Flipping Real Estate for Profit

The big 50% off sale at ReviewMe (aff) drew to a close last month, but not before John got bombarded with a whole whack of requests. He couldn’t turn them down because they came from readers, so he outsourced a few to me. Evil, I know, because most (if not all) of you come to John Chow dot Com to read the miscellaneous ramblings of that dot com mogul and not a lowly freelance writer like me. Oh well, that’s how the cookie crumbles!

This latest ReviewMe review is particularly fitting, though, considering that I did one on a realtor community and one that had to do with investing. Meshing these two together, we find ourselves looking at Bigger Pockets, a site dedicated to helping you invest in the real estate market. See, the universe is in balance.

Where Do I Begin?

The first impression I get when I visit the main page is that I have no idea where I should start. There’s text everywhere (content is a good thing), but it’s all organized sort of haphazardly, with key features of the site — like finding property values for free — appearing more like ads than actual components of the page.

At its core, Bigger Pockets is designed to be a one-stop solution for people looking to invest their money in the real estate market. They’ve got all sorts of tools and resources at your disposal, several of which are those cool new toys that web surfers seem to enjoy these days. There’s a blog to keep you up to the date in the world of real estate news, forums so that you can discuss your money laundering schemes with fellow investors, and a directory of people who offer various related services. They’ll hook you up with recommended accountants, attorneys, inspectors, locksmiths, and so on.


I Wanna Make Some Money!

We all want to make money, but most of us don’t know the best way to do it. In addition to the sense of community you’ll get from interacting with fellow investors through the forums, Bigger Pockets also has a good selection of useful How-To articles that’ll put you in the know. ‘Cause knowing stuff is a good thing. Here a few pieces that caught my eye.

This last one is a pretty good read, because this is where you can make a good sum of money: taking what may appear to be a slum and transforming it into a livable (maybe even posh) pad that will have prospective buyers and/or renters crawling all over each other.

The blog is also a great resource for useful information. You’ll find tidbits like the response to whether you should sign a suspect renter or leave the property vacant.

Monetization Beyond Real Estate

More money making. When the owners of Bigger Pockets aren’t too busy wading their way through the real estate jungle, they’re busy collecting their cheques from Adsense and YPN. As most of the site is predominantly text and looks almost like one big ad itself, the contextual ads aren’t distracting at all. They really feel like a part of the site and not something that was tacked on. I still think that the website as a whole is far from being the prettiest pony in the stable, but this seamless blending is quite good.

With a pretty active discussion forum, a regularly updated blog, and a growing number of resource articles, Bigger Pockets can be a huge asset to the prospective real estate investor. This same information might also be helpful to people like me who are looking to buy their first home. Too bad nearly all the information is geared toward the US, so Canadians are a little out of luck.

73 thoughts on “Flipping Real Estate for Profit”

  1. Here we go again…
    Can we have some content, please?

    1. Gary Lee says:

      i agree, but I think this is one of the necessary evils that John has to perform if he wants to increase his revenues from his February numbers. I think John’s walking that fine line between being a total sell out and providing genuine & interesting content. I’m interested to see where this site’s community goes at it climbs the charts of popularity!

      1. It’s a self perpetuating, evil circle πŸ™‚

    2. ilker says:

      I second that notion..

      1. Stuart says:

        I third this notion, it’s all I’ve been seeing lately. Wonder how this will affect the readership.

    3. Ryan says:

      I agree, but by accepting the reviews he almost has no choice since they put a time limit on them.

      1. HMTKSteve says:

        Yep… time limit…

    4. Yeah right! Enough with the ReviewMe posts, we want more regular John Chow dot Com content!

    5. John Chow says:

      The level of normal content on this blog hasn’t changed – it’s still about three new articles per day. However, I still need to get this backlog of ReviewMe reviews posted under a limited time line. If ReviewMe allowed more time, then I can space them over the month, but they don’t. So, instead of seeing three posts per day, you’re seeing five or more.

      Once the backlog is over, we’ll be back to our normal posting pattern. Hopefully, people will not be ordering a ton of reviews at month end again.

