Investing in real estate is different than it used to be when your grandfather did it. It’s even different than when your father did it.
BiggerPockets is helping to spur that change by altering the way the world invests. Founded in 2004, the company provides education, networking and various other tools for any individual interested in real estate investing. Currently, BiggerPockets boasts the largest real estate investing community.
BiggerPockets‘ marketing director, Lauren Hogan, talked with RewardExpert about how a sense of intimacy has led to the creation of a unique community.
It Started in a Basement
Joshua Dorkin is the company’s founder and CEO. Following a bad real estate investment, he scoured the internet in search for tips and advice. He was unable to find anything beyond supposed real estate gurus attempting to sell expensive “get started in real estate” classes.
Dorkin realized that he could sidestep phony business ventures by providing people with free information related to the real estate market and the investments that accompany it. That branched into an opportunity to network with actual real estate investors.
“The company was a company of one man, working from his basement for a long time until the site grew to a sustainable size,” Hogan said. “At this point, Joshua started hiring in Denver after working with remote developers while building the site. Since then, the team has expanded to 27 employees in Denver and has nearly a million members on the site.”
Free and Valuable Content
In what the company calls a “grassroots, democratized education,” its social media hub offers myriad ways of connectivity, including: real interaction with real investors and building relationships through social media; asking questions on the site’s forums and picking up knowledge and skills via the podcast; analyzing deals using property analysis calculators and printing reports to lenders and partners; and advertising in the marketplace and doing business in a particular community.
Hogan said the company’s commitment to free education separates it from other ventures. That pledge is executed by providing free valuable content through channels like blogs, which includes multiple new daily articles on industry insight and other aspects, as well as offering free basic memberships so anyone can join without feeling a hole in their wallet.
“We strongly believe that if you want to invest in real estate, you need to do the homework first. And we can provide you the information you need, at no cost,” she said.
When it comes to trying to attract newer individuals to the real estate investment market, Hogan had an easy, yet effective message: “Network, network, network.”
“We’ve seen a lot of our members find success by connecting with the right person—whether it’s a lender, a real estate agent or a partner to invest with.” she said. “Speaking with someone who has experience in real estate investing, before you start, is a huge key to success. They can help you avoid common pitfalls or simply offer advice when you need it.”
The future for BiggerPockets includes a plan for more growth of social networking in the real estate community, as well as identifying tools and features that can draw in more potential investors.
“Right now, we are exploring any and all options to provide more value to our community,” she said.