Working Capital The Real Estate Podcast

Financial Freedom with BiggerPockets CEO Scott Trench | EP65

Aug 4, 2021

In This Episode

Scott Trench is the CEO and President of BiggerPockets. Scott has Dedicated his Career to Helping ordinary Americans Build Wealth in Part through Real Estate Investing. Since joining BiggerPockets in 2014, Scott has Authored the Bestselling Wealth-building book “Set for Life” and joined Mindy Jensen as Co-host of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast.

In this episode we talked about:

  • Founding a tiny Startup called BiggerPockets
  • Scott’s first real estate purchase
  • Scott’s Professional Development
  • The Evolution of Scott’s Investing Career 2014-2021
  • Partnerships
  • Publishing with BiggerPockets
  • Life as the CEO
  • The Money Podcast
  • 2021-2022 Outlook
  • Mentorship, Resources and Lessons Learned

Useful links:

https://www.biggerpockets.com/users/scotttrench

Instagram @scott_trench

Transcriptions:

Jesse (0s): Welcome to the working capital real estate podcast. My name is Jesper galley. And on this show, we discuss all things real estate with investors and experts in a variety of industries that impact real estate. Whether you’re looking at your first investment or raising your first fund, join me and let’s build that portfolio one square foot at a time. All right, ladies gentlemen, welcome to working capital the real estate podcast. I’m Jennifer galley and my special guest today. As usual as Scott trench, Scott trench is the CEO and president of bigger pockets. 

 

Scott has dedicated his career to helping ordinary Americans build wealth in part through real estate investing. Since joining BiggerPockets in 2014, Scott has authored the bestselling wealth building book set for life and joined Mindy Jensen as cohost of the bigger pockets, money podcast, Scott, how’s it going? Hey, 

 

Scott (52s): It’s going great. Thanks for having me. 

 

Jesse (54s): Yeah, my pleasure to have you good to finally connect. I don’t know if, if you were at BP con last, was it now two years ago when we were in Austin, Texas, where are you at that event? 

 

Scott (1m 5s): I was at, well, I, I w we had one in Nashville, Tennessee. That was that. Yeah, it was, I was at that one 

 

Jesse (1m 11s): Nashville. Now I’m mixing them up. I was in Austin for another real estate thing. Yeah, absolutely. It was a national first thing I did. I got off the plane. Just see you guy holding a guitar. I’m like, I’m in Nashville. 

 

Scott (1m 21s): Yeah. I went to school there and it’s a wonderful city, you know, maybe might’ve influenced that as the choice for the, the conference back then, but awesome. 

 

Jesse (1m 30s): So, yeah, I guess I probably would have crossed paths with you at that point, but I didn’t realize that you were with the organization for, for such a long time in 2014. So back then, how did, how did you get your start with, with that organization? 

 

Scott (1m 45s): Yeah, so I joined BiggerPockets, well, I started my career as a financial analyst at a fortune 500 company, and immediately decided I wanted to become financially free rather than climb the corporate ladder. And so I found a company called BiggerPockets and their podcasts and started listening to it and thinking about real estate investing and early retirement, the fire movements. And so I kind of combined the two spent as little as I possibly could and bought a house hack one year out of college after saving up my, my funds and simultaneously, you know, I started my career in August, 2013 by August, 2014. 

 

I was simultaneously under contract on my first duplex and a new employee at a tiny startup called BiggerPockets as the director of operations. I’m working alongside Brandon Turner and Josh dork and the founder 

 

Jesse (2m 32s): Right on. So you were basically you’re in school in a, was it a Vanderbilt? A university? I think last time I checked this online. Yep. Go doors. There you go. And so you buy your first property. Tell us that. Tell us that story. What was, what was your first foray into, into real estate investing? 

 

Scott (2m 50s): Sure. It was a duplex in a, the Northeast corner of Denver called Cole Clayton, and it was a up and coming area and I bought a duplex for $240,000 needed some work, rented out each, each unit and, or rent out. The other unit lived in half, had a roommate. And that was kind of the start to my career. I put down 5%, $12,000 as a, as the down payment. Other side rented for like 1150 mortgage was 15, 50 roommate, five 50 in rent. So I’m barely breaking even, maybe it’s paying a little bit to live, but certainly a lot better than paying rent. 

 

Jesse (3m 26s): Yeah, absolutely. It’s not a, it’s funny, it’s very similar to, to my first investment and it was 248,000, something like that, but it was a somewhat similar to a host hack. I just saw a bunch of guys in, in college that were basically buying properties and renting out to us. And I was like, what’s going on? I’m missing something here. So in terms of, in terms of how you progressed through real estate and just in general with the bigger pockets show, so you’re in there, you start in bigger pockets at that time. Yeah. I mean, was, it was bigger pockets, the impetus for you to invest in real estate or did invest in investing in real estate, uncover bigger pockets for you? 

 

Scott (4m 4s): I was a fan of the idea of real estate. So when I started my career in 2013 in August, and I wanted to invest in real estate, it probably around December of that year, January. So six months after I started working, I just ran into a very simple problem, which is I didn’t have the down payment. So I just needed a few more months. And so I was listening to BiggerPockets while saving up that down payment for that first duplex house hack. And in the process, I was, I drank the Kool-Aid. I joined the cult, whatever you want to call it and became a huge fan. That’s when I met Josh Dworkin through kind of a networking thing in, in, in Denver is a guy I was meeting to take to lunch, a local real estate event. 

 

Josh and Brandon on the podcast told me, go meet local real estate investors in your local market. And that’s how you can get into this. So I did, and I took one of them and I joined a, an entrepreneur group, a mastermind at seven o’clock on Thursday mornings and took each one of the guys in that mastermind group out to lunch. One of them happened to work in the same co-working space as Josh Orkin. And so I was like, oh my God, you’re my hero. You changed my life. I’m doing all this stuff. I’m going to get my first house, like by the end of the year, which I did. 

 

And that’s how I met him. And he paid that turned into a job interview after me, pestering him a few more times, 

 

Jesse (5m 16s): Right on. So I mean, a bunch of our listeners have either, you know, members of bigger pockets or have seen the community online for context. Cause I remember it back then. It is not anywhere near what it is today. What was that like being part of, part of that at such an early stage in its development? 

 

Scott (5m 38s): Well, well, for me, what was it like being at an early stage? I mean, you did everything right? So we were, I was, I was learning as much as I possibly could about operations, about growth hacking, which is, you know, internet marketing, as much as I could about real estate investing. I was trying to as much time as I could in the forums and meeting people, meeting users, posting, building my own portfolio, all that kind of stuff. So I mean, my days would be, I would bike in to save money, of course, you know, show up at around eight and then work until five or six and then Josh would go home and then I would be allowed to write for the blog and my after hours. 

 

So that was my day for a lot of these weeks is doing that kind of stuff. And, and you just learn everything. And gradually, I think I’m just kind of the type of person who’s going to stick my hand up and volunteer for every opportunity, even if it kind of begins to get a little overwhelming. And so gradually I kind of did more and more of the work that maybe some other folks didn’t want to do, like managing, you know, teams and, you know, dealing with the problems and the finances and the, you know, data and those kinds of things. And so I began to take over more and more of an operations capacity over time, but yeah, the early days were just really fun, lots of creative ideas, you just thought of something and did it, you know, created a lot of problems of like, we have all these little ideas that we thought of 15 years ago or seven years ago now, and they’re not really well-maintained anymore. 

 

We’ve got other parts of the site that exploded like the podcast and those kinds of things. And so there’s a whole bunch of history here. I think that was created then. And, and, and in the time proceeding my arrival to the company. So it was, I think it was just really exciting, but there was a sentiment like this is inevitably going to be huge, this, this deck, because we’re helping people and it’s a cult. And, you know, you can see how much value that people are getting from this and their net worth and their wealth and their freedom is just constantly evolving. And we’ve got so many success stories and so many people who are doing all the right things and everyone’s debating all of the, the nuances of this and really intelligent and exciting way that is just, you don’t see anywhere else. 

 

And so that was, you know, that, that was, I think the sentiment or how I felt at the time about it at least. 

 

Jesse (7m 53s): Yeah. It’s really cool to hear that, that feeling just the, you know, this is going to be something big for me. I had somebody on the podcast a few weeks ago and for myself, just based in Toronto, I would say about 60% of the listeners are US-based the balance. I would say the majority of the balance are, are Canadians. And then, you know, a few over the pond here and there, but somebody was on the show talking about resources. And I was like, you know, if you’re not using the, you know, key words, Canada, us cross border, like just things like that, where you can actually get into articles where people are talking about something so specific to what you’re talking about, that you, anywhere else on the internet, even if you type in Reddit or forums, you don’t get that same level of granularity that you do with bigger pockets. 

