Do you look at their profile before considering their opinion?

81 Replies

There are so many people who respond to posts here on BiggerPockets and so many verying opinions. How do you determine for yourself who to listen to? 

Do you do what most people do and give credit to those who agree with you and discredit those who do not? Do you take everything that people say as valid opinions? Do you do what I do and look at their profile to see how many deals they have done before you determine whether or not to consider their opinion? If I look at someone’s profile and there is nothing on it that tells me about this person then I don’t tend to take into consideration their opinions because I have no idea about the person or their level of knowledge or experience.

How do you determine what opinions to learn from or adopt and which to discard as you read through the forums?

The number of posts they have typically holds a lot of weight with me.  Also if they have a lot of posts, chances are I am already quite familiar with whether what they post can be trusted or not.

that is a great question.... I think it goes both ways.. I have seen some that have a lot of post simply because I call them Welcome wagon posters.. IE 3/4ths or more of their posts are welcomes and or copy and paste the exact same thing over and over.

for me personally checking their profile is usually an after thought..

I mostly just consider how thoughtfully it's written and whether it makes sense.  If they present a good argument, then that's usually good enough for me.  Besides, it's an opinion, so there may not even be a right or wrong answer and if there is, I probably won't find out until after I act on the one I chose.  lol

@Shiloh Lundahl this is a great question. The truth is, you get what you pay for and need to verify everything you read. Just because someone has a lot of posts or sounds good doesn't mean they are correct. I've seen some experienced investors give some pretty awful, incorrect, answers. I've probably screwed something up myself. 

The most frustrating part is when you get answers from people that have no education, no experience, and are new to the forums. You have to test who the speaker is and whether they are qualified to answer or not. Even then, you should test them by checking other resources. 

After you spend more time on the forums, you'll find people you can trust to give reliable answers.

@Jay Hinrichs I also think that the number of posts can be misleading in that some people post a bunch of nonsense and can get a high number of posts just because they have the intelligence enough to click the “post reply” button. 

Over the past couple of weeks there have been a few individuals (or perhaps just one with several different aliases) that have been posting nonsense. They have since been taken off the site though. So that’s good.  I just feel bad for new comers that don’t know any better and that take their advice into consideration just because they have a high number of posts.

Another thing that I tend to look at is the date that they registered. If they are new to the site I don’t immediately discount them, but I wonder if they have staying power or if they are just going to jump in to say their 2 cents and the jump out and never be heard from again.

Full disclosure I have only been on BiggerPockets for a year and a half. When I first became aware of this website, I really only listened to the podcasts. Then after a while I started to read forum posts. Then I started to reach out and connect with other investors both in private messages and out in the community for lunch. At the beginning I thought that the posters on BiggerPockets we’re all pretty experienced. But after time I noticed that as I looked for other investors in my own community that a large majority of them had not been active on BiggerPockets for a long time, even years. Then I started to notice that there were a lot of newcomers onto the site that had no real estate experience.  So I started to be more choosy as it came to trusting what people were saying and posting on the site. 

@Stan Hill when you say you rely on general consensus rather than one reply, what if the general population is incorrect? For instance when Robert Kiyosaki wrote that your house was not an asset, the general consensus was (and still is for the general public) that your house is an asset. 

There have been lively debates on this website where half of the posters are for something and the other half are against it. About 6 months ago I posted something about new the investors being entitled because they wanted more of the profits of the deal without putting much into the deal. That became a well debated topic with about half of the people agreeing and the other half not agreeing. However, when you look to be individuals who did not agree, many of them were newbies and were offended for it being suggested that they were entitled. Many that agreed were more seasoned investors who understood the value of mentorship.

Good question. In short, I rely on my own answers and research. I’ve seen a number of experienced investors, real estate agents, and even mortgage officers give pretty poor advice on these forums at times.

Experience is only one element I consider, as there are others I find far more valuable (intellect, whether or not they’re truly paying attention to your post, etc.).

Regardless, whenever I’m told something, I research it myself for either more insight or validity. I’ve learned to never take anyone’s hard word for anything. Ultimately, it’s your butt on the line, so you better be informed and educated yourself.

