JF2591: 80 Units in 1.5 Years with Blake Selby
When Blake Selby started his real estate journey as an investor, he tried a little bit of everything before eventually morphing into a private lender. But not before scaling to 80 units within 1.5 years, then turning that into 100 units free and clear. Blake is sharing with us how he scaled without always going through the bank, what he found was the most efficient way to grow his money, and his top three steps for qualifying investors.
Blake Selby Real Estate Background:
- Full-time, active investor and private lender
- Currently owns over 100 units free & clear, $2 million cash liquid, 7 figures in notes owned
- Based in Davenport, Iowa
- Say hi to him at: SelbyRentals.com
- Best Ever Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
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Ash Patel: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. I’m Ash Patel, and I’m with today’s guest, Blake Selby. Blake is joining us from Davenport, Iowa. He’s a full-time investor and a private lender. Blake currently owns 100 units free and clear, and owns over a million dollars’ worth of notes.
Blake, thank you for joining us, and how are you today?
Blake Selby: I’m fantastic. Thanks for having me on your show.
Ash Patel: It’s our pleasure. Blake, before we get started, can you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on now?
Blake Selby: Absolutely. So when I started, I started as an investor in real estate, as most people do who get into real estate – they’re just looking for some passive income. And over time, I’ve morphed into a private lender, which has been a great transition for my staff and myself, much better for what I want to do now that I’ve kind of made it in investing; helping others to get into investing is actually a big passion of mine.
Ash Patel: So how did you go from being an investor to a private lender?
Blake Selby: It wasn’t an even linear trajectory. I was doing everything I could, kind of taking a shotgun approach in investing. So I was doing wholesaling, flipping, personally becoming a landlord of a large portfolio… And through that process, the whole time I was always buying low and selling higher, thankfully. But that was what allowed me to scale up; I just did everything. And I’m glad I did, because I learned — nowadays I know that to be great, you really need to hone in and find your focus. But at the time, I didn’t know what I was going to be good at. So I kind of just did everything, and learned along the way lots of bumps and bruises. But all in all, it led me to obtain what I think is a good net worth, and the ability to lend out and to help other investors.
Ash Patel: Alright. Blake, so you currently own over 100 units free and clear.
Blake Selby: Free and clear.
Ash Patel: Can you give the Best Ever listeners your journey on accomplishing that?
Blake Selby: Yeah. So I got to 80 units within about a year, a year and a half of investing. And I did that because previously I’d owned a gym; I was fortunate enough to have one of my gym members be a Vice President of a local bank who decided to loan me a million dollars in a portfolio loan, so that I could buy assets, which was a huge leg up. I’d say some of my journey with skill, some of my journey was luck. I’ll admit that.
I took that million-dollar loan, parlayed it into 80-plus units quickly. Over the ensuing years, that went from 80 units to 320 units. And at that point, after I had amassed this portfolio, I said, “Do I really need to have millions of dollars in loans, or could I just capitalize on the fact that I was buying into an increasing market, and sell off maybe 200 of those units, and just keep the remaining 100 and something as paid off assets?”
Well, not only was able to accomplish that, but through that process of selling them, I got a lot more money for them than I thought I was going to. So I also ended up with a seven-figure lump sum amount that I now loan out.
Ash Patel: Blake, the $1 million portfolio loan – was that on existing assets that you owned?
Blake Selby: No. That was starting fresh. So he had been a member of my gym for a few years, saw what I was capable of. I didn’t really have the right financials and things like that, but he saw what we were doing. We had all these gym members, and I was 25 at the time, and had this bustling gym. And I was able to sell the gym, used that to raise a little bit of money, and then in the process, he said, “I can get you loans for these properties that you want to buy; just let me know.” He was very aggressive with me on giving me a loan, so I’m very thankful for that as well.
Ash Patel: Okay, so the loans were collateralized on real estate.
Blake Selby: They were. They were.
Ash Patel: Okay. Got it. Okay. And how did you scale up to 80 units in 1.5 years?
Blake Selby: That was actually through a mix of, of course that million dollar loan, but then also discovering seller financing. I had never really looked into that, I didn’t know what that was. It was only until a guy offered to sell me one of his houses on payments that I said, “Oh, wait a second, I don’t maybe need the bank for all of these.” Whereas at the bank, I might have been capped at 30 or 40 units, I could go to these sellers and to say, “Hey, will you sell this to me on payments if I put a small amount down?” and most of them were willing to do it at the time.