 

Scott (8m 37s): Yeah. I think that’s what makes the company special is as you get this nuance, there, there are people making money in every type of real estate and directly disagreeing with each other about the right way to make that, that money. Should you allow pets in your enter and your rentals? Heck no. Heck yes. Right. Like AB I only, I only read the pets. Yeah. Yeah. Like the pet, you know, I bought the I’m on the side of definitely allow the pets that increases your applicant pool and you get way more qualified applicants for that. But, but you know that that’s a nuance that’s debated heavily on a lot of these things, right. 

 

The 1% rule, you know, like all of these different topics are, I think you can get that nuance and you can get it locally, which I think is pretty cool. 

 

Jesse (9m 17s): Hmm. So how was it for you from, you know, 2014 up till today? So you’re, you’re doing operations, you’re, you’re kind of dealing with this real estate startup. What is your investing career looking at? Looking like during that time and, and how was that navigating, you know, the day job with, with investing as well? 

 

Scott (9m 37s): Yeah, so I, I took a little bit different approach than say, Brandon did, Brandon Vernon is now doing incredible stuff with these, these mobile home parks and all that kind of stuff. But at the time he was buying kind of like 40, $50,000 units in rural Washington and that kind of stuff. And that was how he was building his portfolio. And, you know, the properties I’m purchasing here in Denver, one unit might be $300,000, right. And so it’s a completely different price point and different type of investing. And so my, my activity set with real estate investing has been much less intense than maybe some other investors or maybe like Brandon Turner’s, for example, because I’ve been buying, you know, about a duplex, then I got another duplex. 

 

Then I got a quad Plex. Now I’m buying my fourth property in seven years, which is another duplex. And the asset value across this is going to be close to like $3 million across those 10 units. And, you know, that’s, there’s a different appreciation, potential and rent inflation and that kind of stuff that’s been going on. And my goal, my philosophy is I’m going to buy slow and steady once every year, once every 18 months, that kind of range and just pile up the portfolio over 50 years and through the ups and downs of the market, I think I’m going to benefit from Denver rent and price appreciation in a way that will really carry a lot of my portfolio. 

 

So it’s a little bit more of a passive approach. It’s not a get rich quick, but it has produced incredible results for me so far with us. And, you know, really allows me to spend most of my attention on my job here at BiggerPockets. So I also invest in some syndications and I dumped a lot of money into index funds. So I’ve got rentals, index funds, BiggerPockets, you got the portfolio there. 

 

Jesse (11m 23s): So for, for investing, I mean, that’s not dissimilar to, you’ve heard, probably heard this on the podcast or in the forums where everything right now, every market that’s a downtown market is incredibly hot and it’s very hard to, to break in to different markets in terms of the way you’re investing. It sounds like you’re basically, you’re not jumping on anything. If you find something that makes sense and it works, then you’ll potentially invest in it in terms of how you’re purchasing these, that you mentioned, you invest in some syndications, but for your core real estate, is that stuff that you typically do on your own, you partner with, what does that look like? 

 

Scott (11m 57s): Yeah, so I, I partner on those deals with a business partner here in Denver and we kind of, it’s a, it’s a great relationship. We’ve been friends for a long time and we kind of both jointly manage things as we’re, as we’re able to, we have a property manager as well now with that. And yeah, I mean, we just kind of handle those problems as they come up right. On 

 

Jesse (12m 18s): One thing I’ve, I’ve at least seen just having people on the podcast where, you know, I’ve mentioned either before or after the show, we’ll mention bigger pockets. And if they’re larger podcasts, you know, I’ve had people be like, you know, I, I don’t want to mention them. They’re they’re competitive hours. So, and if the first time I’d be like, first time, I felt like our community I’ve always felt it’s been extremely inclusive, but the reason I bring it up is I’m curious to task you. What, what do you, what have been some of the challenges that you’ve had as you grow as you grew from a smaller company to a pretty dominant real estate company in your space? 

 

I, you, you know, the metrics probably better than anybody, but just at the level you’re at would have been some of the biggest challenges getting to the space that you’re at or, or while you’re here. 

 

Scott (13m 2s): I think it’s really defining who we are and who we want to be when you grow up as a business, I think is really the big challenge. I think we’ve done a really good job of, of building I think a great brand. I think we’ve got, I think we’ve genuinely helped. A lot of people get started and build their, their, their real estate portfolios and all that kind of stuff. And I think it’s, it’s, what’s, what’s next here. How do we more formalize this and professionalize it? Because I think what you get with bigger pockets is a choose your own adventure free for all deep dive into the world of real estate investing. 

 

And that’s great for a lot of people, but it’s maybe not what some people want where they want more of like a here’s what to do. You know, here are the options you pick one, here are the pros and cons and, and go with it. Right. And I think that there’s a big market of people out there. Like what, what does the user of bigger pockets do? Right? What they do is they spend 500 hours, literally listening to podcasts, reading books, engaging in our forums and Facebook groups following that are our hosts and guests and bigger pockets on Instagram, joining, you know, joining the community. 

 

And then, and then a moment comes when you want to buy real estate. Okay. I’m ready to put that investment of hundreds of hours of work into actually transacting on my first, your next property with that. And I think that’s the challenge is, is that is not for everyone. There’s a certain component of, of folks out there who like that and want to do that. But that, that in-depth dive, I think is not really for as many people. And, and so how do we kind of help those people invest in something more passive or succeed without having to commit to that huge learning curve there that I think it, I think it does take to be a successful, you know, owner operator of a real estate business. 

 

Jesse (14m 59s): Yeah, for sure. It’s almost like multiple funnels. Like, you know, where, where is it, like you said, choose your own adventure. Because I think with one of the things I’ve always admired about brand and with the podcast with Josh and Brandon and something I’ve tried to do with this podcast is, you know, somebody says a term and you don’t necessarily know, like you said, host hacking early, and then you kind of described it where, you know, somebody says something that your listener base may not know that he would always be very quick to be like, okay, this, can you define that? And that’s great. 

 

But to a certain extent, once you get to a point where there’s a level of sophistication that you’re talking about, you know, I don’t know, like a waterfall structures for limited partnerships, it’d be very challenging to have that podcast or that show with having to explain every single thing. So I can only imagine for bigger pockets that, you know, multiply that by X and in that, that complexity. Yeah. 

 

Scott (15m 52s): Well that, yeah, that’s, that’s the big challenge, right? And so how do you, you know, on, if you come to the BiggerPockets website, I can, I can create an experience there based on your information that drives you towards those goals. But the challenge is that the website is like one tiny corner of the bigger pockets experience, right? Because it’s no bigger or smaller and a lot of ways than our podcast, our YouTube channel, our Facebook groups, our Instagram, you know, other parts of the book publishing business, you know, it’s, and so that’s one corner of the, the BP universe. 

 

And so what we’ve decided to do is to begin building what we call sub brands of bigger pockets. And so that’s where we have bigger pockets, money, and real estate rookie. And we’re hoping to launch one more over the course of 20, 21. I’m still debating a couple of things, but I think there’s a place for more advanced investors. And what, what the current approach has done is the personal finance piece and the rookie piece allow our core real estate, the bigger pockets, real estate podcast, to go a little bit more advanced and move away from that to a certain extent and get into some of that bigger business mindset there. 

 

So in our new investors, our rookies can really learn about, you know, what cashflow is and how to analyze the deal and the basics of that on the rookie podcast. And so that’s kind of been the idea. We think there’s still yet another level of advanced discussion that could be had in another corner. So that that’s kind of the highest level framework. We see a world where if you come into bigger pockets, you join in there in the real estate rookie universe. And that’s how you get your first deal. And you’re surrounded by peers, but led by experts with that, with, with our, our hosts and guests and those types of types of things. 

 

And then over time, you move into the business building phase or the, the investing phase on our core, bigger pockets platform. And then maybe at a future date, you move into a advanced situation. Maybe if you’re a professional flipper or professional syndicator, or you’re an accredited investor and invest passively, there’s a place to learn how to, how to do that and that all y’all and make sure that you’re, you’re doing a good job with the money and all that kind of stuff. 

 

Jesse (18m 2s): Yeah. That’s a great point. You mentioned the, the book publishing side of it. I I’ve always wanted to ask, you know, one of the members of the team, how did that, how did that start? Because you, you you’ve kind of teamed up with, with subject matter experts. And the first time I ever saw that, I don’t, I can’t remember which, you know, which individual it was, but, you know, it was bigger pockets as, as part of, so is that first of all, how did that, how did that begin? And secondly, is the, is it self-published or published by bigger pockets? 

 

Like the entity bigger pockets? 