      1. That’s good to know!

      2. Nick says:

        The main reason for the massive load of reviews requested is because more average people were able to afford reviews at the end of the month with the 50% of coupon. I’m sure if that offer continued, you would be bogged down for months.

      3. Gary Lee says:

        totally understandable john . . looks like it’getting really busy for you and the revenue opportunities must be pouring in

      4. ilker says:

        Yeah thanks for clearing that up but can’t you set a time limit yourself or limit number of reviews? I know you wouldn’t do the latter even if you could but what about time?

        1. Michael Kwan says:

          Typically, they give you 96 hours, but I think they give you more if it spills into the weekend.

        2. yea, What I am wondering is this as well, does a ReviewMe reviewer has to accept all assignments that come his way?

      5. Stuart says:

        How much of a backlog do you have?

      6. HMTKSteve says:

        When did this blog become michaelkwan.com???

        1. I guess sometimes we folks has to realize that John is ‘out’, and needs a caretaker in the meantime.

      7. Yea it is a pity that ReviewMe only gives you a limited amount of time to do the job. Besides the point of doing extra few posts a day, it also means that the quality is hard to keep up to, isn’t it?

        Well, hopefully, the reviews that you have this month are better spread out!

      8. Jeff Kee says:

        Not much you can do when you’re bound by a contract to provide the reviews. Otherwise John will lose money. I noticed the influx of posts – which means you’re still doing the same # of the regular posts.

  2. ilker says:

    I heard Real Estate is where the money is at. 😎

    1. It is where people get hit the hardest as well, when the market goes the other way round. It is not an easy market, to take note.

      1. As they say: Invest in land – They’re not making any more of it.

      2. Aris says:

        My two favorite sites for Real Estate Investing are richdad.com forum and creonline.com. There are some very good articles that you can find in “First Time Real Estate Investor” and “The Advance Real Estate Investor” sections on Rich Dad Community that cater to the newbies in REI.
        I also visit livelearninvest.com blog which has so many useful links on REI there. I think there is always risks anywhere in live. The question is how would you manage it?

    2. Jeff Kee says:

      I work with realtors – I think 80% of my clients for marketing/design/websites are realtors, and I have a lot of insight in it.

      If you know what you’re doing, it’s the best investment for the every-day person. If you don’t know what you’re doing, get a realtor and do it. Don’t ever fall for that 1% crap or E-realty sh*t.

      I should write a blog about some good examples of good real estate marketing.

      1. Aris says:

        >I should write a blog about some good examples of good real estate marketing.

        What about spending your hard earned money from IT business and invest it in real estate? πŸ˜†

        1. Jeff Kee says:

          Haha dont’ have that much money yet mate. I’m working on it. If i had money, I’d buy RIGHT away.

      2. Yea, if you had a choice, why not let the professionals do the work, while you still can sit back and collect the money? Safer, compared to the messy few percent of discount that you can get by doing it yourself.

    3. Michael Kwan says:

      Real estate *was* a big boom for Vancouver these past couple of years with condos popping up everywhere. They’re still building new condos (lots of them), but the market is slowly levelling off and prices are increasing like mad anymore. A simple (new) one bedroom condo could once be had for less than $200k. That is no longer the case.

      1. Real estate is skyrocketing where I live, but has been for about ten years now. Luckily we got in at just the right time!


      2. Jeff Kee says:

        THat kind of skepticism was around for years. In 2004 some friends asked me if they should invest or not.. and now they regret being pessimistic and acting like a bunch of scared sissies. Meanwhile my other friend who did invest made money.

        At the time they said … “It went up by 20% a year for 3 years in a row now, how can it sustain?”

        Well, Vancouver prices are still at the gutters compared to it’s 12th-in-the-world status.

        THe market has no sympathy – doens’t matter if the local buyers can no longer afford to own here, as long as there are enough rich foreigners investing, it’ll stand.

        People with no good insight into how the capitalist society works, or as Mr. Trump put it, “expects the government or the public environment to set a standard on your personal living” often say these things about the real estate market, but those people will end up losing mroe and more.

