Best Deal Ever Show #13: Investor Buys Entire Ghost Town—Wait, What?!

Best Deal Ever Show #13: Investor Buys Entire Ghost Town—Wait, What?!

2 min read
Ken Corsini

Ken Corsini is a seasoned real estate investor and business owner based in Woodstock, Georgia. Ken is best known for his role on HGTV’s hit show “Flip or Flop Atlanta,” and has flipped over 800 houses in Metro Atlanta since 2005.

With over 15 years of experience in the real estate industry, Ken has expanded his original flipping business into multiple independent real estate businesses, including Red Barn Real Estate, with over 180 agents in Metro Atlanta across four offices; Red Barn Construction, a custom home-building company specializing in modern farmhouses across North Atlanta; Red Barn Renovations, a full-service renovation company; Black Oak Mortgage, a direct lending company based in Woodstock, Georgia; and InvestorSumo, a technology company focusing on CRM and data needs for real estate investors.

Having been involved in thousands of transactions and having owned over 800 houses, multiple commercial and multifamily properties, and more, Ken brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the BiggerPockets community. He has authored over 100 blogs and currently hosts the “Best Deal Ever Show” on the BiggerPockets YouTube channel. He is also the host of the popular Deal Farm Podcast.

Ken is currently writing a book in conjunction with BiggerPockets called “Profit Like the Pros,” scheduled for release in Fall 2020.

He and his wife also run Roc.Star Kids, a non-profit organization focused on the needs of children and families in the fight against childhood cancer. For more information on this very personal cause, check out their story here.

In addition to HGTV and HGTV Magazine, Ken has been featured on The Today Show, People Magazine, The LA Times, Think Realty Magazine (cover), TV Insider, In Touch Weekly, Life and Style Magazine, The Wrap, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, UGA Today, US Chamber of Commerce, PopSugar, Entertainment Magazine, and a number of local periodicals.

Ken has a Business Degree from the University of Georgia and a Masters Degree in Building Construction from Georgia Tech.

Ken is currently licensed as a general contractor (commercial) in the state of Georgia.

Instagram @kencorsini
Twitter @kencorsini

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Early one morning, Brent received an email from a friend that said he needed to check out an article advertising a whole town for sale in California. The town was Cerro Gordo. Turns out, it was an old mining town that’s essentially a ghost town now.

The ad caught Brent’s eye, because it was marketing an entire town—400 acres and 22 structures—for under $1 million.

Brent has been interested in the hospitality sector for years now. He broke into real estate investing by buying a hostel in N.Y. and now owns at least one other in Austin. Seeing the potential to become an incredible destination, Brett decided to make an offer on the town.

Making an Offer—Sight Unseen

When he called the broker, he found out the listing had garnered a lot of attention. There were hundreds of interested buyers. He decided to make an offer: $1.4 million with a non-refundable earnest money deposit of $50,000.

Keep in mind, neither Brent nor anyone else involved in the project had been to the site at that time. They only knew what it looked like from the pictures in the marketing material.

Related: Best Deal Ever Show #12: Millionaire by Age 30 on Only 3 Houses!

With the offer made and accepted, Brent and his team had seven days to raise $1.4 million. So, they made a bold move and reached out to their client list to see who might be interested in working with them.

Fortunately, they had enough goodwill with their clients that they were able to get commitments from several potential equity partners (and one who structured their investment as short-term debt aka a loan). As usual, strong relationships played a key component in this deal.

The investors didn’t even receive their paperwork for around six months after the funds were wired. Brent mentioned that most of the agreements were made by a handshake—or even a text message: “Hey, I got you.”

Knowing that they would need to raise additional funds, Brent and his partners went into press overdrive.

Trading Up the Chain

Brett reached out to The Real Deal: L.A. From there, he sent that link to Business Insider. Then, he sent that link to Entrepreneur magazine. And eventually, he ended up with an article in The New York Times.

(It’s important to mention, he sent out around 40 emails before someone decided to write up a little 200-word blurb in the local paper.)

With all the exposure and energy generated from the press, the investors have received several offers of upward of $3 million. So, in a relatively short period of time, they have been able to create a cash-flowing business and around $1 million in equity.

Related: Best Deal Ever Show #11: $2 Million in Equity on 1 Deal in 1 Year!

For anyone who wants to replicate this strategy, Brett suggests to start with a smaller, local publication. The interest you attract from the initial article will allow you to reach out to a larger publication—then, rinse and repeat.

Now, I realize most of us aren’t going to immediately go out and start looking for ghost towns to buy… But there is definitely a lesson here in the power of exposure and leveraging the media!


Would you ever buy a ghost town? What’s the weirdest type of property you’ve heard someone purchased?

Share below in the comment section.