Flipping Lesson Learned

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Tessa and I have been so blessed and fortunate to be able to go into business with one another. We have a passion for many different things but one that overlaps is renovating and restoring homes. On our last project we got involved in there were many new territories we climbed, jumped and crawled out of that we hadn’t experienced before. The entirety of the project was something we will look back on and be thankful for the experience but during it we groaned with pain many days. We leaned on the Lord many days asking for strength and wisdom to preserver through and thanked the Lord many many times once the project was finally done, completed, over with and put to bed.

Through doing home renovations we have learned there is never a guarantee on everything going as expected. With that said, deep down in my thoughts, I have a mindset everything will obviously go as I planned with scheduling, budgeting and construction. Oh my oh my how I was completely humbled on this one.

I thought we got a really good deal on our last property when we signed the contract. I think it began to make more sense pretty quickly why we got that “good deal”. Between undisclosed issues, permits on the house, attributes of the property and lastly location I was in for more than I bargained for. It took a few months of things piling up for me to realize. “Hey, maybe everything we touch doesn’t just turn to gold”. At the end of the day, you know what? I’m ok with this learning experience and chance to grow. Those sayings, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ or ‘iron sharpens iron’ or ‘pressure creates diamond’. This experience although tough and grueling has helped refine and grow Tessa and myself. For that I am proud.

Be courageous and put yourself out there in something you truly enjoy doing. Whether it is for a hobby, job or investment just go for it. Do your research, plan for what you can expect and know you will hit rough waters. Grow from those moments and continue on. The next time you jump into your passion, you will be better off for it and continue to push farther than before.

Make a name for yourself and don’t sit back waiting for someone else to take hold of your dream.

 
Sincerely,

Not Your Average Guy!

Our First Flip

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After

Before

Before

I’m not sure what would qualify as Tessa and my first flip in all realty. We began flipping furniture because we wanted to have the nice things but couldn’t necessarily afford them. So we went out and (Tessa) would find the diamonds in the rough that just needed a face lift to make them shine. Check out this awesome buffet that got a complete transformation. 

From there we decided to buy our first home, “The John Deere House” (If you didn’t know when we bought it, it was yellow with green shutters)! Once again we didn’t have the buying power to afford the home that we longed for. So we changed our mindset and began looking for something that needed some work, love and elbow grease. Boy oh Boy did we find that! Some would say we are crazy but we enjoy it and luckily have some great family and friends around that are always around. So as this might also be considered our first flip, we did live in it for two years while doing little by little but in less than 2 years we improved the property value by over $50,000!

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That brings us to our true first flip…”The Dutch House” our Old 2 story Monticello Home. We decided naming the homes was our best bet because we were starting to get confused on which house each of us was talking about. The first time we saw the house online we clicked right past it without a second thought. It was about a month later when we were searching the internet for our first flip it popped out to us. This home went into foreclosure and sat for sometime so we had a damp house, mold, and falling ceilings and walls. We saw potential with the house and it was in a great little town and we were all in. Thinking back we were the kid who was fearless and thought they were invincible. Everything worked out but we were beginners and didn't have a shred of doubt anything could go wrong.

We had 2 weeks of demo to start the project and 3-5 guys working on the house almost every day for 10 weeks. It was hard work, we were constantly busy and it was a hot hot summer. Tessa and I learned how to work as a team, we learned how to manage a crew of guys and most importantly how to stay sane through it all. When it was all said in done we were proud of the end result and felt like the new owner was going to cherish the house as much as we grew to.

We have found there is always a new experience to be made with each new project and working with new people. We grew a lot during this project and it excited us to continue this new endeavor of ours. 

As always, 

“The Flipping Guy”

 

Starting Your Next Remodel Project!

STARTING YOUR NEXT REMODEL PROJECT!

STARTING YOUR NEXT REMODEL PROJECT!

There are so many things that go into planning your next project to set you up for success. Here are some quick hitters to help you get started!

  • Set goals for your project: What style/look do you want, what is your timeline, and your budget.

  • Be realistic on your timeline and know issues come up and timelines are not usually met.

  • Be realistic on setting your budget. Once you have a budget in mind, look into material yourself to try and gauge where your money is going to be spent. Talk over the budget with your contractor.

