“Our homes affect beyond the buyer,” Michele said. “It’s a healing process for neighbors walking through our open houses. On this particular home, the whole neighborhood was so grateful. This business is about investing in the community.” The business of house flipping begins by searching for properties and deciding what to do with them. Before the Van Der Veens built iHeart Homes Corp, they built custom homes. At that time, Michele thought there was no way they could renovate existing homes, but Ken envisioned they could. “Ken complements my view and knows how to fix a property and change it for the better. That’s his comfort zone. For me, the emotional struggle to overcome what I imagine had happened in a house (like the punched walls) was the biggest obstacle.” The home in Sutter Creek presented another challenge: curb appeal. The height of the front deck presented a displeasing aesthetic, but they worked through it.

Exterior before

For us, this business is about investing in the community.


Yard before

Yard after


•  Company: iHeart Homes Corp Sutter Creek, CA • 3 bed / 2 bath / 1100 sq ft •  Purchase Price: $ 180,000 •  Renovation Budget: $ 70,000 •  Sale Price: $ 412,000

Michele and Ken began dating at 19 years old, and many of their date nights involved looking at model homes and dreaming of building their own someday. They did get that chance … along with providing well designed, renovated homes for other families. Their family business carried on to sons Austin (26) who handles the finances and Landon (21) who does construction. Their daughter Veronica (24) started her real estate career as the agent for iHeart Homes Corp. “At family dinners we sit and talk about houses. We can’t get away from it!” Michele said. Just 45 minutes from Sacramento and two hours from San Francisco, the Van Der Veens are in prime location in California — Historic Gold Country. This Renovation Rockstar project is located in Sutter Creek, a town of about 2,000 people. It took six weeks to renovate and sold the first day on the market for full asking price. Time and money aside, what made this house a “Rock- star renovation” was its aftereffect on the neighborhood.

Michele explained that this home’s former resi- dent damaged the property

extensively by breaking win- dows, putting holes in walls, and destroying gutters.

“We see this a lot. Homes are left to children who stop making payments and the bank overtakes them. In the meantime, the heir destroys the property and disrupts peace in the neighborhood.” The Van Der Veen family is not only passionate about restoring houses and providing a home for someone else, but they are driven by the gratitude they’ve re- ceived from neighbors living near their projects.

86 | think realty magazine :: july / august 2019

thinkrealty . com | 87

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