 

Scott (18m 34s): Well, mechanically we have a wholly owned LLC called BiggerPockets publishing. So it’s published by BiggerPockets publishing. So how did the book business come about? I think it, before I got to bigger pockets, Jay Scott had written the book on flipping houses and the book on estimating rehab costs. And, you know, I think it would be fair to say that I really pushed the publishing side of the business as a big opportunity for us with this brand and published the book on investing in real estate with no money down next. 

 

And everyone was debating what we should write next. And I was like, how about the book on rental property investing that one? Right. And so, so we have a, a long standing tradition now of launching books, largely with very obvious titles, I could call them SEO titles. That was not, I don’t know if that was the intent at first, but we were just like the fuck that rental property investor let’s look at flipping houses, the book and estimating rehab costs, book and investing in real estate with no one looking low money down, buy rehab, rent, refinance, repeat, you know, and so that’s, that’s kind of our fleet there that has kind of transformed over time. 

 

We found that people love the books. We have a really high, and, you know, you can judge whether your product is doing well in the mind of the consumer by what’s called an NPS score. So that’s a net promoter score, and you can think of this more or less along the lines of a star rating on Amazon, five stars. People love it. Four stars. People are neutral three and below people are detractors. And our books really, really seem to have high ratings, high NPS scores among the, among our customers with that. Because I think that they’re a low cost way to really digest a lot of information. 

 

And I think our publishing team is super consistent about finding a, a true expert. Somebody, you know, we’ll talk about Jay Scott here. I know you just, you just interviewed him right before me, I think earlier today, actually. Right. You know, Jay, I can’t gush enough about Jay Jay’s. Jay Scott joined BiggerPockets. I don’t know, 15 years ago, 16 years ago, he posted 17, 18,000 times to our forums over the course of that period, he completed 150 fix and flip projects, right? Maybe the guy is playing some underhanded game with no way. 

 

Jay Scott is a genuine human who’s proved his reputation over and over and over again, who has debated the nuance of every point. That every problem that you can conceivably come up with across 17,000 online discussions, God only knows how many other discussions he’s had with people on an individual basis. And the guy can write, and he runs a successful business and has a track record for it. What, how can you find a better author than that? And that I think is a reflection on Jay Scott’s character and expertise, but also a reflection of the power of BiggerPockets is we can find that person who is not just, you know, a recent just came out of nowhere, kind of person who, who knows what’s gonna happen. 

 

We can find people who have really embraced our values and, you know, seen success and like to help people and understand the problems that folks. And they’re the ones who are kind of writing a lot of our, our books and content. So that’s been a really powerful draw for us. People who are interviewing people day in and day out in the podcast. You get to know the challenges of that. 

 

Jesse (21m 45s): No know Scott, it might be the long con with, with Jay. 

 

Scott (21m 48s): Yeah, that’s right. Well, if he doesn’t listen to this, sorry, Jay. 

 

Jesse (21m 53s): It was funny. He, he mentioned because we said we were talking about BB cotton, Nashville. The, so I, you know, I thought I assumed it was the official first one. And he’s like, nah, it was the officially was, I spoke at the one in 2012 when there was four of us. But yeah, it was like, I don’t know where there was one back then. So, you know, one thing I like, I’m curious, I think anybody in our space is curious that there gets a point where you put out content and you’re trying to figure out if there is a way to monetize this content. And you know, one thing for me, I’ve been really fortunate to be a contributor for bigger pockets on the commercial real estate side. 

 

I learned so much just, you know, doing, even though I live in the space of commercial real estate, I learned so much by putting that information out there. And I’ll tell you the first time you have, you know, 70,000 views on something, and you’re looking at comments, you start sharpening your pencil really quickly and try to make sure you know, what you’re talking about. So it’s been really beneficial from that point of view. But when you start putting out content and you start trying to figure out where is the monetization, and I find with, you know, we’re not selling a product, we’re not selling a, you know, mugs where you see a lot of people in our space go the coaching route or go into the, you know, substantative relationship. 

 

And then they invest eventually with, with the company, is that, are you trying to fire on all cylinders? Are you trying to, are you picking certain avenues? And just on the idea of coaching will, will bigger pockets grow to a point where it’s kind of like a rich dad, poor dad, where you have a brand, you have somebody that has, you know, drunk the Kool-Aid and they are, you know, the, the evangelists for BiggerPockets. 

 

Scott (23m 30s): You know, I think, I think you begin to lose competitive advantage if you move in that direction. Right? So here’s how I think about, you know, because one of my jobs is to make money for the, for our shareholders, right? That’s, that’s a goal for every CEO, right? With here’s how I think about it. The moment that we deliver value to our customer is the moment that they transact on an investment property that they believe and have good reason to believe is likely to advance their financial position. 

 

And my, my belief is that our business, we are in the business of helping people dive in, but then ultimately take action in buying real estate and they need to do it healthfully. As part of that transaction, there are four stakeholders who make a lot of money. One is the real estate agent. The second is the lender. The third is the insurance provider and the fourth is the property manager. And these are the people, the core four that, you know, a lot of investors need, right? 

 

I guess a contractor instead of the insurance broker, but I will get to contractors later. I believe that it is very hard to find an investor friendly real estate agent right now. W where do you go to look for that? And I think we’ve got a lot of agents who would love to do business with BiggerPockets investors and a lot of investors who do not want a referral from their mom or their brother or their best friend. They want an investor friendly real estate agent. So I think, you know, what, what we’ve built and we’ve already launched in 10 markets and things are off to the races with this is a marketplace that you can go to biggerpockets.com/agents and find really high quality investor friendly agents. 

 

Many of whom have grown up through bigger pockets and post a million times on our forums. Many of whom we’ve, you know, there’s, there’s more folks that are entering the game and trying to prove themselves as investor-friendly agents. And we can match folks with that. And I think that’s a really big opportunity for us, if we can help people connect, get ready. And when they’re ready after the time that they spend to, to, to, to learn about this, actually move down the steps toward the transaction and connect with an agent and a lender and that kind of stuff. 

 

I think there’ll be plenty of opportunity to make money in that process. As long as we do a good job, making sure that you’re actually getting a good professional with that 

 

Jesse (25m 47s): On that note, because you know, my world is in commercial brokerage, those type of realtors or agents that you’re connecting, are they in the commercial space and more in the single family multifamily, where do they, where do they lie on the, in that world? 

 

Scott (26m 4s): Well, I think you bring up a good point, the bigger pockets we, you know, the, the market that we’re most heavily concentrated, we have a forum and community that can talk about every conceivable aspect of real estate investing. But I would say the majority of our users are going to be folks that are buying single families, duplexes, triplexes, and quads, a minority 10% have a great discussion about buying larger properties with, with those types of things. But the majority of our, of our users are doing that. 

 

And 90% of single family rental properties in this country are owned by investors with 10 or fewer units. And 50% are owned by investors with just one or two units. So that is really kind of like the user of bigger pockets. Now, the folks that you interact with and you have on your podcast completely different profile than the average investor, right. But the, the typical person is, is fitting the description that I’m I’m describing here. The guy who likes to talk about real estate all day long is going to have a different profile than that, right. Is that that’s where the voltage is more prominent anyways. 

 

So what were you asking about? 

 

Jesse (27m 12s): Basically, it sounds like that is the space it’s it’s the, the singles to quads is where you’re connecting those types of agents where we’re now for me, the reason I asked that is because when I was younger or sorry, earlier in my career, when I was in single family or student rental, it was really challenging finding the, see the link between residential broker commercial broker, and then in the middle there there’s this investor centric broker that will do deals like you’re discussing. 

 

Scott (27m 41s): Yes. And we think that’s the opportunity for us to in the next, you know, year or so to really solve a lot of problems. I would love to also do a marketplace for the more serious commercial brokers who are brokering apartment complexes. But I think we got to bite off one thing at a time as a business and, and concentrate our focus on the biggest challenge facing the majority of our users, which I think is transacting on single family, duplex, triplex quadplex long-term rental investments. 

 

And one of the biggest things we can do to help them with that is help them find an investor friendly agent instead of an agent where they’re going to have to figure out and drive all that process. 

 

Jesse (28m 19s): Yeah. Well, I mean, you would have the data there. So I mean, if that, if that is the majority of, of the individuals, that just, that makes sense. And I think like from, I think there’s a misnomer, or there’s just a misunderstanding of, it’s not the commercial brokers, aren’t, don’t want to do deals with, with a variety of different people. It’s it’s that ultimately, without getting into the granularity of it, it’s the, the fee split or the, the commission split structure is just it’s, it’s, it’s in such a way that doing deals less than 5 million, 3 million, it just, it becomes something where it’s, you can’t wait. 

 

It literally is a waste of time that you can’t spend your time doing that. And that’s why they’re, you know, there is a great place. I know in most major markets between 1 million and $5 million deals, that is a really great spot that I think a lot of agents aren’t capturing and are starting to make that their niche of, of what they focus in. 

