Creating Their Own Demand By Ditching the “Cookie-Cutter Flips”

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Fix and flips have looked a lot alike for the past few years. You see the same countertops, wall colors, appliances, and flooring in almost every new flip. While it makes sense for many high-volume flippers to use the same “cookie cutter” recipe repeatedly, it may not get you the highest price on your house flip. If you want to start a bidding war on your next investment property, you’ll need to think outside the box, like George and Heather Bassett have.

George and Heather aren’t your everyday house flippers. To start, they filmed this entire interview from inside a church-turned-luxury house flip. George and Heather want to make each home they flip stand out and feel unique to every prospective buyer who walks through it, and their recipe for success sure seems to be working. On a recent flip, they had over fifty showings in one weekend alone. So, what house-flipping tips do they have that could help YOU sell for more?

From unique finishes to thinking of livability first, asking the house what IT wants, and staging the not-so-basic way, George and Heather deliver an absolute masterclass on how to turn your next fix and flip into a show-stopping, bidding-war-starting, beautiful property that could give you tens of thousands more in profit than what the everyday flipper is getting.

Dave:
Hello investors and welcome to the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast. Now, usually when you see the word unique in real estate, it’s basically just code word for weird or terrible. It’s just like one of those things that I feel like a lot of listing agents put in their descriptions, and it doesn’t really mean what you think it means, but with our guests today, making properties unique is actually part of their business strategy.

Henry:
That’s right, Dave. And focusing on these unique and special characteristics is leading to higher profits for this couple,

Dave:
Hey everyone, I’m Dave Meyer.

Henry:
And I’m Henry Washington. And today we’re talking to George and Heather Bassett.

Dave:
That’s right. They’ve been investing together for seven years now. So they’ve made a lot of deals, work in a lot of different market cycles, and before they started investing, they have a really cool story. George was a mechanic, Heather was a teacher, and now they’ve used those skills not only to become agents, both of them, but also to become successful flippers where they renovate and sell homes that don’t look like every other flip you’ve probably seen in the past.

Henry:
Alright, let’s dive in.

Dave:
Heather and George, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here. Thanks for

Heather:
Having. Thank you.

Dave:
To kick off the show, I’d love to hear about your flipping business and how your approach to flipping homes is different from a lot of other investors.

Heather:
Absolutely. So, um, when we started flipping, we knew we wanted to do things a little bit differently. We really focused on those little details that would make our flip stand out from your average flip. Uh, and since then we’ve kind of gained momentum in that space and we have our ways of adding those little details and those little touches that make it look more custom maybe than it really is, uh, based on those details.

Dave:
I, I’m curious how you got started down this path, because I think a lot of people who first get into flipping try to learn from other people and they say, okay, here are the trends, here are the finishes that they use. Like, why did you start, or did you start with this approach? Or was this sort of a product of some trial and error over the course of your first few flips?

Heather:
I think from the beginning we wanted to stand out. We didn’t really necessarily know exactly what that looked like, but we wanted it to not look cookie cutter. And some of that, uh, was also like we, we became real estate agents right around the time we became flippers. Um, and so I was also working with buyers at that time, and when we look at houses, I would notice the things that they would say, like they wanted something a little bit different and we were having a hard time finding that on the market. So I knew there was a demand for something that was finished but not necessarily finished that looked cookie cutter. And so we took that from it and we knew to stand out and to create the kind of demand we were looking for in our flips, like multiple offers, mult, you know, multiple people interested in it. Um, and we were using, really our first flip was a little different, but we’re using hard money from the beginning. So every day on the market is a lot of per diem interest Right. That we had. So the quicker we couldn’t turn it around, the better.

Henry:
Great. So most flippers have always had or gotten the advice from, you know, other seasoned investors that you wanna make every property, uh, appeal to the masses and, and you don’t wanna do anything too bold or too crazy. And it sounds like your strategy has kind of been the opposite. So talk to me about like who’s your, who’s your end buyer for this product?

