Riding the Real Estate Roller Coaster



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THINK REALTY 8  News & Events

STRATEGY 52  Opportunity Abounds in Specialized Real Estate Notes 9 important note statistics for your review. by W.J. Mencarow 54  4 Ways to Finance Buy-and-Hold Real Estate New investors should not fear long-term investments. by Andrew Syrios

Updates from around the industry.

10  Sherwin-Williams 2019 Colormix® Color Forecast New master palettes for all property types add personality, value.

56  7 Must-Have Apps for Real Estate Investors Keep up with your investing operations from anywhere. by "Libby Landlord” at My Landlord Helper 58  Contributor Catch-Up: Portland’s Pearl District

SPECIAL SECTION: TRANSFORMATION 12  Renovation Rockstar: Beach Airbnb

Flipping the strategy for vacation-rental profits. Featured Investors: Neal and Cory Barnett, List & Sell Realty

Take a look at the evolution of a contributor's 2010 deal. Featured Investor: Kathy Fettke

16  “Flipping” Between Short- and Long-Term Rental Strategy When the grass is greener on the other side, go there! by Daniela Andreevska 34  The Looming Rebirth of the Single-Family Rental Industry The topic of SFR is becoming a commercial conversation. by Greg Rand 36  How a Contract Will Make or Break Your Real Estate Transformation

NUTS & BOLTS 84  Vintage Style Brings Loyal Tenants, Steady Returns

Embracing the era she loves works for Chicago landlord Carla Price. by Carole VanSickle Ellis



Forget these 4 items and you could be open to lawsuits, loss, and liability. by Tom Olson

87  Tiling Routes to Take in Your Investment Properties Real investors reveal how they decide what types of tile to use. 90  Seasonal Preventative Steps for Avoiding Financial Loss Fall advice for all investors. by BreAnn Stephenson 92  Experts Reveal Field-Tested Ways to Remove Tobacco-Smoke Byproducts Don’t let a nasty nicotine habit send your home value up in smoke.

JAMIE WOOLEY talks energy, adrenaline, & big returns on investment.


by Carole VanSickle Ellis :: photos by Tim Hughes

HOUSING NEWS REPORT 42  AI and Deep Learning Help Solve the Big Data Puzzle for Real Estate

"My Take" article from ATTOM Data Solutions. by Brad McDaniel, CEO, Likely.AI 45  Summer Foreclosure Heatwave [Infographic] Nationwide foreclosure starts in July increased less than 1 percent from a year ago. by ATTOM Data Solutions 46  Best Neighborhoods for Real Estate Buying and Investing Data in Action article by ATTOM Data Solutions.









INFORMATION MANAGEMENT NETWORK 67 Middle-Market Multifamily Forum

4WAYSTOFINANCE BUY-AND-HOLDREALESTATE New investors should not fear long-term investments.


3WAYSTOUSENEUTRAL COLORS&STILLSTANDOUT How to appeal to almost any buyer without losing your spirit of design.


A Midwest forum for small and midsized apartment owners and developers. October 15-16, 2018 | Chicago, IL

We may be due for a recession, but that shouldn’t slow you down.

For the extreme renovator in all of us.

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PUBLISHER Eddie Wilson


Change is a Good Thing

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Carole VanSickle Ellis SALES MANAGER Rodney Halford 816-398-4111 x86122 NATIONAL SALES MANAGER Teresa Stanton 816-398-4111 x86224 CONTENT DIRECTOR Abby Tillman FULFILLMENT COORDINATOR Blair Pierce DESIGN CONSULTANTS Rivet |


hen dragonflies metamorphose from their aquatic “nymph”

emerging from the wreckage of a blighted property or the ruin of neglect. It’s kind of like a butterfly, which is probably the insect meta- morphosis comparison with which most of us are most familiar. I didn’t pick the classic caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation, however. Instead, I went

stage to full-fledged adulthood, the process is painful to watch. First, the teenage dragonfly hauls itself out of the water and painfully drags its body, which is meant for swimming, not walking, to higher ground. Then, the fully grown dragonfly slowly and painfully rips its way out of its own skin, revealing that it was literally bent in half inside the small nymph body. It’s amazing to see, and painful to watch. Remind you of anything? You nailed it: It’s a little like real estate. How’d you guess? Is it remembering the first time you took a house all the way down to the studs? Most inves- tors recall this transformational experience fondly, but they also tend to add it was a lot harder than they expected. Was it your recollection of the housing bust in the mid-2000s? Fortunes were made in the aftermath, but no one enjoyed seeing the financial devastation and foreclosure fallout that accompanied that incredi- ble real estate opportunity. Did you feel a shiver, thinking about how hous- ing is changing again? While most investors admit no boom can last forever, many are uncertain about how changing market conditions will affect their businesses, par- ticularly if those real estate businesses are younger than a decade. In real estate, transformation is frequently beautiful. Think of the perfectly flipped house,

