Posted over 2 years ago

Top 5 Reasons We Pros are TOTALLY Ignoring Your BP Forum Questions

I do love BiggerPockets! What's not to love about an international community of real estate aficionados and enthusiasts all committed to mutually beneficial collaboration and networking? I've made friends, done deals, found investors, and learned many clever strategies all right here on BP.

So, amidst all of this sharing and goodwill, why are there literally thousands of Forum posts that go unanswered?

Certainly, there is no shortage of knowledge here. There are TONS of experts in every facet of real estate imaginable, and they are eager to share their hard-earned wisdom.

So, if you're not getting the attention of the Pros when you post your Forum question, you're likely making one of these 5 deadly mistakes.

MISTAKE #1: You Clearly Haven’t Done Even Basic Homework

"How do I calculate net operating income?"

"What does Subject-to mean?"

"Are there real estate investment groups in Atlanta?"

There's no crime in not knowing things. None of us Pros were born with a working knowledge of all things real estate: We were all newbies at one time.

But, there's no excuse for not taking a few minutes to research your question first.

BiggerPockets provides a superb search capability that lets you seek answers across forum posts, podcasts, webinars and blogs. And then there's always Wikipedia, which has definitions for just about any financial term you can imagine.

The fix is simple: If you want a high-quality answer, be sure to ask a high-quality question! If an explanation can be found within 2 minutes on Google, do that instead. Reserve the BiggerPockets Forum for your truly critical, relevant, and specific queries.

MISTAKE #2: You Don't Appear Coachable

I'm not on the Forums looking for a fight or to make anyone feel foolish. When I give my perspective on a topic, I do so based on my personal experience in the business. There's no reason for me to knowingly give bad or inappropriate advice. I believe this is true of the majority of Pros here.

Given this, if your response to the honest advice of others is to lash out, go negative or become sarcastic, I'm skipping your thread entirely.

Life is too short to waste time on the unworthy.

MISTAKE #3: You’ve Made It Impossible to Help You

Real estate investment is a local activity governed by the laws and regulations of a particular city, municipality, county and state. When you need specific help, be sure to provide enough detail for someone to give an informed response.

For example, an eviction in New York City is vastly different than in Atlanta, yet I've seen many forum posts that ask a specific question about the process without providing any information on where the property is located. Even worse, the profile of the poster doesn't include any hints about where they operate geographically.

Guess what? No Pro is going to skip-trace you just to answer your questions.

Complete your BiggerPockets user profile to at least include a real first and last name, and a city and state. While you're at it, there's no excuse not to use a real photo of yourself. Seriously, do they even make cellphones anymore that don't have a camera?

MISTAKE #4: You’re Asking for a "Mentor"

First, let's clear up a major misconception. Most people who are asking for a "mentor" really mean a "full-time, unpaid real estate coach."

It’s not the job of a mentor to teach you the real estate business. A mentor is there to answer your tough questions and to give you occasional guidance. It's your investing journey and you need to take responsibility for driving it forward. A mentor can't be your engine, nor your fuel. They are more like AAA for necessary emergency roadside assistance.

So stop asking for a mentor. The kind of people you’d actually want are way too busy doing actual deals, and the people who are interested might not have your best interests at heart.

MISTAKE #5: You’re Clearly a Taker, Not a Giver

You're not fooling anyone: I can see from your BP profile page that you joined all of 10 minutes ago and now your first (and last!) Forum post is a desperate, Hail Mary question. Once you have your answer you'll never be seen again.

If you've decided to join my beloved BiggerPockets community, I expect you to contribute when and where you can. You might not be able to offer many answers to others in your first few months here, but there are many other ways you can give back.

One of the best ways is to ask really great questions. I love nothing more than responding to a Forum post that is both thought-provoking and meaningful to the poster. The best way to thank a Pro for their advice is to take it and actually do something with it.

But even if you don't ask the question, you can chime in when the answer given is particularly useful and well explained.

And finally, there's the power of the vote. Forum votes are free and unlimited, so when you receive value from someone's post, be sure to let them know by giving them a vote!

So, am I being unfair? Have I become the "cranky old guy" yelling for the kids to get off my lawn? Let me know in the comments below!

Comments (188)

  1. Hello sir,, I was reading your post which sounded very interesting. I first wanna say that every advice doesn't go for me but  I might can grab a particular quote/sentence and use it to my advantage. You asserted that a mentor is the AAA to your journey which made so much sense to me. So that has helped me tremendously and now my thinking process is way different studying harder to gain the knowledge on my own. I am currently studying to become a wholesaler in the Philadelphia are so thanks for the advice sir.

  2. One of the best reads I ever came across ! This should be recommended for every new investor to read . I loved how I can easily relate to what was mentioned , especially when it use to be me. These 5 points are definitely glued to my mind and will refer to this every time I am looking to create a new post. 

    1. @Eli Bellevue Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment. I'm so glad to hear you were able to take away some value and put it into action!

  3. Mitch,

    Thanks for a great post! I totally agree with your points. I know I have struggled multiple times if I should just ask a certain question or spend a few mins researching about it. More often than not, I am realizing that the question that I have is already asked by someone else and the answer is already there. Over the years with the help of our selfless Pros BP has developed an extensive DB of really good questions that someone new like me can take advantage of. Finally, I am uploading my image right away, so thanks for reminding me of that :)

    1. @Sapan Agrawal, thank you for reading and for your comments. Yes, a little research before asking a questions goes a long way. And, by reviewing existing Forum threads, you can quickly learn who the experts are on various subjects, and then follow them for future insights. And yes, having a profile photo seems like such a minor thing, but we humans are visual beings and it's very hard to connect meaningfully with someone who presents as a placeholder graphical image.