Heather:
Our end buyer is your average buyer, believe it or not. Right. And it does, and I understand like we want things kind of vanilla. We want to appear, you know, we want to have the most amount of buyers interested in the home. And so it seems like we shouldn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but actually the opposite works because I found that people are sick of the ordinary and they don’t necessarily ho- know how to do something a little extra to make that ordinary something special to them. Sometimes they do, but a lot of times they don’t. And so if it’s not already done for them, it’s hard. And yes, like I would say the one that we kind of really went extreme with, um, I did like orange doors. I mean, I really did some extreme things in it that like goes against every flipping rule in the book.
And we had 40 showings in that weekend. 50, it was like 52 parties. Yeah. 52 showings that weekend. And so it’s like, okay, I, this is the one that I went crazy with. Um, and I thought, Hmm, I, I don’t know if I went too crazy. And then really people loved it. They paid off. I think doing a few things that seem a little bold actually will pay off more than people think. And in going with what the house really kind of wants to, not necessarily doing the same thing in every house because every house doesn’t want the same thing anyway. We don’t do that.

Henry:
Right. You know, I, I think this is really cool because, uh, as I hear you talking about it, and I think about this so I don’t go too bold on my flips. I do try to make them stand out. I’m pretty strategic about how I do that. Uh, but I was thinking through as you were talking, I sold a flip one year that we actually lived in for, uh, for about a year first. And since we were gonna live in it, I let my wife kind of go crazy with some of the things that she wanted to do. And one of those where we painted the laundry room cabinets like a bright purple, and then we put a fancy wallpaper on the laundry room, back wall, and then we like tiled a back in the laundry room. So it was really, really overboard for a laundry room, but she wanted to try this purple cabinet color and I was like, doing the laundry room, we’ll be fine in there.
So <laugh> <laugh>, that house had so many offers and sold so fast when we actually went to sell it and people were commenting on the, the cool cabinets and, you know, it just, I didn’t dawn on me then that I should be more aggressive in that. But that’s super cool. And I think you’re right, people are pretty tired of the cookie cutter. You’re even starting to see builders now do things that are a little more risky, if you would say they pick different colors now where they’ll put, uh, more expensive flashier, uh, kind of countertop in to kind of stand out and they’re, they’ll play with tones and things. And so I think you’re right. I think part of that is understanding who your market and and buyer is and what they want. And it may seem risky, but if you understand your buyer, that’s actually the opposite of risky. So I think that’s great.

Heather:
Exactly. You’re actually creating more of a demand by stepping outside of that box that is supposed to be that very simple vanilla sort of look.

Henry:
You know, I think I hear a lot of flippers say that, right. They, they add these little touches and I do the same things in my flips. But I think when you say that, a lot of people probably have different ideas in their heads. So Right. What are some of those touches and are you picking those strategic touches based on like, you know, kind of return for dollar? So like for me, I might do an accent wall because it’s cheap to do, but has a really high return because it looks more expensive.

George:
Right. So in our first flip we did, I did a lot of reclaimed lumber and custom touches with some trim, uh, some old barn boards. Sanded, oiled kind of went over the top with it. And we had some flipper friends of ours that kind of give us a hard time about it. Like, oh, you’re spending too much time on this.

Heather:
We’ve scaled it back since then. Yes. So like now we have specific things we do, like in every flip we use, um, different toilet levers. We just get the aftermarket ones for like 20 bucks. Um, and they usually are like the round spinny ones. And I know it sounds silly, but then it looks like a hundred dollars toilet is actually like a three or $400 toilet because we just changed the lever. Um, another thing that we do is pot fillers, they’re pretty cheap to buy like 60 bucks. We put one of those in as often as we can. Right. Um, because it gives it a little higher end feel, but it’s a really simple touch. And, uh, when people walk in and see the kitchen, they’re like, oh, oh, it’s gotta be super special because this pot filler is here. Or the, the bathroom looks a little bit more high end because we have this, this toilet lever and like you said, like yes accent walls here and there. Um, what I’ve been doing lately is if we have an opportunity for like a little bit of a mudroom area is to do like a wallpaper wall and then a built-in bench, making sure like the trim goes around the bench, even if you buy a hall tree from Wayfair or something like that. So it looks like a built-in those types of things that make it look like a little bit more custom and a little bit more thought went into it.

Dave:
Just for someone who’s never flipped a house, what is a pot filler?

Heather:
So that’s kind of like a little faucet over the range and it, it comes out Oh.

Dave:
Oh. Literally a pot filler. Oh, okay.

Heather:
Yes. Yes. And it, it fills your pots. Um, so you don’t have to take your pot from the sink to the range that your pots can be filled at the range. And, and they’re, they’re pretty cheap now. I mean, you can get expensive ones and I have gotten expensive ones depending on the level of flip we’re doing, if it really calls for something expensive. But you can get ’em for like 50 bucks if you wanted to. Okay.