Ash Patel: And what’s a small amount, percentage-wise?
Blake Selby: 10%, something that I would just have in my cash reserve, just from rental properties or something like that. So that’s what I was doing. Sometimes, in rare occasions, I was putting nothing down, which was pretty [Inaudible [05:12].
Ash Patel: And at what stage did you go from being a one-person shop to taking on partners or employees?
Blake Selby: I never took on partners, but I did take on employees. I think we’re at four full-timers right now, and we’ve got a ton of subcontractors, 1099 workers that work for us. My W-2 employees that work 40 hours a week, we’ve got four of those. And basically, it was just kind of a natural progression. Over time, I just picked up one, then two, then three, and I imagine over the next few years we’ll probably be at about 10.
Ash Patel: Blake, what was your first hire? What position was that for?
Blake Selby: General admin. And I recommend, if you’re just getting started as an investor, if you intend to scale, be thinking about people that you know that might make a good, trustworthy, reliable, teachable, trainable person that might be a good addition to your staff… Because sometimes my staff actually help me keep me so organized that I actually get so much more done in a day than I would have on my own. So just because they’re keeping me on track and eliminating some of that tedious stuff…
For example, I had somebody that did all the legwork to get this podcast put together for me. That way, I didn’t essentially do any of the communication or anything like that. So I have a staff that shares an email with me. But that’s a very small example.
Another bigger example is dealing with some of the properties that we help other landlords with as far as from a management standpoint; we have about 400 or 500 doors that we help other landlords with. And with that, if I was taking telephone calls all day long, I would get nothing done. So having a good, quality staff there to receive phone calls, deal with paperwork, deal with anything that might arise from a tenant issue is really helpful in keeping me focused and honed in on private lending and some of the more core business activities that are higher dollar amounts.
Blake Selby: I did not see property management in your bio. Do you manage properties for other holders?
Blake Selby: We do. We don’t even advertise it; we get so many referrals… I almost don’t want to advertise it because we’re very picky with the clients that we manage for. We want to manage for clients that have a lot of units. One of the guys that we manage for has 150 houses. To give you an example, now my staff is only dealing with 10 guys every week, versus 100 landlords that have two units or three units.
Ash Patel: And that makes a lot of sense. I still want to know, how did you get into private lending?
Blake Selby: I did my first private loan in 2017. So this was while I was still adding units. I said, “Why don’t I try this?” And again, I was trying everything else. So I said, “Well, I guess I’ll try private lending out.” And I didn’t really realize it until the culmination of the first deal, but it was just so easy for me. I could just kind of set it and forget it, as long as I did the right types of deals… And it didn’t scare me as much as maybe putting all my eggs into an asset. I could maybe be halfway into an asset’s value on a private loan, and then kind of, rain or shine, I’m getting paid, because the asset’s worth $100,000. If I’m only into it for 50, there’s no way that I’m not getting paid. And if I don’t get paid, I’m probably going to make a significant amount of money, which rarely happens, and I’m not in the foreclosure business. But we do have them in like all kinds of different states. I just bought one in Arkansas the other day, did a private loan on one in Arkansas, which I don’t know anything about Arkansas, but I can read assessed values and I can check comps… And when I’m seeing that I’m into a house for $100,000 and the other party put $175,000 of their own cash into the deal and I’m first lien position, that makes a whole world of sense for me.
Ash Patel: Blake, will you lend on multifamily or other commercial buildings?
Blake Selby: Yes. Absolutely. Houses are my sweet spot, but I will absolutely lend on multifamily and on commercial; the deal just has to be right. I’m looking at one right now, it’s a bank property. I think it’s in Virginia. Anyways, I’m looking at a bank property out there, and the gentleman that has it – it’s a $200,000 loan amount that he needs from me, but it’s currently assessed at the county level for taxes at $480,000. So it’s really a no-brainer; he has the rest of the money to come up with. So for me, absolutely. That deal makes so much sense to me, because I don’t think there’s a world in which that could ever be worth less than even $300,000.