  4. Mitch,

    Thanks for a great post! I totally agree with your points. I know I have struggled multiple times if I should just ask a certain question or spend a few mins researching about it. More often than not, I am realizing that the question that I have is already asked by someone else and the answer is already there. Over the years with the help of our selfless Pros BP has developed an extensive DB of really good questions that someone new like me can take advantage of. Finally, I am uploading my image right away, so thanks for reminding me of that :)

  5. Mitch,

    Great article! Too Honest that some people may take it the wrong way. Anyways, I must say you were really helpful the first time talking to you over the phone. I didn't feel ignored...:) 

    1. @David Adyy I speak from a place of love for this community! Thanks for reading! 

  6. Thanks for posting this article. Its certainly good sound advice and knowledge for new investors and those of us new to BiggerPockets. I've found that there are generally good people in this world who don't mind helping others and sharing their knowledge, but they don't like wasting their time and being used. I'll do my best to do more of the former and less of the latter on this forum (and in this world).

    1. @Mario Ray, thank you for reading and for the comment!

  7. Thanks for posting this article. Its certainly good sound advice and knowledge for new investors and those of us new to BiggerPockets. I've found that there are generally good people in this world who don't mind helping others and sharing their knowledge, but they don't like wasting their time and being used. I'll do my best to do more of the former and less of the latter on this forum (and in this world).

  8. Thanks for writing this article.

    1. @Paul Haughton Thank you for reading and for leaving me words of encouragement!

  9. Hey Mitch, This blog post is %100 percent facts. I really appreciate your time and passion  you put into this post and in helping others!!

    It’s great to be able to have a “REAL” investor give newer investors real advice without looking down on them, but also at the same time be able to let new investors know that you have to put in the work!!!

    I concur with that notion! I’m of the mindset of “adding value”. If I reach out to another investor or seller, Im asking them how can I help. Likewise with anyone that reaches out to me whether thats a seller or fellow investor!

    If you are a new investor read this blog post and take it to heart. This is a great read to start to understand how you can build realrelationships with people in the investing community!! 

    1. @JaMario Price Thank you for reading and also for your kind words of encouragement!

      I've seen a few of your posts here on BiggerPockets and it is clear you know how to ask a great question AND how to thank those who respond. Keep that up and even MORE people will want to help you! And around it goes...

  10. What a great post Mitch! Great advice for anyone on here seriously. BP is full of knowledgeable people and there is a wealth of information on here. It is so important to engage fully and with the proper etiquette. They are all great points, but number one and five.. That's critical. Google, Search Bar, take a few moments to actually look before repeating.

    And number five is so critical too! That's what we are all here to do in the end, right? Help people... Others, ourselves, our communities. Each one of us can add value in some way to each person we encounter. We need to find out how and have pure intention behind the why.

    Thank you for your time and amazing contributions to the BP community. I look forward to the time when I can give back on as large of a scale as you. 

    This should definitely be in the Read First section!

    1. @Simone Johnson Thank you for reading and for your kind words of encouragement! You are 100% correct: Those who are truly here to contribute will find all the assistance, partners, support, funds, and resources they could EVER hope for!

  11. This is a great post. I work in Technology, and in my team we have a culture of encouraging posing questions in an all purpose channel for everyone to see and for everyone to answer. The only unwritten rule is that you also have to say what you have tried first that did not work. I'm definitely not at a point where I know enough to provide answers to people's questions, but it's certainly a goal for me to learn enough so that I can do so. 

    1. @Daniel Kokodoko Thank you for reading and for your feedback!

      I will say that you are MUCH closer to being able to give back than you might think! As long as you're actively in The Game, every success and failure you experience gives you all the authority you need to begin helping others. For example, I know you recently tried "remote showings" for your rentals. Whatever your results, BiggerPockets is the perfect venue for you to tell us what (eventually) did or did not work for you, so that ALL of us can learn and get smarter!

  12. Mitch, you definitely sound like the "cranky old guy" yelling at "hooligans" on their lawn. No! I am totally kidding. As a new investor and fairly new member of BP, I can confidently say that reading this post will change the life of any new investor. While there are plenty of reasons you are not receiving the feedback you hope or even "expect" from the community, these 5 are SO huge. However, the biggest for me is to GIVE. This is an area that I, myself, am guilty of disregarding. In my mind, no one wants to hear my thoughts because I know so little compared to many of the pros on here. But Mitch's post here brings up some fantastic options for those who, like me, do not know a ton. Get out there in the forums and really read some other questions, rather than only visiting BP to ask your own or ask people to "be your mentor." You never know who you might actually be able to help until you change your mindset to that of someone who really wants to GIVE and not just TAKE. Also, you may know a lot more than you think. Worse case scenario, you can always leave a "like." This may seem trivial (it did to me at first), but it lets someone know that you appreciate their input and encourages people to continue to add to this beautiful community. So please, newbies, read this post; then read it again. And GIVE!

    1. @Brenden Mitchum Yes, you've GOT it: Having a "giving" mindset is truly the key to all the successes and rewards you could possibly hope for!

      Thank you for your kind words! You sound like someone who has read "The Go-Giver" by Bob Burg (or who WILL read it soon).

  13. Thank you, Mitch, for this awesome post and insight! As a new member to BiggerPockets, I believe this has helped me in my quest when it comes to using the forums! 

    1. @Jeremy Dorsey Thank you for reading and I'm so glad you found it helpful!

  14. Great post Mitch! This is why I always read your post. Learn something everyday! Keep the good content coming!!

    1. Thanks, @Greyson Holden, I appreciate the positive feedback! Let me know if there are other real estate topics you'd like to see tackled!

  15. Wow, a very thorough and thought-provoking blog. I clearly have a TON of work and self-reflection to do. Thank you for posting Mitch!

    1. @Karen Dixon Thank you for reading and for commenting! Fortunately for us all, the path of self-discovery rewards us the MINUTE we step onto it!