with an insect that really showcases the struggle that comes with all positive growth and, by exten- sion, eventual flight. That’s because in some ways, this market shift could create a struggle for some investors. The work will be worth it, though, if like the dragonfly nymph coming ashore, internally you are fully prepared to fly. Around the country, the currents that govern our housing markets are shifting. While it’s unlike- ly we will experience a “bust” like the last one, it is highly probable we are about to see some correc- tions. Markets that seemed unable to slow their skyward momentum will level and, in some cases, even dip. Markets that lagged in recovery may find themselves relatively more attractive in the coming months. It is likely nearly all markets will experi- ence some “adjustments” as foreclosure volumes rise naturally (probably not catastrophically) and appraisals begin occasionally coming in a bit lower than property owners planned. Whether you have seen seven market cycles or less than half of one, be assured: Change is coming in housing. Additionally, be assured of this: The real estate investing sector thrives on change. So will you, and Think Realty is here to support you every step of the journey out of the waves, onto the beach, and into the sky. •

DESIGNER Emily Bowers

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Daniela Andreevska, Jeremy Brutus, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Anita Corsini, Paul Fiorilla, Samuel K. Freshman, "Libby Landlord", Brad McDaniel, W.J. Mencarow, Tom Olson,


Greg Rand, BreAnn Stephenson, Andrew Syrios and Ingo Winzer.


Design examples that work for your properties and your ROI! Renovate your property for a bidding war between buyers (or renters) with’s newest feature: design guides for investors. We hear all the time about the stress caused by design decisions when flipping a property. That’s why we’ve developed these inspirational guides—to take the hassle out of making choices between color schemes, lighting options, tile patterns, and more. Find the designs that match your vision and budget, and get the ROI you want from your property. It’s all on! Create an account on—completely free—to take advantage of this feature and learn about everything else Think Realty has to offer!

FOR ARTICLE REPRINTS :: Contact Jeremy Ellis at Reprint Pros, 949-702-5390. SUBSCRIPTIONS :: The annual subscription for Think Realty Magazine is $28.95 in the U.S. Order online at or call 816-398-4085. Provide your full name, address and telephone number. DISCLAIMER :: Think Realty Magazine , its owners, contractors, distributors and their respective representatives do not provide tax, accounting, investment or legal advice and make no guarantee as to the effectiveness or success of any investment or tax strategies discussed herein. Please consult your own independent adviser as to any questions you have or decision you are contemplating. ABOUT THIS MAGAZINE :: ThinkRealtyMagazine isapublicationof AffinityRealEstateMediaLLC.Reproductionoruseofanyeditorial orgraphic,withoutpermission, isprohibited.Wearenotresponsible for thecontentofanypaidadvertisements.Forreprintrights; toob- tainadetailedstatementofourprivacypolicy;and forallsingle-copy requests,addresschangesandothersubscription inquiries:

Think Realty 7509 Tiffany Springs Parkway, Suite 200 Kansas City, Missouri 64153 816-398-4130 Copyright ©2018 Think Realty


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Think Realty is a part of the Affinity Worldwide family of companies. Here, find exciting news about Think Realty and its sister companies as well as other noteworthy industry news.


TREIA & Think Realty Work Together on The Biggest Real Estate Expo & Convention in the Carolinas The Triangle Real Estate Investors Association (TREIA) and Think Realty are teaming up to bring the biggest real estate expo and convention in the Carolinas back to Raleigh for a second year. On October 25-27, 2018, the city will play host to investors and educators dedicated to educating new investors on “the ropes” of

Inc. 5000 Names Think Realty Sister Company 2018 Fastest-Growing Company


Master Investor of the Year: Adam Adams Creative Real Estate Podcast Single-Family Investor of the Year: Tom Olson Good Success, The Olson Group Multifamily Investor of the Year: Joe Fairless Ashcroft Capital, Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Podcast Real Estate Investing Services: Anthony Cazazian Renters Warehouse

Property Manager of the Year: Marc Cunningham Grace Property Management & Real Estate |

Think Realty Honors 2018 Winners in Atlanta 2017 Commercial Investor of the Year, Tammy Phelps-Keglovich (L). Think Realty recognized its 2018 Honors recipients (see opposite page) at an awards banquet September 21, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. All finalists were invited to attend the banquet and the Think Realty National Conference & Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 22-23, 2018, where they networked with attendees and provided education and insight in various educational settings as well.

