BiggerPockets is an online community centered around real estate investing. For enterprising individuals who want to “create lasting wealth through real estate,” BiggerPockets is a social network, marketplace, and educational hub for its more than 1.6 million members.

BiggerPockets Review: Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Lots of Free Resources
  • Powerful Software Tools
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Educational Materials

Cons:

  • Pro Membership Can Be an Investment
  • The Forum Is Open to Everyone
  • You Get One Perspective

BiggerPockets is dedicated to helping investors at any stage of investing experience—whether they’re seasoned owners of commercial real estate, or just aspiring investors who want to learn how to flip houses and supplement their income. This online community of like-minded individuals has been endorsed by Forbes, Inc, FoxNews, Money, The Street, and CNBC—who hail BiggerPockets as a thorough resource for anyone looking for success in real estate.

New investors will find a plethora of free materials on BiggerPockets. The blog has articles outlining real estate concepts in broad terms, written by real estate experts. Their forums are a great place to ask questions about anything in real estate and have them answered by more experienced members. The weekly podcast showcases success stories from real estate investors, which give listeners a little glimpse into how they did it. Webinars will help you get into a little more detail and nuance. BiggerPockets also offers free Ultimate Beginner’s Guides that can help you understand some of the detail of real estate deals, such as How to Buy a Duplex: The Ultimate Step by Step Guide and The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Home Loans.

Current investors with more experience in real estate can become a Pro Member and get access to even more thorough and pinpointed resources. This includes property management software and tenant screening services. There are also real estate investment calculators that can size up the profitability of a deal. Pro Members can also use the BiggerPockets marketplace to search for and post real estate listings.

Vendors—such as lenders, agents, and investment companies—can become Premium Members. You can showcase your business with a company profile and strategically place ads in trafficked areas like the marketplace and forum, leading to more visitors, more lead generation, and more conversions.

BiggerPockets Review: Pros and Cons

PRO: Lots of Free Resources

The amount of free resources offered by BiggerPockets is simply staggering, and many investors get started with the BiggerPockets Podcast. The single best thing about the podcast is that it can be listened to while you commute to work, cook dinner, fold laundry—essentially anywhere—opening your mind to the idea of financial freedom through the weekly interviews with successful investors.

Aspiring investors who take a look at the site will find lots of free resources on the blog, in the webinars, and in the downloadable guides. The beginner’s guides, in particular, are especially useful in light of the fact that there is an oversupply of information on the internet. These curated guides, written and compiled by real estate experts, can give you a more detailed roadmap of real estate enterprises such as home loans, finding a niche, finding deals, how to screen tenants, and how to become a millionaire.

For some investors, the greatest free resource on BiggerPockets is the forum, where specific questions can be answered by experts in the numerous discussion threads—everything from advanced tax strategies to the pros and cons of Airbnb. Even if your question does not get answered by an expert, individuals who have gone through a similar experience can put in their two cents and provide some perspective on the issue.

PRO: Powerful Software Tools

For investors who want to pay a fairly reasonable $39 monthly (or $390 annually, which essentially is two months free), BiggerPockets takes on the additional role of a resource-rich portfolio management platform. This option is great for investors who have already taken a dive into the world of real estate and now want to grow their investments.

One perk for annual members is the suite of Landlord Forms, which are lawyer-approved in every state and Washington D.C. The lease agreement package will save you thousands of dollars in legal fees by providing pre-written contracts that include a comprehensive residential lease agreement with addendums, extensions, and ancillary forms for move-ins and outs.

BiggerPockets also offers Pro Members 8 different real estate calculators for analyzing the profitability of a deal, whether you want to fix and flip, rent, rehab, engage in wholesaling, or rent out a property as an Airbnb. These calculators can help you determine if a project is worth it before investing time and energy, helping you rely on numbers instead of blind intuition.

Vendors and more serious investors who pay $99 monthly (with a 12-month commitment) obtain a Premium Membership, which also provides them with analytic tools to understand and fine-tune profile engagement, along with software that helps generate warm leads.

PRO: Networking Opportunities

Involvement with BiggerPockets at any level will provide you with the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, in particular through forum discussions. But you can also connect with real estate agents, mortgage lenders, hard money lenders, contractors, and investment companies.

In many cases, all it takes to connect with a fellow investor is just to send them a simple message. Building cash flow from multifamily properties may seem like a long way away to the average real estate rookie, but there’s nothing too hard about clicking a button and typing out a simple message and starting to expand your network—which is one the most important parts of investing in real estate.

BiggerPockets is full of individuals who have found real success in real estate, whether they’re house hacking with FHA loans or house flipping with no cash of their own and using other people’s money. But aside from these enterprising investors, BiggerPockets provides a great market for a real estate agent or property manager to expand their business; Premium and Pro Members have access to exclusive forums, which is great for businesses and professionals engaged with higher dollar value real estate.

