to start in real estate in certain areas in our state but I’m learning it’s not a macro but micro thing.

  8. Jordan Thibodeau

    Required listening. Excellent episode. Thanks for sharing Nathan.

    FYI For Newbs: When you contract our dry wall installation, make sure your monkey is approved by angies list. And whatever you do don’t criticize their work or pay them with mushy bananas.

  9. Deshan Kennedy

    Nathan – Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. Its great to hear the good and bad experiences of real estate investing because we know that there will be ups and downs but not everyone is comfortable enough sharing their experiences with the public.

  10. Mario Mormile


    Thank you for sharing. Going into business with others can definitely be a great way to do more deals and gain leverage in REI. But as you said, not going into business with people you don’t know is a great piece of advice. You’re resilient! Congrats on bouncing back and persevering! Sharing our downfalls is never easy and I give you props. Thanks again!

  11. Jim Goebel

    Redemption baby.
    Good stuff.
    Congrats getting back into it and learning from your mistakes.
    Had someone tell me once that ‘success is failure’
    Was a little cryptic but as long as we are learning from our mistakes, and we introduce time component to things…. I believe this to be true.

Leave A Reply

Pair a profile with your post!

Create a Free Account


Log In Here