BiggerPockets Podcast 100 with Joshua Dorkin Transcript

Link to show: BP Podcast 100: The 1st Deal, Management Drama, and the Birth of BiggerPockets with Joshua Dorkin

Brandon: This is the BiggerPockets Podcast show 100.

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Brandon: What’s going on everybody? This is Brandon Turner host, or cohost, of the BiggerPockets podcast coming to you today on show #100 and if you’re a regular listener of the show this is weird, right? This is weird for me. I don’t usually say these things. Josh, help me out.

Josh: Wow, man. That was really awkward.

Brandon: That was really awkward, right? I don’t usually do that.

Josh: Yeah, it doesn’t have the panache. There was something there.

Brandon: There was something missing. I don’t know, we miss you, but today is a different show so we’re doing things a little bit differently.

Josh: Ah. What’s going on, Brandon? What’s happening today?

Brandon: Today is show #100 which is awesome.

Josh: Indeed.

Brandon: Which, while we’re on the topic, I just want to say thank you to everybody. All the listeners, all the guests, all the sponsors we’ve had, everybody like that. You guys have been incredible to get us to 100 so we owe it all to you.

Josh: Absolutely, and thank you to you, Brandon, you’re a great cohost. I very much enjoyed having you on board. Except for the somewhat weak introduction today you’ve done a pretty good job, man.

Brandon: That was a past tense, “I’ve really enjoyed having you on board,” am I…? Should I be worried? Is 100 the limit for cohosts?

Josh: I have enjoyed. Let me, yes, we’re hiring Labovich.

Brandon: Okay, yeah. Good luck. Alright. Ben couldn’t do what I do, c’mon. Alright, so today show 100 is different because our guest today is the mysterious and elusive Joshua Dorkin.

Josh: What?

Brandon: Yeah, that’s our guest today.

Josh: No.

Brandon: It is.

Josh: We’re not doing that, are you really?

Brandon: We are interviewing Joshua Dorkin today on the BiggerPockets podcast.

Josh: You told me you had, like, some trick up your sleeve today I didn’t realize that was to trick me.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So when I do meetups, and we go to meetups all the time, the number one question I get all the time is: who is Josh and what does Josh do? Like, where is he from? I don’t know anything about him! Because you are kind of a secretive guy, like, you’re not as public.

Josh: I am.

Brandon: Yeah, you’re not as public. You don’t share as much as the rest of the world does on your story. So, it took 100 shows for me to convince you.

Josh: We’ll see how much you can get out of me.

Brandon: Yeah, we’ll see how much we’ll get out of you today. Nah, it’s going to be good! We’re going to talk about your story and all that, but before we do let’s do our usual beginning stuff, for example our—

Brandon and Josh: Quick Tip.

Josh: Alright, today’s Quick Tip is: I don’t know. What is today’s Quick Tip? I don’t have notes, guys, I am really running naked. I’m dressed, but I don’t feel like it. So, Brandon, what is today’s Quick Tip?

Brandon: Today’s Quick Tip is a little self-serving, but, you know, aren’t they all?

Josh: Oh! I know what the Quick Tip is! You told me earlier. Alright, today’s Quick Tip guys, this is self-serving, but it’s okay: if you have purchased the Brandon Turner’s book on Amazon which is the book, you know, the title is long.

Brandon: The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No and Low Money Down. Sheesh.

Josh: Alright, if you purchased that book on Amazon and have not yet left us a review please go on Amazon and leave us a review, and I’ll take it one step further: if you’ve also bought J. Scott’s books The Book on Flipping Houses, The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs, leave us a review on those as well. We’ve sold a lot of these books, guys, and we’ve only got a few dozen reviews and we definitely appreciate additional ones. They certainly help us get the word out about them so thank you very much in advance for doing that, and that takes us to today’s—

Brandon: Pro-Benefit of the Week. We need a jingle for that.

Josh: Yeah. Alright, today’s Pro-Benefit of the Week is: if you’re a BiggerPockets pro-member and are tired of seeing that guy who keeps giving advice that just drives you mad you can hide him. We now have the feature that you can hide people on the forums.

Brandon: Not in real life, I mean—

Josh: Right.

Brandon: You can try to hide them in real life. Put them in a box in your basement, lock ‘em up.

Josh: Okay, you’re creepy. Definitely time for a new cohost! You’re fired!

Brandon: Dang it!

Josh: So basically you can just hide that user’s posts so you just skip past it and it doesn’t infuriate you like it might. You know, we’ve got a lot of members and we’re just kind of giving them different options to make their experience more pleasurable on the site so there it is.

Brandon: There you go.

Josh: But, yeah I, you know, that’s what we got for you.

Brandon: Alright, we’re moving into it. We’ve got to have time. This is going to be a 7-hour show.

Josh: Oh, jeez.

Brandon: Yeah, here we go. So, alright, we’re going to talk about—

Josh: This guy doesn’t shut up, does he? Jeez, can somebody get him off the show?

Brandon: Alright, so today our guest is the one and only, fabulous Joshua Dorkin.

Josh: Ooh, fabulous.

Brandon: Yeah, Joshua Dorkin, let me do a quick, I’m going to do this from memory.

Josh: Alright.

Brandon: Josh started investing about, oh I don’t know, 15 years ago? You got kind of into this game and then you built the world’s largest real estate investing website that anybody’s ever seen. It’s huge and massive and you all know about it so we don’t need to go into it and today we’re going to talk about how you got started in that whole process so yeah.

But before we get to the interview with you, Josh, I’m going to play a quick message from today’s sponsor, let’s do it.

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Brandon: Alright, alright. Cool. You guys like that high-quality advertisement? I’m impressive. So, again, let’s get to this interview with, Josh, should we? Josh, how’s it feel to be a guest on your own show?

Josh: I’m honored to be a guest of my own show. Finally invited after 100 shows!

Brandon: Finally invited after 100 shows, yeah, yeah, yeah. Josh—

Josh: Are you going to ask a question or am I going to have to ask my own?

Brandon: I’m going to start the same way you always do. Josh Dorkin, welcome to the show! Glad to have you.

Josh: I’m glad to be here, Brandon, it’s a pleasure. You know what? You guys do a really good job you and Josh and I don’t know, I think it’ll be fun to—what?

Brandon: What? Huh? Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay. So, today’s show is going to be fun because, 100% true, I don’t know hardly anything about your story. I mean, I have been working with you, for you, for two years now every day we spend 8 hours a day on Skype and I know, like, nothing about your story. Like, we just don’t talk about your story. You’re a private guy, like I said, so why don’t we start at the very, very beginning?

Josh: Okay.

Brandon: How did you get into real estate? What got you interested in that?

Josh: What got me into real estate? Well, so I grew up the son of entrepreneurs. My entire family was in the world of creating businesses and so being raised around that gave me, I guess, the inspiration or the energy or there was just something unspoken because my parents didn’t say, “hey, you’re going to grow up and be an entrepreneur. You’re going to do this,” there was just something that was there that was innate watching your folks build a business and I don’t know. I went to college in Saint Louis, Washington University, and I went there for Business, ended up with a Marketing and Political Science. Two degrees, and while there my senior year in High School, in High School..bleh. I’m very nervous. I’m nervous being on the show, man! All these people listening, I don’t know.

Brandon: Yeah, like 7 people.

Josh: Like, 10 listeners?

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Alright, so, senior year in college I had a roommate and we were renting this apartment. I think it was like $450 for the two of us per month and we just one day stopped and we were in B school together and we said, “what are we doing? We’re spending all this money so this guy can get rich. Why are we doing it? Why don’t we figure out a way to buy this building,” and I think it was a 6 or an 8 plex, I think it was a 6-plex, “and we’ll buy the property and we’ll become the landlords and we’ll collect all the rent checks and start our way,” and, you know, we didn’t know what we were doing. We had no clue. We had nowhere to go. There was nothing other than a couple, you know the books that you can buy at the library, to really help with that and so after scrounging around and realizing that we didn’t know what we were doing, didn’t have really a lot of cash, we just kind of moved on.

Fast forward. Post college ended up moving to Boston, lived there for a little bit—

Brandon: I didn’t know that.

Josh: I did, indeed. See. How about that?

Brandon: I know.

Josh: I was in Boston for a bit then moved back to New York.

Brandon: Could you park the car in a garage in Boston?

Josh: I farted in a parked car, yeah. So, I was there. I was a prop-trader.

Brandon: What’s a prop-trader?

Josh: It’s like a day-trader. I worked at a shop at a firm. I put up some cash and they let me work with some of their reserves and basically I bought and sold stock all day and did that for a little bit. Left that industry, you know, back then computer screens weren’t as good as they are today so staring at screens all day, not only staring at a screen but staring at little tickers, little numbers going up and down all day long, I would go home with these horrible migraines and so I eventually just couldn’t do it. It was physically hurting me to be in this industry so I left, and I moved back home with my parents.

Brandon: And that was in New York?

Josh: That was in New York, yeah, so back in New York living with my parents and I got into the entertainment business.

Brandon: You were a stripper.

Josh: I was a nipper. A male stripper.

Brandon: I’m sure you were.

Josh: So I got into the entertainment business, and you know, as a kid I was always into acting and things like that and decided that this was a good opportunity to try it out so moved in with my folks, went into Manhattan all the time and was doing auditions. Realized, you know what, I didn’t want to only be on one side of the camera, I wanted to learn the industry, I wanted to learn the business. So I did. I taught myself the business by slaving myself on student films, independent projects, and just working for free as basically an apprentice. Go ahead.

Brandon: Can you tell us how you got on Saturday Night Live? Cause people don’t know this.

Josh: I cannot tell you that. I would have to kill you.

Brandon: Can you tell the story of what were on you on SNL? What did you do?

Josh: I’ve done a couple little bit roles on SNL. I was, like, a basketball player. I was actually a Jewish basketball player on Jerry Seinfeld’s basketball team when Jerry Seinfeld was on SNL.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Josh: One time I was a police academy recruit with Ben Afleck, I’ve done a couple random little bit things, but—

Brandon: I’ll try to find those clips and put them in the show notes

Josh: Please Don’t.