Dave:
I thought it was some cool word for some like slang for something I just didn’t understand <laugh>, but clearly I’ve never had a pot filler in my house. ’cause I don’t know what they are.

Heather:
You’re missing out. Yeah.

Dave:
Alright, so we’ve learned the basics about Heather and George and they’re really cool and unique approach to flipping. And after this break, we’re gonna dig in on the business side of what they’re doing and you’ll learn some tricks that you can implement too.

Henry:
Welcome back to the BiggerPockets podcast.

Dave:
Alright, so let’s, let’s take a little bit of a step back here. I’d love to just know a little bit more about your business. Where, first of all where are you guys located? How long have you been doing this?

George:
We’re located in, uh, in Eastern Connecticut

Heather:
And we’ve been doing this almost seven years. Six and a half, seven years. Yep. Somewhere right around there. Um, and we, we, like I said, we became agents at the same time, kind of, we became flippers and our real estate business for buyers and sellers is, it takes up quite a bit of our business as well. And we do the flipping at the same time. And I love it because I get tons of great feedback when we’re looking at other houses, even other flips with a, with my buyer. And I’m like looking at what they’re saying, listening and kind of taking it because I find it very interesting and it helps fuel our flipping business. So it really goes hand in hand.

Dave:
I love that. I think that is a great example of how you can use your full-time job to augment and improve your investing skills. And obviously you both work in the real estate space and so there’s some really obvious overlap. You know, you’re working with buyers, but I encourage people out there who are listening to this to think about the things that you see on a day-to-day basis, or the parts of your job that you can apply to your investing career. Like for me, I was a data analyst, but that might not sound like it applies to real estate. It does apply to real estate investing. Henry actually sort of has the same background so you can see how these kinds of things, um, can apply. So I love how you’re, you’re bringing and sort of merging two parts of your life. You’re, you know, one job and the other sort of complimenting each other, which is, in my opinion, the best way to sort of grow that long-term wealth. Now. Super cool story. It sounds like you guys are, are doing great. How many flips are you doing per year on average? Right now?

Heather:
We aim for five flips a year. It depends on how big they are. Um, we’ve taken on a few big ones like the, when we’re right, we’re actually sitting in one of our flips right now. I was gonna

Dave:
Ask that. Yeah, because it looks cool for those of you are not watching on YouTube. The flip looks very nice

Henry:
And I thought I saw a pot filler back there, so I figured <laugh> there,

Heather:
There’s a pot
Filler that way. <laugh>,

George:
<laugh>.

Heather:
And I can take you around to all the toilet levers later. <laugh>,

Henry:
<laugh>.

Heather:
Um, so, so yeah, this one was big because this one was a condemned, uh, church and we converted it to a single family home. So it was a big one. It took us a year and a half. We did other flips in the meantime as well. This like wasn’t our soul project, but we’re careful not to take on too much. But we also have goals we set for ourself that we wanna take on this many, you know, this year.

Henry:
That was what I was gonna ask next. Is it with a, with a goal like five, I think that’s a, a great goal. It’s an achievable goal. Are you trying to space them out throughout the year? Are you just buying deals as they come? Like how are you attacking that number of flips?

George:
Kind of depends on where we’re at with the current projects. If, if there’s something that comes our way that is like, just way too much work and we’ve learned by now what we can handle and not handle on top of other things. So we’ll put it on the market for people, help ’em get top dollar, or we can bring in other flippers that we know.

Heather:
We do get off market deals because people know what we do. Right. And so sometimes they’re like a referral, like we come out to the house and they’re like, we want you to buy our house. We just want, we want this thing gone. And I say, okay, well, um, you can get more money on the market for this. Nine times out of 10 mm-Hmm, <affirmative> and I, we give people options. Like, you can sell it to us now, we can put it on the market, see what happens. And if what happens isn’t to your liking, then we can buy it from that point. I like to get things done early in the year, so I’m all about like buying things now. Um, so we’re not left towards the end of the year, like, oh, we didn’t really buy anything and I would like to hit our goal of five, like with a few months desp spare.

Henry:
Okay. Okay. I understand that. So, uh, talk to me a little bit about how your business is structured. So like what roles are each of you playing? Uh, you know, George, you know, how long have you been directly reporting to Heather? Those kinds of

Heather:
<laugh>. Nobody knows. Everybody knows.
Everybody knows. Yeah. And it, it’s funny because we are asked this all the time. Some people are like, oh, Heather does all the design and George, you just like throw the hammer, right? And it’s like, uh, no <laugh>.

