Getting Real with Real Estate Investors:  Tips to Growing Your Real Estate Investing Business

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Fix and Flip Real Estate Investing: Buying the property, designing and managing the project

Perfect! You found the right property at the right price! BUT now you must get a final estimate on the cost of repairs, find a contractor, architect, designer, subcontractors, permits, etc.

This where most people get stuck, because you’ve studied and educated yourself on the processes of buying a house, but did you study construction? Design? How design effects the desirability of a home? How you need permits before you start remodeling? Should you move that wall?  What is the cost of rearranging the bathroom? Should I hire a General Contractor or manage the project myself?

These are important questions to ask and the answers will directly affect the growth of your business.

Below are a few tips you need to consider where construction and design are concerned if you want to take your REI business to the next level!

REI Growth Tip 1:  Learn how much your time is worth.

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  • When considering handling all the design and construction tasks in your business, a question that needs to be thoroughly thought out is “how much money am I LOSING by doing those tasks myself?”

Yes, I said LOSING. 

The tasks you can complete may save you money on that project, but you must have a LONG view of your business.

At the end of the day you will have to invest your valuable time on those tasks, which will take you away from marketing for more deals, meeting with sellers, and all the other tasks this business entails. This is where you as a business owner must decide how much your time is worth, and how much value your time adds to your business.

If you are the do-it-yourselfer, and plan on cutting costs by spending all your time at the job site, who will be out there hunting for your next rehab? Who will be building your business by strengthening professional relationships with others in the real estate business?

The value on your time can be much greater than you anticipated, because in the moment you chose to save $500 by planting the greenery yourself in your current rehab property, you may have missed the opportunity to buy an entire new property that could potentially make you thousands!

REI Growth Tip 2: Determine if you really save money doing it yourself over hiring experienced people

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  • Always make sure you have the right people doing the right tasks, especially in design and construction management. Make sure you are being honest with yourself, knowing which improvement projects YOU can complete quickly and successfully, and which projects you will need to hire contractors to complete. 

That means getting professionals to do things they have the expertise!

For example, not having the right permits, or not correctly displaying permits, can cause serious delays, and fines, from city inspectors. It’s also helpful to make a timeline for projects, with associated deadlines, and the budget listed for each project.

This helps you, and your subcontractors, get renovations done quickly, and within budget.

These are very time consuming tasks. 

If you do not know what you are doing, you can plan to double or triple the time you will spend on them just to save money having an experienced person do the job.

You need to ask yourself if it’s really worth it in the final analysis.

REI Growth Tip 3:  Learn where to best invest your time:

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  • You need to gain a better understanding of your skills and strengths in your business.

This is something not particularly taught in a lot of real estate investing education, but if you have a savvy mentor or educator, they will teach scaling.

To scale your business, you need to understand your own skills. 

There will be a season where you will have to do many tasks yourself in your real estate investing business, but you must always be aware of what you’re a 8, 9 or 10 at, and what tasks you really stink at (or hate!)  Don’t spend time and money getting better at those, rather find people who can perform those tasks for you and you will see massive growth in your business!

Wrapping it up: 

I hope these tips gave you some things to think about and the importance of getting the right people in the right places in your business to help you grow!

REI Design Solutions has made it our mission to help elevate Real Estate Investors in the growth of their real estate investing business! 

We do this by providing expert design services such as Kitchen Design, Space Planning and Project Management, (just to name a few).

For our do-it-yourself Real Estate Investor friends, who may just need a helpful hint or push to decide which direction they are going in with their first, second or even hundredth rehab project, aside from the professional paid services we offer, we also seek to provide quality design expertise in all our online content and in our newsletters.

We will also be conducting webinars soon so stay tuned and subscribe for information and updates about our next webinar!

For FREE online design and construction advice, check us out on Facebook at REI Design Solutions for more of our do-it-yourself friendly tips and tricks.

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So how do you know if you need help in any of the areas we talked about today?

Let’s start with a few questions that you may have asked yourself:

1.      Do I have 10-15 hours a week to dedicate to meeting with sub-contractors on site?

2.      Am I going to be selecting the materials and fixtures in this project, if so what is in style and            appropriate for this property?