        Orange County – 80% of the actual residents CANNOT own – they rent. Their landlords don’t live in the city. I’m still very young but I’m working hard to be one of the rich people who can invest in the market – the skeptics will end up being the 80%.

    4. Marc says:

      Writing about real estate pays off too πŸ˜‰ It’s got a lot less risk involved as well. Flipping can make a lot of money but there’s a fair amount of risk involved too. One bad property can sink an individual who’s unable to absorb loss.

    5. HMTKSteve says:

      I heard the money was in the bank.

  3. Bo Ek says:

    This is starting to getting annoying… 😑

  4. Nick says:

    Real Estate is very the money is at…if you know the real estate market. Some places – it’s an amazing way to profit – in some other towns and areas you are dead.

    I live in Myrtle Beach, SC and selling houses is almost impossible – but to rent a house out here during the summer – you are set to be an extreme amount of income much above your mortgage. Average condo’s sell for 100k and rent out during the summer for 4k a week.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      But what do you do with the rest of the year?

      1. The rest of the year, it should be inspection, examining, researching, reading up, and speculating on the market. I guess. That is pretty much what people who are INto real estate market are doing, aren’t they?

  5. Matthew says:

    flipping houses like that seems popular in san diego here because the market is so big. they are knocking down long standing businesses to throw more condo’s in the mix

  6. Jimi says:

    Heh…people in Michigan pay you to take their house so you cna get the hell out of here.

    1. Jeff Kee says:

      I heard some areas in USA are pretty bad.. BC is still booming. Youshould invest here!

  7. Gary Lee says:

    Downtown Los Angeles is the next Hot Spot. Mark my words. Condos are going for about 5-600k, but I think once the community developments are finished, those properties are going to be worth at least 50% more.

    1. Nick says:

      Almost all of California is this way – look at San Fransisco – houses in the “rough” neighborhoods go for what; 600k? Imagine in a year or two as it grows even more.
      One of the magazines about a month or so ago did an article on the “Next 6 Tech Cities” and I would bet money in 5 years – these towns (including Denver, San Fran, New York, DC, Austin, and I forgot the last) will triple in prices.

      1. Right, all of Cali is hot all of the time. But they are building that new entertainment complex my the Staples Center…

    2. Michael Kwan says:

      Man, I thought Vancouver was getting expensive.

      1. Gary Lee says:

        How much is the Vancouver Market going for? I’ve been up there before and it’s on my list for places I would like to live one day

        1. Michael Kwan says:

          It depends largely on the area (downtown Vancouver costs significantly more), but for a new 600-ish square foot one bedroom condo in Vancouver proper, you’d be looking at 250k or so. 1000ish square foot 2 bedroom would be low 300s. (Those are starting prices, with plenty of places going for more)

          1. Nick says:

            Wow – Just when I think about moving to Canada I change my mind. lol

          2. It just depends were in Canada – or anywhere else! Location, Location, Location!

          3. Philip Liu says:

            Manhattan real estate is going for $800-$1,300 a square foot.

  8. brad effects says:

    I agree that this reviewme backlog thoiong is getting quite annoying because it just doesnt feel like good content I guess. I enjoy reading john chow thats why i come here. Not for the guest posts but for John CHow.

    1. Aris says:

      Why don’t you just skip the part that you don’t like? We all have only 24 hours a day and John needs to make money beside entertaining us, right?

    2. Well, you will never be able to get or read content that is always pleasing to your eyes, yea? Like how Aris put it, one does have a choice to read other articles instead. Although well, you are just another true-blue fan of John like anyone of us. :mrgreen:

  9. John Chow says:

    I love real estate. I can’t seem to stop buying it. That’s why this blog has an investment section. πŸ™‚

    1. I’d love to buy more, but babies need diapers first…

      1. Aris says:

        >I’d love to buy more, but babies need diapers first

        Be John Chow, and people will send you diapers for free as long as you review them. πŸ™„

        Kidding aside, real-estate can also be started from a small or even no capital at all.

      2. Haha.. definitely you have to be concerned about your family first, before you can talk about investments. The baby needs his milk!