Inc. 5000 namedThink Realty sister company Affinity Group Management (AGM) as one of its “fastest-growing companies of 2018.” The award is given annually to privately held companies that have demonstrated exponential growth over the previous three-year cycle, and 2018 is the fourth year AGMhas been awarded the honor. BothThink Realty andAGMare part of AffinityWorldwide. AGMassists real estate investors through the insurance programs offered by the National Real Estate Insurance Group (NREIG), providing simplification to the property protection processes and saving investors time andmoney. AGM servesmore than 14,000 individual investors, conglomerates, bulk REOholders, wholesalers, and lenders representingmore than 70,000 locations in all 50 states.

Private Lender of the Year: Rob Barney DHLC Investments, Inc.

the industry and enabling experienced investors to refine their strategies to

optimize opportunities in today’s constantly changing housing market and economy. National speakers RobynThompson, Vena Jones-Cox, Dixie Decker, Bill Bronchick, Joe McCall, Brittney Calloway, and Bill Cook, among others, will present the most up-to- date strategies working in the southeastern and national markets for buying low and selling high for large profits.

Industry Impact Award: Ross Hamilton Connected Investors

Nominations for the 2019 Think Realty Honors will open in early 2019. Follow @WeThinkRealty on social media for updates.

Learn more about the TREIA Conference & Expo in Raleigh, North Carolina, at

Educator of the Year: Bruce Norris The Norris Group

Learn more by emailing


Commercial Investor of the Year: Salvatore Buscemi The Commercial Investor

Humanitarian of the Year: Ken Lacy Veterans Path Up, Inc.

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his fall, the design and real estate investing sectors are closer than ever before thanks to the ubiquitous “real estate reality” shows dominating our television screens. Last year, American investors flipped a record-setting 207,000 single-family homes. At the same time, a single television network hosted more than a dozen real estate investing shows and skyrocketed into the top five cable networks for the year. This year, both sets of numbers are likely to be even higher. As the population of individuals pass- ingly familiar with real estate investing and design increases in volume, it becomes more important than ever for real estate investors to offer not just a good, solid physical structure in which to live but to design and showcase an attractive resi- dence that also can be a point of pride for a resident or tenant. Given that investors have lived by the T

motto, "paint it all neutral" for decades, the Sherwin-Williams annual Colormix® Color Forecast will be more helpful this year than ever. “Every color has a character,” explained the 11-person “Color Team,” led by Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams (yes, they have a color team of professional designers, analysts, and marketing professionals so you don’t have to) in the official video introducing the forecast. “Design should be a voyage,” the presentation continued. Essentially, the Colormix team spent the past year putting together a 42-color palette of color trends, including colors that they believe will continue to be pop- ular or emerge as popular in 2019. Then, they placed these colors into six groups designed to be used together to create that voyage in any property. However, as all real estate investors

know, when you are creating an experi- ence for an as-yet-unidentified resident or homebuyer, the process can get complicat- ed. This is why the team also wrote general descriptions of the personality types each color story describes. For example, “Shapeshifter” (lower left) is about being a visionary and embracing technology, while “raconteurs” exhibit more creativity. Each palette comes with a full set of more “neutral” options for the timid in- vestor-designer that can be easily changed later if your buyer doesn’t love them but that offer continuity and a bit of a design element throughout the property. Each group also offers bolder options for accent walls and other “pops of color” that today’s residents, be they buyers are renters, are looking for to brighten their homes. • Learn more about the serious savings available to Think Realty members on paint and flooring from Sherwin-Williams and discover the other two 2019 Colormix® palettes at discounts.

Why Renters Warehouse?

We’ll help clear your plate. Renters Warehouse takes care of all the hassles of property management for a low, flat fee—so you can live your life instead of managing your properties. • We get you the best rent for your property. • We place high-quality tenants. • We have a dedicated 24/7 property management team. Easy. Fast. Worry-Free. Visit today!





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Exterior after



Downstairs kitchen after

New roof HardiPlank exterior siding Tile with weathered wood appearance throughout New kitchen cabinets upstairs and down “Ocean-themed” granite with sea-glass tile backsplashes New bathroom vanities, custom-tiled showers All new stainless-steel appliances upstairs and down Painted interior walls “sea salt green” color currently popular in local beach properties


Downstairs kitchen before

Upstairs kitchen after

Featured investors: Neal and Cory Barnett, List & Sell Realty

hen Neal and Cory Barnett, co-owners at List & Sell Realty, first snagged a great deal on a Topsail Island beachside property in North Carolina by preemptively bid- ding before the official auction date, they planned to fix up the weathered, two-unit vacation rental and flip it to another buyer. However, the ocean was calling, and the brothers soon decided to fix up the property and rent it on Airbnb as a short-term vacation rental and enjoy it themselves as well. “My favorite thing about the project was watching its trans- formation into being a really great place,” Neal said fondly. “The location is just steps from the beach, and we’ve always wanted a place at the beach.” Because the property has two full units, the investor’s plan to use the property as a personal vacation home and an Airbnb property is a realistic strategy. “The property is really unique be- cause the top and bottom units are completely separate, meaning we have two different units we can rent out instead of just one,” Neal noted. He mentioned that if he had planned to Airbnb from the beginning, he would likely have closed in the garage to make a second bedroom in the downstairs unit, for a three-bedroom/ W

two-bath upstairs and a two-bedroom/one-bath downstairs. This is certainly an upgrade that could be made in the future, howev- er, should this strategy appear to offer promising returns. “We’re really happy with our results, but I will say if we had planned on the Airbnb from the beginning, we could be generating even more income from the project,” Neal said.

