Brandon Copeland sat in the corner chair as the salesman came to the middle of the open stage. Almost immediately, it felt like the linebacker-slash NFL real estate investor was the ringleader, trying to keep the conversation going.
In Netflix’s new reality series Copeland is part of ‘Buy My House’, the 31-year-old’s personality is on full display.
The show, which debuted on Friday, looks a bit like “Shark Tank”, the whole thing even looks somewhat similar with the show’s four investors, Copeland, CEO of Redfin, Glenn Kelman, CEO of Corcoran, Pam Liebman, and real estate mogul, Danisha Wrightster, in a semicircle. around a carpet sitting in comfortable chairs — but instead of venture capital, the focus is on real estate.
Of the four, Copeland has the most bite — and perhaps the best comedic timing of the bunch with a knack for one-liners between his serious offers for homes bought by potential sellers.
“If the apocalypse happened,” Copeland asked a salesman in the first episode. “Do you think we could take shelter in this house?” »
In the second episode, there are jokes about the Atlanta Falcons — who Copeland was playing for at the time of filming — with a salesman in Gainesville, Georgia, located a few miles from the Falcons’ training facility.
Homes are located across the country, ranging from one-off properties, the ones you’d expect to see on a typical real estate site, to million dollar properties, and homes that cost a lot less.
It was an experience Copeland had never been part of before on many levels. It was also the one he couldn’t pass up.
“I understand the potential that a show like this has to not only change my life forever, but Shark Tank has changed the lives of a lot of people,” Copeland said. “I look at business differently because of Shark Tank. I understand valuations a little differently because of Shark Tank.”
He hopes this show will help people better understand real estate and real estate investing – something he thinks most people can relate to – as well.
It was two weeks before training camp in 2021 with the Atlanta Falcons, and here he was, on set, working on his other job. Copeland was in a Hollywood-style trailer — own trailer — in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He brought in coaches for two-day workouts before and after 12-hour shooting days.
“Day one,” Copeland said. “I had extreme impostor syndrome.”
Copeland reached out to friends while he was on set and they offered positive encouragement. So did the producers, who noticed that Copeland was not bidding on the properties as they initially thought. Copeland himself, to remember how he got where he is, created his own wallet. The houses he had knocked down. The commercial real estate transactions he entered into and the leases he signed for his properties with multinational corporations.
The fact that Copeland was here was still a little surreal. He was initially skeptical of the idea when producers first contacted him two years ago. He had heard offers before. He even has his own production company – one of the many ventures he pursues.
But they continued to contact him. Tom Forman, the executive producer of “Buy My House” and CEO of Critical Content, had Copeland on his short list of people to work with for years. Forman knew Copeland’s story — graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, working at a hedge fund in the offseason, flipping houses in Detroit, teaching a financial literacy course at Penn while playing nearly a decade in the NFL – and thought he might be an intriguing option for one of his shows.
Copeland and his brother, Chad, analyzed the potential opportunity. Intrigued by the concept, which would have him buying properties without visiting, the difference between this deal and other deals he had in the past was that this show already had a deal – committed to Netflix. This made it a palatable option.
“I liked his resume. I liked the interesting way he came to real estate investing,” Forman said. “I liked his spirit and reached out to him while we were casting the show and told him we have our eye on you and think we have the perfect vehicle.”
Forman said no one they reached out to bought into the show right away — it was different from typical real estate investing, instead bringing hundreds of people in front of them to consider investments.
Copeland would be different from other show moguls. Kelman, Liebman and Wrightster work in real estate full time. Copeland no.
To prepare for the show, Copeland watched more “Shark Tank” than he had in the past. If he browsed the television and saw it, he studied the episode. As filming got closer, he stopped watching because he didn’t want to be a Mark Cuban or Daymond John impersonation. He wanted to be himself.
As well as Copeland did financially in his career, both on and off the field, it was a different kind of game. He was in competition with CEOs and financial experts. Usually, if he was in the room with these people, the talkative Copeland would shut up and ask as many questions as he could trying to learn. Now he would be on the same stage trying to beat them up for business.
Copeland’s strategy at the start of the show was no different than it is in real-life investing: be disciplined. Be smart. Be decisive. That’s why when Forman worried that Copeland was bidding on houses, he needn’t have worried.
When Copeland saw a property that intrigued him, he competed for it. Hard. As several episodes show, he was strict not to go over a certain price – slipping deep into his chair during a contentious negotiation in the third episode.
“If he’s not interested, he’s just not interested,” Wrightster said. “What you’ll see is when he’s interested he’ll jump completely, completely into it. He certainly wasn’t intimidated at all.”
The process was unusual in many ways. First, the panel was given general information about a property beforehand to do basic research – the neighborhood it might be in in a city or town, the type of property. This allowed them to have some experience to ask intelligent questions, but not enough to understand the details.
Then they are shown the houses together on a video before meeting the potential sellers. This is where things differed for Copeland from anything he had been involved in before. Wrightster said it’s clear Copeland has a strategy, focused on certain cities and cash flow, for development opportunities.
Usually, Copeland does not have much interaction with sellers of a property or land. He knows the information. Try to find out more about the seller, but not to meet him. This allows him to evacuate the emotion. He couldn’t do that here. Sellers stood a few feet away from him trying to convince someone on the sign to buy their home. Here he had the story behind the house and the owners themselves – some with incredibly emotional stories – were wide open for investors. Negotiations, often non-public, are open and transparent.
“You get to meet everyone and you hear their stories and what they’ve been through in some of these places and what they mean to them and you can’t hide from that,” Copeland said. “It’s, I won’t say a challenge, well, part challenge, but a different dynamic than any of us or most of us have ever been into.”
The group of four connected throughout the week-long shoot. They have been in constant group text for a year. Having bigwigs in the real estate space now in Copeland’s circle offered him something else.
While Copeland thought he was busy, seeing how they managed their time gave him another perspective on how he can better manage his growing businesses with family time.
The week of shooting actually changed some of his investment strategy. While he had already moved from the single-family home to bigger residential and commercial real estate projects, it taught him the loans he should and shouldn’t take.
Previously, he was comfortable with recourse loans, which allowed assets to be seized if there was no repayment on the loan. Now – “you won’t catch me in hell signing a recourse loan.” While he understands his fellow competitors’ businesses are different from his own — his decisions and experiences on the show have taught him different ways to catch potential red flags in deals.
It has accelerated his already savvy business acumen as he pushes his real estate holdings into what Copeland hopes will be an empire. A potential TV deal or a deal made on TV at a time.
“I totally understood the show and I hope people are a part of it,” Copeland said. “But I also thought it was one of those things that if I said no to it, I might regret it for the rest of my life.”