How to Better Utilize BiggerPockets to Reach Your Real Estate Goals

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This past week, I put 2 properties under contract. Combined, they equal $90k gross profit. Not bad for two deals — and probably 20 total hours of work over the next 3-4 months.

One is with a new partner (insert internet fist bump), and one is in my own LLC. One is a flip that will gross nearly $50k; the other is a rental that I could sell as a flip, but also has such strong cash flow that I will hold it for 12-24 months, not pay short term capital gains, and then I will sell it, making more than 100% cash on cash on that deal. The rental will also cash flow more than $350 monthly after all expenses — not bad for a property in a B-class neighborhood at an acquisition price just over $40k.

I’ve been pondering this for a while, the question of course: WHAT is it that makes BiggerPockets so great, and how can YOU tap into the unlimited potential that this site has to offer?

I want to give you some simple, actionable steps to check off as you look at what you are doing while spending time on the site, and how to maximize your time.

First, I’ve spent some serious time looking at peoples profiles.  Looking at their deals, their websites, their information, trying to really have an understanding of who they are, what their business is, and what they are all about.

That’s what BiggerPockets is really about, right?

It’s about opportunity, learning and community. Not necessarily in that order. In order to take advantage of those things, YOU have to understand what you are on the website for. Here to learn, here to find business deals, or maybe to connect with more people (who may in turn teach you, learn from you, or become opportunities for you).

I believe all three of these are interconnected, but you must know which of these three buckets you are in: first, second or third. And one is not better than the other.

It’s just a matter of understanding where you are, what you need, and then figuring out what you have to offer.

Within that context, this season now for me is about connecting with more like-minded people through joint ventures, growing the property management side of my business, and learning about topics that I haven’t spent a lot of time on, such as creative financing or property management company structure. I am also laser focused on my goals for 2015: 4-6 buy and hold properties and 6-8 flips.

Related: How Tyler Made $100,000 Through the BiggerPockets Forums (Video Included!)

The community at BiggerPockets is amazing… and I’m not just saying that. And, just so it’s clear, I am not out here taking money for every click this post receives (although maybe I should message Josh and Brandon about that, huh!?). Ok, maybe not. 🙂

But seriously, nearly every time I read anything posted by others or post a question myself in the forums, there are people who take their time to respond and to help, and they are kind, helpful — and genuinely doing whatever they can to help.

And speaking some truth here, we all have (believe me… I’ve had MANY) moments we needed help within our real estate business and only wished we had a site like BiggerPockets to go to. But we also have to understand how to ask questions on here, how to connect with others in a meaningful way, and how to really, honestly, get the full benefits of using BiggerPockets for what we are looking for.

So, let me do my best here to lay it out for you.

How I Bought, Rehabbed, Rented, Refinanced, and Repeated for 14 Rental Properties

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How to Get the Most Out of Your BiggerPockets Experience

Your Profile

Your profile is the way others will see you.

For instance, you post something in a forum, and I go and read your question, I am most likely going to go look at your profile, see what your experience is, and try to understand where you are coming from. Believe me, if you don’t have a picture, you are a lot less likely to get comments back on your posts. Have a picture and fill out your information — even if you don’t know anything and haven’t done anything; heck, even if you’re eating potato chips on your mom’s couch, living for free…

However, I think in this situation… your first action step is GET OFF YOUR MOM’S COUCH. 🙂 #justsayin

The Forums

There are many BiggerPockets Forums out there, and they allow you to do three distinct things.

One, they allow you to go back and look at conversations that have already happened. If you do a search on a certain topic, you get a nicely laid out search result telling you who has talked about it, conversations, profile pages, etc., all within that topic. So it might in fact save you from having to post a question; instead, you might be able to learn the information right there — or post a question onto that same thread of posts since they are already having that conversation. #mindblown

Second, the forums allow you to post questions. This is so awesome. Post a question, get a response. Sometimes a lot of them. I am not a big fan of people posting things just to “stir the pot” — and that does happen sometimes, but for the most part, there is a lot of value in what is posted and in the responses people give.

Third, BiggerPockets Forums allow you to take advantage of the intelligence of a passionate community; having this like-minded mass of people who are fired up, simply doing, living and breathing real estate, is so freakin’ awesome. There is a value in the opportunity for many people to share what they have learned, and to maximize the benefits of the Forums, there are several avenues you should consider:

Developing (Useful) Relationships

In a short period of time, I have connected with quite a few different people  — and really made some meaningful, helpful, and great relationships within BP. Take the time to reach out to people you want to connect with, send them a message, and make it about something you actually read on their page, something you liked about their picture, whatever! But write something. And have a real reason to connect with them.

For specific topics I have specific people I know to go to and usually now I will just message them directly if it’s something I don’t need 100 responses to and am trying to get a quick and concise answer. That’s great. Do whatever makes sense and is the best use of your/their time.

Be respectful of everyone’s time — just as you would want someone to be respectful of yours.

Joint Ventures and Partnerships

Oh, baby. I get fired up just thinking about this! What an awesome place to connect people with the passion — but not necessarily the resources — with those people who are building parts of their wealth through real estate, but need partners with boots on the ground.