3.       Am I a good planner who remains organized from the beginning to the end of a project?

4.      Will this style attract a home buyer?

5.      Which layout is cost effective yet will appeal to buyers?

6.      What am I doing here?

7.      How much longer do I have to spend on this?

8.     Can I make decisions quickly and confidently?

If you answered “NO,” or “I DON’T KNOW” you might need some expert advice.  It only takes a few minutes to lead you in the right direction when it comes to design and construction decisions. It’s our mission to deliver expertise, offer guidance and add value to your business!

Let us know how we can help you grow your business!

To your success,

Christine

Finishes: Giving the Gift of Beautiful Interiors

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I am soooo EXCITED about this month's real estate rehab topic!!!!

FINISHES! "Giving the Gift of Beautiful Interiors" just in time for Christmas. 

A focus on interior finishes.

This month we will encourage you to take a closer look at your interior finish selections for your rehabs.

The exterior is important... 

It is like the wrapping on the present under the tree. It's what makes your property look lovely and inviting.  We can't deny that curb appeal IS important however,

the real gift is what's INSIDE.

What gift are you giving your potential buyers? This is where they are going to live for many years.

Here is the take away I want you to get from this month's content:

Add value to your flips through well done interiors. 

Are you doing that?  If there is any question in your mind that you are, or you feel like you need help with that, call us for a free phone consultation!

Providing Real Estate Investors with Finish Selections for their rehabs is one of our many services here at REI Design Solutions and if we had to choose, we think it is our favorite!

We love taking an old, worn out house and specifying finishes which in the end are what make the property stand out in contrast against all others on the block and sell fast!

Do you have a hard time deciding what fixtures, paint colors, tile designs or kitchen cabinets to use in your rehabs?

Are you tired of the white on white on white on grey on white on grey on grey on white...um...you get the idea. If you are tired of that, your home buyers just might be too! 

Are you tired of the white on white on white on grey on white on grey on grey on white...um...you get the idea. If you are tired of that, your home buyers just might be too! 

But is it safe to stray from the safety of those finishes? Trust us, it is! 

Here are some tips!!!

By the way, you don't have to spend loads of money on these ideas either, perhaps spend a little here and there but you can still stay in budget (or plan your budgets around this knowledge, better yet) and give your rehab an edge over the competition. 

 Use neutral but bold patterns.  If used sparingly like in a small powder room or kitchen backsplash, bold patterns can truly make a statement that discerning buyers are clamoring for in their homes.  (Source:  American Olean Genuine Stone Carrara Honeycomb Mosaic Marble Floor And Wall Tile  from Lowes.com)

Use neutral but bold patterns.  If used sparingly like in a small powder room or kitchen backsplash, bold patterns can truly make a statement that discerning buyers are clamoring for in their homes.

(Source: American Olean Genuine Stone Carrara Honeycomb Mosaic Marble Floor And Wall Tile from Lowes.com)

 Love Subway tile?  So do we but please, let's get away from WHITE!  Do use neutral tones but find a tile like this one from Tile Bar with distressed elements, crackle finish or beveled edges.  Liven things up a bit and give your buyers something to pine over! (Source:  Castle Hazy Trail 3x12 ceramic from Tile Bar)

Love Subway tile?  So do we but please, let's get away from WHITE!  Do use neutral tones but find a tile like this one from Tile Bar with distressed elements, crackle finish or beveled edges.  Liven things up a bit and give your buyers something to pine over! (Source: Castle Hazy Trail 3x12 ceramic from Tile Bar)

 Classy Counter tops with a higher end look (but not necessarily high end price) will also help sell a property. The speckled, splotchy granites are going by the wayside and are being replaced, in the buyers eye, by the more refined marble-look quartz tops or granite with more veining througout.  There are plenty of quartz suppliers out there who have product that will fit in your budget.

Classy Counter tops with a higher end look (but not necessarily high end price) will also help sell a property. The speckled, splotchy granites are going by the wayside and are being replaced, in the buyers eye, by the more refined marble-look quartz tops or granite with more veining througout.  There are plenty of quartz suppliers out there who have product that will fit in your budget.