Brandon: at

Josh: Yeah, anyway. So, the way I work is I want to learn something about a business I have to really learn all sides of it and so, I mean, I did the worst possible jobs. I was the low-man on the totem pole on a free student film, you know? And I was willing to do that because I knew by doing that I could learn how things work.

So, fast forward, the entertainment business brought me out to LA. I did a bunch of random stuff in LA, including teaching High School, and one of the things I did while I was in LA was to get my real estate license. I was like, “you know what? This is a good way to make some money. I’ve always kind of had an interest in real estate,” got a license, ended up doing real estate sales in West Hollywood and realized pretty quickly it wasn’t for me.

Brandon: Well, let me ask you, and you can obviously go on on that, but you asked this question of a lot of people so I’ll ask you: do you think it’s a good idea for new investors to get their license like if they’re just starting out like you were?

Josh: I think it depends. When I was an agent I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know how much it was going to cost. I didn’t know all of the numbers associated. In fact, there was a great post, and I forgot who wrote it, last week on BiggerPockets about all the expenses that go with getting a real estate license and we’ll point to it in the show notes at It was great. Great article, but yeah I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t realize I was going to have to spend a whole lot of money on marketing. I didn’t realize I was going to have to join MLS’s and that was going to cost me money. I didn’t know that there was all this stuff. I thought I could do it on the cheap and I quickly realized that I could with my little circle of people that I knew who were interested in buying real estate, but beyond that I would have to find new customers and that was not easy. It was not easy.

So, I think getting your real estate license is fantastic. I really don’t see a lot of negatives to it, however, you need to be prepared for the cost. There is cost and it is thousands and thousands of dollars per year that are associated, at least, with kind of getting the ball going and getting your marketing and getting things moving, but as an investor if the savings you get and the advantages you get from your real estate license are worth, you know, financially are worth it then do it. What is that number? I guess, if you having your license is going to get you access to one extra deal or it’s going to let you pull the trigger more quickly or you’re going to save money on the sale of a property or saving commissions when you sell then why not? I think it’s absolutely worthwhile. So, anyway. I did that for a little bit. Wasn’t for me. It really wasn’t for me so I just decided to get out.

Brandon: Well, when you say it wasn’t for you, what didn’t you like about it?

Josh: I didn’t like, primarily I didn’t like the company I was keeping, and this sounds awful, but I found, again, I was in West Hollywood the plastic capital of the planet and there were a lot of plastic people that were doing the same job that I was. So, I don’t know, kind of on a day to day business looking at listings dealing with folks who I couldn’t relate to, you know? Folks who just, I don’t want to say it because I’ll probably offend a lot of plastic people out in the Los Angeles basin, but I couldn’t deal with it. It was mind-numbing. It was really mind-numbing, and doing the business side and looking and crunching numbers was cool, but when the time came to have to negotiate or talk to people and deal with people out there, I mean, I just wanted to bang my head against the wall. It was awful.

So I stopped and, again, I ended up teaching high school. I was a sub-teacher. Long story short; I got a sub-teaching credential and went to do a substitute teaching gig and my first day substitute teaching the teacher that I was subbing for quit so I had a job and lo and behold four years later I stayed on. I think I was there for 4-5 years.

Brandon: I didn’t know that either. I thought it was a year.

Josh: No, I was there a long time, and it was a Special Ed school in San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Worked with some unbelievable kids, and some kids who were pretty horrible, but mostly unbelievable kids and I keep in touch with some today, but yeah. It was really cool. It was an amazing experience and all the while my interest in real estate never faded.

So, to make a really long story short, and I didn’t make it short at all, I just made it really long, one day I got a call from my brother and he said, “hey, Josh, I think you should check out what I’m doing here. I’ve decided it’s time to buy some rental property,” and he kind of gave me a bunch of information about what he was doing and I was like, “yeah, this is cool. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” and so it triggered me to start doing a little bit of homework on rentals again and eventually led to me buying my first multi-family property. He kind of got me excited, got me hyped up, and I bought my first rental property, but before that I was, I don’t know, 23 I think? I don’t know, 23, 24 in West Hollywood and I needed a place to live after living on my friend’s floor for, oh man, it was a couple weeks. When I went out to California I had gone out to visit, you know, I was looking at different acting things in California and while I was there I was so enthralled by it so I called my parents and I said, “mom, dad, when I get home I know you’re not gonna like this but I’m out of here,” and they’re like, “no you’re not! This is not happening,” I was like, “no, I’m leaving. I’m giving myself one week from the day I get home and I’m getting in the car and I’m driving to California,” and they thought I was crazy and I did that. Literally one week to the day my car was packed. All my belongings were in there and I was set out to drive from New York all the way to Los Angeles. I didn’t have a place to stay, I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew that I’d figure it out.

So, halfway there found a friend of a friend who referred me back to another friend and he said, “yeah, crash on our floor,” so I did that and paid for groceries while they let me hang out there and play video games all the time and yeah. Anyway so I needed a place to live and I was like I’m in California, this is a good market and I ended up buying a condo. So that was my first purchase was this condo purchase, and I know you wanted to ask about that.

Brandon: I was just going to ask you. Yeah, what was your first deal, I guess that would sort of be it.

Josh: Yeah, so I bought the condo and it was—I paid $250,000. It was in this amazing building in West Hollywood. I moved in, lived there, lived the – for those people who are old enough to know it it was kind of like Melrose Place. It was unbelievable. Lot of fun.

Brandon: Did you buy it knowing that, like—

Josh: It was a lot of fun, by the way.

Brandon: Sounds like a lot of fun. Did you buy it know, like, anything about it as an investment? Were you like, “well, this will be a good investment property. This is a cheap place,” was it inexpensive when you bought it? I mean, how did you pick that place and why did you choose it?

Josh: So, for me A: the first and foremost was I needed a place that I would be comfortable living in. So, what I did when I moved to this new city was I got in the car and I drove up and down every single block. First I would drive around and find different areas that I liked, and then once I found an area I liked I’d drive up and down every single block in that area looking at the different buildings, looking at the property, and then once I found areas I started to do some shopping and did some research.

When I found this place I think I ended up paying more for the unit than anyone had previously paid for a single unit in that building so I overpaid, but when I did the math, you know, A: for me to live in made sense, and B: if I were to get out and rent it out it made sense. The numbers worked and so I bought the condo and it was great. Loved living there. Everything was good and well until I started to get these notices that we were getting these one-time assessments, and that was the first time I was like, “aw, man, real estate you could really, really kind of get screwed if you don’t know what you’re doing,” and I didn’t know what I was doing, you know? I was 23, I bought a condo and assessments? I mean, I had read all the paperwork when I bought the place, but I didn’t know they could start charging you out of the blue, like, random stuff. I thought I paid X amount a month for HOA fees and that’s what I’m paying, I could predict it.

Brandon: Sure. So, for those people who don’t know, what is an assessment?

Josh: An assessment, I mean—

Brandon: Cause I don’t know.

Josh: Basically, you know, if there’s some kind of charge, some kind of bill, that comes up or something that the Association wants to spend money on they can come up with these assessments, these one-off assessments, to take care of it and so I don’t remember what the first one was, but I was really angry. I was pissed off. That’s a lot of money for a lot of us and I didn’t expect it, I didn’t budget for it and so that was one of the first turning points for me of HOAs being negative. There’s a lot of positive, you know, HOA is all politics. It’s people on power trips. A lot of people that have nothing doing in their life and want the power of managing and controlling something so they go and beat up other people.

Listen, I get HOAs. There is a need, to some extent, but I think a lot of the politics in HOAs is very detrimental to HOAs and to the people who live in these communities. Bottom line: the HOA that I was a part of turned out that we did not have earthquake insurance on this building and I was kind of ready for another big quake to come and I was like, “you know, I don’t love the board, I don’t trust them, they don’t want to get earthquake insurance, there’s just a lot of stuff,” and so I ended up getting out of the condo. I ended up selling it instead of holding on and renting it or anything else because I feared that my investment was in the hands of people outside of myself, and one of the things about real estate is it’s better, in my mind, than stocks and bonds and other things because you have control of that investment. Well, when you’re buying in an HOA you don’t necessarily have control of the investment. There are other parties and players who can really, really affect that investment for you and that was a big turn off for me.

So, I’m fairly anti-HOA from an investment perspective because I think that it’s too easy for these boards to affect potential cash flow by coming up with assessments, raising rates, raising fees things like that, and, frankly, making rules that you may not like and may not work for you.

Brandon: Did you think it would have been better had you run for the HOA board? Like, been on the board? I know some guys like Serge Shoecot who we had on somewhere in the 60s on his podcast, one of the most popular podcasts—

Josh: 61 I think it was.

Brandon: I think it was, yeah. One of the most popular ones we’ve ever done, but one of the things talking to him just recently he was saying he’s on, or he is, the board of one of his properties. So, I wonder if that would have changed things for you or could you have gone that route?

Josh: I was going to and the rules were pretty much stacked against people and stacked in the favor of people who were on the board, and, you know, I had made friends with a bunch of people, but the folks who were in power at the time made a pretty convincing argument why they should stay in power even though they were actually doing bad things above and beyond everything else that we’re talking about. So, bottom line is: if you’re looking at condos or homes or anything else that are in an HOA do your homework. Read the docs before you buy the property and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Know what’s possible because it could turn around and hurt you.

Brandon: Yeah. I know I’ve been looking into condos a little bit, whether it’s in Denver, I kind of want to buy one in Hawaii, maybe random places like that.

Josh: It must be nice to be Brandon Turner, right guys?

Brandon: It is amazing, right?

Josh: “I want to buy a condo in Hawaii. Meanwhile, my Parisian estate isn’t doing so well”.

Brandon: I just, I’m thinking as an investment, right?

Josh: I don’t pay you that much, Brandon.

Brandon: I’m thinking as an investment. So, I want to buy something in Hawaii that I can rent out using Air B&B when I’m not there and it’ll give me a nice excuse to go every year a couple times.

Josh: Let’s do it.

Brandon: Yeah, wouldn’t that be great? We should totally buy a nice condo, but those are the things I’m worried about. I’m worried about the HOA all of a sudden be like, “hey, by the way, for the next 3 years extra $500 a month cause we gotta put a new roof on cause we didn’t calculate that correctly,” like, that freaks me out. Like, “oh crap, there goes cash flow for the next few years”.