Deals are happening right here on BiggerPockets.  Make sure you are prepared for what might come of those relationships, but also make sure you are doing your homework, and especially if you are very new to real estate, make sure you have had an attorney, investor friend, or someone who really would know look over what you are doing.

I haven’t had an encounter with someone who’s tried to do something unkind or immoral; I’m just saying you need to do the usual and necessary due diligence.

My BIG Goal: $650k in the Next 48 Months

Without setting goals, we are aiming in the dark.

I want to continue to expand the number of flips we are doing, which will then grow the number buy and holds we can acquire. This would represent the ability to buy dozens more buy and hold rental properties, bringing on a full time property manager, a personal assistant — and obviously increasing my personal salary if I choose to do that.

No, these aren’t perfect numbers; no, we don’t always make exactly $15k on a flip; and yes, sometimes we make more, and sometimes we make less. I had to pick a number and wanted it to be conservative rather than overeager, so I chose $15k per deal.

Some of these deals might not be with a partner; some of them will be just within our company. Either way, $15k seemed a reasonable number that would be conservative, and the potential for making more would be great — and making less would be unlikely.

2015: 6-8 flips – average $15k per deal = $90 – $120k

2016: 10-12 flips x $15k = $150-180k

2017: 12-14 flips x $15k = $180-210k

2018: 14+ flips x $15k = $210k

Now, this is a non-scientific number, but let’s say each year we do that number of flips and make somewhere in this neighborhood. We are on track to make or break the number $650k.

In Conclusion: Get Fired Up

Finding partners. Making deals. Doing business.

You know where it all starts? By making and cultivating meaningful relationships and by building a business that is successful — not just at making money, but at utilizing it to do great things.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Business with BiggerPockets Keyword Alerts

I’ve just begun to feel the need to hire my first part time employee, which will shortly lead to an opening for a full time position. It means that we can add a few more dollars to our monthly budget, and it means that I can also grow the buy and hold side of my business, which generates enough money that by the end of 2015, we will be making more money just off rentals than we need to run our household. It means that hiring my first property manager in 2015 is a goal that will be attained. And it means that having generated that much cash off flips, I will continue towards my goal of owning 100 rental units in the next 10 years or so.

This past week, I have spent a lot of time talking with my wife about our goals, our finances, and our life. Take the time to do this with your spouses, with your business partners, and with the people who are mentors and close friends in your life: it’s so important. Dream together. Talk together about deals. And make sure you are on the same page, going the same direction.

When you are working together, your dream is easier to accomplish, and you know you are working towards the same thing.

What’s your big dream, and what goals are you laying out for 2015? How will BiggerPockets help you get there?

Let’s hear from you below!

About Author

Nathan Brooks

Nathan Brooks is a dad, husband, worship leader, and real estate investor in the Kansas City market. Foodie. Coffee addict. Crossfit junkie.

17 Comments

  1. Nathan,
    Great post. I’ve already learned a lesson about abruptly dropping my goals, aspirations, and RE interests on my wife. One day, out of the blue, I stopped her while she was drying her hair and getting ready for work… “hey honey I am going to an REIA meeting tonight, want to come with me?” I guess it depends on your spouse, but I realized I needed to get her introduced to these crazy ideas of mine more gently and softly and slowly. Maybe like when you’re dating… “Hi, what’s your name? Want to jump in the sack?” Umm… no. Still haven’t made it to the local REIA meeting yet.

    • Nathan Brooks

      Keith … I think there are two different things here. Learning at a local REIA meeting and having your wife on board can be very different! For instance, the meeting might really turn her off about real estate investing, but if you turned on a podcast or something, maybe she would be into it. Also think about how she listens, learns, and perceives information. If she feels the value of what it will be in your life, and she understands it … it will be a lot more likely a situation for her to invest.

      Plus, great learning for you in learning to communicate your passion, desire, and will to do real estate! Go get it! Good luck!

  2. Brooks Rembert on

    Nathan,

    Inspiring article. Thank you for writing it. We are beginning to take the real estate journey as we speak. We were reluctant landlords beginning several years ago, but now have seen the light in how a real estate business really can be the answer to all we’re looking for in life.

    We have a contract on our first “on purpose” rental home that we will buy, light rehab, and rent.

    We are aiming to be a little conservative for now; one new home per year for a couple of years, to make sure we have what it takes. Then we’ll scale up smartly if this really is the way we want to go.

    Again, thank you for the great article.

  3. Hello Nathan,
    What a great post! You immediately got my attention and gave me the courage to write back. I’ve been a member of BP since late August , and although I have a CRAZY, BUSY life, I manage to be on the BP Website at least 2 hours a day, 7 days a week ! (Can’t get enough of it)
    I’ve been working on a commercial deal (tired landlord) and will have it under contract next week.
    A realtor friend and my my layer son-in-law are helping me with the numbers.
    Scared sh..t !!!
    After reading your post, I am definitely going to write something on the forums to try to get as much imput as needed…SO EXCITED!
    Congratulations to Branden and Josh for this amazing website !
    What a GREAT family this is!
    Again,thank you, Nathan.
    Christine

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