BiggerPockets Podcast 105: From Minimum Wage to Full Time Flipper with Ophelia Nicholson

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Prepare to be inspired and motivated after listening to today’s episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast! In this program we sit down with Ophelia Nicholson, a house flipper from the Maryland area who got started with real estate while working a minimum wage job. You’ll learn how she broke out of that life and was able to quit her job to become a full time, successful house flipper, working on multiple properties at once!

Listen for insightful tips on applying for a loan, learning to be a landlord, partnering with family members and quitting your job for real estate. If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to make your investing dreams come true, don’t miss out on this episode — it’ll give you great insight into how you CAN make it happen!

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In This Show We Cover:

  • How Ophelia got started investing
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  • The story of her “first small house
  • How to buy a house on a minimum wage salary
  • Tips on applying for a loan
  • The experience of becoming an accidental landlord
  • What to do if you’re sued by your renter
  • Lessons about starting out as a landlord
  • Ophelia’s on and off relationship with real estate
  • The pros and cons of partnering with family
  • How to put 15 properties under contract in 30 days
  • Quitting your job for real estate
  • Thoughts on women getting into real estate investing
  • Plus MUCH more!

Links From the Show:

Books Mentioned in the Show

Connect with Ophelia

Brandon’s Staircase

brandon staircase

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 180,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!


  1. This is amazing stuff, I like her story. She needs to write a book, every day Americans make 50-100k a year and cant seem to save, invest,or buy their first home. There are like over 35 first time home buyers programs here in central texas because the cost of living is going up so fast, I only moved here 2 years almost 3 years ago and will be buying house asap. I been in the apartment industry and now with real estate license ready to roll. thanks for the podcast guys.

  2. Amy Braden

    I look forward to Thursday’s for the new podcasts and this one didn’t disappoint! I am a new flipper and real estate agent and found this podcast to be very inspiring. She has had to learn some lessons the hard way but she seems to be flourishing now. Way to go Ophelia!

  3. Victoria Winters

    Thank you Josh, Brandon and Ophelia! This was a fantastic podcast and I loved it. The can do attitude and spirit of moving ahead with achieving your goals is an inspiration to everyone.

    Many thanks to Josh for presenting a woman in rehab business. All the podcast guests are fabulous and I will do my best to participate in the contest announced.

  4. Wow, that actually was inspiring! Ophelia is personable and smart, and a great speaker. Maybe a career in speaking is in your future!

    A partial summary:
    1. Have good credit.
    2. Be very responsible, in general.
    3. Learn from your mistakes.
    4. Have enough money in reserves to live on for a year of you’re going to quit your job.
    5. Go big or go home.
    6. Women do great rehabs.

    Am I missing anything?


  5. Scott Le

    Great podcast, Ophelia! Can you talk about what kind of returns you are looking for on your flips to be doing 6 at once? I have a hard time finding more than a few at any time that seem worthwhile, yet here you are working on 6 as we speak. I’d love to know more about what you are looking for.

  6. Tanisha Williams

    Hi Ophelia. I’m new to Bigger Pockets. I’ve been interested in investing for years but am just now getting into it. I am a single female from Virginia. This is the first PodCast that I’ve listen to on here and have learned a lot in this one hour!!! I am a software developer by day but real estate is my passion. With me already being in a male dominated field I already believe that females can do anything. However, you have truly inspired me and shown me that I can do this!!I I am so happy for you and you are truly an inspiration. I wish you much success and blessing and I look forward to hearing your update this time next year and hearing about your 30 deals for 2015!!

  7. Thomas Coburn

    Man! What a great podcast. Thanks a lot for your time and expertise on the show. I just completed my first flip… took 7 months! Great to hear how you’ve progressed from a long time span to now do many at a time. VERY inspiring! Thanks! – Tommy, Seattle, WA

  8. Steph C.

    This was yet another great podcast! Ophelia is truly inspiring and I listened to this episode again this week.

    I heard you guys discuss grants/downpayment information and where you can dind out about these types of programs offered in the US. We used grants and other first time buyer programs to buy our first primary residence.

    If anyone wants links to the websites that I have used to research this info in the past, please send me a PM (not sure if it’s ok to post the links here).


  9. Zoe Mercier

    I know the show was a while ago but I just heard it and wanted to say that I am proud of you as a woman for the success that you have had. It’s inspiring because while I am working with my Dad and husband I am pretty much running the show and it is really great to hear how you have persevered and done as well as you have. We are just starting out and hearing your story helps give me the confidence to go for it. Thanks for sharing via the show and all your forum posts and responses!

  10. JoJo Bayliss

    Just watched the show. Ophelia I live in Va and really enjoyed your story. I’m brand new to Real Estate and hope to follow in your footsteps. I am helping manage my parents first couple of rentals and currently taking Real Estate classes. Looking forward to my first purchase and flip. BRANDON’s Staircase looks phenomenal!

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