Josh: “Hey, we want to redo all the carpets even though we did it four years ago let’s do something else,” and ultimately the people are supposed to have a say in these things but, again, politics can be very interesting when it comes to organizations like that.

Brandon: Is it like House of Cards? Were you like Kevin Spacey trying to navigate?

Josh: I was not like Kevin Spacey. I ran into quite a few Kevin Spacey’s, but yeah.

Brandon: Nice. So you bought the condo, lived in it for a while. How long did you live there?

Josh: I was there I think 3 years and I think I sold it for $370,000. Now, mind you, all this was going on the bubble in Los Angeles was frothy, man. I bought it in 2000, I mean, I was watching properties go like crazy. The prices were increasing like bananas and I kicked myself in the pants because a couple of years later the very same condos were selling for $650,000.

Brandon: Oh, wow. Yeah, but still you made, like, what? Over $100,000?

Josh: I made some money. It was good, you know, and great experience and used that to parlay into the next thing, but yeah. So, it was a unique experience.

Brandon: So you kind of did an accidental, pretty much exactly what I did, kind of an accidental live-in flip even though you didn’t have to fix and flip it necessarily you rolled that appreciation wave.

Josh: Yep. Right.

Brandon: So maybe we can talk about that for a minute; your experience, or your thoughts, on appreciation.

Josh: I benefitted from it.

Brandon: You benefitted from it, but was that luck? Was that just a combination of being in the right place at the right time? What was that? And should other people do it?

Josh: For me it was absolutely dumb luck.

Brandon: Nice.

Josh: I got beat up on the stock market bubble. I mean, remember I was a stock trader. Did fairly well in the market. Getting into the market allowed me to end up buying that condo so I was fairly good at it, but I also was kind of loosey goosey like a lot of people were and ended up losing a considerable amount of cash. So, that made me pretty conservative when it came to real estate which is also why I ended up selling when I sold. I saw that I had gotten my condo and little time it had gone from $250,000 to $370,000. I was like, “wow, that’s crazy. This thing is up 50% in short order. This is crazy. This can’t sustain itself,” well, it did for another 4 or 5 years and it shouldn’t have, but it did.

You know, I think between the financial institutions I think various folks in power, senators and other officials in power, encouraged the bubble to continue and I think that’s what kind of allowed it to keep going, but it was dumb luck. I along with millions of other people saw appreciation, saw the benefits of it. I saw that it would end at some point and I got out, again, had I held on I could have done better, but had I held on I could have done worse too so whatever.

In terms of appreciation I think there is some merit to strategically purchasing properties in the way of growth. So, like a lot of our guests, I believe that appreciation is something that would be a nice factor that you can’t guarantee it, you can’t count on it, but if you’re buying long term holds in the way of growth you should see appreciation.

So, whether it’s—take here in Colorado the Denver-Bolder corridor, you know, there’s these two cities that are 30 miles apart or so and I’ve been here almost 8 years. In that time, you’ve seen that corridor between those two cities just fill in with suburbs. So if you had the foresight to say, “oh, you know what? At some point this is going to start to happen. I’m going to invest in property somewhere in here,” and you get in early you’re probably going to ride somewhat of a wave of appreciation as demand grows to go in there, but I’m not going to tell people, “hey, just buy there because you expect the property to go up in price,” because I think you’re just gambling. I mean, at that point you’re straight gambling.

Brandon: True.

Josh: So buy with fundamentals. Buy a property of value. Look for undervalued, discounted properties. Purchase those and then if you’re in the wave growth you should expect some kind of appreciation in the long run, but if you don’t get it as long as you’ve got the cash flow coming in you’re good to go. So, that would be my highest and best aim for what’s the best way to go about doing this.

Brandon: I like it. Okay, so you talked about, you said you kind of parlayed that into your first investment so let’s talk about that. You mentioned earlier your brother was trying to get you into it. Kind of take us from there.

Josh: So, I mean, really quickly, he was snapping up duplexes, four-families, a bunch of multis, around the Midwest and I was looking at the cash numbers and I said, “wow, that’s awesome,” and he was there and I was like, “alright, well, you know what? This isn’t a bad idea. Let’s do this. The numbers look good,” and so I started with low-end multi-family.

Brandon: And where was this at you said? Saint Louis, right?

Josh: Yeah, and it was a mistake. I’ll just put it that way. This was not a good decision buying properties thousands of miles away with no experience managing people and expecting that I’d walk away with a good result.

Brandon: When you say “low-end” what do you mean? Like, how low was it? I mean, are these cardboard box--?

Josh: I mean, these were in neighborhoods that you don’t want to walk in at night. I didn’t want to walk around in at night. Now, I didn’t love walking around during the day either, but I did and it’d be properties where 3 or 4 doors away you’d have a vacant property with people hanging out on the stoop, you know? I wasn’t quite Joe Pesci, but tough areas, and so I think the biggest thing I took away from that was new investors should not do it.

So, investing at a distance is definitely a strategy. It’s a viable strategy buying turn-key or buying long distance and managing yourself absolutely is viable, but I really do believe you need to get some kind of fundamental base before you go out and do that. I really, really do believe that. I think it’s to your advantage as an owner to know what you’re doing before you go out and buy something that is going to take you, at the very least, a flight to get to.

Brandon: Yep.

Josh: So, you know, I made a lot of mistakes. I counted on property managers that I didn’t know how to vet, and I bought properties that I shouldn’t have bought because I didn’t know what I was doing.

Brandon: I’m going to drill you about those mistakes here. We’re going to go deep in this.

Josh: Alright, whatever. So, it was, you know it was a learning experience, and listen, here’s the thing: all that, all those mistakes, and just the experience in general is why you are here talking to me. It’s why anyone who is listening to the show is listening to the show. It’s why the countless 20 million, tens of millions of people who have been through our platform have been through our platform. BiggerPockets would not exist without me having these negative experiences.

Brandon: True.

Josh: And so, they were horrible. However, I took these things and I said, “I need to do something. I need to figure out a better way,” and that kind of birthed BP.

Brandon: And I want to get to that, but I also want to know, like, that first—let’s talk specifics a little bit. Like, how did you find the properties? Was it just your brother? I mean, how did you finance it? Kind of those kind of questions.

Josh: So, finance I had cash from—

Brandon: So you did all cash?

Josh: No, no, I mean, I bought four families so you can get a traditional loan on a four family. I put 20% down. Found them basically flew into town, got in the car and drove around and looked at countless, countless Detroit-esque properties. I mean, man. The one property that just, and any experience investor has been through these, but the one thing that stands out for me we all have that one property that just, “aw, man. Oooh”.

Brandon: Yup.

Josh: Walked into one and there was a carpet of mold on every surface in this entire property.

Brandon: Ew.

Josh: Like, you know, I had seen mold, but there was mold on everything. There was mold on lightbulbs. On glass. How does mold grow on glass? I don’t know! I don’t know how that’s possible. There was mold on every surface, and that’s the one property that to this day just stands out to me.

Brandon: You didn’t actually buy that one, though, right?

Josh: NO!

Brandon: Okay, good.

Josh: Hell no! There are people who would and today I might.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: But no. No way. I knew I had some limits at the time. No, so we just drove around and looked at a lot of properties and kind of took a yellow pad, a notebook, and put down what did these things look like? What was the purchase price? What would I have to put down? What was my rent going to be? What were my kind of estimated expenses? Again, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to estimate expenses. I didn’t know how to estimate management costs. I didn’t know how to estimate repairs. Those, my friends, are the killers.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Those are the ones that most people don’t get right, and those are the ones that will cost you and will hurt you and I was okay. I was okay. Even though I underestimated I was still fine, but you know, it hurts. It hurts when you don’t know you’re going to give 10%-12% on management. It hurts when you don’t know that in low-income property somebody’s going to break a toilet every week.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: How do you break a toilet? I don’t know!

Brandon: I don’t know, but it happens, right?

Josh: I’ll clog a toilet, but I’m not going to break a toilet, you know? I don’t know how that works! I had a unit that I had somebody there was a hole in the floor in the kitchen. In a hardwood floor there was a hole. How do you put a hole in the hardwood floor in the kitchen?!

Brandon: Makes no sense.

Josh: I mean, do you drop an anvil? I mean, I don’t know! I don’t know, but it happens. So, I don’t know. You had a question somewhere and I’m just rambling.

Brandon: No, that’s alright. I want to know about—you mentioned you didn’t expect the costs for property management. I want to talk a little bit about the PM stuff cause I know you rail on PMs a lot, property managers, on the podcast here so obviously you’ve had some bad experiences.

Josh: Sure.

Brandon: So I guess my first question is: how did you find your first property manager? Do you remember?

Josh: I do.

Brandon: I know you’re getting kinda old and a little fuzzy out there in the memory.

Josh: What? What did you say? First property manager was my sister-in-law. She was a real estate agent.

Brandon: Okay.

Josh: And she managed for me very briefly. She ended up stopping managing for other people so I went and found somebody else who was another realtor I believe. They just weren’t, you know, the first one just wasn’t doing a great job. I felt like I would ask questions and didn’t get the answers I needed or wanted and it was like, “well, okay, well this is not working,” you know? I’m pretty anal-retentive about things, ahem.

Brandon: Not at all.

Josh: I was waiting for a little joke or something.

Brandon: I respect my elders, c’mon.

Josh: Oh, man. So I went and found another one and the issue with that one was they had maintenance in house. I don’t believe, I don’t want to misquote myself, but I’m almost certain I couldn’t’ use an outside handy-guy so I think I had to use their handy-people and so their costs were crazy inflated. I kind of felt like I was getting the run around on certain things and it just felt like every time, I don’t know, I mean I felt like I was being taken advantage of, and I may, or may not, have been, but I just something didn’t feel right about the whole thing and I felt like I had to get out.

So, I got out and I ended up with another company. I mean, I had a company that had basically, these guys were complete crooks, but what they did was they basically decided one day, “hey, we’re going to shut down our business, we’re going to open up a new business and take on all the clients and the units that we like and the units that we don’t like we’re not gonna work with,” but all the deposits that they collected somehow never got paid to the owners.