  16. Great post @Mitch Messer.  As a fairly new BP member, I've recently discovered the Deal Analysis forum and have been taking full advantage (both posting my own requests for help and pitching in on others' requests).  I've found that I get just as much out of reading the BP calculator reports that others generate as I do from posting my own deal analyses.  And I make another newbie's day by providing the knowledge I've gained over the last 6 months

    Now I'm hooked, and my goal is to research andcomment on 5 posts from other investors for every 1 analysis I post in the forum.  For any newbies reading this, I've gotten a lot of value from this strategy already and I highly recommend it!

    1. @Richie Thomas Congratulations, you've struck GOLD! There's no better ROI than from learning something yourself and then immediately re-investing that knowledge into teaching others.

  17. @Mitch Messer great post and straight up #Truth!  I'm newer to focusing on diving into the forums, but not new to real estate and its one thing I noticed right away on here.  You articulated this way better than I do, but theres sometimes I find myself linking to an article or blog thats already on BP and think to myself "why cant this person figure out how to find the same blog post?"

    Anyway, great article

    1. @Mike Higgins Thanks for reading and for the kind words! I can see from your other posts that you also embrace the "go-giver" philosophy.

  18. Mitch- Great post. I agree with these points as mentioned. This is my first post. I feel these points apply not only to real estate but to life in general. I am a newbie to the website, mainly because I sit at a computer all day. I am addicted to watching BP on YouTube and listening to podcasts. But I’ve learned that I have to pick the direction we want to go in and drive towards that goal or I will suffer from analysis paralysis. I was so surprised that when I asked a question, I actually received a phone call the very next day and received a very frank and honest answer to my question.

    Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

    1. @Dean Mitchell I completely agree! I've worked for humongous corporations and startups, in the tech sector and with non-profits. I've NEVER seen folks more willing to share and teach and guide others than real estate investors! I could never give back even a fraction of the wise counsel I've been gifted over the years.

  19. Honestly as a new member of the BP community I think that 5 simple rules like this should be easy for us new comers to follow as a simple guideline. I reached out on here after having some major issues and thankfully I was able to follow these 5 things to get a quick and great answer to my problems. As i found there are many situations that don’t go as planned but with the help of BP and @Mitch Messer I am def more able to make better decisions to guide me on my way in this new but exciting world of real estate. Honestly never have i seen a community so willing to help each other and asking nothing in return I’m happy I found this community and hope i can give back one day the way some of you PRO’s are. Thanks for the article and I will be sure to be a positive addition to BP community.

    1. @Frank Quesada Thank you for reading and for your comments! You are 100% correct: When solicited properly, the collective experience and wisdom of the BiggerPockets community will unleash an avalanche of valuable advice and helpful resources!

      It's ALL right here, for those who have learned how to ASK!

  20. Thank you for the site and allowing others a place to share info! Thanks for the newbie tips and my goal is to provide as much advice Once I get enough experience under my belt. Teacher by nature!! I want to be able to share my knowledge that I gain as I’m appreciative of what I’m learning already! So much to gain and give with this site! Thanks again 

    1. Thanks @Tai Bhattad! Yep, I'm as much of a fanboy of BiggePockets as there is!

  21. Thank you for your honesty! This was a useful post.  

    1. Account Closed Thank you for reading and for your comments!

  22. Great advice... thanks sir! Newbie posting here.

    1. @Sean Kehoe Thank you for reading and leaving a comment!

      I will admit to taking a look at your BP profile just now and I really LIKE what I see! You tell us WHO you are, WHERE you are located, WHAT your goals are, and HOW we can connect with you. Plus, I can see from your posts that you understanding the Power of Giving. Well done, sir!

  23. I've definitely been guilty of #1 and #3. I've done a bunch of studying on REI but you can easily end up on a tangent that you don't know about. In which case, it is probably better to save breath and say, "I'll have to do some homework there". It is tempting to have an experienced investor on the phone and ask, "well what do you mean by X?"

    #3 is a universal thing - in the work place you can be stuck and ready to ask your co-worker for help. There are layers of the onion to peel back; and you've always got to peel back as much as you can AND understand the major things at play before deciding to use some one's time!

    That being said - go @Mitch Messer! Appreciate you giving these tips. Most experienced investors are probably thinking about some or all of these ideas. Maybe this could be converted into a Checklist or Flowchart to help ANYONE asking for help!

    1. @Richie Choy Thank you for reading and for your comments! Mistake #3 is a KILLER but it's also the easiest to fix. The best start is a completed BP profile. It amazes me that people expect others to invest considerable time answering their questions when they themselves have spent ZERO time introducing themselves. It's akin to having a complete stranger with a ski mask on approach you on the street asking for help or information!

  24. Firstly, I would like to thank Mitch for taking some time out of your day to chat with me yesterday. I can admit that I have made Mistake #1 & Mistake #4. In my opinion, I think reading this post is essential for someone new to Bigger Pockets. As a newbie we want all the advice and information that one can consume from a seasoned investor. However, we fail to realize that most of the information is provided in the blog post, if we took the time to research first. I understand its hard to explain certain topics, if the newbie doesn't know the basic or essential information. I am still learning my way around this platform myself. The connections I can make on this website makes me super excited, however I will have to do my homework first If I would like to be taken seriously. 

    1. Hey @Quincy Vanderpool, thank you for reading and for taking time to comment.

      If it helps any, I myself have made Mistake #1, #2, #3, and #5! The mark of a professional is the ability to absorb the lesson and then act accordingly in the future.

      When we KNOW better, we DO better!

  25. You are a little cranky. You are also very informative. I am a new user who posted a question on a forum to have it answered.  In fact, that's why I singed up for an account with BP.  I would have otherwise viewed the information available and went on my merry way.  When I first read your article, I felt selfish and a little shamed.  I searched within the BP website and found some posts regarding the topic of my interest, but the several I read didn't answer my question of how to get started.  Perhaps I am lazy - no sarcasm intended. I want an answer to a question I wasn't sure how to post without writing an essay on the history of my situation.  I'm not sure that I posted to the right forum.  I did the best I could.  

