Wednesday, October 8, 2014

So Many Hats

I know...I know...I'm a blog slacker :) But, we are still flipping and renovating! To briefly bring you up to speed, we currently have Flip #15 under contract, are very close to finishing up Flip #16, wholesaled Flip #17 (to our former Mentor which is a fun little twist!), have purchased Flip #18, and are currently putting in offers for Flip #19. Did you catch all of that? (Check us out on Facebook and Instagram for pics of what we've been up to!)

We are beginning to see the light after the tumultuous year we've had that included our first lawsuit against a contractor (and hopefully our last!) among other things. Despite the ugly things going on around us, we were able to create a new business model for Phoenix Avenue; one that makes sense for our business and family. Not many people understand this model and may even argue that it is too unconventional to work. Some have argued that it's genius. More on this later...But if you are an entrepreneur, you know you always have to be ever-ready to welcome change. I personally have a tendency to resist life's changes but I'm learning. David is a bit more open to them, which helps the process along. :)

Here's a few things I've come to accept along the way:

1.  Don't expect people to do their jobs thoroughly or to completion. As an business owner, you are always responsible for seeing things through to completion. This can lead to a lot of additional time spent on things that you've hired others to handle. Over time you learn the folks you can trust - and those you can't.

2. You must be able to jump back and forth between tasks - which means you wear A LOT of hats. At Phoenix Avenue we handle the smallest task to the largest: market research, deal analysis, product purchasing, marketing, home design, renovating, staging, bookkeeping ...and the list goes on. In one day, you could be responsible for all of these things. Those are the REALLY tiring (and rewarding!) days.

3. You must try your hardest to NOT make decisions based on your emotions. This can be really challenging considering what I mentioned in item no. 1. :)

4. You must know your market and what buyers want. We know investors that will do as little as possible on their deals. Obviously, watching your budget is very important! But, we like to take time coming up with ways to maximize the value. If that means tearing down wall to create a custom layout or using a product that's unconventional, we aren't scared. We have been very blessed in the area of quick sales and know putting in a bit more thought goes a long way.

5. Every deal is different. Don't expect each deal to be just like it's successor. Each one of our 18 flips had/has their unique challenges. Each one teaches you something new. Some go smoothly...while others will frustrate you beyond comprehension.

6. Enjoy the journey! I get to spend every day with my best friend. Despite what crazy, frustrating things happen in our world, this is the most enjoyable thing to me. Having someone who shares your goals and dreams working by your side really helps on the hard days...and makes the good days that much more rewarding!

Thanks for stopping by our blog. I will try to put on my blogging "hat" more often (see item no. 2)... :)

Until next time...Cheers!

Here's me back during Flip 15's renovation. Was about to put on my contractor "hat" here and get to work!

Friday, March 7, 2014

It's a Wrap!

Hello everyone! We are so proud & thrilled we have made it thru our 2nd year as full-time investors! David & I sat down & discussed 2013 – the ups, the downs, the lessons, the experience, the journey – but most importantly, what do we need to change for 2014 to improve our business. What worked? What didn’t work? What would work better??

2013 had its challenges & frustrations as our business grew. We dealt with the ever present contractor issues (excuses for work not performed, theft, early draw requests, guys quitting unexpectedly), money issues (try growing a business in this market & maintain some standard of living at the same time), government shutdowns (don’t get me started!!), closing delays (& by delays, I mean MONTHS), insane buyer requests (I really think most of them live in a dream land where home ownership comes with no responsibility), and agents who create problems instead of resolve them (“Someone stole the front yard sod!” – ummm, no they sure didn’t.)!

Here’s a brief glimpse to explain a bit of what I mean:

Flip #12 closed out with a breeze…wish all closings were this wonderful! This is the silver lining ;) Keep reading.

Flip #13…Wow, where do I begin? This house took 4 months from contract to closing. Yes, you read that right…4 MONTHS. We got it under contract in September, sold it in January. The details of “why” are too much to go into here – just know it was intense & we had no other choice but to hold out…We are just happy to see it go!!

Flip #14 had its own set of issues. The Buyer back out due to a family member creating an issue from a non-issue…So we relisted. A second Buyer came along…they backed out for similar reasons (Can someone please tell me why folks are listening to Grandpa more than an Inspector & any other qualified person?). We had to relist again. Keep in mind, by the time each Buyer backed out, weeks of time was wasted while it was under contract. We have now held this house for 8 months and just got it under contract for a 3rd time. Fingers crossed we can get to the closing table without an outside party ruining the deal for all involved.

Flip #15 was the biggest blow. Our contractor walked away from the contract & his responsibilities, leaving us in an extremely messed up situation (I will leave it up to your imagination as to how bad it was…Due to legal concerns & potential litigation against him, I’m not getting specific). We are just now getting back on our feet with this house after having to hire another crew to come in & finish the job.