  • In addition to having realistic budget goals, it’s important to note that you should always add about 10-20% to your original budget for unexpected costs. Because unfortunately they ALWAYS come up. We have found that numbers tends to jump higher in many cases. Sometimes no matter how much you find ways to save throughout the project, there are always those pesky unforeseen difficulties that arise.

  • Talk with multiple contractors and ask questions: How much time can they devote to your project, what are their fees, what work are they capable of performing, ask for references and/or if they have a website to see previous work.

  • Quote out work to be done instead of paying hourly. For big projects you can save yourself money and worrying about contractors working diligently on the job if you have them quote out a job first.

  • Be open to doing some work yourself. Demolition is a big area you can save money on. However, don’t take out walls without talking to your contractor first!

I hope that gives you some good ground work before you start your next remodel project, and as always, please don’t hesitate to ask questions!

How We Have Saved Money On Big and Small Projects

HOW WE HAVE SAVED MONEY ON BIG AND SMALL PROJECTS

HOW WE HAVE SAVED MONEY ON BIG AND SMALL PROJECTS

When it comes to projects, big and small, it’s important to have the finances to be able to do so. However, what do you do if it’s just “not in the budget?” Well throughout the years of our buying and selling years, my wife and I have learned a thing or two about the power of DIY projects and the amount of money they can save in the long run.

But what if you don’t have any experience? This is the most asked question I get when I tell people the money saving power of a good DIY project. And I get it! We were in the same exact boat when we started, we had no idea what we were doing, and with very little money and experience. So I’ve put together a list of ways we learned to on the fly how to stretch our money while learning to make big and small projects happen.

How We Have Saved Money On Big and Small Projects

  • We used Youtube and Pinterest to learn how to tackle room remodel projects and how to make furniture. These tools were great tools for visually learning how to go about a project. They are free resources waiting to be used! Go for it!

  • We rolled up our sleeves and dove right into demo-ing ourselves. There can be a lot of time that is spent with a crew demoing a projecy, which can in return rack up your bill that much quicker. If you are able to tackle the demo yourself you can save time on the front end before the contractor is suppose to start and money that the contractor would of paid his crew. We have done this on every project we have been part of and this has been one of the biggest ways we’ve saved money on a project.

  • Tessa is a deal finder. She will hound the internet and get some awesome pieces to create our spaces. Furniture, flooring, accent pieces and even appliances. She is a force on the internet. There are ALWAYS deals to be found. Some great places for inexpensive fixtures and furniture are places like wayfair.com, and amazon.com. Which brings me to my fourth piece of advice.

  • Wait for deals to come along. We have been able to use 11% rebates from stores like Lowes and Menards to help save costs. Combining those deal with holiday markdowns can get you some great deals!

  • Be willing to adjust your original plan. Sometimes your original plans don’t come to reality as you might have hoped. If it is going to raise your budget to push through to get what you want, think about a second option that might save you but still make you happy to live in the space. I can remember when we were doing our second flip house and we were going to have to put thousands of dollars into replastering all of the ceilings. Tessa came up with the idea to shiplap the ceilings instead and spray them herself. This suggestion alone saved us a boat load of time AND money, not to mention, stylistically speaking it became one of the favorite features of the whole project.

There are so many ways you can save money on your next project sometimes it might just take you out of your comfort zone to do it. There is no crime in trying it and giving it a shot! Who knows you might come to find that you love working with your hands!

How to finance your next house purchase!

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HOW TO FINANCE YOUR NEXT HOUSE PURCHASE

Looking to purchase your first home? Maybe this isn’t your first rodeo but it has been a few years since you last bought a house. My number one advice to you, is talk to a lender TODAY. That’s right! Don’t wait! 

Before you begin looking online, attending open houses, or viewing houses with a Realtor, talk to a lender and discuss your financial position. This will make your life simpler and in some cases can even speed up your ability to purchase a house. By talking to a lender you will be able to find what your purchasing power currently is with your debt to income ratio. Maybe you will find out there are a few bills you need to pay off to be able to buy within a certain price range. Maybe you haven’t had your credit score checked in a while.

Pull your credit score yourself for free and get an idea where your score is and if there are any major issues knocking down your score. If there are talk with your lender about the issues and see if there is something you can do to raise your score and therefore help with your interest rate. Ask your lender what closing cost fees are. Start to know the process and costs well in advance so when you are ready to buy you are prepared and there are no surprises to delay this exciting time in your life.