    Please understand that there is an OVERWHELMING amount of information on the Internet.  For someone like me, inexperienced and looking for somewhat trustworthy information, a forum on a reputable website seems like a good place to start. A person lacking experience does not know what to look for, what to research.  It's understandable that a question may seem stupid to an expert, but it's not to the person seeking answers. Experts, please keep that in mind no matter how stupid the question seems or how lazy the person asking appears. It's OK to not answer, but please don't judge.

    I did find your information on seeking a mentor very informative.  When I posted my question, I wondered if it fell into that category because, as a new subscriber, I didn't know what criteria BP used to define mentor.  I assumed it was an expectation of hand holding through a process or endeavor.  And of course your, "do your research" was informative causing me to use the search feature.  I agree with your give-back policy.  However, I submit that those who gain the most from posting questions to BP's forums are not in a position to do so.  While some newbies may get and then be gone, others will contribute depending on their commitment to real estate and investments interests and as their confidence grows.

    Finally, your article impacted me in a way that you may or may not have intended.  It caused me look at my beliefs about seeking information, my sense of personal responsibility, and my awareness of giving and taking. Prior to reading your article, I was grateful for useful information I found on the Internet and in forums.  I rarely gave feedback on how grateful I felt.  I was selfish.  I took the information and went on my merry way.  I never thought about or felt motivated to give back until now.  For that, I thank you and I am grateful for the lesson.

    1. @Sandra Watkins Keough I very much appreciated your thoughtful and thorough response! I enjoyed reading every bit of it!

      I do want to be clear that I'm not judging here: EVERYONE is a newbie at some time and somewhere. Just this weekend I posted to a Facebook group asking for help finding someone to do some marketing in Columbus, Georgia. I got slapped down pretty hard by a member of the group who felt I was spamming, which was absolutely NOT my intention. I pushed back a bit, but once it became clear I had made a major blunder, I immediately conceded the point and deleted the post within minutes.

      It's not about declaring anyone good or bad, but rather only effective vs. not. I know next to nothing about tiny houses. But, you can bet I'd at least read a few BP blog posts and listen to a podcast or two before hitting the Forum with yet another "So, what's the deal with tiny houses" post.

      Your observation about finding a new "awareness of giving and taking" truly warmed my heart, because YES, that was exactly my intention! I wrote this post because I MYSELF watched as the world opened up for ME 4 years ago once I began looking for ways to give back while I was also getting. I sincerely wish that for you and for every BP member!

      Yep, I'm CRANKY 'cause I CARE!

  26. Hey Mitch

    I think you are 100% on point with this, defiantly have to come in with a base knowledge. meaning to ask good questions!

    haha and i love how you brought up being mentored, mentoring is such a entitled mentality now days. you defiantly need to build your track record on bp and learn to add the value instead of just going for the kill shot from the get go.

    keep up the good workman and thank you for all the information you put out!!

    1. @Michael Kennedy Thank you for reading and for your encouragement! We can ALL be better!

  27. Hey Mitch, thanks for sending me to this post, it's a great read for any newcomer like me. I realize now that I committed mistake #1 when contacting you, but I'm happy to have had the conversation and learning experience. Hopefully, we will get a deal done in the future!

    1. @Ahadu Solomon Yep, I refer so many new users here because it's not about me (even though I AM the author). I want EVERYONE on BiggerPockets to access the vast wisdom and experience available here, but that won't EVER happen if they treat this like a giant ATM and just TAKE, TAKE, TAKE!

      Regardless of expertise, everyone here can contribute. ANSWSER a question in the Forum. Can't answer any? Well, then ASK a great question! And, if all else fails, VOTE for those doing a great job asking or answering.

      This is OUR place: With every keystroke we choose either to make it a legendary community or not!

  28. I've read this article like 6 times this year.  I keep coming back to it as a way to "Double Down" on my efficacy as a BP contributor.  Thanks @Mitch Messer!!!

    1. @Michael Wagner You've no idea how gratifying it is to me that an experienced investor like you can still find value here! Like you, I'm doing my best to continually up my game!

  29. Great info! I started a discussion about Airbnb rental property but no one replied to me for a while so I just deleted that post. I think next time I should do my homework on my topic enough and then start the discussion. 

    1. @Thomas Dougherty Yep, I too used to get "total radio silence" on my posts here on BiggerPockets before I figured out WHY I was being ignored and WHAT to do about it!

  30. Thank you for this article. It is well needed and the information is very timely for new-comers like me as well as veterans. 

    1. @Diana R. Thank you for reading! I'm so glad you found this to be helpful.

  31. I'm pretty sure I was guilty of one or two of these at the start.

    I enjoyed the post and hope many, myself included, take advantage of the wisdom that was  shared here. 

    1. @Brewen Shaw Hey, we're ALL sinners: I committed numerous acts of #5 in my early days here! Only by coming clean and changing my ways did I get to enjoy the deep wisdom and unending opportunities available here on BiggerPockets!

      Thanks for reading and for your kind comments!

  32. @Mitch Messer This information is incredible all of newbie investors just entering the game like myself can get a lot beneficial information in this post. Like you said if you have a question that only takes a quick second to answer just do that little bit of research. Also more on that I believe you should do more due diligence on anything you pursue that way you are prepared. I love the quote given by Les Brown's teacher that says "it's better to not have an opportunity and be prepared than to have an opportunity and not be prepared". Thanks for this post Mitch and I hope the people who read this will benefit from it as much as I have!

    1. @Matthew Mehaffey Thank you for reading; I'm very glad you found it useful! Let me know what other topics you'd like to see addressed to help speed you toward success!

  33. Excellent post! Someone replied to a forum post a few days ago with a simple "Ugh!" and there was so much implied in that single word.  It sums up everything you've outlined here.  Thanks!  

    1. @Matthew McNeil, thank you for the kind words of encouragement! And, I can see from your previous posts (not to mention your votes-to-posts ratio) that you are a Giver yourself and an asset to this community! 

