Flipping and Fabulous
Before I went on vacation I met with a Flipping and Fabulous young lady in my area to talk about her full time real estate investing business. Remember in my first episode of Flipping & Fabulous I featured Carla Zegarra, who had made 100k on her very first house rehab. Well just talking on Facebook I found the wholesaler who actually sold the deal to Carla.
She mentioned it was her very first wholesale deal as well, so I said I have to interview her and she obliged. I tell ya investors have been so open, friendly and welcoming with their time to help me its beyond my expectations.
Her name is Alison Miller and she is the owner of Spring Street Properties LLC. We met for coffee and I must say Alison is the epitome of Flipping and Fabulous. She’s a wife, a mother, an ex-IT executive and a great business woman. She’s more than just a wholesaler, she buys distressed properties and fixes them up, she wholesales when she is too busy to do the rehabs and she also invests in self storage units. I learned so much from our coffee meetup I ran out of paper to take notes.
First things first why Real Estate?
Alison explained to me “real estate is my passion, you have to really love this business to make it work. ” and she mentioned, entrepreneurs need to love what they are doing. She has no desire to sell real estate in it’s typical form,but always wanted to buy distressed property and fix it up. Her first rehab was actually her own home. After a successful renovation she truly fell in love with the business; However, being a high level IT executive she put her real estate dreams on pause hoping to one day pursue them in retirement.
Why did you leave a high paying/profile position for real estate?
She hit so many feeling and thoughts that I’ve had I thought for sure she was reading my mind. She mentioned the grind of working long hours in corporate America and not seeing her family. She is married and has two daughters. She explained to me she was working so hard at the 9-5 that when she was home with her family, she was only there in body. She was not mentally there. She went on to mention her experience going days without seeing her kids.
How sad can corporate America be sometimes. Tell me this does not sound familiar to you? It definitely does to me.
How were you able to make the change from IT executive to full time real estate investor?
After being laid off from her 9-5 with the support of a wonderful husband saying “pursue your dream now” she enrolled in Tom Zeeb’s Mentoring Program, and has not looked back to the 9-5 with any regrets.
Alison took the layoff as an opportunity to make a career change. Why suffer from a layoff when you can grow from a layoff.
What was distinct that I got from Alison and no one else thus far that I’ve met with is, as a business owner she gets to choose her business shape and size. She mentioned that she’s had large groups of people reporting to her as an IT executive and she no longer wants that business style. She wants and does keep her business small by using effective people to execute. This way she doesn’t need a large group. She mentioned that having this control is more valuable to her than the money she makes in real estate.
Light bulb moment when off for me here. Control in your life is more valuable than money.
Her team consists of a virtual assitant, a realtor, a contractor, an outsale marketing specialist and a broker for her self storage investments. She loves the size and shape of her business and it works for her lifestyle.
Advice for a beginner like me doing this full time?
- When you hit rough spots it’s very important to reach out for encouragement. Suggestions she gave, our local REIA and online biggerpockets.com. She actually met her marketing partner thru bigger pockets
- Marketing is crucial. Make sure you complete Return on Investment (ROI) on your marketing. Analyze and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. When I asked her how much marketing pieces had she sent out already for the year she said about 5,000.
- The follow-up is very important in this business. Send your marketing to the same person more than once a year. She aims for at least three times a year. She recently closed a deal where she originally mailed to the property owners in 2010. Two years later and they recently accepted her offer.
- Build your credibility. She mentioned that she’s gotten her offers accepted in comparison to her competition not because of offering a higher price, but because sellers perceived her as more credible. So advice to us “protect your brand”.
- Avoid changing buyer names on closing documents when wholesaling. She forms an LLC for each property she wholesales. This is accomplished by forming a LLC that she owns 100% and then she sells all her ownership interest to the end buyer for a fee. For example, if she is wholesaling 678 Pine Street, she creates an LLC called 678 Pine Street LLC and list 678 Pine Street LLC as the buyer on all documents. When she wholesales the property, the end buyer purchases 678 Pine Street LLC from her and continues with all closing documents stating the buyer as 678 Pine Street LLC. This is a great low cost way to avoid changing the buyer names on contracts when you pass the deal on to the cash buyer. Also its low costs as you can create an LLC for about $100.