Brandon: Ooh.

Josh: Yeah, there was a lot of, like, real bad stuff, I mean, a big group of us ended up working together to recover some of that stuff. I mean, we went to the Attorney General. I mean, we dealt with a lot of the, and I’ve written about this stuff on BiggerPockets actually, but yeah. I mean, just people screwing people doing bad things. What is it? Co-mingling deposits. Just doing stuff that you are not supposed to do as a manager and I don’t know.

Brandon: Well, what do you suggest for people to do if they’re looking for a property manager whether it’s locally or far away? What could you have done better and what do you recommend others do today?

Josh: So, I could have talked to my local network of real estate investors which I didn’t have cause I was far away. There’s another problem, right? I was at a distance. I didn’t know who to talk to and had no one to get recommendations from. Oh, yeah. BiggerPockets does that.

Brandon: Oh, yeah.

Josh: Oh, yeah. You can just say, “hey, who knows of a good manager in Saint Louis? Who have you worked with? Who do you like? Who do you not like? Who have you interviewed?” we put together an interview worksheet, they’re available on the BiggerPockets file page at with questions that you want to ask the manager. You know, you want to know who they work with. Are they managing their own properties? Which some people say, “yeah, that’s a great thing if they’re managing their own properties,” other people may say it’s a terrible thing. I found—I actually had a tenant who had moved out and they ended up telling me that they moved out because they ended up in the unit of one of the property managers’ units and because we had established a good relationship they told me that. Well, no property manager should be stealing clients from their clients! I mean, that’s just crazy! That’s crazy. So, get recommendations. Interview them.

You know, I think what most people, new investors and new people in kind of any industry, get wrong is they feel like they’ll walk in the door and the property manager starts asking them questions and they feel like, “okay, well I’m going to sit here and I’m going to answer the questions,” and it’s an interview, but the interview is actually supposed to go the other way. You are supposed to interview the property manager. They can ask you all the questions in the world, but at the end of the day you have to ask them questions. You have to be happy with their answers, and if you’re not get the hell out. Move on.

Brandon: Yep. So do you have any good suggestions for questions that you can ask people? I mean, what should I ask a property manager when I’m interviewing one?

Josh: Put me on the spot, man. Oh, boy. I would say, you know, start with how many units they manage. Where do they manage their units? What’s their policy on screening tenants? What’s their policy on evictions? How do they handle late rent? Pretty much any and every question that you would have for yourself as an owner like, “hey, what do I do in this situation?” ask them it, and if they don’t want to answer it or they’re too busy or they don’t want to sit there and deal with you that’s a really good indication that you’re not gonna be a good fit. How do you communicate? What happens if such-and-such happens? Do you e-mail me? Do you call me? Do you text me? How much money do you want to have as a reserve? How much money do you want to spend without my permission? Is it $250? You know, cause a lot of property managers they don’t want to call you every time they have to fix a doorknob so you have to give them some latitude on what they can work with. Is that the right number? What’s your percentage? What are your fees based upon? Are you just charging 12% of rent? Well, what if you don’t get it rented? Am I going to keep paying you for six months if you can’t fill a vacancy for six months? These are the questions you want to know, legal: Can I work with a real estate eviction attorney? Do you have one? Who are they? Let me talk to them. What other clients do you work with? Give me their names. Let me call them and talk to them, and if anything kind of raises a red flag move on.

Brandon: Yeah, I think that’s good. I mentioned a couple weeks ago here on the podcast that I transferred over my first two properties to property management.

Josh: Yeah.

Brandon: And they were like my problem properties, the ones that I don’t like dealing with, and it was really great. It felt really relaxing, but now I’m having this problem, and maybe you can offer me some advice, I feel like I have to be telling my property manager to do everything.

Josh: Time to move on.

Brandon: Yeah, well, it’s like two weeks into it and the guy hadn’t paid rent yet so my wife emailed and said—well, it was like day six or whatever and rent’s due. She emails and says, “hey, did we get the rent?” she writes back, “no,” and so she says, “okay, so what do you normally do at this point?” she says, “oh, we just serve a 3-day notice usually”.

Josh: Did you serve it?

Brandon: My wife says, “okay, did you serve it?” “Oh, no, but should we do that?” “Yes.” “Okay,” you don’t have to get permission. Now, it’s the next month. So he only owed $200 for rent cause of prorated and we have next month now? Today is the what?

Josh: 8th.

Brandon: The 8th! And I do not have rent yet from that $200 from last month or this month. Has she served a notice? I told her to on the 1st, but I don’t think she did and now I’ve got to call and tell her to serve the notice. It’s so annoying.

Josh: No, actually you have to call and fire her immediately.

Brandon: Yeah, I probably do have to call and fire her. Maybe she did it—

Josh: No, there is no maybe. Listen, here’s the thing: you’re a nice guy. I’m, well a lot of people think I’m not, but I’m actually a very nice guy, this is a business. This is your business, okay? That person that you’ve hired to take care of and manage your business is not managing your business. It is not your job to babysit the property manager and if you have to babysit the property manager you need to fire the property manager.

Brandon: Which then goes back to the issue of there was only two in my town I could rely on and one was old and one was this one.

Josh: Time to dump all the properties in your town if you don’t want to manage them. No, I mean, it’s—

Brandon: This might answer my question of: should I just open up my own property management company?

Josh: Yeah, you might want to.

Brandon: Versus hiring someone else. It might not be a bad idea.

Josh: Because this person is not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, right? Their job is to work for you. If you’re telling them what they have to do they’re not trained, they don’t know what they’re doing and you’re not working with a property manager who’s worth their salt.

Brandon: Yeah, I feel like all we’re doing right now is my wife is still the property manager we just have a liaison between the tenant and us and that’s not what I hired for 12% of the rent.

Josh: No, yeah.

Brandon: Anyway, so.

Josh: Well, listen, the bottom line is: here is the issue, this is something that a lot of people don’t know, Brandon Turner who is Mister BiggerPockets, right?

Brandon: Is that my name? Mister BiggerPockets?

Josh: No, I think I’m Mister BiggerPockets. Maybe we need a little guy with a top hat.

Brandon: Probably.

Josh: But, you know, you’re asking these questions and that’s okay. Again, that’s kind of the beauty of BiggerPockets, by the way, is that there is not a stupid question.

Brandon: Just stupid people.

Josh: These are questions that—I am not. Alright, no, but these are questions—Brandon, you’ve been investing for years and years and years and you’re asking this question, and I think you know the answer and you’re asking it because you’re such a nice guy that you’re afraid to actually face the truth which is: you need to fire this person.

Brandon: Yeah, maybe.

Josh: But that’s the thing. That’s why I created BiggerPockets. I mean, that is fundamentally why I created this site. I had property. I had questions and I’m sitting around looking for a place to go where I could find an answer to those questions and there were websites at the time, I mean, Facebook didn’t even exist by the way at the time that BiggerPockets was born. Zillow didn’t exist at the time BiggerPockets was born. There were sites, there were a bunch of communities for real estate investors and as a budding investor I looked at them and I was like, “oh, this is so cool. There are these communities, that’s great,” and as I went and kind of spent time what I found, what I felt, was these communities purpose was not—their primary purpose was not to serve as a community for real estate investors. Their primary purpose was to serve as a channel to sell content. Not content, but to sell courses and boot camps and trainings and all that stuff and for me, you know, I didn’t need to buy somebody’s $1,000, $5,000, $20,000 boot camp I just needed an answer to a darn question and I didn’t need the answer coming from somewhere where I didn’t really trust that I wasn’t going to be sold on something as soon as I got an answer.

Brandon: Yep.

Josh: So, you know, I felt like there was a need for a different model that had to exist. So I had been building websites since ’94 when I was in college and I just said, “you know what? I’m going to create a community that’s not going to be about upselling, not going to be about selling people anything, I’m going to create a place that’s just a place that guys like me can go to help each other be successful,” and that was kindof how BP was born. I think you were possibly going there, yeah.

Brandon: I was going to ask also; where did the name BiggerPockets come from?

Josh: Oh, man. Alright. BiggerPockets. Dun-dun-dun. I was an actor. Many of you are aware now that I was an actor, and so one of my friends, Sean Simms – shout out to Sean, and Sean had done a movie, low budget movie, by the way Sean is the dopple-ganger for Barry Bonds so it’s always fun to hang out with Sean and watching people double take.

Brandon: Everyone thinks it’s Barry Bonds and Adam Lavigne hanging out together?

Josh: There you go, there you go. Smart guy. But he was playing this role where he was like a drug dealer I think? He was in this shady bar and he’s sitting there and he’s trying to pull out this wad of cash, just a big fat roll of cash, and it’s literally stuck in his pant pocket and he can’t get it out and he’s like, “man! I’ve gotta get bigger pockets!” and I was like, “I love that! I love that!” and it wasn’t until later, you know, BiggerPockets, when I first created a website with the name BiggerPockets, a revelation here, I was trying to create a community for actors. For people in the entertainment industry, and it was going to be called BiggerPockets and I was like, “you know what? This sucks. This is terrible. Nobody wants this,” and then it came time to do this real estate thing that I was doing and I was like, “BiggerPockets is perfect for this!” it just worked so well and so I transitioned it from this “acting” BiggerPockets to BiggerPockets the real estate community. I had to use the name somehow, someway and it just worked.

Brandon: Nice. That’s funny. I bet you 99.9% of people listening to this did not know that.

Josh: They did not.

Brandon: Yeah, that’s funny. Alright, so you built BiggerPockets up and it was an overnight success.

Josh: Oh, yeah.

Brandon: It took like 3 weeks to build and you have, yeah, so.

Josh: Well, just like you can buy property and be a millionaire in six days from buying my $26,000 course. Sign up today! Increase the limit on your credit cards and you can have the cash to buy our course! Do not do that people. Please.

Brandon: Yeah, do not do that. It took time, obviously, to build. What year did you actually start it? Today is the 10-year anniversary, right?