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

@Shiloh Lundahl this is a great question. The truth is, you get what you pay for and need to verify everything you read. Just because someone has a lot of posts or sounds good doesn't mean they are correct. I've seen some experienced investors give some pretty awful, incorrect, answers. I've probably screwed something up myself. 

The most frustrating part is when you get answers from people that have no education, no experience, and are new to the forums. You have to test who the speaker is and whether they are qualified to answer or not. Even then, you should test them by checking other resources. 

After you spend more time on the forums, you'll find people you can trust to give reliable answers.

I agree with this.

I examine the content, the profile is an afterthought.  Content is the highest in importance. After reading several high quality content posts, you will know who gives good advice. I also consider the tone.  It easy to hide behind a keyboard and demean someone.  That is a real turn off and I just tune that person out after that, no matter how good the advice seems.  Just my nature...  BP is missing out on a lot of Real Estate geniuses because they won't put up with that and then just won't participate.  They would rather be making money than dealing with trolls.

There is a lot of "my way is the only way" type posts and I find that a bit too much.  We can disagree amicably-no need to cram your philosophy down our throats.  Also, there is just a lot of bad advice relating to geographical areas.  Landlord law and how closings are handled in each state comes to mind. Every state has different laws and procedures.  If you are in CA, you can't tell me how I should evict someone in Louisiana.  And guess what?  I wouldn't dare dream of doing the same.

A word about post count. I don't post a lot because if 10 folks have said what I was going to say, I don't post, I just vote on the best ones.  Also, many folks have severe time constraints, i.e. multiple businesses/family obligations, so that may affect post count. A lot of folks are not trying to use BP to springboard business because they just have too much already, so their post count may be lower due to the lack of self promotion.  I do pay attention to the post/vote ratio.  If that is good, then that is a big positive.

I️ usually go by how many posts they have and if I️ recognize them from the podcasts or numerous other threads as I️ read on BP a lot and have listened to most the podcasts

@Shiloh Lundahl Good topic. Its hard to ignore individuals with a high post count also those with high ratio of vote to posts. I think before determining if someone’s advice is correct for you a couple factors need to be considered:
1. Location - Are they familiar with your area.
2. Investment history - I have only been investing for a year so I would discredit any advice I provide related to topics such as economic cycles.
3. Tone - Many provide strong advice while discouraging different ways of thinking. Although their advice may work it may also discourage an individual from trying something that works even better.

I do look at profiles before engaging into deeper conversations or considering an individuals advice “worthy”.
I think BP is best used for idea sharing but the decision making should rest solely on the individual seeking advice. Just like purchasing a property, due diligence is key.

Originally posted by @Gregory L. :

Good question. In short, I rely on my own answers and research. I’ve seen a number of experienced investors, real estate agents, and even mortgage officers give pretty poor advice on these forums at times.

Experience is only one element I consider, as there are others I find far more valuable (intellect, whether or not they’re truly paying attention to your post, etc.).

Regardless, whenever I’m told something, I research it myself for either more insight or validity. I’ve learned to never take anyone’s hard word for anything. Ultimately, it’s your butt on the line, so you better be informed and educated yourself.

 I agree precisely with what you are saying. 

Real Estate Investing wasn't invented by this site and experience counts for a lot more than the optics of what people "say" they know. I've seen some posters here with lots of "likes" who have been posting for a while that have given poor advice and bad information. Not all, but some do. I do check "their" profile to try and figure out what is going on, what they are trying to sell.

I think it is the old 80/20 rule. 80 percent think they know or they want to be known as knowing but don't really know and 20 percent are actually doing deals and learning. The second group are probably too busy to post very often.

I've seen answers that are very state specific spouted out as though they are universally true but are not.

Also, the number of deals someone has done is not "audited" by BP, and you don't know if they were successful or lost money. I guess you can learn by losing money but that is counter to my approach to business.

I was taught to always have "two or three witnesses" ( sources ) before I put any credence into an answer so I cross reference with other sources. BP offers "lots of advice" and some posters are very good. I can tell by the nuance of the answer compared to the detail they give. Not everybody actually reads the detail so they tend to miss a lot and make mistakes. Human nature. 

It's hard for a newbie I'm sure, to sort out what works and what doesn't, what's legal in their state and what isn't, what's fluff & what's solid, but most of success comes from within anyway. It's easier to steer a moving car than one that is just parked there. (It's better to start & make some mistakes than never start at all.)