 

Scott (29m 14s): And I’ll bring you down just one more level from there, a single family rental home costs the same as a single family home, right. More or less than that. But, but the, the, the realtors and the agents, the local agents who are helping investors do that, do not understand things like the 1% rule or a cash and cash return, or the fact that, Hey, I care if it’s a good school district, but that’s like a fourth or fifth or seventh bullet point for me after the rent to price ratio that this property can command the longterm. 

 

Other long-term factors around appreciation, whether it has amenities that are going to be that the tenants are going to like whether I can convert that office into another bedroom, those types of things. That is the level. Those are the, the, the more, I guess, accessible things that we’re, we’re, we’re building, we’re building a marketplace for investors to meet agents who can help them transact on residential real estate. 1, 2, 3, and four unit properties, probably in most cases, less than a million dollars, but in some cases they’ll get, they’ll get to that, that value 

 

Jesse (30m 21s): Right on, well, we can talk in new Orleans, we can talk about some ideas to get those commercial and monetize those commercial brokers. I think from that point of view, it’s really going to be on the listing side. Everybody has a buyer listings are where it’s at. I want to be respectful of your, of your time here. I’m really curious to know about how you spun off the original podcast to the money podcasts. I I’ve, I’ve listened only admittedly to a few episodes, but it seems like there was a pivot to basically get the ideas of that were already ingrained in the initial podcast, financial freedom, money, personal finance, and move it in that direction. 

 

Can you talk a little bit about how that process took place? 

 

Scott (31m 2s): Yeah, sure. So, so the mission of bigger pockets and emission I share is how you enable financial freedom for as many people as possible as early in life as possible, because that is how you unlock human potential. And my belief is that there’s a lot of people who want to invest in real estate, but just don’t have a financial position capable of responsibly sustaining real estate investment. And this can be anybody from having debt and needing to rebuild their position to we’ve had millionaires on the podcast who have no wealth outside of their primary residence and their retirement accounts, $10,000 in cash and nothing else. 

 

And they’re not in position to invest either. And so the point of the money show is to help folks move toward financial freedom and a financial position, a strategy with their money that allows them to make on a repeated basis investments in assets like real estate and other businesses on a regular basis with that. So it’s a, it’s a very different bent on personal finance with that. And we’ve talked, we talked a lot of people, we have two major SEG well, so that’s the reason for the show is to, is to really bring in the personal finance aspect of this and say, here’s how real estate investors build a position capable of sustaining real estate investment investing and how they move toward financial freedom with that as part of their portfolio. 

 

Jesse (32m 21s): Yeah, it’s a, you mentioned it earlier. It seems like there is that there is that real estate avatar that you do enough of these podcasts where you’re listening to, you’re listening to a lot of the same stuff. You’re reading books like crazy. You’re, you’re digesting as much information as you can, but you start seeing the same, even on YouTube, you start seeing the same pop up. And then you’re like, you know, I didn’t expect BiggerPockets have this guest on. I saw him in some totally different, you know, field or, or podcasts, but it seems like there is that a specific individual that, you know, multiple Venn diagrams, I think we all share. 

 

Scott (32m 55s): Yeah. I mean, like right now, bigger pockets is a real estate investing platform, right? That’s our, that’s our core focus, but in 20 years, maybe that begins to shift gradually over time because the goal is financial freedom right now is financial freedom through real estate. But how do you just make that more accessible to more people? Cause that’s, that’s how you unlock. Like I said, human potential in ways that you can’t predict those people who become millionaires in their thirties or forties, go on to start businesses, change the world, all that kind of stuff. And real estate is the nominal tool for a lot of people, but especially people making between 50 and $200,000 a year, when you make less than that, you can’t really get to the starting point in real estate responsible. 

 

You’re going to take, you’re going to take some big risks, you know, likely unless you, unless you’re a really good saver for example, and you can make much more than that. You’re probably not going to put in the 500 hours that I articulated before, because you’d be better spent just earning that money and dumping it into something more passive for like, you know, a syndication or something rather than buying the, the, the duplex. So you’ve got that sweet spot, but there’s a whole bunch of opportunities for lots of billions of folks in that category who don’t want to do real estate and other folks out there who want to achieve financial freedom through other means. 

 

Jesse (34m 7s): Yeah, no, that’s a really good point. The a 50 to 200 interesting to think about it that way for the future here, we’re going to come up to a few questions. We ask every guest, but before we do Scott 20 21, 20 22, I think we talked a little bit before the show. It’s been a insane last 18 months, it’s it hasn’t been easy for a lot of individuals, a lot of companies from a positive note, what do you see for opportunities down the line? You know, what is 20 21, 20 22 look like for yourself and the team? 

 

Scott (34m 41s): Oh, for myself and the team. I think we’re going to, I think we’re going to be able to really create a world-class network of investor-friendly real estate agents, and maybe also investor-friendly lenders who understand the different types of loan products that you need for a duplex triplex or single family rental investment, those types of folks. I think we’ll be able to build that those marketplaces. I think we are going to, I try to launch another podcast perhaps in that syndication space. 

 

I want to let the team beat me up on that. We’re not sure if we’re actually going to do that quite yet, but that’s, that’s something that we’re, we’re noodling on. We have our conference coming up October and we’ve got a couple of good books lined up that we’ll be releasing in the next 12 months as well. So I think we’ve got a lot of exciting stuff in the pipeline for bigger pockets over the next year. Awesome 

 

Jesse (35m 32s): Man. Excited for it. All right. I got four for ya. Rapid fire. If, if you’re ready to I’ll, I’ll sell them over. Let’s do it. All right. Scott, first question, something that you know now in your career with bigger pockets that you wish you knew when you started out there, 

 

Scott (35m 50s): You know, I, I’m going to get, answer your question very generally. I think there’s a ton of mental models that a CEO needs to have around what good looks like looks like, especially from senior executives, whether that’s finance, technology, marketing, HR, those types of things. And, you know, I don’t know if there’s a way I could’ve gone back and given them to myself, but developing those as the core responsibility of a CEO. And I think that’s been the biggest challenge for me is understanding what are the essential outputs? How do I articulate them? How do I performance manage against those 

 

Jesse (36m 21s): On that point of development? Again, it’s, it’s great to have you in this seat because it’s something I asked a lot of people, and I think you see it from a, from a closer point of view, your view on mentorship for younger people that are getting into our industry or any industry for that matter. What would you say on that point? And maybe just with the added piece of what to watch out for what to be careful for, because I mean, you, you see it all on the, on the forum as 

 

Scott (36m 50s): A hiring manager, as a men, as looking for a minute. Sure. 

 

Jesse (36m 53s): I think for people in a real estate, trying to get in to the industry, your view on mentorship and, and you know, what will you would recommend or, or w what’s been beneficial? 

 

Scott (37m 3s): I think the informal mentorship is a really good approach. Like you’re not looking if you’re paying a lot of money for the mentorship, you better know what good looks like. And you know, here, here’s a good framework. If, if you, you know, that you’re probably getting on the right track to and begin investing, when you can meet with 10 investors who all outwardly appear successful and say, these two are really sharp. These guys are, are four formulaic, and these two are successful. They’re really gonna they’re, they’re, they’re really doing something crazy here. I don’t understand it, or they’re not doing it. 

 

It doesn’t make any sense or they don’t seem smart to me. So I think when you can begin meeting with people that outwardly see more advanced than you, and kind of pick out the nuance in their approach, you’re probably onto something there. And that might help you begin to spot that mentor. If you do want to engage in something more formal. Awesome. 

 

Jesse (37m 53s): What is one resource? It can be a book podcasts that you are listening to right now that you would recommend to listeners. And I’ll just put the caveat out also with this one, I’ll give you one from BiggerPockets and then a, and then one outside of your space. 

 

Scott (38m 9s): Yeah. I always, by default have the bigger pockets things. I almost never reference them. Cause I feel like that’d be a shameless plug. No, I I’m listening to good strategy, bad strategy right now. And I think that’s a fantastic book. I I’m listening. I’m halfway through it and I can’t remember the author’s name, but 

 

Jesse (38m 25s): We’ll put it in the show notes. Good strategy. Bad strategy. 

 

Scott (38m 29s): Yep. Richard Rumelt. Yeah. 

 

Jesse (38m 34s): All right. Well, wasn’t Scott. It’s been a, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you for, for spending the time here for those out there. I say this all the time. Everything’s a Google search away, but for those that want to reach out, connect, be part of this community, or just learn more, where can, where can they go? 

 

Scott (38m 52s): You can find me on BiggerPockets. You can just search in the nav bar there. And my name will come up or you can email me@scottatbiggerpockets.com. You can find me on Instagram at, at Scott underscore 

 

Speaker 2 (39m 2s): Trench. My guest 

 

Jesse (39m 4s): Today has been Scott trench. Scott, thanks for being part of working capital. 