        1. Jeff Kee says:

          Which is why I wont have a family until I’ve achived my other goals.

    2. Aris says:

      Good for you, John.

      Since you talked about the good use of 0% credit card money last time, you may probably like what they are doing in stjohncapital.com .

    3. lol John, perhaps in future, you may wish to educate us bloggers on how much you earn from real estate as well. Who knows, you may have people following your footsteps!

  10. David says:

    I would love to get into this. But buying real estate in the Vancouver area is not an easy task. Its pricy…you gotta have a bit of cash or a fairly good salary to be able to play this game.

    1. Aris says:

      If you think you can or you can’t, you are right all the time. πŸ˜€

    2. Yea in fact a lesson to learn is to use only YOUR own money for the game. I had a friend who jumped into the property market boom with a financial loan as he predicted he could make an overall gain. Sadly, he did not and now possess property with debt incurred.

      1. Aris says:

        That’s the reason people need to learn before jumping into anything new. Having trouble in the process is normal, and it’s called the tuition of the school of hard knock. πŸ˜†

        There is a good article here that I always suggested to first time RE Investor to read:


        Just read the first few articles to see if it suits for them.

        I totally disagree with using your own money. OPM is the best way to do. How to manage is the key. If I have to use my own money, I’d have nothing to hold on for my retirement.

    3. Jeff Kee says:

      I saw the limitation in salaries so I started my own business.. I wanted to get inthe ranks of my older friends who are self-employed, owns property, trades stocks, etc.

  11. Josh Dorkin says:

    Anyone can get into real estate investing. The key is having a good understanding of what aspect of real estate you want to be involved in, and writing yourself a detailed business plan.

    Some markets are more challenging than others, but the world is your oyster. Who is to say that a guy in Southern California has to invest there?

    I want to thank John for his review of our site. We set out to educate and inform investors, and to provide them with a place to make deals and network. Tens of thousands of investors return to our site again and again because we have created a “safe” place to learn, without worrying that they are going to get stuck buying some expensive course. We have nothing to sell. The adsense and other advertising allow us to provide these services for FREE!

    I look forward to everyone’s feedback on the site. Thank you.

  12. Hey John – have you thought about doing a new blog post where you list your current real estate holdings and talk a bit about them? I was thinking about doing it over on my blog as I’m about to undertake a 12 unit development here in Sydney Australia over the next few months – and A LOT of people are interested in learning about real estate because it’s such an important investment vehicle.

    1. Jeff Kee says:

      I have some great examples of great real estate invesment success stories from my friends and such..

      I’ll probably do a write-up on that.

  13. zaki says:

    Very interesting site they have there…Full pack with information and advertisement as well.

    One must have enough knowledge and learn from other people’s experiences before indulging into the real estate biz.

    My father lost a lot of cash simply because the renter did not pay some of the monthly rental, electricity and water bills..At the end, he lost a couple of thousands of malaysian ringgit…Now, he have to repair the shop house lot and that again cost money….

    I hope he will be lucky next time by getting a good quality renter… πŸ™„ πŸ˜‰

    1. Interestingly, I guess your parent could have been stricter and signed an existing contract that caused him to be liable for such payments. In other words, defaulting any of these before he evacuated could have brought him under the charge of the law.

      Did you try pursuing him? ❓

    2. Jeff Kee says:

      If this is in Canada, rental arbitration is available. Arbitration orders have the same effect as a court order… I know this because I’m studying for my license course right now.

      Usually you’d take the deposit away and serve an eviction notice to the tenant if they don’t pay rent at any point.

  14. Jez says:

    Loads of info out there already though, its really popular in the UK (spose its the same everywhere) a lot of people at it, which makes for a large audience, but a lot of competition in terms of people providing similar information

  15. Jez says:

    Youve done really well off review me John, I signed up one of my blogs a few weeks ago and was really pleased to get my first review Saturday, hope to get a few more. I would not have signed up if you hadn’t plugged it, thanks!

  16. I would love to get into this. But buying real estate in Singapore is not an easy task. Its pricy…you gotta have a bit of cash or a fairly good salary to be able to play this game.

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