Josh: Today is the 10-year so 2004. I was working—I was a teacher, you know, I was making not a lot of money always slaving away at a job working crazy hours and started doing this on the nights and weekends. It was let me just kind of create this place that I can go to and, you know, nights and weekends we just put time in connecting with other people just building the community and interacting with the people who started to show up on the site. Apparently the word started to leak out that there was this place that you could go where you weren’t going to get sold at every second on buying these expensive trainings so little by little it grew and grew and grew.

I remember the first guy I got on, the tenth guy, the hundredth guy. I was so excited to have these people.

Brandon: Where are we at now?

Josh: You know, I don’t even keep track anymore! I think we’re at 230,000 give or take?

Brandon: Nice!

Josh: Somewhere around there.

Brandon: Well, let me ask you this: why do you think—I mean, there has been a lot over the years, a lot of real estate websites that have tried to do what you’ve done yet BiggerPockets is today hands down the largest, I mean, it’s the site. It really is the Wal-Mart of online.

Josh: I wish I was making Wal-Mart money, but yeah.

Brandon: I mean, you are the monopoly so-to-speak so why—

Josh: No, don’t use that word.

Brandon: Well, to the government this is not a monopoly, but you run this thing so what sets BiggerPockets apart? Why is it so much bigger and why did it take off the way it did and get to the level we are today?

Josh: Isn’t that, like, Famous Four question number Four?

Brandon: It kind of is, but not quite.

Josh: I think what sets, and trust me over the years there have been a lot of imitators that have come up. A lot of companies have come on and they—very smart marketing ideas. They come, they create exactly what I’ve got and they show up on BiggerPockets and say, “hey! Come check out my community! It’s just like BiggerPockets!” really? That’s how you’re going to promote? As I always say, “McDonald’s doesn’t walk into Burger King and put up a placard,” it doesn’t work. You don’t do that. That’s what we call not cool, but I don’t know I think I’ve stayed honest and true to myself. I’ve stayed honest and true to the initial intent of BiggerPockets. I’ve stayed honest and true to our users. I’ve entrusted them with the ability to be there for each other. You know, I think, this has not been easy. 10-years… I’ve got a couple grays going on, but it hasn’t been easy.

I think what people love about BiggerPockets is they know that we stand firm for them and we’re not gonna sell out, and listen, not a week goes by, and you can attest to this, where one of us on the team here has an idea, “Hey, this would be so cool if we—“ and then we’re like, “oh, hey, no we can’t do that,” I mean, how often does this happen, Brandon?

Brandon: Every day.

Josh: We can’t do it. C’mon, Josh, this would be so good. What do I say?

Brandon: I don’t know. Make a plan?

Josh: I’m putting you on the spot. I say, “no, we can’t do that. Our users would get pissed off and they’d scream and yell and leave”.

Brandon: Yes. We always say BiggerPockets we could abandon our principals and turn it into a hundred-million-dollar business and be living on the beach in Hawaii for the rest of our lives if we wanted to.

Josh: Oh, yeah. I don’t know how sustainable it would be.

Brandon: No, but you could ramp that thing up real quick, offer some $50,000 training for everyone and overnight do it and from an outsider’s perspective coming in that was what I noticed that set you apart from everyone else is no one else made that commitment, I feel like, to I won’t sell out our users. So, anyway. That’s what I’ve always seen.

Josh: It’s hard. It’s hard, Brandon. I mean, I look at how much money is made in the education space, right? And I say, “we can make the most amazing piece of real estate education for anything and everything in real estate investing and we can sell it for a lot of money. I just can’t sleep with myself—“ well, that’s awkward.

Brandon: That’s awkward.

Josh: Yeah, that’s awkward. I can’t live with myself if I do that, right? It’s just something that I can’t do. So, there’s alternatives, right? We’ve written our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide. It’s a free amazing guide. I mean, we write—if you take all of the content on BiggerPockets there is no book, there is no course, there is no boot camp that comes close to the compound knowledge that is BiggerPockets. There is nothing on planet earth that comes even close to it.

So, we have to make money, right? Absolutely to have a business to be able to continue to do this and build this business to help serve the investors of this country, and around the world cause we have visitors in almost every single country in the world every single month. It’s unbelievable. We have to make money, and there’s one core philosophy that we have on doing that. Are we going to go and build this education and sell it? And the answer is always no.

Now, we did, listen, some people are going to say, “you guys are hypocrites. You’ve got a book. You sell education,” I guess we’re hypocrites. We do sell education, but we sell education at a rate that’s extremely affordable. You know, I see it very different purchasing a book than purchasing a $997 course, a boot camp for thousands of dollars, a one-on-one for $50,000-$75,000 whatever the hell they’re charging today. I see selling a book for $20-$25 is very, very different.

Brandon: That’s the way I tell people, like, everything in the book, J Scott will say the same thing as I’ll say, is every single solitary thing in our books is free on BiggerPockets. You’re paying for convenience.

Josh: There’s no secrets. You’re not getting anything that’s life-shattering, but it’s organized in a way that kind of makes sense and I think having credible books that are well-written on a topic is a great way to go. I do not see any distinction between that and providing tons of value to people.

Brandon: Okay, well, I want to ask you one more question on those lines then. So, a lot of people, I guess this is a criticism that BiggerPockets gets a lot, I’m going to say the number one criticism we get.

Josh: Uh-oh.

Brandon: Is that we’re too aggressive against promotion, or we’re too hard on the gurus, on the trainings, on the courses. I get that a lot from people.

Josh: True.

Brandon: You know, usually the ones that have courses and trainings that say that, but for people listening to this: why are you so aggressive against self-promotion and against the boot camps? I mean, aren’t they just like any other industry you can pay for a consultant? How is that any different from, I mean, what are your thoughts on that?

Josh: So, I think my issues really stem from the fact that I believe overall that the gurus take advantage of people who are vulnerable.

Brandon: Yep.

Josh: If you took an investor like yourself, okay, you’ve been doing this for what? 8 years? 9 years? 10 years?

Brandon: 8 years I think.

Josh: Yeah, so you’ve been doing it for 8 years. You’re savvy. You kind of know what you’re doing.

Brandon: Thank you.

Josh: For the most part, yes. You ask questions like you did earlier, but that’s okay and we all have them. A guy like you I would have very little issue with you going and spending $25,000 on a one-on-one mentorship. I really would because I think you’re at the point where you know the basics, you know if somebody’s pulling the wool over your eyes. You’ve got the fundamental knowledge to be able to evaluate the value that you may or may not be getting.

When I see the ads on the TV, and on the internet, and on the radio and I see, you know, “hey, so-in-so’s coming to town and come check out this free thing they’re offering,” it’s almost like rioting. There’s a sense of hype that happens, right? People do things out of character when they’re in groups and so when you go into some free seminar with 500, 300, whatever, people that you paid nothing for there’s a lot of hype and energy and these guys are master marketers who know how to manipulate the psyche of an individual. You suddenly go out and do things that you may not normally do if you weren’t under those conditions, okay? And not only do you go and sign up for that $997 boot camp from the free boot camp cause that was the whole purpose of the free boot camp was to get you to the $997 boot camp. The $997 boot camp the whole purpose was really just to get you to the $5,000 and ultimately the $5,000 was intended to get you to the $10,000, the $25,000, or the $50,000, whatever it is today.

You know what? People fall into it. It’s a funnel. We use the word funnel all of the time in our work and it’s a word that you send your Yellow Letters out you’re going to send $1,000 you know that 2% are going to this and X% are going to do that, it’s the same thing, but I think it’s the—I really do believe that the intent is to take advantage of people who don’t know any better. It’s just that’s what I believe and I’ve seen it. Because in the years that I’ve been doing what I do I get email after email after email from people who say, “oh, Josh, I wish BiggerPockets was around a year and a half ago, 10 years ago, 12,” whatever it was, right? “Because I wouldn’t have signed up for that thing because I didn’t need to spend $25,000 to do it. I didn’t get much. I got a couple of nuggets out of it. It wasn’t worth the money I spent. What I get out of talking to other investors on BiggerPockets is more valuable. I could ask any question,” I don’t have to, you know, hey, you’re going to get so-in-so on the phone, but you’re going to actually get their underling who has never done a deal themselves. Whatever it is, right? That, to me, it just kills me. It really kills me. It feels that people are being taken advantage of. It feels like the way the marketing is done is designed to take advantage of people and, frankly, I don’t like taking advantage of people. I think it’s bad form. I think it’s a practice that should be stopped. I don’t care whether it’s in the real estate investing industry, the commodities trading industry, the stock industry, financial services industry, this happens across a lot of industries. So, for me, it’s kind of my thing. I just think there’s other ways to go.

Now, again, is there a place for these folks? I think there is. Some people don’t want to troll around a forum to get information. Some people don’t want to do that. Some people want to get information, they want to spend money, a lot of people feel good if they spend money on education. They think, “hey, if I spend money it’s money well spent”.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Which is fine. It is true in many cases, but in a lot of cases it’s not, but if that works for you, if that’s how you learn and you’re okay knowing that you’re not guaranteed to be rich after taking a course, you’re not guaranteed to be successful after taking something, then go ahead and take it. Go ahead and take it. There’s other models. There’s models where folks will say, “hey, I’m going to take a piece of your deal each deal you do going forward,” and I did that when I started as an agent. I had an agent who mentored me and he got half of my first two deals and I was perfectly content with that cause he taught me the business, right? But there are some folks who take it even further and they say, “hey, you pay me a piece of the deal until I’ve made a million dollars,” that’s crazy!

Brandon: Yep.

Josh: That’s crazy. So I just, I don’t know, I fundamentally have an issue with people taking advantage of other people and much of that industry is designed to take advantage of people and that’s why we do what we do, you know, BiggerPockets is a place you can go and you don’t have to spend a dime. You don’t have to buy our books. You don’t have to do anything and you can ask anything and everything and learn anything that you want to learn that you could learn from any training boot camp or whatever else on BiggerPockets and it won’t cost you a dime.

Brandon: Yeah, I think that’s great. Well, one of my last questions before we head over to the Fire Round, I want to know, I guess, what is your biggest suggestion for people who are listening to the show about getting involved, growing through BiggerPockets? I mean, where should people turn to? It’s a big site. What should people do that are listening that aren’t currently involved?