Ash Patel: What steps do you take to qualify the investor that’s asking you for money?
Blake Selby: As far as the investor, I’m looking for “Does this person rub me the wrong way personally, when I’m talking to them?” I know that’s a very unscientific way to look at it. But when I’m speaking with somebody, I want to know, are they trustworthy? Do they seem like someone I can do business with, that isn’t going to be snaky? I can usually read that pretty early on in a conversation.
Second of all, I look at how they present the deal to me; are they very aggressive and pushy? Because if they are, that’s usually a big red flag. Are they sincere? Because if they are, then I’m more willing to work with them and try to come up with a solution. So if they say, “Oh, I’ve been in the business for 50 years, and I know everything there is to know.” Well, then why are you coming to me for money, right?
Ash Patel: That’s a lot of gut feeling versus background checks, and financials and all that.
Blake Selby: Yes. We’re very gut feel-based on everything that we do; very old school, very handshake. Another thing – obviously, I’m going to vet the deal and look, but there are some metrics that I can look at. Instead of appraisals, we generally have the client do a video walkthrough tour of the property just on FaceTime or Facebook video. So I want to save the borrower as much money as possible. So if I can appraise the thing by just looking at it myself, why not?
Ash Patel: I want to go back. You said that, while you were scaling up, you started private lending.
Blake Selby: Yep.
Ash Patel: It seems like you had an abundance of cash. Where did all of that come from?
Blake Selby: I did, because while I was doing everything else and scaling, I kept flipping, kept wholesaling and kept doing all these cash-generating activities, because I realized that I was going to get limited by the bank. Eventually, I had millions of bank loans; I think I had $2 million or $3 million of bank loans by the height of it. But it’s not easy to continue relying on the banks for money, because a) they’re a little slow sometimes; b) the percentages are good, but at the end of the day, they’re going to limit you on how quickly — they’re going to see you expanding like a wrecking ball, like they did with me, and they’re like, “Oh, dude, you need to slow down a little bit. We’re seeing all these new loans being generated every six months.” So for me, I said, I need to rely on the banks as a component of my business, but I can’t rely on them for all the cash. So I need to do some cash-generating activities like flips, wholesales. At the time, I was turning to take on some management clients. Other things that are just cashflow-positive things that are not 100% reliant on my rental income. Okay? So that’s how I got to the most of the cash that I got to early on.
Ash Patel: Blake, you started scaling up, you hired a staff—
Blake Selby: Yep.
Ash Patel: —and at some point, you sold off the majority of your units,—
Blake Selby: Yep.
Ash Patel: —focused on about 100.
Blake Selby: Yep.
Ash Patel: And then you got into private lending as well. Then, where do the notes come in?
Blake Selby: So with the notes, what we did is we were selling some of those properties off. Now, the 200 that I sold off – there’s little over 200 – those ones that I sold off, half of them I sold off cash. The other half, I sold off and I formed notes on them. So I allowed people to put down payments down on the notes, and then I actually sold off some of the notes, which was kind of a cool 3D chess move; I think it’s cool anyways. And that allowed me to really cash up, because those notes were probably higher than I would have gotten for the properties had I not sold them in that manner; if I had looked for a straight of cash buyer. So I was able to sell some of the notes to a note buyer, generate even more cash, and then plow that back into high-yield private loans. And so that’s the business end of the enterprises that we have today, is most of it is now private lending, and of course, a smaller portion is that $400 or $500 doors depending on the given month in management units.
So that’s most of my business, and then of course I’ve got my 100 that are still paid off. I don’t really think about those, I just have my staff manage those, just like we would any other doors for any other landlords. But those are all fixed up, paid off. Nothing needs done with them. No work needs done. So I just hang on to those. I’m really not acquiring any more units. I think those are just kind of my ones that I already know everything about. They’re already set up and ready to go. So for me, I just leave them alone.
Ash Patel: Can you take me through the numbers on—
Blake Selby: Yeah.
Ash Patel: —let’s say, $100,000 house that you sold, converted into a note.
Blake Selby: Yep.
Ash Patel: Can you walk me through that entire process?
