Scott: I’m excited to have a special guest on this episode. We have the man, the myth, the Flipping American legend, the one and only Roger Blankenship joining us. You are a making a name for yourself out there doing amazing stuff. I want to thank you for having me on your show. I wanted to have you back on my show to talk about real estate, the market and some of the good stuff. You’ve been doing a tremendous job. You’ve been an active real estate investor for a while. Why don’t you share a little about your background and who Roger Blankenship is?
Roger: I trained for the ministry and I spent 25 years in the ministry. People say, “How did you get into real estate?” I said, “A lack of communicable job skills and sheer desperation.” I had worked for little startups always with an entrepreneurial bent and little community-oriented nonprofits. I never had a retirement plan or anything. When I turned 40 I decided, “One of these days I’ll start slowing down. I don’t ever want to quit working, but I need a little extra income coming in for the days when I’m moving a little slower.” That’s when I started thinking about buying rental houses. A friend of mine had been to a weekend seminar and he came back all excited and said, “Let’s flip houses.” I said, “What is it?”
Long story short, I pitched the idea to my dad. This was 2002, but my dad had lost a bunch of money in the stock market. He had sold his business. He needed something else to do with his money. He wanted out of the stock market. He said, “I’ll put up the money, you do the work and we’ll split the profit.” We did a couple of projects. The first one he put up about a total of $95,000. Three months later we were splitting the $15,000 profit. Naturally at the next meeting, he was telling them about how he made all this money on this investment. His friends who also were losing money in the stock market said, “How did you do that?” He said, “My son’s some real estate genius up there in Atlanta, Georgia.” The next thing I know my phone’s ringing. His friends are calling me up and they’re offering me money and say, “Buy deals and fix it up.” Before six months were up, I had $1.2 million in capital from old retired guys in Florida to use their money to buy houses. We were buying foreclosures, fix the properties up and sell them for a profit. At that point, it was on. I decided in 2006 to go full-time. That was a great time to get into full-time real estate investing. We managed to get through those years and 800 deals later looking back.
Scott: Atlanta, where you’re at, was ground zero for a lot of that stuff in a lot of areas. We’ve bought a lot of distressed debt out in Georgia and vice-versa. There are great opportunities out there to be taking advantage of the market.
Roger: At the time, it was easy. In fact, from 2009 through 2012 when the market was so bad is when I made most of my money. There weren’t any other buyers in the marketplace and I still had cash from the old guys and cash from some other guys. We could buy everything in town. We’d sit there and buy eight or ten houses at the auction or a couple of times fifteen. We’d watched twenty or 30 more great deals go back but we were out of money.
Scott: Where do you see the market now in Atlanta?
Roger: The market in Atlanta is still hot. Atlanta, Phoenix and Las Vegas were three of the hardest hit areas in the crash. I looked at some numbers. We’d spend a lot of time looking at the data from ATTOM Data, RealtyTrac, CoreLogic and Market News Update. I believe, and the evidence is bearing this out, that Atlanta hasn’t completely caught up. Our market is doing a little bit better than some of the markets around the country in terms of year-over-year sales and year-over-year increases in pricing. We’re already beginning to see that little bit of slow down. On my show, I predicted that by mid-2018 we’d be slowing down and by the end of 2018, we’d be in a balanced market with about a three months’ supply. I was in one of our flip properties. Even though we’ve got the show and busy schedule, we’re still flipping houses. I went out to one that we’ve got ready to list and enlisted it. We listed it for $10,000 less than we thought we would when we bought it because prices are easing off a little bit. It’s inventory. We’re moving it.