George:
Yeah. I, I have a lot of design ideas and sometimes she lets me just roll with it and I don’t have any doubts or questions and I, I just, we get it done. And then sometimes I have questions, I’m stuck, I got a roadblock and we, we bounce ideas off each other. And sometimes from that we come up with an just a fantastic plan. And even when she stage, she does the staging when we’re all done. And I don’t, I, I don’t want anything to do with the staging really, but she’s still, you help me. Yeah. I still end up helping her. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> whether I, whether I realize it or not. Yeah. <laugh>. Um, so it kind of, it’s, it, it depends I guess it, but building wise more me

Heather:
Right? Absolutely. Like definitely

George:
Finishes colors on things,

Heather:
Finishes and colors tend to fall on me. And if I get caught up in it, I’ll ask him, Hey, like, what’s your vision for this? ’cause I have this vision. Is your vision the same or is it different? Um, so we can kind of run it back and forth and sometimes he’s like, I don’t have a vision for that particular thing, so you run with it. And then he’ll come to me and I’m like, I don’t even know. You do what you want with that. I’m sure it’ll be fine and we make it work, but we don’t necessarily have like, specific roles.

Dave:
Okay. Cool. Well it sounds like it’s, it’s working for both of you. Uh, so I, I wanna dig into, so you, you mentioned building design. I wanna talk about the scope of your flips and renovations because uh, Heather, you mentioned something earlier about, I think you said you have to sort of go with what the house wants. And I’m curious sort of how do you think through this? Are you guys sort of taking each house and sort of making cosmetic changes? ’cause we’ve talked a lot about that, but are you also willing to sort of change the whole layout of the house? Are you pulling down walls and sort of telling the house what you want out of it?

Heather:
Both. Both. Both. So sometimes uh, we will tell the house what it needs. <laugh>. Like, you need this, especially on those houses where you’re like, have to walk through one bedroom to get to another bedroom. Like who wants that? Right. Um, so then when we knock down walls, we make a hallway there, we make it so it’s a functional two bedroom, you know, there instead of walking through. So there are some things that we tell the house, but then the house tells us a lot Right. Too. The setting of the house. We, so we’re Eastern Connecticut, we’re New England, we have older homes here. We have a lot of older homes, we have stone walls, we have um,

George:
Stone foundations.

Heather:
Stone foundations. Yes. And so looking at the age of the home, which we flip a lot of older homes, we wanna be congruent sort of with that age. We wanna bring it up to speed, but we don’t want to disrespect the home. Right, right. Like the history of the home. Right. Um, and so we will add in features that look a little older, but they’re not. And what I love is even on this church, like a lot of people have walked through and been like, is that light fixture original? And I’m like, oh no. Oh, there’s nothing original going on here, really. But the, the fact that someone thought that that is what I’m looking for, where it’s like you almost can’t tell what’s new and old because congruent, you’ve merged. Mm-Hmm.

Dave:
<affirmative>. That’s very cool. I love that approach because it sounds like you’re really taking what is unique about the original house and just be honoring it, sort of and creating original new finishes and not trying to put a square peg into a round hole and make everything look cookie cutter. ’cause I’m actually, I was born and raised not far from where you get where you, uh, operate. That’s one of the charming parts about the area is that each house is really unique and different and you wouldn’t wanna, you know, turn it into sort of a cookie cutter sort of environment.

Heather:
Exactly. Exactly. So like I have a few things that irks me that some other people do. Like we have a lot of like the traditional Cape Cod homes with like wood, wood siding around here. And you don’t wanna go in and, and stick a very trendy feature in there, like a waterfall edge on your island. Like that doesn’t, that doesn’t make any sense. Like when you look on the home from the outside, that’s not what you’re expecting on the inside. And one thing I like to do is bring a color or something like maybe on a shutter or a flower box or something, or the front door even maybe on the outside that they will see that same color on the inside. And it just creates a sense of congruency even in your mind that like, this house flows

George:
And people don’t even realize

Heather:
What’s happening. Right, right.

George:
You’re creating this emotion in people and they don’t even know it’s kind of designed to do that.

Dave:
So we’ve learned how these finer, unique finishes can increase your sales price of a flip. But the question is sort of how does this translate to mom and pop buy and hold investors? Like does this actually apply outside of flipping and to people who own rentals? We’ll hit that right after the break.