Blake Selby: Let me tell you about a specific group of properties that I sold. So there was a 74 unit house package that I sold for $2.1 million. I know it sounds like a really low number for 74 houses. These houses were in the hood, these houses were in Illinois — not in Chicago, but they were in Illinois in an area that resembles the South Side of Chicago. So very rough. The houses themselves were in pretty good condition, but again, they were in the wrong neighborhood; which is okay, because I got them super cheap. So I sold them at $2.1 million, I was into them for about $800,000. So you can tell I did pretty good on that little package right there.
And then of course, what I did is I sold the note at a slight haircut, because it was a long-term note, it was like a 20-year note, and I wanted the cash now, so I could plug it into some of my shorter-term loans. So what I did is I took that $2.1 million note, took a small six-figure haircut on it, and was able to get all the cash now. And that was great for me, because I didn’t have to wait the 20 year spread to get it, and I could then parlay that into some shorter-term higher yield private loans. But again, even though I sold it for a small haircut, the note, I still ended up with more cash probably than I would have had I sold those properties to a cash buyer.
Ash Patel: So the $2.1 million that you sold – was it to one purchaser?
Blake Selby: One guy. One guy.
Ash Patel: Okay. What was the rate on that term?
Blake Selby: So I gave him a sweetheart deal on the note – just 4%, which is insane. And that was a 20-year amortization with no balloon. I’ll never do that again. But the reason I did that is just to get it sold, get the juicy downpayment, and then I went ahead and sold the note off. So it was as if I sold it cash. But because the note was so much higher than what I would have gotten from a cash buyer, it actually worked out to where I still made more money than I would have had I sold the property’s cash.
Ash Patel: And what percentage did that buyer put down on the $2.1 million?
Blake Selby: I’m trying to remember what the exact dollar figure was; maybe half a million, somewhere in there.
Ash Patel: Okay.
Blake Selby: Yeah, so he put a pretty chunky amount down.
Ash Patel: So that’s a great deal. Somebody put down half a million dollars—
Blake Selby: Yep.
Ash Patel: —on a $2.1 million portfolio, at 4%.
Blake Selby: Yep.
Ash Patel: Yeah, I could see why you wanted to get out of that.
Blake Selby: And it was a win for him too, because we actually now manage those properties for him, which is fantastic. So we’re still getting residual income off those properties in the form of management. But with that being said, he’s tracking somewhere around $40,000 to $50,000 a month in rent off of that portfolio. So his payback for him putting down half a million – his revenue is more than that per year, right now. So he’s doing well on those. So to have a situation be good, one person does not necessarily have to lose for the other to gain; both can win in their own ways.
Ash Patel: Great philosophy. Blake, are you still buying and selling notes today?
Blake Selby: I do. So if somebody’s got a reason why I need to buy this note – let’s say it’s a note that’s kind of a troubled asset, as far as the note is worth way less than what the asset is, and I’m going to stand to gain on day one quite a bit, because I’m buying the note of the huge haircut, then absolutely, I will buy it. I will say that in this particular time in our economy, those are more rare. So I’m not seeing those as much. But I’m still occasionally, if I [unintelligible [00:18:07].28] I’ll sell one off. Absolutely.
Ash Patel: And if you buy the note on a troubled asset, let’s say it’s a million-dollar property—
Blake Selby: Yes.
Ash Patel: —and you buy the remaining note of $200,000… What’s the play on that?
Blake Selby: Let’s say I bought a remaining note of $200,000, and it’s worth a million, right? So I’m going to pay a discount rate for that note, so that on day one, I’m getting a really solid return. So what might happen is on that particular asset that you mentioned, maybe I’m going to pay 150 for that note, so that on day one, I’m getting a 25% haircut, in addition to the interest. And then what I might do is I might just package that note back up and sell it for a 12% haircut, so I’m clearing 12.5% for doing nothing, essentially. So that’s one way to get it done.
That’s a little less common, but something that’s more common is if somebody has, let’s say, a land contract or a contract for deed that they did, and they just need out from under it, some of these people will sell their notes off for like half. So in that case, that’s just so much money for me on day one, that I can’t turn it down.
Ash Patel: And then, is it hard to sit there and hold it and make your money over time?
Blake Selby: Yes.
Ash Patel: Or are you just itching to sell it? Right.