If you need help in getting started don’t hesitate to reach out and I can help direct you down a path toward home ownership!

As always,

Not you average Guy!

LIFE OF A REALTOR

LIFE OF A REALTOR

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LIFE OF A REALTOR

Ever wonder “Really what do they do? Do they ever work? Want to know the answer? Yes, yes we do! Although in the life of a Realtor, there is no clock in and clock out, I stay busy each and every day. My business activities involve: marketing and advertising to create business and opportunity with new clients, pushing paperwork within a transaction, showing homes, holding an Open House or a ‘Blitz Sunday’, following up with clients, aiding in the needs of my clients selling and moving process to make their transition that much easier, and a lot of prep work to prepare for each of these activities.

Just as any other company would do, I have to manage my own marketing and advertising department. If I desire to continue and grow in the real estate industry, it is imperative I not only provide a experience that is smooth from start to finish but one that brings in new clients I haven’t yet worked with me. The Brenda Keith Team with RE/MAX Realty Associates and myself have created a team that provides this experience from the get-go! Whether we are meeting for the first time to discuss listing your home or looking for a property to buy, we want you to feel like you and your family are going to be taken care of all along the way.

I have found it to be so very important to be detail oriented in my day to day work and write everything down. There are so many little parts that go into making a successful transaction come together that nothing can be missed. Consistent paperwork and emailing throughout the day add consistency and productivity to my days that keep me busy and on top of my clients needs. 

Usually showing clients properties comes in the afternoon and evenings during the week and into the weekends with most people when they are off work. It’s true, a realtor doesn’t have “set hours” in any given workday, however, this abnormal schedule gives my clients and future clients the flexible access to me that they’ll need when navigating the ins and outs of selling and buying a home. When there is a property out there you want to see we will waste no time to see it!

These are just some of the things that fill my day as a Realtor. With running a real estate business, flipping houses and teaming up with my wife and her endeavors I find my days filled and always am happy to come home to my three beautiful kids and wife!

Why I DIY

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One of my favorite subjects to dive into. My wife has pulled the DIY out from within the deep depths of me. I never took shop classes growing up or hung out in the garage trying to create things. I have been fortunate during my years working with Brenda, to follow around contractors she has hired to do repairs on properties. Through many of those years, I have been able to pick up tricks of the trade to give me a foundation for what I know today. In the 5 years my wife and I have been married, she has brought out my DIY side more and more. Not very many days go by without a project coming up. It has transformed us to be able to be hands on during our flips and create beautiful pieces of furniture and decorations in our house. It is an amazing feeling to transform something from old to new with your own hands. In the next year we plan to continue our own house remodel, along with renovating homes, to bring them back to life. If you have a project around the house and would like an eye for renovation ideas or are thinking about starting a search for a new home and would like a breath of real estate expertise don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to work with you.

As always,

Not your Average Guy

 

Renting vs Buying

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A question out there many people contemplate is, when is the right time to buy? I hope to give you a little insight into the critical thinking before you make that decision. Both options have great upsides to them and there is no wrong choice! The decision that needs to be made is, what is the right choice for YOU?

I have been thinking long and hard on the best way to go through this because there are so many angles to compare these two. So here we go!

Cost:

Typically you are going to pay more up front when buying a house. You need to take into consideration down payment, closing costs and inspection costs. There are great programs available to help lower the initial costs of the down payment and even closing costs. It is smart to talk to multiple lenders to find out what programs they are offering and what their fees are on a home mortgage loan.

When renting a home, the upfront fees you incur are going to revolve around a security deposit, pet deposit and even application fee. Some rentals make these deposits refundable at the end of your lease. In a sense it is very similar to a down payment as you will see that money again.

Expenses:

This is a clear winner for renting! As a renter, the general rule of thumb is the owner will take care of replacing those big ticket items that stop working. As a owner, create a yearly budget to provide maintenance to your home. Stay ahead of the game and have your whole house serviced by local handy men. That yearly expense can save you big money in the long run!

Restrictions:

Are you an animal lover? Say hello to that pet deposit! Some are refundable while some owners keep that pet deposit. I hope you don’t fall in love with that home that doesn’t allow pets. Other restrictions might revolve around what changes/updates you as the renter are able to make to the property.