Josh: They should ask my wife, I don’t know, she’s the boss.

Brandon: She is the boss.

Josh: She is. No, and by the way, we wouldn’t be here if she weren’t there to support me. You know, when I first started BP the first couple years I was teaching I actually quit my teaching job and the first couple years of working on BiggerPockets full time I was not making any money. So she supported us both. So, to Julie if you’re listening, I know you put up with me enough I’m sure you’re not, but thank you. I mean, really. I definitely wouldn’t be here without the support of Julie, but to tips and using the site? I think the key to BiggerPockets, and to those who are successful on BiggerPockets, is being authentic. Really, and it’s a word that I think is played out in a lot of ways in the social space for people who kind of are studies of social media, but it’s true.

Well, first off the biggest problem is, I love these emails, “hey, I joined your site it sucks. Close my account,” you know, angry people. “Okay, what sucks?” “well, I joined the site and nothing happened,” “oooh, nothing happened. Well, my friend, magic is not going to happen. You need to make moves. This is a tool. BiggerPockets is a tool to help you better your business and better your knowledge,” you know, there is nothing that will make you a successful investor. There is no tool, there is no solution that is going to put deals in your pocket. There is nothing. I want to build something that does that. It doesn’t exist. There is nothing like that. You have to do the work, and whether it’s learning the basics, learning the fundamentals of how to evaluate properties, looking at properties, looking at deals, networking with people, you know, whether you’ve been doing this for 10 years and you need cash. Cash doesn’t fall in your pocket. You have to get out there and work to get the cash. Deals don’t fall in your pocket, you have to get out there and work the deals. No matter what you do you have to work. You have to hustle.

That’s one of the things that I took away from my family, and I took away when I was in the entertainment business from my friend Al, shout out to Al Thompson who really is the guy who kind of taught me grind. The hustle, the grind. Work your butt off. Hustle, hustle, hustle. You know how you beat the other guy? You work harder. You know, you work harder, you put smarter, you put systems in but you’ve gotta work, and so to answer your question on how do you be successful on BiggerPockets? Well, don’t just create a profile and say, “oh! I’m going to be successful!” that’s nonsense and anybody who’s done that and has a profile if you don’t get out there after listening to this and actual do something with that profile, connect with people, engage, participate, you might as well close your profile.

Maybe this is why people like BiggerPockets cause I’m not afraid to say that. There is no point in you having a profile in our community if you’re not going to do anything with it. You have to engage. You have to be active. You have to talk to people and once you do then you have to take it to the real world. Connect with them on Skype. Connect with them on Google Hangouts, you know, if they’re locals sit down for coffee. If they’re not connect remotely, but you can’t just expect a profile to get you anywhere.

So, what’s my tip? Connect! If you’re an expert in hard money go on our forums, set up a keyword for “hard money” and every time somebody’s talking about hard money you talk about hard money if you’re a hard money lender, right? You help people out, people see that you’re adding value, they see that you’re involved in the community and they’re going to say, “oh, you know what? That guy’s vested. Let me work with that guy,” versus the other guy who may spend money on advertising, promotion, whatever, but isn’t willing to put in the work. Personally, I’m going to work with the guy who I know is involved. Who I know, who I see, who has given Brandon Turner and J Scott a hard time, well, that guy’s, hey, he gets it. Okay, let me work with that guy.

Whether you’re a new investor and you say, “well, I have nothing to ad. I have nothing to say,” alright? That’s what you guys all think. You guys are all saying it, I know it. Well, you do. You know something. You know your area and, frankly, you have opinions and things like that. I’m not just saying go and give BS advice and opinions on matters that you have no right to say things about, but maybe go to our new member introductions and greet new people in your area as they join the site? You’re a face that they see, they start to talk to you, they get to know you, and they may also be in a similar situation or they may be able to help you, but if you don’t open your mouth and say something, aka type something, you guys would never forge that bond.

So, bottom line is: stop hiding. Get out there. Communicate, connect, interact. You know, leave a comment. If you read an article that you thought was awesome leave a comment. I’ve done that in areas of internet business building where my policy is: I’m going to try to leave a comment or remark or share something that I find valuable anytime I come across something. So, if I find an article that I read and I like I’m either going to share it on Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, whatever, or I’m going to leave a comment to the guy who spent the time to write that and here’s what the does: That guy now sees me as someone who’s sharing their content, or sees me as somebody who’s willing to engage with them and we have now established the first bond of a relationship. It happens again, suddenly we’ve got more.

Now all of a sudden I can reach out and say, “hey, Bill, you know, you wrote a really great article back in the day and you wrote this. I’d love to chat with you a little bit more about so-in-so,” Bill says, “oh, cool! Yeah, I remember your comment. That was great!” You know, cool. Now you guys are connected. Now you guys are talking about deals or whatever the heck it is you talk about and you make things happen. That is the beauty of BiggerPockets, that is how to do it. You just get out there and talk to people.

Brandon: Nice. That was like 12 tips, but.

Josh: You know? Whatever. Once I get started I can’t stop.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah.

Josh: I’m a very difficult interview subject. I just don’t shut up.

Brandon: That’s a good one best tip. I like it. Alright, we’re moving on to our world famous—

It’s Time for the Fire Round

Brandon: Alright, the Fire Round. These questions are coming from the forums, and to be 100% honest I didn’t even look ahead of time. I’m just going to pick some cause I know you’re the expert on everything.

Josh: Oh, boy.

Brandon: So here we go. Number one:

Josh: Pass.

Brandon: You can’t pass. Alright.

Josh: I decline to answer that question on grounds it can incriminate me.

Brandon: Yeah, yeah. You gonna plead the fifth on that? Alright, let’s see… what’s the best approach to find a good market to invest in?

Josh: Look in your backyard.

Brandon: Ooh. That was quicker than I expected.

Josh: You wanted the Fire Round, man! You fire questions at me, I fire answers back at you! No, I mean, look in your backyard. We’ve talked about this a million times. There is not a single market in the United States where, maybe Hawaii, I’d have to study Hawaii, but there is no market in the US, it is my understanding and belief, that within a 2 hour drive you cannot find reasonable deals. Whether you’re in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Boston, you name it, Miami, any major city there’s deals. So, look out. Look in that radius around your home and start looking and start to get to know those areas because I think the best place for a new investor to invest is in a place that they know.

Brandon: Well, good. I like it.

Josh: Thank you.

Brandon: This question comes from John Horner here on the forums.

Josh: Ooh, a plug for John Horner.

Brandon: Yeah, well—

Josh: Wasn’t that, like, a nursery rhyme? Little John Horner or something?

Brandon: I don’t know. I don’t think that’s a thing.

Josh: Okay.

Brandon: Alright, so here’s the thing. So, he’s asking: so I switched property management companies to a new company on his property. The current rent is $850; the new property manager thinks he can get an extra $200 a month out of rent. Should he get rid of the tenant? Like, raise their rent with them possibly leaving at that point, or just live with the lower price and not have to rock the boat? I think that’s kind of the gist.

Josh: Jish is what my brother used to call me when I was a kid.

Brandon: Nice. That’s a weird nickname.

Josh: Yeah, it was kind of weird.

Brandon: Alright, should he keep them or rock the boat and potentially lose them?

Josh: You know, I think there’s a lot of depends in there, and I’m not talking the undergarments. How is your pair going by the way?

Brandon: Yeah, thanks. Holding up well.

Josh: You’ve gotten past that whole problem?

Brandon: Not yet.

Josh: Okay, good.

Brandon: Wow.

Josh: The, you know, if you’re in an area where finding a renter is difficult is it smart to kick out somebody who’s potentially been stable and who’s been with you a long time? I think that’s potentially a dangerous proposition. If, on the other hand, you’re in an area where, you know, finding someone to fill a vacancy is easy, if the market is saying the increased rent is definitely attainable and you can tell that by looking at what other people are renting, how fast the properties are renting out, you know, might be something worth considering. But I think I’d prefer the incremental approach, you know, which is kind of somewhere in between which is start raising the rent on those tenants and you’ll eventually find that point where you’ve gone too high.

So, I think just be smart. Look at your situation and obviously you want to look at local rent laws and if you’re in rent control don’t do that.

Brandon: We won’t get into that mess.

Josh: Yeah.

Brandon: Alright, a couple questions, actually, about BiggerPockets forums just because I went to that forum about BiggerPockets questions, so first one, Barry asked this: where in BiggerPockets do I post investors to partner or provide funding for building homes? Where do I post about investors or partners on the site?

Josh: Gotcha. So, we have a marketplace. and there’s a link in our Nav and that’s where you would post any kind of ads or solicitations at all on the site. The key is, what I found out about online communities is this: I don’t want to go to a community and ask a question like, “hey, could somebody explain to me how a VA loan works?” you know, and get people who say, “hey, VA loans, yeah, I can help you get a VA loan,” hey, jackass. I didn’t ask you to get me a VA loan. I asked you how a VA loan works, right?

Brandon: Yep.

Josh: So the vast amount of communities online, regardless of topic, and primarily in real estate. I mean, this happens in every real estate community I’ve seen. You go, you ask a question and you get somebody beating you on the head, and you asked me earlier about why I’m so hard on people promoting and selling. You asked me that about a half-hour ago before I started bloviating about whatever the hell I was talking about, but the answer is: I want the answer to the question that I asked so give me that answer, and if you answer that question and add value, like I said before, people may say, “oh, hey, you know, this guy Bill Johnson,” hopefully that’s a fake name, “is really, really savvy at VA loans,” and if I decide I want to reach out to you and ask you more or ask you if you can help me get one I’ll do that, but it’s not your business to come into my world, my question, and start pimping yourself out.

So, we are really, really hardcore about enforcing the no solicitation rule on the forums and across the site. We will throw people off the site without blinking an eye no matter who they are, what they’ve done, how long they’ve been on the site, if they break that. That, to me, is a line you cannot cross. So, the marketplace. You go to the marketplace,, you can post your ads, your solicitations, I’m looking for this, I need this, I’ve got that, check out my this – website – or whatever real estate related, of course, and post there, and to post there you do need a paid account. You need a Pro account or a Plus account and those accounts cost $9 a month for the Plus and $29 a month for the Pro, or you can buy an annual package, and you know, market whatever you’ve got to market.