Henry:
Welcome back to the show. We’re here with Heather and George and we’re discussing bespoke finishes to increase the sale or rent of a home.

Dave:
I’m curious because if I, as I alluded to before, I’ve never flipped a house. I am a, I am a rental property investor. Do you recommend or think that this approach to creating unique properties also works if you’re doing a renovation for rental property like a BRRRR for example, if you’re trying to fix up rental properties, do you think paying attention to these small details would make a difference

Heather:
On a different scale? Yes. Different scale. On a smaller scale it would make a difference. So a few things here and there on a rental or a BRRRR that someone’s going to do, you’re going to attract, uh, more tenants looking at it, greater availability of applications and things like that. And I think, I think it could make a difference, but it has to be on a smaller scale. I think for someone holding rentals depends on the area too.

Dave:
So I should or shouldn’t put pot fillers in all of my rentals.

Heather:
Um, I would recommend no pot fillers in the rentals. Okay.

George:
I can see
Bad things happening. Yeah. I I just,

Heather:
No, it’s like a liability. Like, oh, I
Forgot the pot filler was on and then the place is flooded out or something.
Like, nah, <laugh>,

George:
Skip that one

Henry:
You know, I thought that was a great question, Dave. ’cause I I do this on a smaller scale for my rental properties. I want, i, I call it perceived value. I think that’s, that’s really what we’re talking about here. ’cause maybe the money you spend on some of these updates don’t actually add physical value, but the perceived value is there. And yes, for me, I measure, I measure perceived value by the oohs and ahs. The tenants give the potential tenants can when they’re walking in, if they walk in and they go, Ooh, that’s nice. I’m like, eh, that’s right. That’s 50 bucks a month extra right there. No <laugh>. Right, right. But in all seriousness, it’s the, it’s the, it’s the perceived value. And it may not be that they’re gonna pay more to live there because of that perceived value, but maybe they live there and they have a little more pride of ownership because they enjoy the apprentices so long. Maybe they stay longer in our longer tenants. And in your case maybe they pay more, which then actually does turn into real value. Yes.

Dave:
I, I totally, uh, agree with that. And I do think it can translate to value if, if you don’t know, I know this sounds crazy ’cause I’m an investor, but I do rent my apartment in Amsterdam and I would pay more and I do pay more for a place that has nicer finishes because just like any homeowner, I wanna be like proud of the place that I live. And when people come over, I want it to look good and unique and not cookie cutter. Um, so I I totally agree with you Henry, and I think it may, this is just speculation, but uh, you know, I think it may attract the type of tenants that are, have a similar mindset to you that, you know, like if they care about this and you care about that, you might have a good symbiotic relationship with that kind of tenant.

Heather:
It’s a great point.

Henry:
All right. You two, I’m gonna ask the real question here. What everybody really wants to know

Heather:
How much money

Dave:
<laugh>

Henry:
You are spending this money and you’re doing these fancy upgrades and how is that translating to actual profits for you? So give us a, a a little bit of a kind of give background, like what are you typically paying for a property and then, uh, you know, what’s kind of the NOI or what are you selling these things for and and how are these finishes translating to dollars? Yeah,

Heather:
She, she does the numbers right. So numbers have changed, um, since Covid probably everywhere, like, you know, before Covid we could buy something for $40,000, $50,000, put a hundred thousand dollars in and make 50,000 in profit. Um, those numbers are, are changed. Um, I I wouldn’t say maybe our, our profit has necessarily changed, but our buy-in cost and our sell cost is higher and even our labor cost is higher. Everything is a little bit higher. Yes. So, um, just for an example, um, on the house with orange doors that I was telling you about that we had 52 showings that weekend. We made a solid $60,000 on that house. Um, and basically those things that we put in, we got back then some because it was different. It was cool. It was something that people were really after and we created more of a demand and more offers.
So that definite, it does make a difference. So when you can create more of a demand for your flips and the offers come in at a greater level, they’re going to come in at a higher amount, you’re going to get potentially a cash offer in there with no appraisal, which was good for, for that one as well. Right. Um, we, we’ve sold a few of our flips, cash, no appraisal, which is good because there was a few that would, we were like on the cusp of appraising. But when you create that more of a demand, you know, you have offers you can choose from and therefore it’s probably going to sell higher.