Both units feature their own entrances and separate kitchens, all of which were fully upgraded during the renovation. "This project was a dream come true for my wife, who is a design expert and a great bargain hunter as well," said Neal. She sourced nearly all of the design elements in both units.


Purchase Price: $175,000*

Rehab Budget: ~$75,000

Estimated ARV (before Airbnb income): $406,000 *Purchased prior to online auction, which allowed the investors to avoid competition for the property.

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This property was particularly attractive because it boasts two full and entirely separate living units. The investors got the jump on their competition by bidding on (and buying) the property before the official online auction. “It pays to understand the system,” Neal said.

Downstairs living area after

Bath vanity after

Shower after

Downstairs living area before

Bedroom 1 after

Upstairs living area after

Bath vanity before

Shower before

All the bathrooms received V.I.P. treatment with new flooring to match the rest of the property, new vanities (above), and showers with custom tilework (upper right).

Upstairs open concept after

Bedroom 2 after

Bedroom 1 before

Bedroom 2 before

Neal’s wife is an experienced decorator, so she outfitted the property with “beachy” furniture and décor items that are durable and work well with the space. “You want to try to keep things as light as possible and avoid clutter with a vacation rental,” said Neal. This strategy keeps even small areas looking clean and airy and brings a luxurious feel to an open concept layout like the upstairs unit (left). •

The property has a total of four bedrooms, three upstairs in the upstairs unit and one in the downstairs unit. Before the renovation, the walls were painted in variations of orange, teal, and brown shades. The investors opted to paint all interior walls a popular “sea salt green” hue that made the rooms feel bright and airy.

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A key metric in regard to ROI is the capitaliza- tion rate, or CAP rate for short, which shows the ratio of the net operating income (NOI) from your rental property over its current market value. If the CAP rate is relatively sound for both long- and short-term rentals, this is a good sign for your ability to flip your strategy. Example: Baltimore, Maryland, has a city-level CAP rate of 1.9 percent for Airbnb rentals and 3.0 percent for traditional rentals. While these numbers might not sound too tempting, there are many localized areas of Baltimore

There are many ways to measure rental de- mand, and you should definitely keep your eyes open for such factors as a strong economy, a growing labor market, new businesses opening there, etc. However, you should also look at the price-to-rent ratio, which is a simple real estate metric which indicates whether it is better to rent a property or buy a home in a particular market. For example, if the home is worth $200,000 and rents for $1,000 a month, then this ratio is 16.67 (200,000/(12x1,000)). Housing markets with a price-to-rent ratio of 21 and above will generally enjoy high demand for traditional rentals. If the

that offer much more attractive metrics, which is why this is a good scenario for our purpos-

“Flipping” Between Short- and Long-Term Rental Strategy WHEN THE GRASS IS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE, GO THERE!

ratio indicates it is better to rent, you

es. For example, the CAP rate for short-term and long-term rental prop- erties in the Heritage Crossing neighborhood (a particularly attrac-

can probably expect a greater demand for your rental if you flip to long-term.

tive area) goes up to 7.9 percent and 6.6 percent, respec- tively, and those are both relatively attractive values for this metric.

Example: Palm Springs, California, is one of the top locations for invest- ing in Airbnb rentals this

by Daniela Andreevska


and then, if it becomes an option, flip it back again later.

acation homes and other short- term rentals are becoming

market and choose your location, you are not insured against a sudden change in the legal environment with respect to Airbnb rentals. As the vacation rental homes industry is growing, it faces strong opposition from the hotel lobby (because of competition) as well as resi- dents (who are afraid for the safety and tranquility of their neighborhood). This means that places where Airbnb rentals were fully legal yesterday might already consider them illegal today. Say you buy a short-term rental property in the perfect market, but the situation changes a few months or years in. What should you do? If you did the right kind of market research before making the purchase, you should be able to easily “flip” your rental strategy

summer. According to data from Mashvisor, an advanced real estate data analytics compa- ny, the average cap rate at the city level is 4.6 percent. This is much more than you can expect in most US real estate markets at present. This makes Palm Springs a great place to invest in a vacation rental. However, take note: In early June of this year, local voters rejected a mea- sure which would have virtually banned short- term rentals in Palm Springs. Vacation rental owners can’t be sure that such a measure won’t be proposed once again. If it were proposed and passed, the good news is that the price- to-rent ratio in Palm Springs is 32, which gives investors the confidence that they will be able to flip relatively smoothly to a traditional rental strategy if the need arises in the future.