Frankly, if you have things to market or you’re looking for things and you’re not using the marketplace let me go back to what I was saying before: you’re not using BiggerPockets. You’re missing out. You know, I’ve got this opportunity, why aren’t you telling people about it? Cause it costs you $9 a month? Yes, we do have to make money absolutely at BiggerPockets, but if you’re not willing to spend $9 to post an ad on a deal you probably shouldn’t be in this business. So, the marketplace is—let’s give a couple of examples. Brandon, you’ve got a triplex in the past that you were promoting, right? Well, advertise the triplex, or, hey, you’ve found a great deal but you need a partner to come on? Well, that’s a great place to post it. Or, “hey, I’m looking for this, I need that,” whatever it is, whatever your need or want is, and by the way every single person listening to this show and every single person on BiggerPockets has a need and a want. If you’re not posting those in the marketplace nobody’s going to know what they are. So, get out there and post it and that’s what you do.

Brandon: Nice. Alright, last question, and just because you mentioned that, so a guy named Tom S said: question about Pro accounts. Can anyone tell me the difference between Pro and Plus and why should I upgrade to Pro? So, I’m going to give you, like, 30 seconds, Josh.

Josh: Blah, la, lah, luh, lah. Done.

Brandon: Wow, good job.

Josh: You know what’s amazing? One of the—we have a lot of members. We survey them and we ask them, hey, what do they love about BiggerPockets? And we have people who sign up for our calculators, we have these fantastic calculators. We’ve got a Flipping calculator, a Buy and Hold calculator, and we are actually finally, blame Brandon not me, finally launching at some point in the coming month or so a Wholesaling calculator. So we’ve got a suite of calculators. You get full, unlimited use of the calculators. You can print out these amazing reports which you could give to your lenders or bankers whenever you’re looking for cash so the calculators.

You can find members. Anyone can use our search, but we have more enhanced search that paid users can get. You can look for people in certain zip codes who meet certain criteria and a Pro membership can get you that.

Enhanced signature. If you’re looking to build your brand, your company, you can put your company’s logo at the bottom of all of your posts so as you answer questions and help people out they can see your brand, get to know who you are, what your company is and say, “oh, okay, that’s becoming familiar. Let me work with those guys”.

You can add a video to your profile where you can tell people who you are. That authenticity that we talked about like, “hey, my name is Josh and I’ve been investing for X long and I do this, and I’ve done this, and this, and this and here’s my track record,” put that on video, right? I love this function. This is probably one of my favorite and to date one of, I think, the more underused which is sad because if I think about working with you, Brandon, as an investor and I go to your profile all I see is words and a picture, and I can go and I can see what advice you’ve given on the forums or what you’ve written in an article form, but until I stop and I see who you are, look at your face on film talking to me, I can’t connect to you.

Brandon: Yep.

Josh: And that extra connection that you get from being able to embed your video is phenomenal. You know, there’s a whole slew of tools you can find at It’ll give you the whole run-down of Pro versus Plus, and above and beyond all if you love BiggerPockets and you’re passionate about BiggerPockets and we’re helping you build your business, be successful, it’s another way of giving back too. We get emails from people all the time, “hey, I joined Pro, I do all my spreadsheets in excel, I don’t need your calculator, I’ve got alternatives for all these other things, but I love what you guys do and I just wanted to give back,” and they get Pro accounts and those guys I’m honored, it’s weird. It’s a weird feeling I have that people almost see us like an NPR.

Brandon: Yeah.

Josh: Like this service that they want to give back to, and we are a for-profit business. We are absolutely a for-profit business, but first and foremost to be profitable we are trying to provide value and service and maintain a community and a world where you can safe and feel like you’re not gonna get beat up. People may beat you up if you ask a question and say, “hey, everybody I’ve got this section 8 property—“

Brandon: “Deals in all 50 states!”

Josh: Yeah, “I’ve got deals in all 50 states,” or, I mean, man, what are some of the crazy, crazy ones that we see?

Brandon: I get a lot of people who are just like, I don’t know, you say there’s no stupid questions which I agree completely, but I wouldn’t recommend jumping on and saying something like, “how do I get started in investing in real estate?” right?

Josh: it’s not a stupid question, but it’s a question you should put the work in to find the answer to cause we’ve done that. It’s been asked a thousand times, and frankly you should check out our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide, which can help you with all that stuff, right?

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: But, yeah, I don’t know. I hope people are interested. I mean, I hope this is helpful. I know this was not my decision, by the way, I will tell you anyone listening, the reason why I am the guest on the show today is because Brandon forced me to. He told me he was going to quit if I did not do this.

Brandon: Well, not so many words. That’s funny. Alright, we’re moving on to the last—actually I have two more questions for you. Where do you see BiggerPockets headed, first of all, and where do you see your own personal investing headed?

Josh: Fair enough. BiggerPockets not a day goes by where we don’t sit around with the team here, and elsewhere, our remote folk like Brandon, and ask: how can we better serve investors? What can we do to make the lives of real estate investors better? Can we improve the platform? Can we build tools that can help investors out? Can we provide more information? Can we change the format of our podcasts? Can we create more free guides? What can we do to help people out? So, going forward we want to keep going. We want to keep building tools to help you with your business. We want you guys to continue to look to us, BiggerPockets, as a credible, trusted source that we’re here to stand behind you and support you and be there to assist you through the good and bad because we all have good, but we all have bad too and you know, when that happens it can be a lonely place. I think that’s one of the greatest things about a community like ours is we all, hopefully, get to pat each other on the back and kind of hold each other’s hands when things aren’t going so well. So, keep going. Keep fighting the fight. Keep trying to stand up for people who need to be stood up for.

You know, I think something that we don’t talk about a lot is I do want to transform real estate. I think real estate investors get a black eye. I know a lot of people are shy when the time comes like, “okay, I don’t want to tell my friends. They’re just going to call me slum lords, they’re just going to give me grief about doing all this stuff,” until I prove that I’m successful and then they’re going to be like, “Oh my god! How did you do that?” which is exactly how it goes, right? “Hey, I want to be a real estate investor,” “oh, dude, really? Eh, yeah, I don’t know. You’re going to be a slum lord huh? Funny, funny,” you know? I bet you everybody who’s active as an investor has gone through that. It’s nonsense.

There are bad people out there, absolutely. There are gurus that make bad names for people who are legitimately teaching other people. Local coaches, local mentors, things like that. There are landlords who are doing bad by their tenants that aren’t taking care of things that are just treating them poorly. There are flippers who are slapping lipstick on a pig. There are wholesalers who are doing bad things. I mean, you know, commercial guys who do bad things, but I think those people as a whole represent a small percentage of our industry. The real estate investing industry has a lot of really, really amazing people and the vast, vast majority of us are just trying to build a business so we can get somewhere to support our families, to get to retirement, whatever the purpose is. We’re not trying to do bad, we’re trying to do a good thing.

So, I try my best to speak out on that and try to let the press know and do my part ot give examples to them of the good stories cause it’s so easy to go in the newspapers and go, “oh, this landlord plowed down their tenants,” this and that, or this guy did that, you know, those stories are fun for the press, but they give us a black eye and we don’t need it. I think we need to all stand together as real estate investors and say, “we’re not going to take it anymore,” and if you see an article like that write your local press and say, “hey, guys, what about this guy who’s flipped 15 houses, put millions of dollars back into the town and given people a good place to live? What about that guy? Let’s talk about him,” because he’s the guy that matters. He’s the guy who’s helping us get out of the recession. He’s the guy who’s helping our economy. He’s the guy who’s helping to build this country into the country that it is because without him we’d all be living in slummy-slums.

Brandon: Podunk.

Josh: Or Podunk, right? So, that’s on BiggerPockets. Me personally? Man, I don’t go a show without being inspired, and I’m not inspired my me and I’m sure as hell not inspired by you, but the folks we bring on, and whether it’s someone who just did their first deal or their 50th. I don’t know, I mean, I think I’m really interested in notes. The idea of buying notes and not dealing with tenants, toilets, and what’s the other one? I don’t know. Termites?

Brandon: Yeah, sure.

Josh: But I don’t know. I like that concept for me personally. I would like to own some more rentals probably on higher end properties that would hopefully require less headaches going forward, but I know myself and I know that if I am trying to build BiggerPockets I don’t have the attention span to go full gung-ho on building some real estate empire at the same time. I can’t do it. It’s not me. Some people can. I cannot do it because I care about what I do, and I’m not saying that people who are doing that don’t, but I just can’t focus on two things. It’s who I am.

So, right now I’m plotting, I’m planning and I think I’m probably going to get into the note space and potentially smaller commercial in the years to come, but very methodically.

Brandon: Nice. Cool. Alright, now I believe it is time for our world famous—

Famous Four

Brandon: Famous Four. These are the questions, Josh, that we ask everyone, and I know you’ve never listened to our show before so these are going to be new on you.

Josh: I’m not prepared.

Brandon: You’re not prepared. So, number one:

Josh: My favorite game is Candyland.

Brandon: What is your favorite real estate related book?

Josh: If I were Brandon Turner I would say, “well, not to plug myself, but my favorite real estate book is The Book on No Money Down—“ no.

Brandon: Which is a good book right there.

Josh: It is a good book. I think—

Brandon: I’ll plug anywhere.

Josh: Oh, I know you will, you’re shameless. I think the book that impacted me the most was The Richest Man in Babylon.

Brandon: Nice.

Josh: It’s a parable, it’s an easy read, but you can just see the value of being smart with your money and so, you know, is it a real estate book? I don’t know, but it’s a real estate book.

Brandon: It is.

Josh: Cause I said so.

Brandon: You are Josh Dorkin. I love that book too and I haven’t read it in about a year at least. It’s one of those books I want to re-read just like Rich Dad, Poor Dad or the others. I want to read them every year. They inspire me and they keep me remembering why I do what I do so anyway. Great. How about business book?