Henry:
Just as a point of clarification for people who may be brand new. So what you’re referring to is you’re going in and you’re putting these finishes in, and I would assume that there’s probably not a lot of comps that would match what your finished product looks like. And if you’re demanding a price point that’s higher than the comps, there’s always a fear that maybe that house won’t appraise for even what somebody is saying they’re willing to pay for it. So if you list a house for 300 and the comps say 2 75, and uh, your buyer says they’ll pay you 300, and an appraiser says, well no, it’s worth 2 75, then really all you can sell it for is 2 75. And so that’s what they mean when they’re saying, Hey, we just, we were probably on the cusp of appraisal.

Heather:
Exactly. Right. That’s exactly right. And there are some people that are willing to pay over appraisal still in this crazy market. Um, but that’s becoming less frequent. So we can’t bank on anything like that. The, the thing that we can bank on is trying to get as many feet through the door as possible to look at our property and love it. And that’s what we’re going for. And

George:
We’ve generated a following. There’s people that want one of our flips.

Heather:
Sometimes there are some agents that call me and say, when are you having another flip coming up? Yeah. Because I have a buyer that wants one. Wow. And sometimes I’m like, uh, yeah, I, I don’t necessarily have what they’re looking for or whatever, but we do. I have had a number of agents call me and ask me. It’s a good feeling. It

Henry:
Is. Yeah. That’s, that’s the response you want, right?

Heather:
Yeah. That that is, that is. And so we’re talking a lot about those details that really matter, but also the behind the scenes stuff really matters. I should say that as well. If we see something, we address it. And even if it costs us more money or more work, our integrity and our reputation is worth the more money and more work. That’s the most important thing. That is the most important thing to us. Bottom

George:
Line reputation. People know we do it right. We do what needs to be done. We don’t pretend we didn’t see something never gotta do it. Right.

Heather:
Yeah. And I, I think that that mentality like, yes, we’re in this to make money, don’t get us wrong, but at the same time we have to stay true to who we are. And part of that is doing things right.

Dave:
That’s just one of those return on investment things that you can’t measure. It’s just an intangible part of spending this extra money and it’s not gonna show up in every flip that you do. So, you know, you do spend a little bit more on these finishes, which is great, but think about the value of having people in your town, knowing your quality craftsmanship and how much you care about things. And having essentially a, a built in buyer list already because you’re doing things correctly. It’s just one of those things you can’t really measure in terms of numbers, but clearly is working out for, for the two of you.

Heather:
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. No, it is.

Henry:
Alright, one last money question. I asked you about money on the sales side. Let’s talk about money on the buy side. How are you getting the money to purchase these properties?

Heather:
Yes.

George:
Okay. You wanna start from the beginning?

Heather:
We’ll, we’ll start from the beginning. So our very first one, um, we had no relationship with any lenders. Nobody knew us from anybody. I called a few of the hard money lender, big banks. They were like, um, what kind of flips have you done? Yeah. None. We

George:
Didn’t have any skin in the game. Oh, we

Heather:
Had nothing. We had nothing. So what we ended up doing was basically we, we renovated our own house. We took out a line of credit on those renovations. Like after it was renovated, we took out a line of credit. We used that as a down payment on, on a loan. And then I got every single credit card that would possibly tell me that they would approve me. And we had $90,000 in credit cards. And I

George:
Put, we’re talking a stack of credit cards, stack <laugh>. Wow.

Heather:
Stack of credit cards.

George:
People are like, how how did you do that? We’re like, well, got this baggie full of credit cards here, <laugh>, make it happen.

Heather:
Right. But once we showed ourself with that first one, then we approached, um, the some hard money lenders and they gave to us. So then we started with hard money, uh, lenders and we grew from one to another. And after that we ended up partnering with word of mouth essentially is how this happened.

George:
We were referred to ’em because

Heather:
We were, um, a a private local lender. So yes, it’s hard money as far as um, you know, it’s not own money, but he’s local. He trusts us and we have such a good relationship with him that he’s like, oh yeah, of course you like, you have another deal coming up. Yeah. Oh, of course I’m down for that. You know, and that’s been so nice and such a blessing that we have this very trusting relationship and he gives us, he gives us a hundred percent of the purchase price and a hundred percent of the renovation costs. Wow.

Dave:
Another benefit of a good reputation, right?

Heather:
Yes, that’s right.

George:
It’s instead of bringing money to the closing table, we walk away with money to start. He

Heather:
Gives us money to start. Yes. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> it’s really amazing. And we’ve had some private lenders reach out to us and and say, Hey, do you, do you need any lending?

George:
I’ve had two in the past week.