 Fixtures that draw the buyer in to an experience and make them say "I need this house!" are what you are looking for.  They must be trending fixtures, however.  Stay away from lighting that is on the fringe or outdated.  If you don't know what those trends are,  subscribe  to our email list for monthly updates and to our  Facebook page  for regular content that will help you with your rehabs!  (Source:  Kichler Merlot 25-in 5-Light Distressed black and wood Barn Candle Chandelier from Lowes)

Fixtures that draw the buyer in to an experience and make them say "I need this house!" are what you are looking for.  They must be trending fixtures, however.  Stay away from lighting that is on the fringe or outdated.  If you don't know what those trends are, subscribe to our email list for monthly updates and to our Facebook page for regular content that will help you with your rehabs!

(Source: Kichler Merlot 25-in 5-Light Distressed black and wood Barn Candle Chandelier from Lowes)

At REI Design solutions we help create a design that will sell your property. And with the right combination of elements, sell it fast!

Whether it is updating the floor plan, putting in finishes that everyday home buyers are looking for, giving the property little splash of something that makes it stand out above the rest. That is what we know how to do.

Here are a couple samples of finish packages we are working on for our real estate investor clients. 

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There are many factors that contribute to a property sitting on the market longer than you planned. 

One huge factor is what you use for interior finishes.

The perfect combination of price, floor plan, quality craftsmanship, and finishes are what cause discerning buyers to make offers on houses. Let us help you get all those details RIGHT the first time!

Oh and if you'd like to schedule a free 30 min phone chat call us AT 713-984-8097 or Click the button below and schedule yours today!

Really Crappy Kitchens

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My heart sank when I saw it. 

This kitchen.

It was pretty bad. I am not going to lie.

Rehabbed by an fix and flip investor.

I saw this kitchen on the MLS the other day while searching for unstaged properties. (We'll get into why you should be staging all of your properties above $300k ARV in another blog post)

I was mad and sad all at the same time. I wanted to yell at someone...

"WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME!?!?!  Why didn't you call someone who could help you before you put this monstrosity you call a kitchen together and try to turn around and sell it on the retail market as a "improved property"???? Why???"  

Investor friends. 

Please hear me out. 

Aside from the money, I know one of the reasons why some of you got into flipping houses was because it is "fun" to remake an old run down, dated, ungodly property into the darling of the neighborhood. 

And I get that.

It is fun!  

That is why I have spent 20 years of my life and career doing just that.

Some of you have a bit of vision and can actually make that happen in a respectable way.  But many of you can't and don't.  Some of you know it but insist on doing it anyway...rehabbing homes "your" way because a designer is "too expensive". 

And these properties sell. 

Sometimes. 

And sometimes investors hold on to them too long and wonder why because they just don't know they are failing at one crucial aspect of rehabbing houses. 

DESIGN.

I am just going to be really frank with you all. I think a lot of fix and flip investors think that design is something anyone can do.  Especially kitchen design. It seems that many of them don't even consider that real humans are going to be buying their properties because they are not designed with real life in mind. 

And don't get me started on using the same stinking finishes house after house after house. (I will get into that next month when we talk about finishes but I digress.)

Many investors care ONLY for their bottom line and as a result put out pure crap for rehabs and you know what....they are on to you! 

The buyers. 

They aren't stupid. Have you ever wondered why inspections and subsequent repair requests during the option period are over the top? It's because the investor didn't care enough to do the right thing and rehab the property correctly to begin with. So buyers are suspect going into the transaction if they know it was an investment property. 

The first sign that it's crap? 

Bad design. 

An article in Elle Deco a couple years ago was warning their readers about purchasing flip properties.  

"But jumping on the house flipping bandwagon is not necessarily a good thing.

Enter the crappy flip.

Perhaps it's because the flippers didn't know what they were doing. Or maybe they just didn't care.

Flipper aren't designers Ok, so this one isn't a universal rule, but it's a good one to remember: the vast majority of flippers are not designers. If you're lucky enough to find a flip that HAS been rehabbed by a designer, you've got yourself a unicorn. You win."

That is why I am writing this and why I am being kind of harsh. 

I want to shake the tree. 

It's time to really educate people that design is not something just anyone can do and should not be assumed that you know what it takes to put out a well designed product because at the end of the day,

you are selling a product and if want to be known for crappy rehabs, that is your choice.

However, I am here to tell you that it takes education, training, and years of learning from experience and even from mistakes if you want to design and rehab and do it well.