 

Speaker 2 (39m 9s): Thank you for having me. <inaudible> 

 

Jesse (39m 17s): Thank you so much for listening to working capital the real estate podcast. I’m your host, Jesse for galley. If you like the episode, head on to iTunes and leave us a five star review and share on social media, it really helps us out. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, Jesse for galley, F R a G a L E, have a good one. Take care. 

Transcript

ions:

Jesse (0s): Welcome to the working capital real estate podcast. My name is Jesper galley. And on this show, we discuss all things real estate with investors and experts in a variety of industries that impact real estate. Whether you’re looking at your first investment or raising your first fund, join me and let’s build that portfolio one square foot at a time. All right, ladies gentlemen, welcome to working capital the real estate podcast. I’m Jennifer galley and my special guest today. As usual as Scott trench, Scott trench is the CEO and president of bigger pockets. 

 

Scott has dedicated his career to helping ordinary Americans build wealth in part through real estate investing. Since joining BiggerPockets in 2014, Scott has authored the bestselling wealth building book set for life and joined Mindy Jensen as cohost of the bigger pockets, money podcast, Scott, how’s it going? Hey, 

 

Scott (52s): It’s going great. Thanks for having me. 

 

Jesse (54s): Yeah, my pleasure to have you good to finally connect. I don’t know if, if you were at BP con last, was it now two years ago when we were in Austin, Texas, where are you at that event? 

 

Scott (1m 5s): I was at, well, I, I w we had one in Nashville, Tennessee. That was that. Yeah, it was, I was at that one 

 

Jesse (1m 11s): Nashville. Now I’m mixing them up. I was in Austin for another real estate thing. Yeah, absolutely. It was a national first thing I did. I got off the plane. Just see you guy holding a guitar. I’m like, I’m in Nashville. 

 

Scott (1m 21s): Yeah. I went to school there and it’s a wonderful city, you know, maybe might’ve influenced that as the choice for the, the conference back then, but awesome. 

 

Jesse (1m 30s): So, yeah, I guess I probably would have crossed paths with you at that point, but I didn’t realize that you were with the organization for, for such a long time in 2014. So back then, how did, how did you get your start with, with that organization? 

 

Scott (1m 45s): Yeah, so I joined BiggerPockets, well, I started my career as a financial analyst at a fortune 500 company, and immediately decided I wanted to become financially free rather than climb the corporate ladder. And so I found a company called BiggerPockets and their podcasts and started listening to it and thinking about real estate investing and early retirement, the fire movements. And so I kind of combined the two spent as little as I possibly could and bought a house hack one year out of college after saving up my, my funds and simultaneously, you know, I started my career in August, 2013 by August, 2014. 

 

I was simultaneously under contract on my first duplex and a new employee at a tiny startup called BiggerPockets as the director of operations. I’m working alongside Brandon Turner and Josh dork and the founder 

 

Jesse (2m 32s): Right on. So you were basically you’re in school in a, was it a Vanderbilt? A university? I think last time I checked this online. Yep. Go doors. There you go. And so you buy your first property. Tell us that. Tell us that story. What was, what was your first foray into, into real estate investing? 

 

Scott (2m 50s): Sure. It was a duplex in a, the Northeast corner of Denver called Cole Clayton, and it was a up and coming area and I bought a duplex for $240,000 needed some work, rented out each, each unit and, or rent out. The other unit lived in half, had a roommate. And that was kind of the start to my career. I put down 5%, $12,000 as a, as the down payment. Other side rented for like 1150 mortgage was 15, 50 roommate, five 50 in rent. So I’m barely breaking even, maybe it’s paying a little bit to live, but certainly a lot better than paying rent. 

 

Jesse (3m 26s): Yeah, absolutely. It’s not a, it’s funny, it’s very similar to, to my first investment and it was 248,000, something like that, but it was a somewhat similar to a host hack. I just saw a bunch of guys in, in college that were basically buying properties and renting out to us. And I was like, what’s going on? I’m missing something here. So in terms of, in terms of how you progressed through real estate and just in general with the bigger pockets show, so you’re in there, you start in bigger pockets at that time. Yeah. I mean, was, it was bigger pockets, the impetus for you to invest in real estate or did invest in investing in real estate, uncover bigger pockets for you? 

 

Scott (4m 4s): I was a fan of the idea of real estate. So when I started my career in 2013 in August, and I wanted to invest in real estate, it probably around December of that year, January. So six months after I started working, I just ran into a very simple problem, which is I didn’t have the down payment. So I just needed a few more months. And so I was listening to BiggerPockets while saving up that down payment for that first duplex house hack. And in the process, I was, I drank the Kool-Aid. I joined the cult, whatever you want to call it and became a huge fan. That’s when I met Josh Dworkin through kind of a networking thing in, in, in Denver is a guy I was meeting to take to lunch, a local real estate event. 

 

Josh and Brandon on the podcast told me, go meet local real estate investors in your local market. And that’s how you can get into this. So I did, and I took one of them and I joined a, an entrepreneur group, a mastermind at seven o’clock on Thursday mornings and took each one of the guys in that mastermind group out to lunch. One of them happened to work in the same co-working space as Josh Orkin. And so I was like, oh my God, you’re my hero. You changed my life. I’m doing all this stuff. I’m going to get my first house, like by the end of the year, which I did. 

 

And that’s how I met him. And he paid that turned into a job interview after me, pestering him a few more times, 

 

Jesse (5m 16s): Right on. So I mean, a bunch of our listeners have either, you know, members of bigger pockets or have seen the community online for context. Cause I remember it back then. It is not anywhere near what it is today. What was that like being part of, part of that at such an early stage in its development? 

 

Scott (5m 38s): Well, well, for me, what was it like being at an early stage? I mean, you did everything right? So we were, I was, I was learning as much as I possibly could about operations, about growth hacking, which is, you know, internet marketing, as much as I could about real estate investing. I was trying to as much time as I could in the forums and meeting people, meeting users, posting, building my own portfolio, all that kind of stuff. So I mean, my days would be, I would bike in to save money, of course, you know, show up at around eight and then work until five or six and then Josh would go home and then I would be allowed to write for the blog and my after hours. 

 

So that was my day for a lot of these weeks is doing that kind of stuff. And, and you just learn everything. And gradually, I think I’m just kind of the type of person who’s going to stick my hand up and volunteer for every opportunity, even if it kind of begins to get a little overwhelming. And so gradually I kind of did more and more of the work that maybe some other folks didn’t want to do, like managing, you know, teams and, you know, dealing with the problems and the finances and the, you know, data and those kinds of things. And so I began to take over more and more of an operations capacity over time, but yeah, the early days were just really fun, lots of creative ideas, you just thought of something and did it, you know, created a lot of problems of like, we have all these little ideas that we thought of 15 years ago or seven years ago now, and they’re not really well-maintained anymore. 

 

We’ve got other parts of the site that exploded like the podcast and those kinds of things. And so there’s a whole bunch of history here. I think that was created then. And, and, and in the time proceeding my arrival to the company. So it was, I think it was just really exciting, but there was a sentiment like this is inevitably going to be huge, this, this deck, because we’re helping people and it’s a cult. And, you know, you can see how much value that people are getting from this and their net worth and their wealth and their freedom is just constantly evolving. And we’ve got so many success stories and so many people who are doing all the right things and everyone’s debating all of the, the nuances of this and really intelligent and exciting way that is just, you don’t see anywhere else. 

 

And so that was, you know, that, that was, I think the sentiment or how I felt at the time about it at least. 

 

Jesse (7m 53s): Yeah. It’s really cool to hear that, that feeling just the, you know, this is going to be something big for me. I had somebody on the podcast a few weeks ago and for myself, just based in Toronto, I would say about 60% of the listeners are US-based the balance. I would say the majority of the balance are, are Canadians. And then, you know, a few over the pond here and there, but somebody was on the show talking about resources. And I was like, you know, if you’re not using the, you know, key words, Canada, us cross border, like just things like that, where you can actually get into articles where people are talking about something so specific to what you’re talking about, that you, anywhere else on the internet, even if you type in Reddit or forums, you don’t get that same level of granularity that you do with bigger pockets. 

 

Scott (8m 37s): Yeah. I think that’s what makes the company special is as you get this nuance, there, there are people making money in every type of real estate and directly disagreeing with each other about the right way to make that, that money. Should you allow pets in your enter and your rentals? Heck no. Heck yes. Right. Like AB I only, I only read the pets. Yeah. Yeah. Like the pet, you know, I bought the I’m on the side of definitely allow the pets that increases your applicant pool and you get way more qualified applicants for that. But, but you know that that’s a nuance that’s debated heavily on a lot of these things, right. 