Ending 2013 under these circumstances was a blow to our goal for the year. But, we have learned a ton through each of these experiences that will continue to help shape us into successful real estate investors. It’s definitely a challenge to maintain a positive outlook when you have sequential months of extremely negative impacts on your business – all of which were out of our control. And, at time it feels like you’re doing nothing but putting out fires. But despite all the difficulties, we have grown, learned valuable lessons, & improved along the way – which makes us look forward to all 2014 has to offer.

And, to end on a high note... 

Let me introduce you to Flips #16 & #17!

Flip #16...

And, Flip #17! :)

Hopefully these deals & 2014 will be good to us J Either way, we are ready! Let the new investing adventures begin!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Homework Pays Off

The past few weeks have been a pretty big blur of the daily investing grind…but a few fabulous happenings stand out in my mind. After only 10 hours on the MLS, Flip #13 got multiple offers and we put it under contract for OVER list price! That's fabulous happening #1. :)

Flip #13:

(For a video featuring this property, click here!)

Fabulous happening #2 occurred when the bank accepted our offer on Flip #15! Eeeekkkk!! We were scouring the market for deals & putting in offers but nothing wanted to stick. We actually lost Flip #15 to another bidder originally - but they walked away from the deal after their inspection showed pretty bad foundation issues. Lucky for us, we already had inspected the property ourselves as well as getting our contractor's opinion of the foundation issues - and submitted our offer free of an inspection contingency. We knew how to repair it as well as the cost - so when the bank came back to us with the deal, we took it and ran! It pays to do your homework, people!

Our most recent purchase, Flip #15 :)

Lastly, and even more recently, more fabulousness occurred when we got Flips #12 & #14 under contract - within just a few days of each other...Several paydays are heading our way and we couldn't be more thrilled!!

Flip #12:

Flip #14:

(For videos of these properties, click here & here :))

We are currently scouring the market for Flip #16 and have our eye on 1 property in particular. Our offer won't be reviewed for another few days but as of this writing, we are the top, and only, bidder. While we were at the property contemplating what our offer would be, we discovered the world's largest elephant ear plant..hehe. I couldn't help but snap a few photos of this beast!

Fingers crossed these elephant ears will be our's...and so will the huge payoff that comes along with them!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lessons Learned

This summer has been fun, busy, crazy, and lesson-filled. We currently have 4 flip properties - selling 1, listing 1, and finishing up the other 2. It's been interesting having this many properties at once, with each one being in a different stage. Learning to juggle accounting, shopping, hiring, scheduling, ordering, communicating, etc. has become even more important. We've gotten pretty good at it! But, one of the main lessons we had to re-learn is in this business is you have to be prepared to deal with people who don't stand by their word. Most people are looking out for themselves - even if it's not in their best interest. It just happens to be the easiest way to a payday. Nevermind all those conversations had and promises made. Even by those you've hired several times in the past...

For instance, one contractor - we'll call him John - was hired by us to fix up one of our properties. Now, John is known for being slow, unreliable, messy, and unorganized - but his prices worked in our budget and we had used him on a few properties in the past. We knew his weaknesses and felt like we could work with him if we broke the project down into chunks instead of handing him the whole job without supervision (he had issues with details and task completion). Now, John came up with the complete date, the price, and the timeline of tasks. At completion of the project, his excuses were endless as to why he shouldn't be penalized ($50/day past completion date...again, agreed to by him). The rain, his children, his subcontractors, his bank account...I could keep going. But I'll spare you. All excuses we had heard 1,000 times in the past. He could not grasp why we would hold him to the contract. He fully expected us to give him pass after pass. This is after we found out he had been sleeping at the job site with his wife and child...among other things. Long story short, his wife called (yes, can you believe it??) and needed to be informed as to why his check was short. After having a conversation (with her crying most of the way through it after realizing her husband was lying to her), we got off the phone exhausted, bewildered, perplexed, frustrated, and extremely amused that THAT experience actually happened...And remember, this was just the short version. Just believe me when I say the whole experience was exhausting from start to finish...

But, I'm reminded that is not the only attitude we've dealt with this summer. Another contractor we have used on many occasions thanked us for some recent work we had given him. He was struggling a bit in his business and our "job came at a much needed time." Now, this man is educated, hard-working, knowledgeable, and dependable. Working with him is always a pleasure...getting a "thank you" was just a bonus. Those positive experiences remind us  to not dwell on negative experiences for too long. We always need to learn from them and use them to help grow our business into a thriving, profitable enterprise.