increasingly popular as investors realize the opportunity these assets represent in terms of high returns. However, some of the requirements for high returns are somewhat dynamic in nature. For ex- ample, when you choose where to invest in Airbnb rentals, you should go for lo- cations with high demand from tourists and business travelers and relatively low property prices. This formula will nearly always result in high occupancy rates, high rental incomes, and high returns on investment, assuming you also choose a market where short-term rentals are legal and regulatory restrictions are few. However, no matter how carefully and diligently you research the real estate

Pro Tip: Don’t rely solely on citywide numbers. Pay close atten- tion to neighborhood metrics and data as well. Different areas within the same city may yield very different ROI.

“FLIPPING” STRATEGIES IS NOT LIKE FLIPPING PROPERTIES When it comes to Airbnb and other short-term rental investments, your best bet is to invest in a property in a location which will make a good traditional (long- term) rental too. How do you recognize such properties and markets? It is best to rely on real estate data and analysis to make an investment that will work on short-term as well as long-term basis. There are two indicators that will help you identify deals where tradition- al rental strategy is also an option:

Daniela Andreevska serves as content marketing director at Mashvisor, a real estate investment data analytics provider with the mission of automating and analyzing nationwide real estate data to empower investors to find traditional and Airbnb investment properties and optimize rental performance. Learn more at

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Jamie Wooley talks energy, adrenaline, and big returns on investment. ESTATE ROLLER COASTER.




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4 Things JamieWishes Every New Investor Knew " One of the deals I learned the most from was also one of my biggest losses,” Jamie Wooley admitted ruefully. “It was a historic renovation (images below and right), so we took a 700-square-foot property and added 2,000 square feet. It’s one of my favorite transformations, but it was also one of my biggest losses. That hurts, too, because it was 100-percent my fault. I learned a lot.” Here are four things Wooley hopes new investors can learn from her, so they do not have to learn these hard lessons firsthand: 1. You can’t do real estate on a handshake,

Interior after

especially not with someone you don’t know. “That huge loss was a direct result of my choosing the wrong contractor, not setting out a scope of work, and agreeing to the relationship with just a handshake. You want to just be honest and shake hands, but that is not realistic with strangers in real estate. It’s not good for anyone.”

Wooley's team (from left to right): Ashlyn Allen, Colin Ferrall, Sabrina Foley, Esperansa DelRio, Madonna Sims, Tim Hughes and Terry Wilson.

Wooley added thousands of square feet and modern living space to this small, historic property and, despite the hard lessons she learned, says the project is still one of her favorites today.

WHEN JAMIE WOOLEY, founder and owner of W Streets Inc., a Dallas- Fort Worth-based real estate solutions company, started investing in late 2015, she already knew she had no plans to take things slowly. That was why four months earlier, she had turned in her notice where she worked as an office manager – right about the same time she received her real estate license and her first sign. “I’ve always been a visionary, and it’s all or nothing with me,” she said forthrightly. “I told everyone from the day I got my license: I don’t know what it looks like yet, but I’m going to do this full time.” Wooley recalled her family viewing her real estate investing goals with skepticism. “I have always been blessed to have the most amazing family who loves and supports me, but with that being said, I heard, ‘We love you, but…’ an awful lot at first,” she admitted. “That just pushed me harder! I do my best work when my back is against the wall.” These days, Wooley is widely considered to be the largest-volume female wholesaler in the country, something she embraces. “I never look

at the situation as ‘I’m a woman trying to make it in this industry,’ but I do think sometimes it helps open doors,” she explained. “People do tell me that they’re willing to take time with me that they might not otherwise take because they don’t see a lot of women doing what I’m doing. I’m always going to do the best I can, which means if someone is going to give me an opportunity or talk to me about something I’m working on, whether it’s because I’m a woman or not, I’m going to show up and go for it.” GOING FOR THE PASSION Wooley has been an entrepreneur from the beginning. After going to college on a golf scholarship, meeting her future husband, and starting their family, she went to work at a golf course as a cart girl. In no time, that position expanded as she started a marketing company catering to local golfers and promoting more than a dozen courses. “The problem, though, was that it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing,” she recalled. “I had started the company because I knew about golf and I did not want to work for someone else, but I


Exterior before

2. Find the resources to get a mentor, a coach, or educational training. “It used to be that you could not have a real estate investing coach unless you had the resources to pay pretty big money for a personal mentor or program. Today, there is so much information online, for free, that you can start there. I still think if you have the financial ability to do so, you should pay a coach or mentor, but if you don’t, then identify someone in your local area doing what you want to do and ask them if you can help out with their business in exchange for advice and experience.” 3. Stay with your strategy of choice for at least six months. “Every market is competitive right now, but I think the

real reason a lot of investors do not make it in real estate is because they run around chasing four or five different things. They go to a meetup and they hear terms like owner-financed, subject-to, flip, wholesale, and they do not focus on one thing. Without an action plan and sustained focus, you won’t be successful. Once you experience that first success and master that first strategy, then you can start adding things to it.” 4. Fear and failure can be beautiful. “The mindset and experience you gain from failure are rewards in themselves. Learn to love failure and fear, then learn from failure and fear. You must never let fear of failure alter the goals you set out to achieve!”