Originally posted by @Shiloh Lundahl :

@Stan Hill when you say you rely on general consensus rather than one reply, what if the general population is incorrect? For instance when Robert Kiyosaki wrote that your house was not an asset, the general consensus was (and still is for the general public) that your house is an asset. 

There have been lively debates on this website where half of the posters are for something and the other half are against it. About 6 months ago I posted something about new the investors being entitled because they wanted more of the profits of the deal without putting much into the deal. That became a well debated topic with about half of the people agreeing and the other half not agreeing. However, when you look to be individuals who did not agree, many of them were newbies and were offended for it being suggested that they were entitled. Many that agreed were more seasoned investors who understood the value of mentorship.

 I think it may depend on what you come here for. I look for consensus on gray area issues. For example, the recent threads on an electrician falling through a ceiling, a tenant dying in a rental- stuff like that. Even with consensus, more due diligence is often if not always needed.

Even the asset/liability question on a house is dependent on the individual. Ours is paid for, costs money to own and I won't use its equity for other purchases. Therefore, to me it's a liability. Another person may want to invest equity on rentals and may see it as an asset. 

You reminded me of something Kiyosaki said. He doesn't ask"can I afford it?" He asks, "how can I afford it?" 

Also, I don't consider many BP members the general public in that regard. We are a specific group here for specific purposes.

@Shiloh Lundahl

I respect the opinions of everyone however I take the most seriously the members who have been around and done deals. Also the members I have met in real life.

I think BP is no different than most things surrounding business, success, entrepreneurship, etc., in that the majority of people are just all talk. Everyone can give advice, but it takes having done deals to know what you're talking about. That said, I think the BP community is generally more of the "doer" type than you'll meet in most circles. 

For me, it often just comes down to taking advice from those that are more successful than I am in the areas that I'm focused on. There is too much information out there to not narrow down the sources from which you get your advice!

I try to consider everyone's opinion but I do definitely feel like there are things that make me trust certain users' knowledge over others. I rarely look at any one thing, I think it's usually a culmination of things that leads to this trust. 

Of course there's exceptions to the rule (and some of these are repeats of what people say above) but I look at: 

- Is there profile complete? A photo isn't always necessary but it does help. Do they detail some of their investing history? Does it sound legitimate? If you've been in various parts of the business for as long as I have, you can tell this pretty quickly.

- How many posts do they have? And how many votes in proportion to to that (which usually avoids the "welcome wagon" posters as Jay calls them)?

- Do they have a business in their signature? (granted anyone could say they have a business, but it still adds some credibility).

- Have they done a podcast and is it featured in their signature? This usually signifies they have an expertise in something.

- How long have they been on the site? Obviously, the longer the better but everyone's gotta start somewhere.

- Most importantly: What's their relationship like with other posters on the site? Are they a lone wolf or do they seem well connected to others? Are they able to carry a dialogue with others I trust or know on the site.

Wow what a great post/question. Sooo many people have strong opinions and think they are the best/invincible at REI. Definitely take what anyone says with a grain of salt and do your own research and try to do what’s best for you. We are ALL in different markets and different points in our investing career.

I try to never assume I’m right when giving answers and I treat others the same way. Even though you should all believe everything I say because I put the “J” in Jenius.

Just yesterday I gave an answer that I’m confident in for most posters asking that question. It got a fair number of likes mostly because it is a popular opinion and I was the first reply. But it would not be right for everyone in every situation (though those people should know they are to that level and I tried to indicate that in my reply.)

I try to restrain myself to only give input when I believe I have some insight. I don’t have lots of real estate deals and none in the US yet so i am limited.

I also fully believe in “Trust but verify.” These boards are opinions. Most of the law is opinion about whether it applies or not. And we spend a great deal of time trying to figure out what is the best way to maximize our benefit. Well there is no one answer. I can say which is better a Bugatti or a minivan? I’m sure some people will have a concrete answer on that one but it kinda depends on the situation doesn’t it?

Generally, I focus on the content of someone's post, but gauge the responses from others as well. The more you interact, the more you get to know people. However, it's still an Internet forum, so you are responsible for your actions and decisions.

A profile picture and searchable name is important to me though for a basic level of connection and "google" validation.

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