While you do save money not having to pay for repairs on the home, you are under the control of when the owner is able to schedule someone out to fix the issue. Hopefully the owner doesn’t keep you waiting very long!

Savings:

When filing taxes at the end of the year you have more write offs with owning a house. You are able to write off your property taxes(or a portion with the new tax laws) and mortgage interest(again a portion with the changes in tax laws). WOOO! A portion of each principal payment made toward your mortgage is creating equity in your house to go along with the down payment. 

Moving:

Renting gives you more flexibility to move. Whether you have a long term lease or short term lease, you know there is limited worry about moving on to your next home.

As a home owner you typically will have to sell your home or find someone to rent your property. Mortgage companies don’t take lightly to that monthly payment not being paid. The rule of thumb is it takes roughly 5 years of making your monthly mortgage payments before selling to not lose money on the sale of your property.

The House Market:

The housing market can fluctuate both up and down so you have to be prepared for the unexpected. With renting there is no worry about the cost of houses decreasing. If anything this would be better for you as a renter to find lower rental prices. Ask “Not Your Average Guy” for more information on the housing market to find if now is the right time for you to buy.

My Final Thoughts:

Renting and Buying are both great options. It is important to know what your goals are before jumping into either situation. Talk to your local lender to find out what the costs are to purchase a house. Look online to find what the prices of homes are in your market to rent/buy. Read over your lease and know what you are agreeing to with your landlord. If you are asking what do I need to do next if I want to purchase a home contact me below!

 

As Always,

“Not Your Average Guy”

 

How We Sold Our House in 12 HOURS!

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If someone tells you that your house is going to sell in "X" amount of time, don’t believe them. As a realtor we can’t predict the future believe it or not! There are so many things that factor into a home selling. You could have the nicest home in town that every one adores but if no one is looking at that time to buy then your house is going to sit on the market. 

So, what DID we do in order to get signatures on the contract to sell our house in 12 hours? We worked long and hard for about 1.5 years to completely transform this house from top to bottom. Then 1 week before we put in on the market decided we needed to do a couple more quick transformations in two rooms. We weren’t sure how long it would take to sell but we knew a couple things. 1. There were no other homes in our area with the open concept bi-level.  2. The other homes selling in the price range we planned to list at did not have the same updates. 3. We had the house spotless and made sure there was plenty of natural sunlight to brighten and make the space more appealing. 4. We decluttered and depersonalize the house to make the rooms feel bigger and help create a vision for the buyers coming through. 5. We had the best interior designer/decorator in town spruce up our space ;). 

After getting through the hard part of making sure the staging is done and the house is spotless it was time for pictures. Pictures are so important with a house listing. Pictures can really help drive the attention to your house. This can be both good and bad. If you have great pictures and then stop caring for how your house looks people are going to have a bad first impression when they walk in the door. (This happens way to often in my opinion.) Make sure to keep your house picked up and looking just like those pictures do. People notice the difference between good pictures and a house in disarray. It is hard and it is even harder with kids but it does make a difference!

List your house in the right price range is huge! Find out what the comparable houses near by are SELLING for. Don’t get caught up with what you believe the value of your house is or what Sally three doors down has their house listed at. Stay focused on the facts, because that is what drives homes to sell.

If you are thinking about selling your home in the near future or would just like to know your Comparative Market Value contact me below and I would be happy to assist you!

As aways!

“Not Your Average Guy”

 

Why I Created A Blog

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My job as a Real Estate Broker has been life giving to me and my family in many ways. I feel like it has created opportunities in all facets of our lives. Through this blog I want to open up to you all on the insights of the real estate market for when you are ready to buy or sell. I want to be a resource that you can get information just a click away. If I happen to not have a blog up about anything you have questions about feel free to ask. There is a good chance someone else is asking the same question and I would love to help provide an answer or get you to someone that can.  

I also feel like it’s a great opportunity to see through the looking glass of the projects Tessa and I have been able to create. Through that I want to help give you ideas how to do the same things! Projects we get ourselves involved in range from big house flips, updates in a certain room, and even small DIY projects. All together they help in creating the overall wonder of your home. No matter if you are planning to sell or planning to live the rest of the days of your life at your current house; it is important to do a little up keep each year to maintain value and enjoy the space you live in.