Blake Selby: I’m always itching. I’m always itching. I’m a long-term thinker, but I like short-term deals. So I want to do long-term plays using short-term deals to do them. I like everything that I do to be under 12 months, ideally. It doesn’t always work out that way. If that feels too good, then I might have to bend around my rules a little bit. But as a general rule, 90-plus percent of everything I have is one year or less. So at any given time, half of my money is going to be boomeranging back to me within six months.
Ash Patel: Yeah, so you don’t want to sit there and painfully watch this money come in slowly.
Blake Selby: Especially—
Ash Patel: So will you end up selling those notes?
Blake Selby: If they’re more than a year, I probably will.
Ash Patel: Okay.
Blake Selby: If they’re less than a year, I’ll just wait to get paid back and then recycle, but sometimes I’ll still sell them. If they’re bigger ones, sometimes I’ll have investors that say, “Hey, man, I want to get into real estate, but I don’t really want to be a landlord.” I say, “Well, you should buy notes. Here’s some notes you can borrow. I’ll give you a 10% haircut on this note”, because I got a 25% haircut on it. So who cares? It’s quick, easy money. I could just redeploy that money into something else. So that’s kind of nice.
I guess the issue with holding long-term notes and why I don’t like to do that as much is because if you’ve looked at what inflation’s done since COVID, with home prices and with material pricing, and different things like that, if you were to hold something for 20 years, I don’t know if that those dollars would be worth what they are now, in 20 years. That’s the only scary part. If you’ve got, especially a low-interest note that you’re holding for a 20-year period – man, what’s that money going to be worth when they finally pay you back?
Ash Patel: That’s a great point. You mentioned investors. Have you ever taken on investors?
Blake Selby: I’ve taken on investors in different roles, but not necessarily in my company as a whole. So sometimes I’ll take out an investor who wants to maybe buy one of the notes, and/or an investor who wants me to front some of the money to help them purchase a package and they kind of pay me back later. I’ll take on an investor if they need me to manage their units or portfolios, or come in and basically as a consultant unscrew up a really troubled large portfolio. I’ve done that a couple of times.
So those are the roles in which I’ll take on an investor. As far as an investor investing in my company – I love the freedom that I have to kind of jump in and out of assets without having to ask anyone. It allows me a lot of freedom and speed and quickness, and that’s why I’m able to do some of the deals. Now, if I had somebody I had to make a phone call to and say, “Hey, do you want to do this?” and then we’ve sat there deliberating, obviously, investors and partners can be good, as you’ve seen with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger over the years, and other people like that. What I find is that, until that right person comes around that can really add a bunch of value to my company, I don’t know that I would take them on as an investor necessarily.
Ash Patel: Got it. So you started out with flipping, wholesaling, and over your investing career, you’ve found more efficient ways to grow money with your private lending and notes. What’s next? Where will you be in two years, in terms of what will you be working on?
Blake Selby: Good question. So flipping and wholesaling are faster than private lending as far as growing money, I will say that. But there’s more pitfalls in those. With private lending, the way I do it – there’s almost no situation where I’m going to lose money. The risk for me is so much less, because I’m loaning so little on each asset relative to their worth… Whereas when you’re flipping and wholesaling, these people can probably generate money quicker than I can if everything goes right; but when it goes wrong, they can also go negative. So I’m at the point in my career where I don’t need to go negative, or I don’t need to risk going negative. I’d rather have a moderate return and just have it be very predictable.
So in two years, I could see myself maybe another 20% or 30% over where we’re at now in terms of just general holdings. And that might be $1 million, $2 million more. And then another thing that I could think in five years – I see myself having a larger staff, maybe 10 employees, having a little bit more states that we cover, maybe we’re in almost all the states at that point. My goal is to be a national company now.
Ash Patel: Would you focus just on private lending and notes?
Blake Selby: Private lending, potentially, still increasing some of the regional management. I don’t want to manage more than a two-hour radius away from our headquarters here in Davenport. But possibly more of a regional focus on the management; we’re at 400 or 500 doors now, and we would get up to maybe 2,500 doors, that’s kind of a max. If I had 10 employees, I could handle that. But again, we really don’t advertise. So we’re all referral-based. So I just want to really slowly grow the management, because I’m a big believer in quality over quantity. So I don’t want our reputation to ever get smeared. So we just really slowly grow it with landlords and people that we know are going to be solid clients, that will always pay their bills, and will always pay us, take good care of their tenants.