 

The 1% rule, you know, like all of these different topics are, I think you can get that nuance and you can get it locally, which I think is pretty cool. 

 

Jesse (9m 17s): Hmm. So how was it for you from, you know, 2014 up till today? So you’re, you’re doing operations, you’re, you’re kind of dealing with this real estate startup. What is your investing career looking at? Looking like during that time and, and how was that navigating, you know, the day job with, with investing as well? 

 

Scott (9m 37s): Yeah, so I, I took a little bit different approach than say, Brandon did, Brandon Vernon is now doing incredible stuff with these, these mobile home parks and all that kind of stuff. But at the time he was buying kind of like 40, $50,000 units in rural Washington and that kind of stuff. And that was how he was building his portfolio. And, you know, the properties I’m purchasing here in Denver, one unit might be $300,000, right. And so it’s a completely different price point and different type of investing. And so my, my activity set with real estate investing has been much less intense than maybe some other investors or maybe like Brandon Turner’s, for example, because I’ve been buying, you know, about a duplex, then I got another duplex. 

 

Then I got a quad Plex. Now I’m buying my fourth property in seven years, which is another duplex. And the asset value across this is going to be close to like $3 million across those 10 units. And, you know, that’s, there’s a different appreciation, potential and rent inflation and that kind of stuff that’s been going on. And my goal, my philosophy is I’m going to buy slow and steady once every year, once every 18 months, that kind of range and just pile up the portfolio over 50 years and through the ups and downs of the market, I think I’m going to benefit from Denver rent and price appreciation in a way that will really carry a lot of my portfolio. 

 

So it’s a little bit more of a passive approach. It’s not a get rich quick, but it has produced incredible results for me so far with us. And, you know, really allows me to spend most of my attention on my job here at BiggerPockets. So I also invest in some syndications and I dumped a lot of money into index funds. So I’ve got rentals, index funds, BiggerPockets, you got the portfolio there. 

 

Jesse (11m 23s): So for, for investing, I mean, that’s not dissimilar to, you’ve heard, probably heard this on the podcast or in the forums where everything right now, every market that’s a downtown market is incredibly hot and it’s very hard to, to break in to different markets in terms of the way you’re investing. It sounds like you’re basically, you’re not jumping on anything. If you find something that makes sense and it works, then you’ll potentially invest in it in terms of how you’re purchasing these, that you mentioned, you invest in some syndications, but for your core real estate, is that stuff that you typically do on your own, you partner with, what does that look like? 

 

Scott (11m 57s): Yeah, so I, I partner on those deals with a business partner here in Denver and we kind of, it’s a, it’s a great relationship. We’ve been friends for a long time and we kind of both jointly manage things as we’re, as we’re able to, we have a property manager as well now with that. And yeah, I mean, we just kind of handle those problems as they come up right. On 

 

Jesse (12m 18s): One thing I’ve, I’ve at least seen just having people on the podcast where, you know, I’ve mentioned either before or after the show, we’ll mention bigger pockets. And if they’re larger podcasts, you know, I’ve had people be like, you know, I, I don’t want to mention them. They’re they’re competitive hours. So, and if the first time I’d be like, first time, I felt like our community I’ve always felt it’s been extremely inclusive, but the reason I bring it up is I’m curious to task you. What, what do you, what have been some of the challenges that you’ve had as you grow as you grew from a smaller company to a pretty dominant real estate company in your space? 

 

I, you, you know, the metrics probably better than anybody, but just at the level you’re at would have been some of the biggest challenges getting to the space that you’re at or, or while you’re here. 

 

Scott (13m 2s): I think it’s really defining who we are and who we want to be when you grow up as a business, I think is really the big challenge. I think we’ve done a really good job of, of building I think a great brand. I think we’ve got, I think we’ve genuinely helped. A lot of people get started and build their, their, their real estate portfolios and all that kind of stuff. And I think it’s, it’s, what’s, what’s next here. How do we more formalize this and professionalize it? Because I think what you get with bigger pockets is a choose your own adventure free for all deep dive into the world of real estate investing. 

 

And that’s great for a lot of people, but it’s maybe not what some people want where they want more of like a here’s what to do. You know, here are the options you pick one, here are the pros and cons and, and go with it. Right. And I think that there’s a big market of people out there. Like what, what does the user of bigger pockets do? Right? What they do is they spend 500 hours, literally listening to podcasts, reading books, engaging in our forums and Facebook groups following that are our hosts and guests and bigger pockets on Instagram, joining, you know, joining the community. 

 

And then, and then a moment comes when you want to buy real estate. Okay. I’m ready to put that investment of hundreds of hours of work into actually transacting on my first, your next property with that. And I think that’s the challenge is, is that is not for everyone. There’s a certain component of, of folks out there who like that and want to do that. But that, that in-depth dive, I think is not really for as many people. And, and so how do we kind of help those people invest in something more passive or succeed without having to commit to that huge learning curve there that I think it, I think it does take to be a successful, you know, owner operator of a real estate business. 

 

Jesse (14m 59s): Yeah, for sure. It’s almost like multiple funnels. Like, you know, where, where is it, like you said, choose your own adventure. Because I think with one of the things I’ve always admired about brand and with the podcast with Josh and Brandon and something I’ve tried to do with this podcast is, you know, somebody says a term and you don’t necessarily know, like you said, host hacking early, and then you kind of described it where, you know, somebody says something that your listener base may not know that he would always be very quick to be like, okay, this, can you define that? And that’s great. 

 

But to a certain extent, once you get to a point where there’s a level of sophistication that you’re talking about, you know, I don’t know, like a waterfall structures for limited partnerships, it’d be very challenging to have that podcast or that show with having to explain every single thing. So I can only imagine for bigger pockets that, you know, multiply that by X and in that, that complexity. Yeah. 

 

Scott (15m 52s): Well that, yeah, that’s, that’s the big challenge, right? And so how do you, you know, on, if you come to the BiggerPockets website, I can, I can create an experience there based on your information that drives you towards those goals. But the challenge is that the website is like one tiny corner of the bigger pockets experience, right? Because it’s no bigger or smaller and a lot of ways than our podcast, our YouTube channel, our Facebook groups, our Instagram, you know, other parts of the book publishing business, you know, it’s, and so that’s one corner of the, the BP universe. 

 

And so what we’ve decided to do is to begin building what we call sub brands of bigger pockets. And so that’s where we have bigger pockets, money, and real estate rookie. And we’re hoping to launch one more over the course of 20, 21. I’m still debating a couple of things, but I think there’s a place for more advanced investors. And what, what the current approach has done is the personal finance piece and the rookie piece allow our core real estate, the bigger pockets, real estate podcast, to go a little bit more advanced and move away from that to a certain extent and get into some of that bigger business mindset there. 

 

So in our new investors, our rookies can really learn about, you know, what cashflow is and how to analyze the deal and the basics of that on the rookie podcast. And so that’s kind of been the idea. We think there’s still yet another level of advanced discussion that could be had in another corner. So that that’s kind of the highest level framework. We see a world where if you come into bigger pockets, you join in there in the real estate rookie universe. And that’s how you get your first deal. And you’re surrounded by peers, but led by experts with that, with, with our, our hosts and guests and those types of types of things. 

 

And then over time, you move into the business building phase or the, the investing phase on our core, bigger pockets platform. And then maybe at a future date, you move into a advanced situation. Maybe if you’re a professional flipper or professional syndicator, or you’re an accredited investor and invest passively, there’s a place to learn how to, how to do that and that all y’all and make sure that you’re, you’re doing a good job with the money and all that kind of stuff. 

 

Jesse (18m 2s): Yeah. That’s a great point. You mentioned the, the book publishing side of it. I I’ve always wanted to ask, you know, one of the members of the team, how did that, how did that start? Because you, you you’ve kind of teamed up with, with subject matter experts. And the first time I ever saw that, I don’t, I can’t remember which, you know, which individual it was, but, you know, it was bigger pockets as, as part of, so is that first of all, how did that, how did that begin? And secondly, is the, is it self-published or published by bigger pockets? 

 

Like the entity bigger pockets? 

 

Scott (18m 34s): Well, mechanically we have a wholly owned LLC called BiggerPockets publishing. So it’s published by BiggerPockets publishing. So how did the book business come about? I think it, before I got to bigger pockets, Jay Scott had written the book on flipping houses and the book on estimating rehab costs. And, you know, I think it would be fair to say that I really pushed the publishing side of the business as a big opportunity for us with this brand and published the book on investing in real estate with no money down next. 

