BiggerPockets' Brandon Turner

By Christina Suter on Jan 30, 2016 at 02:29 PM in Business Issues
BiggerPockets' Brandon Turner

This week on the Ask Christina First radio show I had the opportunity to interview Brandon Turner from bigger pockets. With over 400,000 members, bigger pockets has democratized real estate letting investors share information and network instead of top down guidance. Brandon is an active real estate investor and vice president of growth at bigger pockets. Turner started investing at age 21 and he and his wife currently own 45 residential units in western Washington state, with the goal of owning 100.

"What got you into real estate investing?"


At age 20-21 I worked at a group home for mentally challenged adults and my only job was to be there. I got minimum wage and since I had plenty of time, I started watching house flipping shows at work, and the thought to flip entered my mind. At the time I was looking to rent and a friend suggested that I buy instead of rent and in my area at the time, it was. So I bought a house, knowing nothing about real estate. I bought the cheapest house I could find, which I don’t recommend, fixed it up while living in it, sold it a year later, made a profit, and it took off from there. When I sold my house I found a duplex for sale, rented one and lived in one, and I recommend house hacking often. I started flipping in 2008 and the market was dropping and I couldn’t sell my properties so I turned them into rentals, I flipped a few and made a little money and so I bought another duplex, triplexs, five-plex, and then a 24-unit apt complex. My wife and her assistant are our property manager. I have a few properties in property management, but I don’t recommend them. I heard someone say, “Yes, being a landlord is a headache, but so is being broke at 80.” It’s not quick or easy, it’s tough work, but I understand it easily, I got the units I needed to live off of, quit my job, and was financially free. Each deal I get better.

"How did biggerpockets start?"

When I was 21 josh, the CEO started bringing people on board. I quit law school and invested in real estate and I searched, “What to do when tenants don’t pay rent” and someone on biggerpockets had written an article on it and that’s how I first joined, became active, started guest blogging, and Josh asked me to come on board to help run things one day. I create systems and outsources them. I was the first person hired and now I teach real estate via a webinar and I do a podcast once a week, I also write an article every week, and I write books under biggerpockets publishing.

I asked Brandon what some of his not so good stories was.

I’ve flipped and made no money, flipped and sold, and then flipped and lost $10,000. My wife and I did pretty much all of the work on that one and it took two years to complete, or turned it into a triplex. I learned how to build a staircase and tons of other stuff, but it wasn’t a good use of my time vs how much money it didn’t make me.

And as far as his vision, Brandon says it changes. His goal is to have the freedom to do whatever. There’s no set number he wants to earn, he just wants to be able to do whatever he wants when he wants to."I don’t need a job anymore, so I want cash flow for the next 100 years."

"I like business, but I like real estate more because it’s slow burning, once you light the fire it goes for a century (with a little work of course). Business changes so fast but re is so slow burning and is affected by so very few things that you aren’t in control of." Buy Rehab Rent Refinance Repeat BURRR I’ve done that, it’s my fav strategy, you have 30% equity in the property, I have cash flow, no money invested because I get my money back after the refinance.

Brandon shared with me the best deal he ever put together. After reading a book by Ken Mcalroy called The ABC’s of Real Estate Investing he became obsessed with that book and read that and the sequel, the Advanced guide, in the same day. "I was so excited about buying an apartment complex... I told an older couple at church and they said they had an apartment complex they wanted to sell." A year later they had the deal together, Brandon had 0 dollars, and the sellers wanted $565,000 for it. The property was in disrepair whith only 11/24 units rented and it was neglected. Brandon orchestrated what he calls a four-part creative investment strategy. "We did a triple net lease option where I paid everything including tax and insurance for the first 6 months, which allowed me to get in there and take ownership and get a little bit of cash flow. They made it a low enough payment during the lease option to make it worthwhile, then I went to a partner, my dad, and I need $60,000 to fix it up, which he didn’t have, but his home equity line of credit was $60k. He gave me complete access to that and the deal was I would give him half of the apartment complex money when we sold it some day." Brandon got all the cash flow during the renovations and some day when we sells it, his dad will get half of the money. His dad wasn’t using his line of credit, so it didn’t matter to him that Brandon used it and made the payments. He turned the lease option into a seller-financed deal and it was officially and legally his. He did all the work on it, got it appraised five years later for a little over $900, 000, refinanced, paid his dad completely back, paid the sellers off, pulled out about $40k, still had cash flow because he'd lowered his interest rate 2% and now has that property for nothing out of pocket.

Real estate investing is a thinking person’s game, you can use your own creativity in place of cash. If I really want to achieve success in real estate you can get there with hard work, will, and determination.

You can check out Brandon Turner at