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Zero to 150 in Less than 1,000 Days

Over the next year , Jamie completed a step-by-step wholesaling program and had built a thriving wholesaling business.


W Streets did more than 150 deals in 2018 and expects to transact more than 200 in 2019.

2016: 6 months later, she sold her first flip for a $30,000 profit, and, shortly thereafter, inadvertently did a $40,000 wholesale deal.

Jamie started out as a golf course promoter,

In 2015 , she earned her real estate license, planted

then founded a successful clothing resale business before taking over office management at her father’s cable contracting company.

her sign to announce the achievement, and


announced she would be investing full-time starting in four months.

was not passionate about the business.” Next, Wooley started a highly successful clothing company, purchasing designer items in California and reselling them at a local market. When that did not light a fire either, however, she started managing her father’s cable contracting company office while secretly studying for her real estate license. “I admit, I was watching HGTV and I loved it!” she laughed. “I realized I would love real estate and I was already passionate about it. When my husband and I were young and broke, we bought an older home and renovated it all by ourselves, so I knew I could renovate a property. I had just never thought of real estate as something I could do as a career before – especially at 21 years old and as a new mother. Once I did, it all clicked.” Wooley did not tell anyone while she was working toward her license, but then she dropped the bombshell. “After I passed the test, we were having lunch at my parents as a family on Sunday. I got out my ‘for sale’ sign, put it in the yard, and had everyone come out. I just said, ‘Look what I did!’ and they were so shocked. It was a surprise to everybody.”

organic lead generation efforts. “I told everyone in the company I was looking for a house to flip, and pretty soon two guys who had inherited a house and were about to lose it at the tax auction asked me to come look at their property,” she said. Three days later, they signed the contracts at a local McDonalds and Wooley was on her way. “I made $30,000 on that house and I was completely hooked,” she said. “I knew I wanted to ride that roller coaster again and again.” Wooley went to work looking for a second deal, but it cost her some serious sweat equity. “I had no idea how to find discounted houses. They don’t teach you those kinds of things in your basic real estate license course!” she said. “I was door-knocking, going on Craigslist; I had a serious hustle mentality and was constantly networking.” As it turned out, her second deal would lead Wooley from flipping to wholesaling, although she was not planning for that. “My second house was a downtown, historic home that I got under contract for $80,000. About a week after I’d signed the papers with the owner, I got a call from another investor who had tracked me down as the new owner. He offered to buy the property for $120,000.” Wooley was so new to real estate, she said, that she did not believe the

offer was real. “I told him I hadn’t renovated the property yet, and he told me he didn’t care. And that was my first wholesale deal.” As soon as the deal closed, Wooley put part of her flipping profits directly into her education, taking a wholesaling course while she searched for her second deal. “It was a step-by-step, daily program, and I did exactly what it said to do. That is how I created my wholesaling business, and now we’re looking at more than 150 deals in 2018 and probably more than 200 in 2019,” she said proudly. One of the things that makes Wooley really stand out from other wholesalers (other than the huge volumes of deals, of course) is her affection for being right in the middle of the action. “When I got started, I did everything myself. I didn’t want to source anything out because I wanted to know how to do it all and I also wanted to make sure I had money to spend on marketing,” she explained. Just two years later, she has a fine-tuned system in place for sourcing deals and identifying the best route to the greatest returns for each one. However, despite the systems, Wooley is still clearly right in the middle of the action, exactly where RIGHT INTHE MIDDLE OFTHEACTION

she wants to be, and she hires employees with the same type of passion for their particular purposes as well. “My first hire had to learn the entire process just like I did, although she is my transaction coordinator now,” Wooley explained. She noted “about 70 percent” of her original hires are no longer with her and said bluntly, “It wasn’t their fault. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just growing and hiring constantly. I’ve learned so much so fast, just like you start to figure out how things are going to go if you keep riding a roller coaster.” Wooley believes strongly that the ability to enjoy a job is crucial to good performance from any employee, but the issue is particularly relevant in real estate. “Think about taking calls from homeowners. Sometimes those aren’t particularly enjoyable,” she said. “You have to have someone taking those calls who really values helping that homeowner out and who truly believes that is what they are doing.” Wooley’s company uses multiple strategies to create returns on deals, which is one of the reasons they operate at such a high volume despite the relatively short time they’ve been in business. “If someone is in some form of distress, we know we can probably come in and help. Knowing that makes taking these hard phone calls and

ZERO TO 150 INNO TIME Once Wooley gave notice at her job, she wasted no time starting some

Wooley’s favorite “pop of color” these days? Turquoise accents.