    2. lol

  34. @Mitch Messer Excellent post, Mitch.   These points are much needed for fledgling investors like myself!

    1. Thank you @Trevor Hill! I think we ALL struggle with some (or all) of these, from time to time. Me, I'm busy working on #5 and trying to be a better Giver by being a better Listener.

  35. Mitch,

    Great post. I think most new investors are concerned with finding their first deal instead of learning the ins and out of real estate, which is a mistake. 

    It’s also better to give than receive as you mentioned. Great advice as always! Keep the amazing post coming. 

    1. Thank you, Canesha! Yes, or as my life coach likes to say, "You can't out-give The System!"

  36. @Mitch Messer

    What a fantastic blog entry. As others have mentioned, this really should be required reading before users are able to make their first post.

    There are so many knowledgeable, helpful experts who are both willing and able to share their insight - this site is such a fantastic resource. 

    Another mistake that I would imagine drives the experts crazy is when the same questions are posed over and over. Like you mentioned with “Mistake #1” regarding the failure to do the basic homework/googling - I think the ability to search these forums is a hugely beneficial tool that isn’t utilized nearly enough. The questions that get asked again and again are not bad questions by any means - but they’ve been asked, and experts have generously shared their time and expended effort to articulate a measured response. When the same question gets asked 48 hours later, I would imagine it demoralizes and/or discourages them to some extent - leading them to (incorrectly) feel that others are not fully appreciating their efforts or that they are wasting their time. I certainly hope that is not the case - but, to me, this is a big concern. So many of my questions have been answered by simply searching the BP forums. Don’t be afraid to post questions - but in addition to reading books, scouring the forums, listening to podcasts, etc - make sure the question hasn’t already been asked! 

    P.S. looks like I need to get my full name and a picture up ASAP - I don’t want to be a hypocrite! 

    Thanks for the post, Mitch - you’re always a breath of fresh air on the forum! 

    1. @Evan G. Thank you for taking the time to offer such welcome words of encouragement! I also agree that taking time to do a search before posting is always a wise practice, although I will say the BP search function could stand a little polishing up!

  37. Great post!  Tons of great information at your fingertips.  I have gone to post a question so many times and the answer is already there, all I had to do was type in the search bar.  I do not usually have a need to post a question, mainly because my question has an answer just waiting for me to find it.  Glad you  mentioned that I should give a thumbs up to the answer I found within the BP community!  Loved your post.  By the way, I am from Alabama and my husband and I are rental real estate investors also.  We still consider ourselves newbies-approx 2-3 yrs, but have learned so much from the BP community, we have several properties and have not had the need to ask much, maybe one or two questions.  For the most part we listen to podcasts and search through the info on the BP site!   And Pro membership is definitely worth it! Thanks for your time in posting your comments!  

    1. @Regina Story, thank you for the kind words of encouragement! Let me know if you do have a particular investing topic that interests you: I'm always looking for ideas for the next post!

  38. Thank you Mitch for your insight on some of the basics for posting on BP.   I'm new to the site and have tons of questions but most have already been answered by the massive amounts of information on the website.  I look forward to receiving some constructive criticism and intriguing the community with great questions soon. 

    1. @John Webb, welcome to BiggerPockets and thank you for reading! Used effectively, I honestly believe BP is one of the BEST tools for actually making money in real estate investing. All the networking, wisdom and insight you could ever ask for is right here!

  39. Haha, Love it! This is applicable to every field, not just real estate investing. #2 and #4 are my favorites. And I totally agree, the people that you want help from are too busy crushing their own business to be a full-time mentor for you, and those that offer that kind of help...Look out! Thanks Mitch!  

    1. @Noah Weitzman, I truly appreciate the kind words!

  40. Great tips Mitch.  Thanks for that.  Maybe it will become required reading at some point.  I'm a subject matter expert in a different field (IT management) and see lazy questions across all spectrum's of support forums.  

    1. @Joey Hernandez thanks for the read and for the encouraging words!

  41. Great post @Mitch Messer.  As somewhat of a newbie myself I always try to do some online research and search the BP forums before asking something that may have been asked 50 times already.  Even though I'm still learning I find myself shaking my head when I see posts like "How do I get started in real estate investing?"

    1. Thanks @Jim S. It really makes me crazy to see folks be SO CLOSE to all the real estate investment wisdom they could ever WANT, but not have the basic skills needed to EXTRACT it effectively!

  42. "Cranky Old Guy" definitely not. Loved, the article especially about people with an ax to grind. Keep up the good work.

    1. Cathy, just knowing this was helpful puts a big, goofy grin on my face!

  43. I enjoyed the article Mitch and believe it is spot on. Mistake #1 is especially vexing and It's problematic across various sites, groups, associations, etcetera. 

    1. @Michael Shabazz, thank you for the encouragement! I only know all this because I MADE some of these mistakes myself, early on, and got brutally IGNORED!

  44. This is truly a great post....if you want to get the most out of any system of your homework first before you begin asking the pros to teach you basic stuff....this belongs in the "must read before joining" file.

    1. @Chuck Bauman, thank you for reading and for your kind words of encouragement!

  45. Mitch,

    Thanks for your posting . This information is great for anyone, starting in any field of endeavor.

    We all (regardless of level) should do our own investigation and research before asking questions in order to not waste anyone's precious time. And I agree, your post should be required reading for beginners. Your perspective shows many thoughtful insights. Keep up the great work.

    Joe Z.

    1. Hey Joe, I truly appreciate the kind words!

  46. Mitch, I noticed most of your points after a cursor review of the forum topics.  I do also appreciate your simple feedback and reminder to self educate and avoid being spoon fed everything.  

    1. @Patrick John Culpepper, thank you for reading!