PRO: Educational Materials

In addition to the free educational resources like the podcast, the blog, the forum, and the downloadable beginner’s guides, BiggerPockets also has a bookstore of real estate literature printed under the BiggerPockets label. Tax Strategies, Flipping Houses, Managing Rentals, Raising Private Capital, and Finding and Funding Deals are just a few of the topics and book titles on the shelf.

Investors can also subscribe to the BiggerPockets Wealth Magazine and get six issues for less than $30. The bi-monthly periodical provides stories, conversations, action-oriented advice, and inspiration geared toward enthusiastic investors to find financial and personal success in real estate. These books and periodicals can also introduce intimidating topics like a hard money loan.

CON: Pro Membership Can Be an Investment

The Pro Membership does offer an incredible number of benefits for just $39 per month, but that does add up to almost $470 per year, though if you pay for an entire year, it’s $390. The Premium Membership is $99 per month, and there is no annual discount—in fact, you have to commit for 12 months, which essentially makes Premium Membership an almost $1,200 investment. For those who aren’t sure they want to really get into real estate investing, this cost might not work for them.

However, this “con” is not so negative. Remember that investors get access to lease agreements and investment calculators. Additionally, Pro Members get discounts with real estate vendors totaling an estimated $8,000 or more in value, while Premium Members gain invaluable boosts to their lead generation and conversion rate.

CON: The Forum Is Open to Everyone

Keep in mind that an open forum means you will possibly have negative interactions. Unfortunately, as with any forum, there can be some individuals who patrol the forum looking to pick a fight or be critical. This can be especially problematic for investors who are just starting or happen to be sensitive people in general.

Additionally, there might be some members of the BiggerPockets community who engage in less-than-savory marketing practices or spammy behavior. While BiggerPockets will try to screen out such individuals, there can be no guarantee that you won’t run into one here and there.

An open forum also means that the answers you receive aren’t necessarily perfect. You’ll often get advice from people who really know what they’re talking about, but you may also receive advice from someone who may be uninformed or mistaken.

That said, this “con” is not exclusive to BiggerPockets; it’s just part of the internet. The educational and supportive value offered by the numerous, well-intentioned co-investors on the forum far outweighs the sprinkling of negative experiences one might possibly have.

CON: You Get One Perspective

While the forum certainly allows anyone to throw in their two cents, the published materials, blog articles, and podcast content of BiggerPockets are curated. That means if someone is invited onto the podcast to discuss flipping houses, you can be certain they’ve had success with this enterprise, and their narrative will most likely fit in with the greater vision of BiggerPockets.

Some investors—especially those who have not yet found success—may find this one-sided or intimidating. They may be hoping to get some support or validation from others who have also had problems in real estate. Moreover, some individuals are perhaps just not cut out for investing, and the curated narrative of BiggerPockets can leave them feeling frustrated or disillusioned.

However, given the fact that BiggerPockets has a goal to facilitate success, it would not be likely that they promote anything other than inspiring and hopeful messages and viewpoints. Moreover, these unsuccessful investors may very well benefit greatly from becoming immersed in the can-do story that BiggerPockets presents. Additionally, BiggerPockets has many accurate and detailed resources to help investors achieve the success story they present.

BiggerPockets Review: Pros and Cons

BiggerPockets is not the end of the journey, but just the beginning. It’s also important for those interested in getting into real estate join a local organization like a Real Estate Investors Association (REIA) to network with local real estate investors and professionals. Such an organization (available in most cities) can become a valuable place to find great deals in your own proverbial backyard, whether you’re looking for residential real estate or commercial investment properties.

But for many individuals, the process of getting into real estate investing for beginners can most easily start with a real estate podcast, blog, or online forum—all of which are part of BiggerPockets. This incredible online resource can become a place where you can take those first steps toward a rental property or home flip. For many aspiring investors, the only two things holding them back are a lack of information and an easy way to jump in—both of which BiggerPockets provides.

Making a monthly mortgage payment is about as close as most working individuals come to investing in real estate. They may assume that investing in real estate is only for those who have actualized the house flipping financial independence they hear about on a motivational money podcast—while at the same time wishing they could create real passive income, build wealth, and live in the house of their dreams.

BiggerPockets’ real estate investing blog, forum, and podcast is a path to success that is right under their proverbial nose. While commuting to work or waiting for an appointment, they can listen to podcasts and start browsing blog articles to get educated on how to achieve real financial independence.

3 Steps to Create an Invisible Investor Strategy

iPad with 3 steps to create an invisible investor strategyThe greatest mistake that people make when it comes to asset protection for real estate is not understanding the risks that are waiting out there for them. This eBook reveals the structure you should follow to ensure your hard earned money is protected from frivolous lawsuits and costly tax mistakes.