Josh: I think only because it’s fresh, but it was a really good book, it’s literally sitting next to me here, Rework from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. It’s about kind of building a company and how to do it and it’s fascinating. Actually, you know what’s cool is I have somebody, and I forget her name I’m mad at myself, but she had sent me a private message saying, “hey, Josh, The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide is so valuable as a book. I just want to thank you for it,” and so she asked me for my address and she sent me this. It’s called the CEO Code. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s how to create a great company and inspire people to greatness with practical advice from an experienced executive.

Brandon: Man, people don’t send me books. Sheesh.

Josh: Yeah…here we go. Okay. Anyway. Well, I got in the mail like a couple days later this package and I was like, “what is this?” and it was bubble wrapped and I’m like, “I hope this is not somebody with some bad stuff”.

Brandon: Anthrax?

Josh: Anthrax, or something. I was freaking out and I unbundle it and it was this pin that said, “Trust me, I’m a CEO,” and I think it was the same person. It didn’t have a return address or anything. I thought it was kinda cool, but yeah. I like to read books that are about improving our business, improving what we do and how we provide our service and better that and so anything along those lines is definitely helpful, and to those people listening let me just say this: for about 20 episodes I got a lot of grief about a book called The Four Hour Work Week, well mia culpa, folks, it’s a good book. I have some issue with the book. I don’t like the idea of shirking on your responsibilities and giving it to someone else to do your own work while you’re out vacationing. I don’t like that concept. I think that’s a bad concept, but thinking about how to build a lifestyle business that is why a lot of people come on BiggerPockets. That’s why a lot of people get into real estate, and so I did finish the book a while ago and I think it’s good. I walked away with a lot of stuff.

In fact, I was talking with my wife about it the other day because I watched a movie called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, have you seen that?

Brandon: I haven’t.

Josh: It’s a movie with Ben Stiller and he’s this guy who works for Life Magazine and he’s daydreaming all the time about just himself doing all this cool macho stuff and he finds himself in the situation where he’s actually doing these adventurous things and he’s jumping from a helicopter into shark infested waters and I’m like, “man, this is Four-Hour Work Week right here. This is finding a way to find what you love,” and one of the things I love is experience. I’m not a big guy on buying stuff. I don’t need the junk. I don’t need stuff. I’d rather my kids have experiences than toys. I’d rather I—I look back at my life and what do I remember? I don’t remember the toys, the tchotchkes, I remember the things that I’ve done. So, that’s why I think I like that book. It kind of challenges you to find a way to live today not when you’re 65 when you may not be able to anymore.

Brandon: Yep. I agree wholeheartedly. Exactly the same thing. It’s about living today. Why wait ‘til you’re 65 and too old to enjoy life to enjoy life?

Josh: Yep. So I think that’s great and I know I’m going to try harder to do that for myself. I think that’s important for me and my family and I hope everyone else listening does the same because life is short and I’ve had a bunch of family tragedy in the last couple of weeks and anytime that happens it always gets me thinking about these things and I kick myself sometimes for working too hard or whatever. Which we all know I’m a ridiculous work-a-holic.

Brandon: That you are. Well, speaking of that, what do you do when you’re not working? What are your hobbies?

Josh: I have three amazing little girls, and my hobbies have kind of been put to the wayside, you know, for too long BiggerPockets was my hobby and my job and my life and I’m finding a way to dig myself out of it, but once I started having kids they became my life and anyone who knows me knows that everybody thinks that work is number one for me, but that’s not even close to true. My family is, by far, number one.

Brandon: I can testify. We’ll be having this really good conversation about, “here’s this amazing new thing we should be building,” and all of a sudden the phone rings, “sorry guys, gotta go, it’s my wife,” or, “it’s my kids,” and it’s always instant and I respect you for that.

Josh: Thank you. So, I mean, my family. What do I like doing? I love skiing. I love, love, love skiing. I need to do more of it. I’ve got to get out and go hit the slopes somewhere. I always find it a pain to go get the pass and it’s just a headache but I’ve gotta just do it. I want to ski South America. I want to ski Europe. I want to do more skiing. I love windsurfing. Travel. Love, love, love traveling. Been to South America, been to Asia, haven’t been to Europe since I was a kid, haven’t seen much or most of America, but I want to do more. You know, just being outside. I don’t know, man. I’m at that point in my life where right now I really do, no BS, I get so much joy watching my kids.

In fact, this weekend, just yesterday, my middle daughter rode a bike with no training wheels for the first time. I got her riding with no training wheels and to me, like, I’m as excited, as ecstatic, as proud of that than skiing the hardest slope that I’ve ever skied. It just brings me joy and so my family are my hobby and that’s what I live for.

Brandon: Nice. I like it. Alright, next question: what do you believe, in all your experience with hundreds of thousands of investors, millions of them coming through BiggerPockets, what do you see sets apart successful ones from those who either give up, fail, or never get started?

Josh: I don’t know if the listeners have noticed, but I don’t actually ask this question. We always have Brandon ask it. There’s a couple reasons. One: It’s hard to say.

Brandon: It is hard to say.

Josh: It is actually difficult to say. I’m going to sit here and ponder and maybe Brandon can fill the air with his rendition of something, but I think the people over the years that I see who go on to be successful they’re honest, they don’t try to take advantage of people so they’re kind of true to themselves. They put in the work so they put the time in to be a study of real estate. They’re not lazy so they work hard and they don’t let little things stop them, and there’s a little crazy in there too and a lot of risk taking because it’s hard. Think about anybody who’s been doing this for more than a couple of years, we’ve all had a bad situation, and being able to walk away from that bad situation and say, “I’m going to keep at this, I’m going to keep doing this,” you know, you’ve gotta have some cojones. You’ve gotta have some fortitude to kind of stick this thing out and say, “oh, well I just got screwed over by this tenant,” or, “this contractor just burned me,” or, “I just lost a bloody fortune because of whatever, whatever,” and come back and say, “you know what? But I’m going to keep at it because I know that this is the path to success,” I can’t put in words what that is. There’s something. So, it’s the stick-to-itness maybe that they have and a passion and a love for it, and to kind of bring another answer to it everybody has their own success, and you and I have talked about this a lot Brandon, what works for so-in-so does not work, may not work, for you. There is not a single path to success in real estate. There is not one way to go, despite what the guru will tell you. We all have our pathway. We all have our own way of going, and I may just want to have three properties and be done. I don’t want to have 50, 100, 1,000, that’s okay! Not everybody needs to have that. So figure out—you have to be true to you. Be true to what you know, who you are, what you want, and if you stick to that, despite the down times, I think you’re going to be successful.

Brandon: That was good. That’s deep. I like it.

Josh: Thank you.

Brandon: Hey, Josh?

Josh: Hey, what’s up?

Brandon: So, where can people find out more about you? Where can they get in touch?

Josh: Alright, well.

Brandon: Your cell phone number is what?

Josh: Yeah, don’t even go there dude. They can find me on BiggerPockets, obviously, Don’t know why that became my user name.

Brandon: BiggerPO.

Josh: BiggerPO. I’m the BiggerPO. I’m on Facebook I probably will not friend you on Facebook unless I know you. It’s just one of those things. LinkedIn is the same thing. If I know you, if we’re familiar I’ll connect, but I keep some of these networks a little closer to heart. G+ I’m all out and about and obviously you guys know where to find me on the site. I’ve got that Tom from MySpace thing when you join the site you’re my friend all of a sudden. I guess I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up and thought, you know, maybe this was a way to get there so just join BP and you’ll be my best buddy in the world.

Brandon: There you go.

Josh: Yeah, just connect with me on the site.

Brandon: You’re on the podcast every week.

Josh: I’m on the podcast every week, and, you know, if you guys have technical questions that you want to ask me please don’t ask me. I get so many, and I know Brandon has the same issue. We actually have a support team now, guys, and you can get in touch with them through the contact form on BiggerPockets at or you can email [email protected]

If you want to get in touch with me and just say, “hey,” hit me up anytime on the site. I’m happy to connect. I try to answer everybody. I don’t get to it as much anymore which is hard. I really do like to try and talk to everybody but I can’t so that’s it.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: Yeah, man.

Brandon: Alright, well—

Josh: You gonna close this thing out?

Brandon: I think we’d better close this thing out.

Josh: I’m sorry if you listened, by the way, all the way through.

Brandon: Yeah, this was, I think you were trying to go for the longest show ever.

Josh: Is this the longest show ever?

Brandon: It’s close, but I think Ben’s going to beat you on that one.

Josh: Aw, man!

Brandon: Digital Coffee Shop episode, but we’re close. We’re at almost 2 hours, but anyway. Everybody thank you for listening! Obviously Josh and I really, really appreciate all of the support. 100 shows. I never thought we’d get here.

Josh: Wow.

Brandon: When we started out.

Josh: I don’t think we thought we’d get to show 5.

Brandon: No, we didn’t.

Josh: You were, like, listen back to those first shows.

Brandon: No, don’t listen!

Josh: We were awful.

Brandon: We’re still awful.

Josh: I mean, the interviews weren’t, but we were. We were not very good.

Brandon: Oh, yeah. Anyway. Thank you guys! We appreciate it. Obviously jump onto BiggerPockets, Josh said it 100 times today, people who succeed are ones who get active and involved and take an approach that they’re going to make themselves successful not rely on some magic so jump in. Greet some new members, if you haven’t done a new member introduction do one today, and then of course follow us on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and the usual. That’s pretty much it.

Josh: And engage with us! You know what? I’m going to add in, I don’t say this, but share. Share. If you think BiggerPockets is awesome, I know that I do, and I share it all the time. I may annoy my friends a little bit, but they get over it. Share what we have. If you find a cool thread share it on Facebook. Your friends may say, “oh my god! I didn’t want to tell him that I was investing in real estate, but this is so cool!” if you read an article share it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, share it where you are. A: it helps us. If you love BiggerPockets sharing our stuff will help us, and it’ll help you. Here’s how: the more people we have on BiggerPockets the more potential partners you have on BiggerPockets. The more people who are connecting and engaging the better and faster you’re going to get answers. So, as we grow we all grow together. So help us grow by sharing, telling people about us and getting the word out. That’s it.

Brandon: Cool.

Josh: So, close it up, man! Do it!

Brandon: Alright, I’m doing it. this is show 100, you can check out the show notes at that’s all we got guys. Thank you very much! This is Brandon, signing off.

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