  47. Great article... Thanks for your insight Mitch.

    1. Thanks, Brent, I really appreciate the positive feedback!

  48. Great article, I hope people hear you!

    1. Thank you, Rachel! Let's hope the message gets received!

  49. Really  great post. TRUTH!  

    1. Thanks, Ken! I only want us all to get more of what we want here!

  50. That was a great post, I would hope that all the people out there would really read and appreciate this post...

    1. Mike, I really appreciate your words of encouragement!

  51. Mitch awesome post. Very insightful and real. Thank you as it was eye opening to me as a newbie. I think it’s  great that you challenege newbies to do their due diligence on BP forums / resources before asking a question, espically if they want quality feedback. I actually added more detail to my profile and will be updating it more because of this post. Thanks for sharing!

    1. @Jason James thank YOU for reading! Let me know how else I can help you succeed!

  52. I think this is great. I hope no one is genuinely offended by any of this. It’s important to remember that most sites/forms (ex. Reddit) have community guidelines and that’s how I interpret this post. This is absolutely “Read First” material and it’s nice to be reminded of these things every now and then.

    1. Thanks, Matt! I really appreciate the feedback.

  53. I like this post and don't read this as being harsh. One SHOULD be dedicated to always educating themselves, doing research, and applying the knowledge they have learned. As a new person in real estate, the main component one will be missing is the experience that can only be ascertained by doing deals. I believe the PROs are aware of this and try to help these genuine newbies out.  However, the PROs are also aware of individuals who do lack much more than the experience needed to be successful in this business (i.e dedication, education, drive, understanding, many of the points you made in your post, etc.)

    1. Thanks, Dexter! You're right: I wasn't at all aiming for harshness. Still, if I were making my life waay harder than it had to be, I'd HOPE someone would be honest enough to tell me the straight TRUTH, regardless of how it might make me feel initially.

  54. Excellent post @Mitch Messer and very truthful as well as helpful, if the the newbies asking the questions would "actually" read it prior to asking their qyestion.

    1. Thank you @James Stevens! I've taken to posting a link back to this blog post whenever I come across newbie forum posts that have been ignored for a long while. I wish more people would do the same. It's a start, at least!

  55. @Mitch Messer

    Thanks Mitch, very good post I really like how you added that life is to short for the put downs that creep in sometimes here ON BP. All of your info is helpful great job!

    1. @Henry R. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement!

  56. Mitch ! Thanks for these insights they were very helpful and I could only imagine the ignorance you feel as a PRO mentor when newbies contact you asking googleable questions. I have been in touch with you and know you'd only like the best for all your beginner investors. Updated my profile and will be contacting you soon !

    1. Saje, thank you for reading! If this post helps ANYONE get even a LITTLE more out of BiggerPockets, then my mission here is complete!

  57. Mitch this post was super insiteful. First thank you for giving us the do's and don'ts for seeking help. I know that I do my best to make sure that I value other people's time and let them know how important they have been to me. I am for sure going to take this list, print it out, hang it at my desk at work and share it also with my teenage son who will be entering college in the Fall. 

    I really appreciate the jewels that you shared with me this afternoon. Our short but very impactful conversation reduced my anxiety just by you sharing another finance option, "subject-to". You also armed me with tools to ensure that I had the right realtor and empowered me by letting me know that I could take the lead on my own deal. Although I am still nervous becase the deal has not been completed, I feel more confident in knowing that my research, my informed questions and little experience was enough to make you want to take some time to pour into me. I grately appreciate you and your knowledge shared with me.

    1. Shun, thank you for reading and for your kind words! Just know that we were ALL anxious when we stepped out into our first BIG DEAL. The important thing is to feel the anxiety and still do the thing ANYWAY!

  58. Yes, I definitely agree with Mitch and Michael Wanger's comment that this post should be the "Read This First " section of BP. Sometimes the questions we have can easily be answered by doing a simple google search. And in most cases, the questions have already been answered over and over again through other posts. Thank you for your advice, Mitch. 

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Rediet!

  59. Great post Mitch! 

    You're absolutely right about giving more than you take, in this community and just as a principle. Adding value to others is always a better way to connect with people and to grow in anything you want to do. Keep dropping the jewels for newcomers line me!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Simeon!

      As the Beatles' Paul McCartney says:

      "And, in the end
      the love you take
      is equal to the love you make."

  60. Great article Mitch. 

    As I was reading each of the 5 mistakes,  I thought to myself well yes that's just common sense right? Wrong, common sense is not that common and this is an excellent must read article for new members like myself. 

    Now,  about that profile picture...


    1. Thank you for reading, Monair! I've got to update my OWN picture: I lost the 'stache ages ago!

      That said, not having a real picture in your BP profile is like going to a high-powered networking event with a paper bag over your head!

  61. Hey Mitch, 

    All 5 of these reasons are very insightful and I think the conversation you're having with the community through this article is one that is vitally important for the long time users and the new guys to understand. 

    There's a level of dehumanization that happens when people communicate via technology and this article really helps to put this back into perspective. It took the person asking the question time as well as the investor answering it and neither would like their time to be wasted. These 5 reasons will do a world of wonder in saving people time and confusion if people in the community take the time to read it. 

    Thank you for taking the time to write it! 

    1. Megan, thank you for the kind words. By the way, I think your observation about the potential for technology to hinder courteousness is right on target!

  62. Mitch. 

    Thank you so much for setting us all straight. Is this hurried world we sometimes look for the easy answer. True knowledge comes from doing our homework and asking the real hard questions. 

    This community is again showing why we love it here. 

    1. Hey Ed, thanks for the encouragement! I just imagine how awesome it could be here if ALL questions asked were thoughtful and EVERY question yielded at least one quality answer! Even better, what if the original poster then followed up later with how they used that new information to actually get a deal done. BiggerPockets would be even MORE life-changing!

  63. Great article! Very insightful. I will definitely be using these tips when joining real estate forums. Thank you for the great advice. 

