I simply can’t believe I’ve been flipping houses for 7 years. I had no intention of becoming a house flipper. No intention of becoming a Realtor. No intention for any of this.
But that’s how life happens, right?
Flip 1 was, of course, the catalyst to this crazy life. I was D.R.O.W.N.I.N.G. in student loan debt. I was grossing (not net!) $23,000/year. I was working multiple jobs, and just all around hating life.
And then that beat up fixer upper in a retirement community popped up on the foreclosure list. I barely got approved, and I used my tax refund as my down payment.
And I didn’t have a damn clue what I was doing.
Nobody starts flipping houses in a recession…at least on purpose. But somehow luck was on my side, and after Flip 1 I realized I might be on to something. And then Flip 2 popped up on the foreclosure list.
And I thought, I did this once. Why not try it again?
And it worked again. And then Grandma & Grandpa’s house needed a buyer. And I thought, can I hit a home run three times in a row? I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out.
It was 3 years ago that I bought Grandma and Grandpa’s house. In reality, I had only successfully flipped two houses at that point– all while living in them. I was still working on Grandma and Grandpa’s when I decided to get really, really brave. I thought, I wonder if I can handle a true fix & flip…without living in it?
And then Flip 4 popped up. A behemoth of a fixer upper.
I assure you, I earned my stripes, had trial by fire, and paid my dues on that one.
But again, it paid off.
After surviving the hell house that was Flip 4 and still making a profit, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, I was definitely on to something. And my confidence grew tremendously.
I sold Flip 3, paid off my remaining $70,000 student loan balance, and immediately pulled the trigger on Flip 5.
Of all my flips, of all the houses I’ve toured, of all the houses I’ve made offers on, I KNEW THAT I KNEW THAT I KNEW that I had hit the gold mine on this one.
The potential was literally flooding this house. The financial potential was staggering on this one.
And so I started the demo and revitalization of Flip 5. And I’m still holding to this one (more details coming soon!).
And while knee-deep in a restoration of Flip 5, I made my craziest move yet. I bought a house. Site unseen. No inspection. At the courthouse.
Simultaneously, I was working on restoring Flip 5 and started and finished Flip 6 in 2 weeks.
I discovered that the world of auction houses is so, so different than my previous strategy. I did NOT like it, but I knew potential existed there.
And then I sold Flip 6 and cashed out.
And the day after I sold Flip 6, I closed on Flip 7. Again, while restoring Flip 5, I tackled another fix and flip. I was in and out and under contract with a buyer in 3 weeks.
And that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks:
Over 7 years, I’ve completed 7 flips. Four of those have been in the last 3 years. Sometimes completing multiple flips at the same time. There is so, so much behind the scenes crap that makes this lifestyle exhausting and trying.
I felt a burnout coming.
I have loved this life for so long. I still love rescuing old houses, beat up houses, and giving them a new life and a buyer a new home.
But I had been pushing myself with such intensity and stress, that I was feeling the effects.
I was having migraines constantly. I was breaking out in hives. I started experiencing (and still am) severe inner-ear problems that leave me bedridden for days or sick every morning. I basically wasn’t sleeping. I was eating if I had time. I had zero time for anything but houses.
And then I watched a documentary about a girl who was not much older than me and was consumed with her work. She was a writer, so she wasn’t even doing grueling, manual labor.
And she died in her sleep. An undiagnosed heart problem combined with monumental stress killed her.
I do have a diagnosed heart problem. Her story rang so close to mine.
And it dawned on me, I’m going to kill myself if I try to sustain this lifestyle.
Those few people I allow in my inner circle will tell you, I’m not a people person. Overwhelmingly, I find humans to be annoying and frustrating. And for a while, that’s what I appreciated about house flipping– it was me and a house. I didn’t have to deal with humans.
Until I started upping my game. I needed to hire more crews. I needed to source out more work.
More humans entered the picture.
From every angle, I was dealing with humans. I was growing so frustrated by their dishonesty, their stupidity, their downright laziness, and their disregard for integrity and doing the right thing. My already minimal patience with humans was virtually in the negative at this point.
I stayed in a bad mood.
Almost to the day that I accepted the offer on Flip 7, I made the decision that I HAVE to take a break from house flipping. I don’t know how long of a break. But a long one. I was breaking myself to try to reach my new goal: purchasing an investment property in Florida.
That’s still the goal, but I don’t want to spend 10 years hating all of humanity, staying stressed, and being in a bad mood just to get the house.
With every house I’ve bought, I’ve been totally at peace about them. I don’t second guess. I know that if I’m pulling a trigger on a house, then it’s a good deal. And today, knowing I’m stepping aside from house flipping has the same feeling. I feel totally at peace with the deals I may be missing. I know this is the right thing for right now.
And the people I’ve told all have the same immediate follow-up: So what’s next?
I might be stepping aside from house flipping, but I’m not stepping aside from real estate investing. I’m now transitioning my focus to more passive methods of income. I still plan to be scoping out houses and purchasing them, but, this time, I have a completely different goal.
For the last several months, I’ve been evaluating my market and the numbers for an Air Bnb and rental properties.
I have long said that I have zero desire to own long term rental properties due to the fact that it has so much human interaction– with the majority of the time being negative human interactions. I haven’t changed from that stance. Long term rentals are not my first priority, but I’m not ruling them out.
My main focus right now is vacation rentals. My market is ideal for short term rentals. I live in a university town (with 2 universities within 20 miles of each other), we house the headquarters of Walmart with every major & minor vendor here, as well as other large international companies. Our area is flooded with travelers for games, for Walmart visits, for graduations, etc.
It’s an area of real estate investing that really appeals to me. Does it have human interaction? Yes. But am I having to evict someone for non-payment? Am I having to monitor if they’re abiding by their lease? No. With just a weekend visit or two, I have the potential to have a good profit without much work. Passive income. And where I’m at in life, passive income has tremendous appeal.
So that will be my new adventure. If I can help it, I don’t plan to purchase a fixer upper for an Air BnB. But I’ll be using my Mac Staging resources to furnish and host Air Bnbs. I really hope you’ll stick around for this new avenue of real estate investing. I’ve always been told the kiss of death for a business, a relationship, or even a person is “It’s the way we’ve always done it.” I think we are supposed to evolve, and my business model is certainly doing that. Am I open to other avenues of real estate investing at this point? Sure. I haven’t completely ruled out long term rentals, and I’m still dabbling in educating myself on wholesale buying and selling.
So for now, I’m laying down my hammer. I’m taking a break- because I can. And without the past 7 fast and furious flips, I wouldn’t be in the financial situation when I can take a breather, so I’m grateful for the independence this life has given me. I say that all the time. But this can be a hard life– especially doing it solo. All the stress. All the worry. All the exhaustion. It’s on me….and me alone.
So I’m taking my financial freedom, my breather, and I’m going to take a jaunt to the beach this summer to rejuvenate, and I’m ready to hit the ground running on this chapter!