Speaking of growing our business, here's a pic of Flip #12...She's going on the market this week! She's come a long way from the day we bought her off our truck magnet sign. And to think...we are projecting a profit of 5 figures from this deal. Well played, truck magnet. Well played. :)

Before & After...



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Geek Squad Alert!

PA, LLC recently got some fun new tech equipment that we are stoked about! We have been hobbling along on a scanner/printer that only sometimes worked and a desktop PC that constantly gave us fits sooooo...we are the proud new owners of 2 laptops and an amazing HP wireless printer/scanner to which you can EMAIL - yes, email documents to be printed!! We hate spending money but realized our office equipment needs to "grow" as our company does - and we can't afford to not have equipment capable of doing things quickly and effortlessly. I've also recently starting doing our accounting online too which has helped save me loads of time...Dave and I wear so many different "hats" within our company so it's been extremely nice not having to spend time fighting with computer equipment. Moving on and up!

Speaking of moving on and up, our offer on Snow Road (Flip #14) was accepted! So fun to see our offers getting accepted and our inventory increasing! Check her out :) She's pretty beat up now but we see a diamond in the rough that will make an amazing home for someone...
This week we are finishing up "punch-out" on Pinebough (Flip #11)...touching up paint, staining porches, installing shutters, cleaning, staging, etc. The punch out on this property should really be called fixing-items-a-contractor-has-already-been-paid-to-do-but-either-did-a-crappy-job-or-left-it-off-altogether. *Sigh* What I would give for a quality job done right. Don't get me wrong, we have a handful of guys that do their job and do it well (shout-out to Daycool and ProStone!). But, we have yet to find a general contractor that can deliver a product that doesn't need a serious overhaul when they leave. We have been trying out a few different methods to see how we can improve in this area. We'll see how our beta tests pan out ;) 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Flip #13 Revealed!

Hey guys and gals! I'm back to share some fun stuff...

So, you know we've been putting in offers lately, right? Well, yesterday we heard the fantastic news that one of our offers was accepted! Check out Flip #13...booyah!

This one should be a breeze...doesn't need too much work AND it's located in our favorite "flipping" zip code! I wish they were all this fabulous.

Pinebough (Flip #11) is moving along nicely. I don't have any recent pics but I'll try to snag some next time I'm there. We still have a few weeks of renovations left on that one but should have it listed by early yay!

Brookline (Flip #12) is still waiting to close but we should be going to sign papers on it in the next few days. Demo will start next week and then it will be "off to the races"!

Great things are happening. It makes me feel encouraged in our commitment and motivated to keep up our momentum. I read something today..."You don't have to know the entire way, you only need to know where you want to reach, and start your journey. Go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you will be able to see further."...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


A few years back my partner-in-crime and I signed up for a "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" conference planning to learn a bit about business management (David was working on growing his metal art & fabrication business - he's an amazing welder, fabricator, and art sculptor in addition to all of his other talents!). Surprisingly, we learned very little about business management (man, were we frustrated, ha!) but a whole lot about real estate investing. We always had an interest in investing (so not all was lost!) but really never knew where to start. At this same conference were two wholesalers out of Pensacola who happened to close a deal with a $40,000 paycheck while we were there. Obviously, this intrigued us - so we sat at their table and asked them as many questions as possible pertaining to how they had become so successful. One of their main points was to join a real estate investors association for education and networking opportunities...

After the conference weekend came to a close, we started researching for a local association we could be a part of...Low and behold, we discovered Port City Real Estate Investors Association! We started going to the meetings and met the association Founder who just so happened to have started a mentoring program. This was just what we needed! We signed up with him and jumped right in with both feet.

Fast forward to now...We are about to purchase our 12th flip and are working towards flipping 5 properties at one time. If someone had told us at that conference we would both be self-employed full-time real estate investors in just a few years, I would have laughed and thought they were crazy! I'm forever grateful to those wholesalers who told us where to go to find active investors in our area who could steer us in the right direction. They helped change my life!

All of this to say, I feel an obligation to "pay it forward" to someone who might need some direction. Research for a local REIA group you could be a part of to learn more about investing...AND, if you happen to be in my city, check out Port City REIA! See below for a few pics from the REIA meeting we actually had last night. David and I were on an open forum panel where we (more so Dave - public speaking terrifies me! I DID showcase our new "Phoenix Avenue LLC" t-shirts though, ha!) had the opportunity to talk about our flipping business and where we see the market heading. Afterwards, we met some great folks and got a few leads on some potential deals...See why networking is so important??

So get involved. Get moving. Just do SOMETHING. Make active steps to change your future. Trust me, you won't regret it!

PS - I "borrowed" these pics from Port City REIA's facebook page...check 'em out!

Great turnout!

Dave sharing his thoughts...

Notice my new marketing gear? PA, LLC t-shirt, baby!

Networking time!

More networking...