Rebuilding Rural America | Think Realty | A Real Estate of Mind

Rebuilding Rural America


Veterans buying real estate boosts America one house at a time.

From sea to shining sea, rural America has taken its hits over the past century. Often, when economic times are hard, citizens will move to cities looking for work and higher wages. Moreover, the lure of new adventures is often enough to take the best and the brightest from rural America as they seek new experiences. However, for the communities left behind this can result in a drain of talent, capital, and innovation. Nowhere are the effects of this drain more present than the rural real estate market. Fortunately for rural America, veterans who fought to defend rural America are now returning to own a piece of it.

When Air Force veteran Benjamin Grothe left for boot camp from the rural suburbs of St. Louis, he had about $5 to his name. More than 11 years later, Grothe owns more than $600,000 of real estate in rural America, and he is just getting started. In 2019, he met fellow veteran and real estate thought leader Andy Williams of Recon Realty. Between the two of them, the future for rural America has never looked brighter as they are rebuilding it one affordable house at a time.

A Fortunate Foray into Real Estate

When Benjamin Grothe graduated high school in 2007, he didn’t quite know what life beyond the suburbs of Missouri had for him. He dabbled with a semester of community college, but quickly realized the costs of college could mount quickly for him. His family didn’t have the resources to support that pursuit and the notion of loading himself with unbearable debt didn’t sound appealing. That’s when he turned to the United States Air Force and a path leading out of rural America.

The Air Force seemed like a natural fit to Grothe as he was always a member of teams growing up, playing any sport he could find. After basic training and tech school, this would eventually take him to the 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in Las Vegas where he would serve as an aircraft mechanic. He would go on to subsequently serve in South Korea, Kuwait and two deployments to Afghanistan. It was when he returned from Korea that he would fall into real estate by happenstance. Utilizing his VA loan, Grothe bought a house near Las Vegas, which at the time, was nearing the low point of market crashes. What happened next would propel him to a blooming career in real estate that seems to have no end in sight.

Grothe (center) with Andy and Ashley Williams.

The Beginnings of a New Career

In 2014, Benjamin made the decision to exit the military and transition to the Air Force Reserves in Texas. Unfortunately, he couldn’t take his house with him, so he sought to sell. That’s when he realized he had made more than $50,000 in two years on the valuation of his house. The market was recovering, and he discovered enthusiastically that there was money to be made in real estate. However, he still had bills to pay and a pregnant wife to support so he still needed a job.

Grothe would hold various jobs in corporate America while pursuing his MBA. Yet, he never lost sight of the potential real estate offered. He purchased another home in Texas and began to consume every piece of education on real estate that he could get his hands on. By mid-2018, he started issuing private money loans with the assistance of a long-time friend in the real estate market. In 2019, he purchased three rental properties in rural Texas and two more a month later. That’s when he met Andy Williams.

Veterans Buy America to Restore America

Andy had been showing first-hand the power and potential of transforming rural America one affordable house at a time. Andy’s Veteran’s Buy America initiative has always been on the lookout for fellow veterans making waves in the real estate industry and he found just that with Benjamin Grothe. While Grothe is a fairly new investor, he shares the same passions for restoring rural America and providing affordable housing as Andy does. Between the two of them, they stand to make a sizable impact on the American communities that need them most. The model has been proven time and time again, and Grothe is the latest example.

When veterans buy America, communities thrive. Those who fought to defend this land, for a variety of reasons, seem most apt to steward it well. As communities regain strength and affordable housing returns to rural America, one can be certain that they will find veterans leading the way.