    1. Thank you for reading, Lauren!

  64. The first thing I did after reading this was stop and think about my past BP posts lol. I must say, in regard to mistake #2, it is a complete turn off to jump into forums and see sarcastic comments and negative energy. I have posted on forums and received advice that I didn't feel was relevant to what I asked, but I've always ramained humble thanking whoever replied for taking the time to provide feedback. Everyone's time is valuable and BP is not the place to argue back and forth in a way that's mean-spirited.

    Mistake#5 is really important to take note of as well. This community works best when members are contributing and seeking to add value to others, not just asking questions and leaving once someone gives an answer they like.

    Great post Mitch!

    1. Thank you, Gabe! I'm with you: Whenever I feel inclined to get snarky or unkind in the Forums, I remember that we were all newbies once and that we're all here to help and be helped. That puts things in perspective.

      Well, that, PLUS I realize that every BP Forum post appears to be searchable in Google, so who really wants to be captured for ALL eternity as an angry, short-tempered jerk?!?

  65. Being new to BiggerPockets, I really appreciate the insight you offered.  I'll be mindful of your good advice each time I submit my own posts.  It's also clear to me that you spent a good deal of time crafting your message.  Thanks for taking the time to do this!

    1. Alan, thank you for your feedback. As a new BP member, what would you say is the MAIN obstacle to you taking your Next Big Step as an investor? (Yes, I'm shamelessly hunting for ideas for future blog posts...)

  66. Great advice. Double Snap to your comments!

    And I totally agree with @Andrew Angerer on his reply to you:

    “People who often ask for coaches really just want a human version of google, free advice for nothing.”

    Your feedback is helpful to newbies and those of us who have been around the block alike. 

    Can’t wait to see your next post!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words!

  67. I really like what you have said in this edition of your blog.  You are so right.  Thanks for writing it.  This would be a great "sticky" post at the beginning of the forums.  

    I see the same questions asked over and over again, such as how to find sellers or how to find buyers.

    A well thought out question is interesting and maybe all of us can learn something from the answers.  I sometimes see an answer that never crossed my mind.  That makes me think Hmmm.....  I know others have told me that happens to them, also.  

    1. Thanks for reading, James! Yes, coming across that one intriguing idea or thought-provoking question or clever hack is what keeps me coming back to BP: There's so much to learn!

  68. Mitch - As always, your insights are spot on. This post offers practical how-to information not only for Bigger Pockets but for any online or offline community where people value building relationships! 

    1. Thank you, Toby! I can still clearly recall having MY BiggerPockets posts ignored back in the day and having no idea why.

  69. Wow, what a great post! If the "Kids" are not clear on how to behave when using this forum, Shame on them!!  This system only works if you are willing to listen to the answers provided and take action.  Thanks, Mitch  (Sorry no picture)

    1. I do appreciate your kind words! Let's hope those who need to see this get their chance.

  70. Hi  Mitch..

    SPOT ON! An honest assessment worthy of consideration. Great job.

    1. Thank you Marcia! My sincere hope is that brutal honesty will help us ALL get more out of this great community.

  71. Thank you for writing this, Mitch!  This contains so much of what I think when I don't answer questions!  This should be very helpful to members with a lot of questions, especially new members.

    1. Much appreciated, Alexia! And the truth is that folks like you and me really WANT to answer legitimate questions, we just don't want to do someone else's homework.

  72. Great post! I completely agree - particularly with researching basic questions prior to posting. The tone of a post is quite different and makes you want to help if someone has put forth some effort is is asking for clarification of what they found.

    1. Many thanks, Sarah! It STUNS me how much encouragement and support is available, if only more people knew how to properly ASK for it.

  73. WOW! Who new the Pro's felt this way. Thanks for the great article and insight Mitch!

    1. Thank you for reading, Kelly!

  74. Thanks for the information! How can anyone expect to learn and grow if they don't take the time to put in some work? I'm am brand, spanking new with dozens of questions floating in my head. However I learned a long time ago, to get the answers you "NEED", you have to ask the right questions! 

    1. Thanks for reading, Antonia!

      I'm curious: What's the biggest, SCARIEST question you have right now? (I'm hunting for future blog topics!)

  75. Mitch, Thank you for the great information. I am new to this site and appreciate any tips to help navigate along the way.

    1. Hey Jeff, thanks for reading. If this post helps you get even a little more out of BiggerPockets, then my mission here is complete!

  76. Awesome post! Mitch has always been so helpful in information that he has given on BP here. I agree with points made here and I believe if newbie and even not so new investors would take heed, it would help them to grow And be beneficial to there RI business. Look forward to other great post/info. Thx.

    1. Thank you Marilyn! I consider it an honor to be able to help where I can. Even more rewarding for me is when, as in your case, you're paying it forward by actively helping others here on BP!

  77. Great post, and I would say your advice is true for all forums not just real estate, the pro's of any subject don't want to constantly coach for free the very basics of the subject matter.  People who often ask for coaches really just want a human version of google, free advice for nothing. 

    Maybe my generation growing up with google/internet has lost the ability to ask real people for real advice? 

    1. Thanks, Andrew! Yes, I agree that this dynamic is way bigger than BP.

      And I do wonder if access IS too easy, too available. What if, in order to ask one question, you had to first vote on 10 forum posts?

  78. Respect?! what are you crazy?

    1. Well, yeah, a little bit...

  79. I just posted a blog along similar lines that was inspired by some who made many of the mistakes you cite. I may not have posted mine if I had seen this blog first. You addressed the issue better than I.

    1. Hey Jeff, thanks for the read and the encouraging feedback! I also enjoyed reading *your* blog post ("What is the Meaning of Life?') and I think ours complement each other well.

      Yes, 42 indeed. And thanks for all the fish!

  80. Good summary and good advice, Mitch.

    Glad to see other helpful veterans commenting as well as some new folks.

    I sometimes look at unanswered discussions as I don't often offer my little opinion if it's already been said.  Often  8 out of 10 unanswered discussions are faceless. A huge row. Coincidence? It matters to me, too.  Can't take a sec to upload your pic?  Touche.