Ash Patel: We’ve talked about a lot of your wins.
Blake Selby: Yeah.
Ash Patel: Give me an example of a hard loss and the lesson learned from it.
Blake Selby: Most of my losses came from contractors over the years. Contractors can be wonderful, and we have tons of subtractors that we use, 1099 contractors we use on a regular basis, not just for our own stuff, but also for our investor clients that do management through us. But with that being said, on some of my flips, I’ve gotten hosed by contractors, to the point where I’ve gotten taken [unintelligible [00:26:50].19] really unforgivable amounts.
The only other really big loss I had was loss of potential. There was this 10-unit apartment building right in the heart of Davenport, right in the downtown. And I bought that in 2016 when I didn’t really know what I was doing, I got it cheap for 15 grand, believe it or not. And I just had the self-belief I can solve this problem; it had a crumbling foundation and all kinds of other issues with it. And what I’ve found for the first time in my career is how much of a hindrance and a hurdle city governments can be when you’re trying to improve a neighborhood. They don’t care that you’re trying to improve their neighborhood. All they’re really interested in is making sure that their butts are covered and that it benefits them official in some way. And I didn’t realize that. I was figuring, “Oh, this decrepit building”, I come in and have all these grand designs and plans. Well, they wanted me to spend the most money.
For example, this is a building where previously, there have not been any sprinklers. Well, they decided they wanted there to be fire sprinklers, and this building just needs a hug right now. And instead of allowing me to do that over time, they wanted me to put in like a $100,000 sprinkler system into this 10-unit building. Now that’s 10 grand a unit, that’s quite a bit if you average it all out. And at the end of the day, the city would not let me spend less than a million dollars after I looked at all of their bucket list items they wanted me to do, using union labor and this and that, and all these different things. They wanted me to spend about a million dollars on the building and that building would have comped out at about $700,000 when I was finished.
Ash Patel: And this is in the city limits of Davenport?
Blake Selby: Davenport’s not unique. Every city government that I’ve really worked with has been this way. I just didn’t realize this going in but I was younger. I was 26 when I attempted this. And for me to try to get those tax credits and those abatements and all the things that were needed to make this a viable project, I just found that it was such a monstrous time suck. And I was sad, because I ended up selling the building off and basically just breaking even or making 1000 bucks; it was a very little what I made.
Ash Patel: So you sold it for $16,000?
Blake Selby: Yeah, which was really sad because I saw this as a huge opportunity. And the guy I sold it to – he’s got a little more experience in the tax credits and things, so he’s going to be using — obviously the project isn’t viable on its own. So he’s going to be using some government money to do this. But you have to hire consultants for that, and spend potentially six figures just getting all your paperwork in line and all of your engineer stamps and everything. And at the time, in 2016, I didn’t have $100,000 to just put on a dream, hoping that it could work. So I was hoping for something a little more clear-cut. I was ready to get my elbows into the game and get my guys in there working and start repairing things. The way that the city wanted me to do things was just so difficult. So that was a big letdown, I would say. It wasn’t a loss, but it was a letdown. I was really bummed I couldn’t bring that to its original — it was actually the first apartment building in Davenport, which was kind of cool.
Ash Patel: Alright. Was it a historic building?
Blake Selby: It was. It was.
Ash Patel: Yeah, so they had some emotional ties.
Blake Selby: Yeah. It was called the Hiller building, way up on the national registry; it’s such a cool building. But again, that was probably one of my early things where I sat back and went, “Wow, there’s a lot I don’t know here still.” And I’m still learning to this day.
Ash Patel: Yeah, that’s some great advice for our Best Ever listeners. Anytime I buy a building, if it’s in a big city, I don’t bother approaching the city council or anybody. But if it’s in a smaller suburb, a smaller city, I will go to the city hall and talk to zoning, talk to the building department, and find out what they would like to see done with the building, see if there’s any tax credits abatements, any of that, but really get them to be a partner with you, right? Introduce yourself, let them know what your vision is, and really try to get them on your side, and usually that helps… But yeah – man, that’s a tough blow.