Heather:
Yeah. And it’s like, oh, do we need any lending? Before I couldn’t get anybody to lend to me.

Henry:
Yeah, go ahead and you can, you can shoot me an email with his name, phone number, email address, <laugh>, you know, I’ll just, uh, uh, I’ll just, you know, asking for a friend, um, <laugh>. No, but that’s great and that’s actually what you want from a private money lender. You want them calling you asking when the next deal is. ’cause that means you did your job and you paid them on time and you paid them a fair amount. You know, and uh, everybody wins when you do it that way. But also, I wanna go back to the risk you took on, right? You put some money on some credit cards to get started. A couple of things. One, that’s great grit in terms of like, I’m gonna do this, nothing’s gonna stop me from doing this. And I think that that’s just an entrepreneurial mindset that everyone needs to have when they’re starting a business in general.
There are risks with putting money on credit cards. And so this isn’t a strategy for everyone. Credit cards are just a tool guys. They’re a tool to be used in the right situation by the right party. If you are a person who knows you’re not great with credit card debt, if you’re sitting on a mountain of credit card debt, you can’t pay right now. Don’t go take out credit cards to fund your flip. But if you’ve been responsible with credit cards in the past and you understand the risk that comes with not paying them off in 30 days and, and that’s something you can do, then I think it can be a way to get started in your living proof of that. You just have to know yourself. You have to know your financial situation and you gotta be able to weather a storm if something goes bad. And one of the best ways to weather a storm in the case of a real estate transaction is you buy a good deal. ’cause if you buy a good deal, you can typically sell outta that deal, make some money and pay everybody off. But if you’re paying retail value and you’re borrowing the money on credit cards to do the work, you’re in trouble, then you’re gonna find yourself in a world to hurt.

Heather:
Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely. And think, I think the best deals can be found where like the floor plan is awful. Um, I found that like if you can’t think outside the current floor plan and people are passing on that house and there’s really no offers on it, that’s when I found we get good deals when it’s like no one can think past how to fix this floor plan.

Dave:
So once you’ve done a flip and you’re ready to sell the property, are there any tricks or tips that you have for people on how to get top dollar for your renovated property?

George:
I bring my wife in <laugh>.

Heather:
So we really were big proponent of staging house

George:
And we’ve done since the first flip. And I put up a fight, I was like, we’re not spending $3,000 on furniture <laugh>. But I gave in, I said, all right, let’s do it. And it turned out great and that was her first one. And she’s just got nothing but better since then. And I people it, it, it, I remember it confused people ’cause no one, they, they didn’t know if we lived there, if it was staged, if it was a flip, they couldn’t tell.

Heather:
Yeah. Some people were like, I don’t see clothes in the closet, but this looks so like cozy in here. You live here, <laugh>, <laugh>. No we don’t. But I think that staging can really take it up a notch. And before we even do the renovation, I’m thinking about how I’m gonna stage the home. Because when I’m thinking about how to stage, I’m looking at the functionality of the home and thinking about that has actually helped our renovations, like our current, it’s a current current clip right now. It’s an eighties colonial, so it’s not actually that old, but they had like 15 rooms downstairs all the time. Like who needs this many living rooms? And um, so we took down some walls and I was still like, I’m not gonna stage three living rooms in this home. That’s ridiculous. Who wants that? Right. And so then we were like, alright, we’re just gonna expand the kitchen like this living room’s gonna become part of the kitchen and we’re making a coffee bar and we’re doing things and it makes it look like you can use the space so

George:
Much more grand when you walk into that kitchen.

Heather:
Absolutely. It’s gonna be

George:
Beautiful. We changed the design of the island so it all flow nicely. It’s uh, it’s gonna turn out pretty

Heather:
Cool. But we didn’t come to that conclusion until I thought about how I’m going to stage the space,

George:
Turn a problem into a, uh, a better outcome.