I have designed hundreds of kitchens and bathrooms and moved my fair share of walls to know what works and what doesn't.  I have enough real estate investing knowledge and experience up my sleeve to know where you can save money and where you should spend money to get the property sold. 

My motto is "don't buy any cabinets or move any walls until you've called me!"

I am serious.  

So serious about real estate investors putting out quality product that I am offering FREE design consultation, phone call or email, to anyone who wants to be sure they are doing the right thing with their next flip property! 

Send me pictures, drawings, call me, whatever!  Let's chat because I want your REI business to be a success!

To your success,

Christine

To Your Success

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As I sat in the registrars office, my heart was filled with so much hope and anticipation. 

I was finally going to have a career and see all of the dreams of a wistful teenage girl come true. 

This was my chance. 

"Don't blow this again, Christine" I said to myself.  (I had dropped out several months prior to pursue a dead end relationship...stupid.  But hey, love...right?)  

Fast forward 1 year later and I pulled that yellow braided rope over my head and laid it gently on my shoulders and let both ends drop down the front of my blue satin graduation gown. 

This was a big deal.

Graduating college with honors? Wow. I can't believe I did it. (I barely walked the isle in high school - I think largely in part due to the being a dreamy teenage girl).  Sufficed to say there I was. Graduated and on my way to be a HUGE success in life. 

Right? 

Right? Well....that was 1997 and this December I will be celebrating 20 years since acquiring my degree in interior design from Montana State University.  Wow.

WHAT IS SUCCESS

So let's talk about that word. Success. What does it mean to be successful? Do you have an answer?  I really don't.

Here's the deal.  Everyone's definition of success is different. 

I spent the last 20 years refining my craft and have had many ups and downs in the field of interior design. There were times in my career where I didn't feel very successful.  For much of the first part of those 20 years I was barely getting by as a single mom of two boys. 

However, I would say that those years were VERY successful in that they caused me to grow, learn and get good at what I do.

The last 10 years I have focused on different aspects of success in my life.  I have been married to a wonderful man. We have a sweet daughter together and have a fantastic marriage. 

I call that success!   

Not only that, he supports me pursing my lifelong dream of being a successful business owner. 

And that is where I am today. Having 20 years of design experience, a sweet family and OWING MY OWN BUSINESS!  

So where do my clients land on this 'success' continuum? 

What I love most about my business, REI Design Solutions, is that I get to help others be SUCCESSFUL!!  My whole goal with REI is to see my clients make huge strides in their real estate investing business with or without my help.  It makes me so happy when I see them excel.

MY PATH OF SUCCESS

This blurry old picture is one of my fondest memories. 

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It was from an article in 2007 a local online publication about a family owned business in Portland OR.  (That's me in the green shirt in front) I was in sales; essentially whole house remodeling. 

I was responsible for every aspect of the job.  From working with the client, interior space planning and design, estimating, and project management. 

Truth be told, until I started my own business, I considered this my dream job.  I still have fond memories of working for and with this wonderful team of people. 

That "dream job" was the culmination of all of the stepping stone jobs prior.  Without those, I would not have been able to do my job at City Home Improvement or even now as the Owner and Principle Designer for REI Design Solutions!  

My humble beginnings were in furniture sales and then I moved into being an office manager for a cabinet shop. I told him I would file for him, if he taught me everything he knew about designing kitchens and bathrooms. 

He did. 

And so I filed.

But not forever because I spent the next several years getting good at kitchen and bathroom design until I could do the job of a contractor in full service remodeling.

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After my husband and I had been married a few years, I finally convinced him to let me start flipping houses. 

He did. 

And I loved it.

But not as much as I love design so I decided to pivot back to what I know and love.

And now here I am.  Doing kitchen design, bathroom design, space planning, finish selections, staging and project management for real estate investors! It doesn't get much better than that!

WHY DOES THIS ALL MATTER TO YOU

Why does my success path matter to you, you ask?

Welllllll......because!

Because, I bring my experience in Real Estate Investing and couple it with my 20 years of remodeling and design and you have the PERFECT recipe for success!  YOUR SUCCESS!!!!

I would love to hear about your success journey.  Please feel free to comment below and share!

To your success,

Christine