    Anyway, I hope some new folks get some tips out of your article and they understand a lot of us are here to help,  more so if they also help themselves first! 

    1. Thank you, Steve! Of course, now you've got ME thinking about what ways *I* might be "blocking the blessings" in other aspects of my life.

      I guess there's ALWAYS room for growth!

  81. Excellent blog, @Mitch Messer! I love helping people but many times have to just keep walking because they clearly are not in a place of receiving help.

    1. Thanks, Nathan, yes it's crazy how so many of us truly WANT to give back! With just a few mindset tweaks, newbies could get ALL the encouragement and support they need right here on BP!

  82.  =Mic Drop= These knowledge bombs should not just be reserved for the BP community.  These are "Navigating Digital Forums 101".  Thanks for the wisdom... and the mustache pic. ;) 

    1. Thank you so much, Kristin!

  83. This post is thoroughly accurate. Thank you for sharing and showing great concern to help other investors grow and learn. This business is not for the lazy. Over a year ago you help me as I was trying to learn the industry, however, many interruptions such as sickness and other things interfered with moving forward. I look forward to learning more and I have subscribed.

    1. Thank you,Valerie! I've received the benefit of so much helpful advice here on BP and elsewhere over the decades. I'm just delighted to be able to pay it forward even a little, and to encourage others to do the same!

  84. This is such a great, honest and to the point post Mitch... no different to any other facet of, career, friendships. i'm kind of new to all of this but contribute where i can.

    1. Thanks, Brett! Like you, I believe contribution is key: The more you give, the more you get. And everyone has something to offer, whether it's advice, validation or encouragement.

  85. Hi Mitch,

    You were one of the first “Pros” that reached out to me when I joined BP and provided advice/wisdom that pointed me in the right direction. Even got me connected with a great connection. 

    I enjoyed this blog and appreciate all that you do. Salute!  

    1. Hey Lisa, thank you for that! Now that you're experienced too, I hope you'll join me in spreading the knowledge around!

  86. Mr.Messer is an outstanding member of the BP community.  He has helped countless people, including myself, further our careers in real estate!  So definitely take notes if you're new to the site!  He knows what he is talking about.

    1. Thank you, Cimarron! I'd blush, but no one would ever be able to tell!  ; )

  87. Great post,  I agree with it all. 

    1. Thanks, Daniel! Does that make us BOTH "cranky old guys" or not? ; )

  88. Great Post! This is why I keep up with you Mitch. Peace/love 👷👷👷

    1. Very much appreciated, Derrick!

  89. Well said, Mitch.  This is really good insight for folks looking to get started but are going about it in the wrong ways.  With so much information already on BP, it's a waste of both mentor and mentee's time to explore topics that have thousands of discussions already posted.  Good advice -- do the research first and you'll likely get a wide variety of perspectives and approaches that can help newbees tackle their challenges. 

    1. Thanks, Nick, your success and your enlightened approach to BP is a big part of what drove me to write this! Now you get to pass your know-how on to others here.

  90. You covered those 5 points exactly. Nice work on this post.

    1. Thanks for reading, Warren!

  91. Hi Mitch,  The BP smart phone app has trending, I scroll through trending and skip so many titles because they have been answered so many times, the asker clearly has NOT searched and studied / read past threads.   I just hate repeated questions showing laziness.  But on the flip side BP's search engine is very weak.  I use it and am disappointed all the time!   The search needs fixing!! And the filters are weak too.

    Another reason why I skip over threads is if the subject is too short or the question is too terse leaving out critical info they could have typed.   I feel a need to appologize for having my opinions but then why should I?   I've got enough experience helping folks to know where my valuable time will be helpful and when (a guess) it would not move the needle for the asker.

    Don't know where I heard this:  if you are looking for better answers, you need to learn how to ask better questions.   There's tremendous truth to this.

    Yes I agree a new person reading the above might think I was not a giving or helpful person and I'm too hard?   I don't believe this is true.  I help a lot of folks.   But I think Mitch is on to something,  that new BP'ers need a guide on how to ask better questions, how to search and read first etc etc.

    The #1 issue for an experienced person is:  having their time wasted.  

    IE a BP start here guide that one is forced to read (actually read) and acknowledge when they first signup.  And then is always on the right side "How to get the most from BP ...."

    Everyone wins when BP drives up question quality, as apposed to bouncing along at the lowest common denominator.  I don't believe the voting mechanism works for question askers, works great for answer givers.   

    There needs to be a tweek to BP's website for giving feed back to askers, that doesn't waste one of my valuable posts.  IE dropping my post to vote ratio.  yes I actually think about my Post/Vote ratio, and don't post a lot of times because of it.  IE I post on good questions and good issues that I feel I could have a useful impact.  Leaving weak / bad / naive questions without posts....  Maybe this point is the crux of your question Mitch?   But posting on blogs is free, doesn't change my forum post / vote ratio.   :)

    1. Hey Curt, thanks for your comments! Yes, I see you often on the Forums sharing your wisdom and I fully agree with you that having your time wasted makes you want to just move on to someone else. Anything BP could do to correct this would be a victory for all, presumably even increasing their paid membership renewals!

  92. Great article Mitch! This is what i call "keeping it real". I'm looking forward to your next posts. 

    1. Thanks for reading and for the positive feedback, Chuks!

  93. Thanks for the great information Mr. Messer! Since I am still considered a "newbie", this information is very relevant to me. I've subscribed and good luck with your blog!

    1. Thanks, Justice! Let me know what topics would be particularly useful in supercharging your investment journey.

  94. This blog post belongs in the "READ THIS FIRST" section of BP!  Great advice for new members who truly want to get the most out of this incredible resource!!!

    1. Thanks, Mike, I'm hopeful that this will help others get as much out of BP as I've gotten over the years!

    2. I agree  This should definitely be in the "read this first" section.