Heather:
Yeah. We returned problems into good things. Yeah. Every time. You

Henry:
Know, that’s a great point. I think it’s really smart to think about the staging when you are still trying to figure out what you’re gonna do for the renovation. Because you’re right, if you’re thinking about functionality, you’re not the only one who’s gonna be thinking about there. Buyers are absolutely gonna be thinking about functionality and when you can build that into your floor plan, it’s definitely going to make your house feel more homey and more livable. And that’s exactly what we’re looking for. But what I’d like to do is throw you a curve ball here. Okay. So as we close, I want you to tell people a little bit of advice. So I’m sure there are people thinking, you know, what are some things that I could do maybe inexpensively to, to kind of set my house apart? And how could they do those things or how do you think about doing things like this without overspending or over renovating? Because that is still something that can happen. You can spend a lot of money on things that end up not producing a return. So how do you find that balance? Okay,

Heather:
So I think that it’s important to order some things online and I’m not saying spend more money, but when someone walks into your flip and it looks like they just walked into Lowe’s or Home Depot and everything is off the shelf and everything is up and oh, that vanity I just saw last week and that light fixture is there Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and there’s nothing that looks different, then you’ve lost it. Right? You’ve lost it. And I know it takes a little bit more effort in, in looking, but it does not take more money. It just is something that can’t be found a mile away down the street. When you walk into the big box store, I’m not saying don’t buy anything off the shelf, but I’m saying mix it up with some things that people don’t see every day. So whether that’s doorknobs or some light fixtures or a faucet, some, some things that they don’t see.

George:
Another tip that we do to save money is we paint the walls, the trim, the ceiling, all the same color, and it’s a flat finish. So after renovations are completed, staging’s done, we can go through and touch it up and you can’t tell it’s been touched up. Hmm. In the beginning we, we picked out custom, custom fancy colors and you know, we’d go back in there after a month the buyer had a question or, or something. And we noticed they, they painted everything, they changed every color we did. And I’m like, well that was a waste, so we’re not gonna do that anymore. And now we, we do, uh, a type of white off color white and it kind of gives her stage in a nice blank canvas where she can kind of feature her, her design or style. And

Heather:
We’ve been using makes it pop just so people know. We, I’ve been using Sherwin Williams Alabaster for pretty much everything. That’s the, the white you see behind me, everything goes alabaster. And then from there I add, you know, we can add wood accents here and there or I do a lot of mixed metal. So then you can see those things because we’ve created the canvas. And so people get caught up like the trim needs to be this and the wall needs to be this and the ceiling needs to be this. Like no paint this thing all the same color. It does not matter.

Dave:
Wow. Hearing it from, from the people who are espousing to think outta the box that is reassuring that you can just, uh, paint everything the same color and people will still like it. Well Heather and George, thank you so much for joining us and helping us really learn to think a little bit outside of the box. It’s obviously important to to develop systems and processes that are predictable, but as you can hear from George and Heather’s story, trying to apply your own personal creativity and finishes to a situation can improve your ROI in an individual deal. And obviously as it has for these two help you develop a reputation that’s just gonna help your business scale over the long run. So thank you both so much for joining us. We really appreciate your time.

Heather:
Thanks for having us. Thank you.

Dave:
Well that was great. I, I feel like that was just a different perspective than what we get. Uh, I don’t know how you learned how to flip Henry, but I’ve always heard that people, when they flip they sort of just try and create this repeatable sort of almost assembly line type of atmosphere in their deals. And it was cool to just hear how Heather and George are using what clearly is like their personal strengths to their advantage in their business.

Henry:
Yeah. That was super refreshing almost. And uh, it was kind of like, uh, the permission I needed to be a little more aggressive in how we plan out, uh, what these projects can look like. And, uh, you’re right, I i, I always learned, I just needed to be conservative and, and appeal to the masses. But the more I heard them talk and the more I listened to, you know, how it, it’s not just like, they’re like, we’ll do some fancy stuff, but they were strategic about what they were doing and how they were doing it and who they were marketing to. And it’s just great business acumen.

Dave:
Totally. And there, you know, there’s reasons people teach these things. Like, you know, make it repeatable, follow these steps. ’cause when you, you’re learning, you do wanna sort of limit your risks. But I think it’s so important for everyone, whether you’re a flipper, long-term rental, whatever you do is to think critically and think for yourself. Like if you’re seeing on the ground, like something is working, go with that. Just because other people or Henry and I don’t say it on the show that you should be doing it. If you can see with your own two eyes that this system is working, you should be doing it. That is what entrepreneurship is. It’s, it’s never cookie cutter. You always have to apply your own creativity, your own little flair to whatever that you’re doing. So I, I loved hearing about that. If you wanna learn more about George and Heather, you can check it out in the show notes. We’ll put links to all their information and social medias and all that. And I think we’re good to get outta here. Henry, thanks for joining me, man.

Henry:
Yes, it was a great time as always. Thank you, sir.

Dave:
All right. And thank you all so much for listening. We’ll see you next time.

 

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