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Renovation Spotlight: Full-Speed Flipping


Purchase Price: $125,000 Rehab & Holding Costs (including agent fees): $100,000 List Price: $299,000 Expected Net: $50,000* *projected net value allows for potential market shifts between points of publication and sale.

Exterior after

Kitchen before

Kitchen/Living area after

Wooley places a high value on curb appeal

W ooley’s most recent deal is a 2,000-square-foot Texas home that she made over from the foundation up in just over two months. “We had to do basically everything to this one: foundation, new roof, new windows, all new flooring, opened up a wall in the galley kitchen, the works!” Wooley said. “I think this is one of our best before-and-after projects.”

and is willing to put her money on it when the opportunity arises. For this flip, she invested in cedar for the front door and porch posts and in a custom chandelier for porch lighting. “We like to spend any extra money in the budget on fixtures like that when we can because they show really well,” she explained.

The galley kitchen was cramped, narrow, and dark, so Wooley’s team pulled out most of a wall to create additional bar seating and let more light into the entire area. “The kitchen and living room areas are very open and bright now, compared to what they were. This is my favorite room for sure,” Wooley said. Looking back on the project, Wooley noted one of the few things she might have done differently is create a “pop” of color over the oven in the kitchen. “I would maybe have given the tile a more decorative look to keep everything from blending in there,” she said.

Exterior before

Kitchen after

asking these hard questions a rewarding experience instead of an awful one,” she said. The company does not just do wholesale deals; they also may do subject-to deals, fix-and-flips, and even convert some properties to short- or long-term rentals. These days, her favorite leads are referrals. “I hear it all the time: ‘My husband and I are divorcing, and I wouldn’t trust anyone else with this sale,’ or ‘My friend sold their house to you last year so can you just come look at it?’ I know those people are not usually even

inviting my competition in, and that is so valuable to me. I am sorry they’re having a hard time, but I am so proud to know they trust me to help and that I can come in and help,” she said. “It confirms that we are treating people with the respect and kindness they deserve.”

and her company. With an ambitious (but clearly achievable) goal of doing 200 deals in the new year and expanding the business to include additional investment strategies and vehicles, Wooley is, as usual, going full-steam ahead. “Presently, most of our business is in Texas. We do a few deals out of state, but I don’t usually market outside of Texas much. In 2019, we might expand into other areas, but the market here is still so strong I am not sure I need to spread out yet,” Wooley said pragmatically. She added, “I think things in our area are

definitely correcting, but there is still so much going for the DFW market. We are not dominated by one industry. We have an incredibly diverse economy. So many people are moving here from expensive markets out west. When they get here, they realize there is so much more to be had in Texas for the same amount of money [they were spending before]. We all know things are bigger here in Texas!” To factor in changing market conditions, Wooley is doing mostly wholesale deals and “wholetail” deals at present. Wholetailing involves

buying a property at a deep discount, as in wholesaling, but performing minimal upgrades or even just doing a deep clean before selling the property. Wholetail properties tend to have higher price tags (closer to retail) than wholesale properties because they are move-in-ready or rental-ready even if they are not fully upgraded or modernized the way a full flip would be, and the strategy is far faster than traditional flipping. “We’re still doing total renovations as well, but we want to keep ourselves

monetized and relevant if and when the market does shift,” Wooley explained. “We want the best plays across the spectrum.” She also noted she plans to expand into residential assisted living, group housing for seniors, in 2019. “We’re going to hit that 200-deal mark and take this business to another level each year,” she said confidently. •


Carole VanSickle Ellis is the editor of Think Realty Magazine. She can be reached at

If real estate has been a roller coaster for Wooley so far, then 2019 looks like it could be the Olympic edition for the investor

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BOHO: Short for bohemian. This style is typified by designs inspired by the free spirits of the 1960s and 1970s and makes use of natural materials, earth tones, jewel-tone accents, and fringe.