 

And everyone was debating what we should write next. And I was like, how about the book on rental property investing that one? Right. And so, so we have a, a long standing tradition now of launching books, largely with very obvious titles, I could call them SEO titles. That was not, I don’t know if that was the intent at first, but we were just like the fuck that rental property investor let’s look at flipping houses, the book and estimating rehab costs, book and investing in real estate with no one looking low money down, buy rehab, rent, refinance, repeat, you know, and so that’s, that’s kind of our fleet there that has kind of transformed over time. 

 

We found that people love the books. We have a really high, and, you know, you can judge whether your product is doing well in the mind of the consumer by what’s called an NPS score. So that’s a net promoter score, and you can think of this more or less along the lines of a star rating on Amazon, five stars. People love it. Four stars. People are neutral three and below people are detractors. And our books really, really seem to have high ratings, high NPS scores among the, among our customers with that. Because I think that they’re a low cost way to really digest a lot of information. 

 

And I think our publishing team is super consistent about finding a, a true expert. Somebody, you know, we’ll talk about Jay Scott here. I know you just, you just interviewed him right before me, I think earlier today, actually. Right. You know, Jay, I can’t gush enough about Jay Jay’s. Jay Scott joined BiggerPockets. I don’t know, 15 years ago, 16 years ago, he posted 17, 18,000 times to our forums over the course of that period, he completed 150 fix and flip projects, right? Maybe the guy is playing some underhanded game with no way. 

 

Jay Scott is a genuine human who’s proved his reputation over and over and over again, who has debated the nuance of every point. That every problem that you can conceivably come up with across 17,000 online discussions, God only knows how many other discussions he’s had with people on an individual basis. And the guy can write, and he runs a successful business and has a track record for it. What, how can you find a better author than that? And that I think is a reflection on Jay Scott’s character and expertise, but also a reflection of the power of BiggerPockets is we can find that person who is not just, you know, a recent just came out of nowhere, kind of person who, who knows what’s gonna happen. 

 

We can find people who have really embraced our values and, you know, seen success and like to help people and understand the problems that folks. And they’re the ones who are kind of writing a lot of our, our books and content. So that’s been a really powerful draw for us. People who are interviewing people day in and day out in the podcast. You get to know the challenges of that. 

 

Jesse (21m 45s): No know Scott, it might be the long con with, with Jay. 

 

Scott (21m 48s): Yeah, that’s right. Well, if he doesn’t listen to this, sorry, Jay. 

 

Jesse (21m 53s): It was funny. He, he mentioned because we said we were talking about BB cotton, Nashville. The, so I, you know, I thought I assumed it was the official first one. And he’s like, nah, it was the officially was, I spoke at the one in 2012 when there was four of us. But yeah, it was like, I don’t know where there was one back then. So, you know, one thing I like, I’m curious, I think anybody in our space is curious that there gets a point where you put out content and you’re trying to figure out if there is a way to monetize this content. And you know, one thing for me, I’ve been really fortunate to be a contributor for bigger pockets on the commercial real estate side. 

 

I learned so much just, you know, doing, even though I live in the space of commercial real estate, I learned so much by putting that information out there. And I’ll tell you the first time you have, you know, 70,000 views on something, and you’re looking at comments, you start sharpening your pencil really quickly and try to make sure you know, what you’re talking about. So it’s been really beneficial from that point of view. But when you start putting out content and you start trying to figure out where is the monetization, and I find with, you know, we’re not selling a product, we’re not selling a, you know, mugs where you see a lot of people in our space go the coaching route or go into the, you know, substantative relationship. 

 

And then they invest eventually with, with the company, is that, are you trying to fire on all cylinders? Are you trying to, are you picking certain avenues? And just on the idea of coaching will, will bigger pockets grow to a point where it’s kind of like a rich dad, poor dad, where you have a brand, you have somebody that has, you know, drunk the Kool-Aid and they are, you know, the, the evangelists for BiggerPockets. 

 

Scott (23m 30s): You know, I think, I think you begin to lose competitive advantage if you move in that direction. Right? So here’s how I think about, you know, because one of my jobs is to make money for the, for our shareholders, right? That’s, that’s a goal for every CEO, right? With here’s how I think about it. The moment that we deliver value to our customer is the moment that they transact on an investment property that they believe and have good reason to believe is likely to advance their financial position. 

 

And my, my belief is that our business, we are in the business of helping people dive in, but then ultimately take action in buying real estate and they need to do it healthfully. As part of that transaction, there are four stakeholders who make a lot of money. One is the real estate agent. The second is the lender. The third is the insurance provider and the fourth is the property manager. And these are the people, the core four that, you know, a lot of investors need, right? 

 

I guess a contractor instead of the insurance broker, but I will get to contractors later. I believe that it is very hard to find an investor friendly real estate agent right now. W where do you go to look for that? And I think we’ve got a lot of agents who would love to do business with BiggerPockets investors and a lot of investors who do not want a referral from their mom or their brother or their best friend. They want an investor friendly real estate agent. So I think, you know, what, what we’ve built and we’ve already launched in 10 markets and things are off to the races with this is a marketplace that you can go to biggerpockets.com/agents and find really high quality investor friendly agents. 

 

Many of whom have grown up through bigger pockets and post a million times on our forums. Many of whom we’ve, you know, there’s, there’s more folks that are entering the game and trying to prove themselves as investor-friendly agents. And we can match folks with that. And I think that’s a really big opportunity for us, if we can help people connect, get ready. And when they’re ready after the time that they spend to, to, to, to learn about this, actually move down the steps toward the transaction and connect with an agent and a lender and that kind of stuff. 

 

I think there’ll be plenty of opportunity to make money in that process. As long as we do a good job, making sure that you’re actually getting a good professional with that 

 

Jesse (25m 47s): On that note, because you know, my world is in commercial brokerage, those type of realtors or agents that you’re connecting, are they in the commercial space and more in the single family multifamily, where do they, where do they lie on the, in that world? 

 

Scott (26m 4s): Well, I think you bring up a good point, the bigger pockets we, you know, the, the market that we’re most heavily concentrated, we have a forum and community that can talk about every conceivable aspect of real estate investing. But I would say the majority of our users are going to be folks that are buying single families, duplexes, triplexes, and quads, a minority 10% have a great discussion about buying larger properties with, with those types of things. But the majority of our, of our users are doing that. 

 

And 90% of single family rental properties in this country are owned by investors with 10 or fewer units. And 50% are owned by investors with just one or two units. So that is really kind of like the user of bigger pockets. Now, the folks that you interact with and you have on your podcast completely different profile than the average investor, right. But the, the typical person is, is fitting the description that I’m I’m describing here. The guy who likes to talk about real estate all day long is going to have a different profile than that, right. Is that that’s where the voltage is more prominent anyways. 

 

So what were you asking about? 

 

Jesse (27m 12s): Basically, it sounds like that is the space it’s it’s the, the singles to quads is where you’re connecting those types of agents where we’re now for me, the reason I asked that is because when I was younger or sorry, earlier in my career, when I was in single family or student rental, it was really challenging finding the, see the link between residential broker commercial broker, and then in the middle there there’s this investor centric broker that will do deals like you’re discussing. 

 

Scott (27m 41s): Yes. And we think that’s the opportunity for us to in the next, you know, year or so to really solve a lot of problems. I would love to also do a marketplace for the more serious commercial brokers who are brokering apartment complexes. But I think we got to bite off one thing at a time as a business and, and concentrate our focus on the biggest challenge facing the majority of our users, which I think is transacting on single family, duplex, triplex quadplex long-term rental investments. 

 

And one of the biggest things we can do to help them with that is help them find an investor friendly agent instead of an agent where they’re going to have to figure out and drive all that process. 

 

Jesse (28m 19s): Yeah. Well, I mean, you would have the data there. So I mean, if that, if that is the majority of, of the individuals, that just, that makes sense. And I think like from, I think there’s a misnomer, or there’s just a misunderstanding of, it’s not the commercial brokers, aren’t, don’t want to do deals with, with a variety of different people. It’s it’s that ultimately, without getting into the granularity of it, it’s the, the fee split or the, the commission split structure is just it’s, it’s, it’s in such a way that doing deals less than 5 million, 3 million, it just, it becomes something where it’s, you can’t wait. 

 

It literally is a waste of time that you can’t spend your time doing that. And that’s why they’re, you know, there is a great place. I know in most major markets between 1 million and $5 million deals, that is a really great spot that I think a lot of agents aren’t capturing and are starting to make that their niche of, of what they focus in. 

 

Scott (29m 14s): And I’ll bring you down just one more level from there, a single family rental home costs the same as a single family home, right. More or less than that. But, but the, the, the realtors and the agents, the local agents who are helping investors do that, do not understand things like the 1% rule or a cash and cash return, or the fact that, Hey, I care if it’s a good school district, but that’s like a fourth or fifth or seventh bullet point for me after the rent to price ratio that this property can command the longterm. 