Blake Selby: I agree with you that the smaller municipalities are easier to work with, because they don’t have as much going on. I just bought out—what did I do yesterday? I drove out to Indiana, I picked up a house — it was just one that was going to get lost if I didn’t get it that day. I picked it up in this little town called — I think it was Winchester, Indiana. And you go down to the local government, all the ladies down there real happy to see you, “Oh we don’t get visitors that often,” and you know… It’s much easier to work with those type of people.
Ash Patel: With everything that you have going on, why are you driving to Indiana and why are you buying a house?
Blake Selby: So what I’ll still do is – all the way from the big 50 house packages that we do, all the way down to the very small nitty-gritty, I am still intimately involved in the business in every way. It just so happened—I normally don’t do that, but it just so happened this particular guy was ready to lose his house that day if I didn’t get it, and I wanted to be there in person to make sure everything didn’t get screwed up. So I just went ahead and did it. It wasn’t that far of a drive, it was like five hours. So I just got the car, went, did it, got it done, came back. It was something I felt like doing. I don’t do that very often, but occasionally I will. Sometimes I like to meet the people that I’m doing loans with too, or the people that occasionally, when I do buy, the people that I’m buying from.
Ash Patel: Okay, so were you buying the house or were you supplying the loans?
Blake Selby: On that one, I actually bought the house straight up.
Ash Patel: Okay. And what was the story with that?
Blake Selby: So he was basically going to lose, he hadn’t paid it. He only owed four grand on it. So I just gave him five grand so he can make 1000 bucks. So I wound up getting a fully working on and functional house for five grand. Brand new roof.
Ash Patel: How did you find that?
Blake Selby: Basically, we do like 10,000 direct mailers, we’re just hitting anybody who’s got their houses paid off, saying, “Hey, do you need a loan? Do you need somebody to [unintelligible [00:32:05].19] your house? What do you need?” So we go state by state. Every month, we do a new state. So that happened to be in Indiana. So we go and buy lists on some of the list sites and just go and do massive direct mail campaigns.
Ash Patel: What a win.
Blake Selby: Thank you.
Ash Patel: Blake, what’s your best real estate investing advice ever?
Blake Selby: The best advice ever – I think it depends on where you’re at, on your money. So if you’re just starting out, the best thing you can do is watch podcasts like this one, gain knowledge, learn from other people’s mistakes, and then also selectively choose who you listen to. So just make sure that people you’re listening to actually have done what they’re saying and aren’t making the majority of their money on education. Make sure they’re making the majority of their money on deals, if you’re listening to them.
The other best advice I could say is make sure you keep a small emergency fund in cash, just in case anything happens. Worst thing you want to do is wind up cashless when you need a furnace put in, in the middle of winter.
Ash Patel: Great advice. Blake, are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?
Blake Selby: I’m ready.
Ash Patel: Let’s do it. Blake, what’s the best ever book you recently read?
Blake Selby: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
Ash Patel: What was your big takeaway from that?
Blake Selby: The ingenuity of somebody who was the Nike founder just flying over to Japan and just sourcing the Japanese shoes from the shoemakers there, figuring out a way to make it competitive with the American shoe market, going in and just building an entire dynasty out of it. I just thought that was phenomenal, some of the stories that were told in that book.
Ash Patel: Blake, what’s the best ever way you like to give back?
Blake Selby: Occasionally, I’ll do a charity case. So maybe elderly homeowner that’ll be losing their home, and I’ll go ahead and just buy the house, and just let them stay there for rent that’s like half of what it should be, for like a really long time.
Ash Patel: That’s great. And Blake, how can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you?
Blake Selby: The best way they can is my website, selbyrentals.com. It’s my last name followed by rentals and then .com. All my stuff’s on there – phone number, everything that I have.
Ash Patel: Blake, thanks for your time today.
Blake Selby: Thank you.
Ash Patel: Thank you for sharing the story about your quick rise to where you are today; 80 units in 1.5 years to having 100 units that are paid off, private lending, note investing… I appreciate your time and sharing your story with us.
Blake Selby: Thank you so much for having me on, too.
Ash Patel: Yeah. Best Ever listeners, thank you for joining us, and have a best ever day.
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