TIP #1 THINK OF NEUTRAL WALLS AS A BACKDDROP TO YOUR THEME Neutral colors, be they greys, beiges, greiges (grey plus beige), whites, or off-whites, provide a welcoming, soft feel. This is a big sell and sets the stage for some “wow moments” that are likely to appeal to your buyers in a big way.

by Anita Corsini

blue cabinets? Green cabinets? Brick tile? Contemporary flooring?” Then, shake, shake, shake, and boom, the per- fect design plan would appear in that little window. Wouldn’t that be nice? And what a fun show to watch! Since I don’t have an 8-Ball, though, I rely on the architecture of the neighbor- hood and popular design trends to help guide the design plans for these homes. I will admit, it is not an easy task for me. I am someone who loves color and pattern, and an industrial, “boho” vibe in homes. I love color, mixing styles and pat- terns, and taking a “no holds barred” approach to design, but I am very aware that the majority of the home-buy- ing population is not with me. There is almost always a higher return on

comments and I see the critiques. I don’t mind them, however, because there is method to the neutral mad- ness. You just cannot necessarily see it, in its entirety, on a 30-minute reality house-flipping show.

investment when a home is designed well, but for investors, designing well includes designing thoughtfully and not quite as creatively as you might prefer. For me, designing well means things are thought through, cohesive, and current. Think of it as preparing a beautiful slate for the artist to then come in and paint with their Picasso. When a buyer can walk in and see their taste would fit well in what you have created, your property sells much faster and often for a higher price than it would otherwise have done, and, let’s face it, time is money in this game. So how can you design well (and using those all-important neutrals) while still standing out from the crowd? Here are three of my best tips:

Anita Corsini is an Atlanta, Georgia- based real estate investor and stars in the HGTV real estate hit, Flip or Flop: Atlanta, with her husband, Ken. The Corsinis have been investing in real estate since 2003 and presently focus on flipping and new construction. turn a property with great potential into a property with great attraction to the widest audience of buyers possible. My husband, Ken, and I have flipped a ton of houses in our past, but we never realized just how “neutral” our houses were until we started reading the comments after we began flipping on television. Yes, that’s right: I read the snarky A s real estate investors and flippers, in particular, our daily goal is to

What Works:

Invert the long-time “go-to” color scheme of white trim and grey paint on the walls. Use a darker trim and a lighter color on the walls to make a big statement. Paint the doors a different color than the trim. Charcoal shades work really well and will up the design game in any home. “Wow” Factor:


First, a hard truth: That goal of making a house attractive to the widest audience possible is truly a guessing game. If I could invent a Magic 8-Ball that I could shake and shake until the little block would rise and tell me exactly what the buyer for a specific home would want, I would. How fun would that be? “Magic 8-Ball, would this buyer like

With warm neutral colors as a backdrop, tasteful staging creates a "Wow!" moment in this kitchen.

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TIP #2 EXTERIOR COLORS ARE OKAY IF YOU'RE CAREFUL When it comes to the exterior colors, I have pretty strong opinions. These opinions often differ from those of someone else, whose name I won’t mention but who is my co-host on the show and super-tall, dark, and handsome (hint: his picture appears to the right). I like to use color on homes

to make them stand out, whereas my counter- part is an always-neutral exterior kind of guy. I like a blue house or a green house here or there if the neighborhood is right.

What Works: Use color on the exterior of the

house if the neighborhood has a mix of architecture. If the entire neighborhood is just one or two colors, that is not the right neighborhood for exterior color.


“Wow” Factor: If you must use grey or white on the exterior of a home, remem- ber that the front door can still be a showstopper! Front doors (for outside pops of color, like the one to the left) and kitchen islands (for inside ones) are both easily changed if the homeowner doesn’t like them, so they are ideal places to make a splash.

TIP #3 DON'T BE AFRAID TO PLAY WITH TEXTURE AND TRIM Texture provides variety without a lot of com- mitment to color or a specific style, so you can still appeal to a broad buyer base. Adding texture and trim is also not very expensive. You can always tile a wall, create a wainscoting or beadboard, or add a brick texture. What Works: Tile a wall, create a wainscoting or beadboard, or add a brick texture. “Wow” Factor: If you want to go with wallpaper, which can be lovely, go with a textured paper instead of a floral or a pattern. I have even used vinyl papers to give a wallpaper look without wallpaper commitment. •

It’s true. Your source for paint is also your source for flooring. Count on Sherwin-Williams Floorcovering Centers for leading brands, 24-hour turn and reliable installation. And, of course, know that our Paint Stores are right around the corner with the coatings, tools and expert advice you need to complete the job. You see, for quality, competitive prices, and expert service, we’ve covered it all. To find the nearest Sherwin-Williams Paint Store or Floorcovering Center visit

Colorful tiles behind the stove add interest to the room without overwhelming it.

Anita Corsini has been investing with her husband, Ken, since 2003. They are the co-founders of Red Barn Homes and the co-stars of HGTV’s Flip or Flop: Atlanta. Learn more at or follow Anita @anitacorsini on Twitter and Instagram, and watch the Season 2 premier on October 11, 2018, at 9 p.m. eastern.

©2018 The Sherwin-Williams Company

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