Check out my blogs below and let me know what you think! If you have any questions about Real Estate, our flipping business, DIY projects or even fatherhood/being a husband through the thick of all this shoot me a Personal Message and I would be happy to share with you.

Thanks for coming by!

Always,

“Not Your Average Guy”

Customer Service in Real Estate

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If you haven’t checked out How I got started in Real Estate check it out. Life seems to come full circle in so many facets of life and I share a little on why customer service is important to me today.

Buying and Selling property is a big undertaking and it isn’t something that most people do every day. Brenda, my team broker/sales partner has instilled in me for many years the importance of serving our clients and even people on the other side of the transaction. Our team motto is “Serve First, Sell Second”. We have 3 people on our team and it is our goal to create a seamless transaction where everything flows and you have access to all services within one phone call. If our team can’t provide you that service we will have you in touch with someone that can. Your life doesn’t stop during this big event and you shouldn't have to stress to know that everything is going right. It’s a pleasure to know our clients are taken care of and enjoying what should be a fun and exciting time!

As Always,

“Not Your Average Guy”

 

How I Got Started In Real Estate

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I have had my fair share of jobs growing up. I have spent the summers in the fields, mowing, painting, doing construction work and finally being an all around handy man. Through all of these jobs I have learned how to work hard and diligently. With each of these jobs I have been able to retain knowledge that I still am able to apply in my career as a Realtor. So what led me to this point four years into working as a real estate broker? 

Rewind to 2010, I was attending the University of Illinois majoring in Agriculture Business and enlisted in the Air Force Reserved Officer Training Corps. I thought I had my plan laid out in front of me and I was excited. Little did I know how much my life would change in the next few years. I am beyond grateful for my time at the University of Illinois in which I would meet my beautiful wife, Tessa. We had our first child Rozalyn while I was still in school and the life I had just a few years before had completely changed to something unrecognizable but beautiful and so good. Tessa and I were still on a path for me to be commissioned into the United State Air Force and were excited about the unknown ahead. At that point we were just trying to gain knowledge of what was to come from other married couples close to us. It all seemed far off at that point still not knowing where we were going to end up or what the Air Force would choose as a career for me. We were trusting in God to work in our lives every bit through it all.

During my senior year, right before Christmas break my class had a meeting with our Commander to discuss the future of our lives in the Air Force. That evening my life began to alter. The Air Force was taking on budget cuts and with that, looking for people throughout Active Duty to retire and for us Cadets who at the time were going to be graduating and commissioning into the AF as 2nd Lts in just a few months, to sign papers to be honorably discharged.  

Let me put this into perspective. I had been at the University of Illinois for almost 4 years studying agriculture business. While doing this I knew my career was going to reflect something completely different within the Air Force. I hadn’t gone to any career fairs, I hadn’t done any internships, I hadn’t thought about any life other than the life I would have in the Air Force. I had zero plans other than serving our great Nation when we received word the AF was looking for an undetermined number of us about to commission to not take that step.

I came home that evening and talked to my wife about this new development. We didn’t know what we would do or if this was even an option. At that point we lifted it up to God, seeking guidance in this huge life changing decision. Luckily we didn’t have to give an answer the next day because we definitely did not have it! We prayed and sat on it for a couple weeks and finally came to the conclusion I would take the honorable discharge and be released from the USAF.

During that period of decision making I had a few career opportunities that presented themselves. Through my collegiate career I never thought much about doing anything else so putting my feelers out and talking about what was going on in my life with family brought up an opportunity that had been under my nose almost all my life. That career was Real Estate. I had actually been working with my aunt for the past 10 years. We explain it this way…She has had her brokers license at RE/MAX ever since she got her real estate license. She was drawn to the big red, white and blue hot air ballon that is always “going above and beyond!". So for the past 10 years I was in the background helping her as she would provide services to her clients whether they needed an extra hand moving, packing, getting that first mow done on a yard that hadn’t been mowed in weeks, or odds and ends from a handy man. I along with others helped “make sure the balloon was flying”!

So I feel like at this point in my real estate career I have been immersed in this industry a large chunk of my life even though I have only had my license the last 4 years. I look back and cherish the opportunity to learn how to serve others and make sure others are taken care of. Life is amazing how things come full circle! 

As Always,

“Not Your Average Guy”