 

Other long-term factors around appreciation, whether it has amenities that are going to be that the tenants are going to like whether I can convert that office into another bedroom, those types of things. That is the level. Those are the, the, the more, I guess, accessible things that we’re, we’re, we’re building, we’re building a marketplace for investors to meet agents who can help them transact on residential real estate. 1, 2, 3, and four unit properties, probably in most cases, less than a million dollars, but in some cases they’ll get, they’ll get to that, that value 

 

Jesse (30m 21s): Right on, well, we can talk in new Orleans, we can talk about some ideas to get those commercial and monetize those commercial brokers. I think from that point of view, it’s really going to be on the listing side. Everybody has a buyer listings are where it’s at. I want to be respectful of your, of your time here. I’m really curious to know about how you spun off the original podcast to the money podcasts. I I’ve, I’ve listened only admittedly to a few episodes, but it seems like there was a pivot to basically get the ideas of that were already ingrained in the initial podcast, financial freedom, money, personal finance, and move it in that direction. 

 

Can you talk a little bit about how that process took place? 

 

Scott (31m 2s): Yeah, sure. So, so the mission of bigger pockets and emission I share is how you enable financial freedom for as many people as possible as early in life as possible, because that is how you unlock human potential. And my belief is that there’s a lot of people who want to invest in real estate, but just don’t have a financial position capable of responsibly sustaining real estate investment. And this can be anybody from having debt and needing to rebuild their position to we’ve had millionaires on the podcast who have no wealth outside of their primary residence and their retirement accounts, $10,000 in cash and nothing else. 

 

And they’re not in position to invest either. And so the point of the money show is to help folks move toward financial freedom and a financial position, a strategy with their money that allows them to make on a repeated basis investments in assets like real estate and other businesses on a regular basis with that. So it’s a, it’s a very different bent on personal finance with that. And we’ve talked, we talked a lot of people, we have two major SEG well, so that’s the reason for the show is to, is to really bring in the personal finance aspect of this and say, here’s how real estate investors build a position capable of sustaining real estate investment investing and how they move toward financial freedom with that as part of their portfolio. 

 

Jesse (32m 21s): Yeah, it’s a, you mentioned it earlier. It seems like there is that there is that real estate avatar that you do enough of these podcasts where you’re listening to, you’re listening to a lot of the same stuff. You’re reading books like crazy. You’re, you’re digesting as much information as you can, but you start seeing the same, even on YouTube, you start seeing the same pop up. And then you’re like, you know, I didn’t expect BiggerPockets have this guest on. I saw him in some totally different, you know, field or, or podcasts, but it seems like there is that a specific individual that, you know, multiple Venn diagrams, I think we all share. 

 

Scott (32m 55s): Yeah. I mean, like right now, bigger pockets is a real estate investing platform, right? That’s our, that’s our core focus, but in 20 years, maybe that begins to shift gradually over time because the goal is financial freedom right now is financial freedom through real estate. But how do you just make that more accessible to more people? Cause that’s, that’s how you unlock. Like I said, human potential in ways that you can’t predict those people who become millionaires in their thirties or forties, go on to start businesses, change the world, all that kind of stuff. And real estate is the nominal tool for a lot of people, but especially people making between 50 and $200,000 a year, when you make less than that, you can’t really get to the starting point in real estate responsible. 

 

You’re going to take, you’re going to take some big risks, you know, likely unless you, unless you’re a really good saver for example, and you can make much more than that. You’re probably not going to put in the 500 hours that I articulated before, because you’d be better spent just earning that money and dumping it into something more passive for like, you know, a syndication or something rather than buying the, the, the duplex. So you’ve got that sweet spot, but there’s a whole bunch of opportunities for lots of billions of folks in that category who don’t want to do real estate and other folks out there who want to achieve financial freedom through other means. 

 

Jesse (34m 7s): Yeah, no, that’s a really good point. The a 50 to 200 interesting to think about it that way for the future here, we’re going to come up to a few questions. We ask every guest, but before we do Scott 20 21, 20 22, I think we talked a little bit before the show. It’s been a insane last 18 months, it’s it hasn’t been easy for a lot of individuals, a lot of companies from a positive note, what do you see for opportunities down the line? You know, what is 20 21, 20 22 look like for yourself and the team? 

 

Scott (34m 41s): Oh, for myself and the team. I think we’re going to, I think we’re going to be able to really create a world-class network of investor-friendly real estate agents, and maybe also investor-friendly lenders who understand the different types of loan products that you need for a duplex triplex or single family rental investment, those types of folks. I think we’ll be able to build that those marketplaces. I think we are going to, I try to launch another podcast perhaps in that syndication space. 

 

I want to let the team beat me up on that. We’re not sure if we’re actually going to do that quite yet, but that’s, that’s something that we’re, we’re noodling on. We have our conference coming up October and we’ve got a couple of good books lined up that we’ll be releasing in the next 12 months as well. So I think we’ve got a lot of exciting stuff in the pipeline for bigger pockets over the next year. Awesome 

 

Jesse (35m 32s): Man. Excited for it. All right. I got four for ya. Rapid fire. If, if you’re ready to I’ll, I’ll sell them over. Let’s do it. All right. Scott, first question, something that you know now in your career with bigger pockets that you wish you knew when you started out there, 

 

Scott (35m 50s): You know, I, I’m going to get, answer your question very generally. I think there’s a ton of mental models that a CEO needs to have around what good looks like looks like, especially from senior executives, whether that’s finance, technology, marketing, HR, those types of things. And, you know, I don’t know if there’s a way I could’ve gone back and given them to myself, but developing those as the core responsibility of a CEO. And I think that’s been the biggest challenge for me is understanding what are the essential outputs? How do I articulate them? How do I performance manage against those 

 

Jesse (36m 21s): On that point of development? Again, it’s, it’s great to have you in this seat because it’s something I asked a lot of people, and I think you see it from a, from a closer point of view, your view on mentorship for younger people that are getting into our industry or any industry for that matter. What would you say on that point? And maybe just with the added piece of what to watch out for what to be careful for, because I mean, you, you see it all on the, on the forum as 

 

Scott (36m 50s): A hiring manager, as a men, as looking for a minute. Sure. 

 

Jesse (36m 53s): I think for people in a real estate, trying to get in to the industry, your view on mentorship and, and you know, what will you would recommend or, or w what’s been beneficial? 

 

Scott (37m 3s): I think the informal mentorship is a really good approach. Like you’re not looking if you’re paying a lot of money for the mentorship, you better know what good looks like. And you know, here, here’s a good framework. If, if you, you know, that you’re probably getting on the right track to and begin investing, when you can meet with 10 investors who all outwardly appear successful and say, these two are really sharp. These guys are, are four formulaic, and these two are successful. They’re really gonna they’re, they’re, they’re really doing something crazy here. I don’t understand it, or they’re not doing it. 

 

It doesn’t make any sense or they don’t seem smart to me. So I think when you can begin meeting with people that outwardly see more advanced than you, and kind of pick out the nuance in their approach, you’re probably onto something there. And that might help you begin to spot that mentor. If you do want to engage in something more formal. Awesome. 

 

Jesse (37m 53s): What is one resource? It can be a book podcasts that you are listening to right now that you would recommend to listeners. And I’ll just put the caveat out also with this one, I’ll give you one from BiggerPockets and then a, and then one outside of your space. 

 

Scott (38m 9s): Yeah. I always, by default have the bigger pockets things. I almost never reference them. Cause I feel like that’d be a shameless plug. No, I I’m listening to good strategy, bad strategy right now. And I think that’s a fantastic book. I I’m listening. I’m halfway through it and I can’t remember the author’s name, but 

 

Jesse (38m 25s): We’ll put it in the show notes. Good strategy. Bad strategy. 

 

Scott (38m 29s): Yep. Richard Rumelt. Yeah. 

 

Jesse (38m 34s): All right. Well, wasn’t Scott. It’s been a, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you for, for spending the time here for those out there. I say this all the time. Everything’s a Google search away, but for those that want to reach out, connect, be part of this community, or just learn more, where can, where can they go? 

 

Scott (38m 52s): You can find me on BiggerPockets. You can just search in the nav bar there. And my name will come up or you can email me@scottatbiggerpockets.com. You can find me on Instagram at, at Scott underscore 

 

Speaker 2 (39m 2s): Trench. My guest 

 

Jesse (39m 4s): Today has been Scott trench. Scott, thanks for being part of working capital. 

 

Speaker 2 (39m 9s): Thank you for having me. <inaudible> 

 

Jesse (39m 17s): Thank you so much for listening to working capital the real estate podcast. I’m your host, Jesse for galley. If you like the episode, head on to iTunes and leave us a five star review and share on social media, it really helps us out. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, Jesse for galley, F R a G a L E, have a good one. Take care.