BiggerPockets Uses Denver Base to "Democratize" the Real Estate Business

When Joshua Dorkin caught the real estate bug, he found out that being smart wasn't enough -- you have to know the business. But the resources he found were expensive or out of reach, so he decided to "democratize" the real estate business by starting BiggerPockets, an online community that makes real estate information easily accessible.

While he was building BiggerPockets, Dorkin was living in southern California with his soon-to-be-wife. They decided to make the move to Denver after visiting a friend who lives here. "It looked like a great place to be and a great place to build a business," Dorkin says. And the real-estate business is certainly booming here.

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Even so, housing is more affordable here compared to prices in cities like New York and San Francisco -- and then there's the natural beauty. As Dorkin puts it, "Who doesn't love the mountains?"

Dorkin got his start in real estate through his brother. After realizing that rental properties were a good investment, he decided to learn more -- and that led to BiggerPockets. "The initial goal was to be completely self-serving, and to help me mess up less," Dorkin admits. Now BiggerPockets has a community of almost 240,000 members, he says, and regularly gets calls from people who have quit their job in order to become real estate investors full-time, using the websiite.

There was one thing Dorkin knew he did not want his business to be like: the real estate gurus you see advertising on television, selling their seminars for thousands of dollars a ticket. "As a good New Yorker, my BS meter, when I see those guys, goes off the charts," Dorkin explains. That's why all of the information and blog content on BiggerPockets is accessible with a free membership."We're never going to charge people to have to access the information." If your interest in BiggerPockets leans more toward networking or advertising, you will have to pay for your membership, though.

BiggerPockets officially launched in 2004. It has already published three books, and has a regular podcast that gets around 40,000 downloads per show. The team currently consists of eleven people, six in Denver. But even as the company grows, Denver will remain home. "I have absolutely no plans to leave Denver. We love the community," Dorkin says. Have a tip? E-mail editorial@westword.com.

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