BiggerPockets Podcast 277: Building a Six-Figure Family Real Estate Business with Ashley Wilson

by | BiggerPockets.com

Many families can’t even enjoy a holiday meal together — but today’s guest has built a real estate empire with hers! Today we sit down with Ashley Wilson, a house flipper who got started investing in real estate while living overseas in Europe. Today, Ashley shares how she has been able to generate six-figures in profit — almost from the beginning — using a highly systematic approach to building wealth. She also drops some huge knowledge bombs with advice on finding and funding deals — and even some never-before-heard advice on knowing what features to put into your next rehab!

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 Brandon: This is the BiggerPockets Podcast. Show 277.

Ashley: I actually always say that when you increase complexity and decrease frequency, you increase errors. What we’re trying to do is that when any task is complex, the same person should be doing that because they become a master, and that minimizes errors and vice versa. We’re trying to decrease errors every which way we can.

You’re listening to BiggerPockets radio. Simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from BiggerPockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon: What is going on everyone? This is your host of the day, Brandon Turner, coming at you here with my co-host, Mr. David Green. How’re you doing, DG?

David: Oh boy, Brandon. How am I doing right now?

Brandon: Oh boy. This doesn’t sound good. Oh boy.

David: Yeah. It’s been a challenging week so far. We have about five houses in my real estate agent business that we had in escrow, and all of them might be falling apart. It’s kind of a domino system where you have a listing, and then if you lose the buyer for your listing, then you lose the house that your seller was going to go buy. We have that happening on a couple different fronts. It’s been very frustrating.

The silver lining is that I’m realizing this does not happen in real estate investing, because my rent checks come in every month regardless of what happens. This is just a really powerful lesson in the fact that your job, your W2 job, where you get your money, that can always go away. It’s not a guarantee. A lot of it is dependent on your performance or things outside of your control.

When you’re buying rental properties, they are usually profitable if you buy them right from day one, and only gets to be more profitable. It’s such a good feeling to know that it doesn’t really matter what happens in my job. That’s really icing on the cake as crazy as that sounds. The cake itself is my investment portfolio, the money it produces. It’s just that much more motivating to focus on building my portfolio, building my passive income and focusing on that. Not getting sucked into the allure of cheap, easy money that comes through a sale or a commission.

Brandon: Yeah. Well, that’s just good advice to all around. We sucked into this idea of making good money from a job. Right now, the economy is amazing. We can make money in business. Let’s not forget that that’s not always going to be like that. There’s ups and downs all the time, and so continually putting money into passive income is great.

Anyway, sorry you’re going through that, the agent crap. I know you got a ton of rentals, and you’re continuing to buy them all the time. I’m sure you’re going to do well. Speaking of motivating, using the word motivating, I actually just finished a book on motivation. Have you read Drive, by Daniel Pink?

David: No, I haven’t heard of that one

Brandon: Unbelievable book. I know this is not the Famous Four at the end of the show, but I’m going to say, unbelievably good book. If you’ve got a team that you need a motivate, you got people around you need to motivate, Drive by Daniel Pink. Everything I thought I knew about how to motivate people, it’s all wrong. It’s a total counterintuitive book. I definitely recommend it. I just got it on Audible. It’s fantastic. Check it out. Very, very interesting and about motivation.

David: Yeah, if I’m going to listen to anyone about what book to read, it’s definitely going to be you. You read more books than anybody I know. You’re going to be a librarian when you retire probably .

Brandon: I might become a librarian or something.

David: Also speaking of motivating, today’s guest has an incredibly motivating story. This is one of the coolest stories that I’ve heard in a very long time. You guys are going to love this. Her business is setup to where they’re only flipping couple of houses a year, but they’re making six figures each. Each partner is making that much money. It’s just incredible.

When you hear her speak about how she does it, it makes so much sense. She’s very systematic. Really, it’s a process that anybody could follow. I’m super excited about talking to her and I know that you probably are too.

Brandon: Yeah. It’s super cool. Before we get to the interview with Ashley Wilson, let hear today’s quick tip. Alright. You want to take it?

David: Yeah. I’ll take it.

Brandon: Cool

David: Today’s quick tip is actually real estate related, not just business related. We are coming into the time of year now, probably around May, where the home selling season is really kicking in gear. You’ve got a ton of home buyers that are out there looking for homes. If you understand how real estate works, it’s a supply and demand thing. There’s a lot more people looking for homes. The demand is really high.

In most areas of the country, supply is still really low. That’s going to push prices higher. If you’ve got an investment property with a tenant on a month-to-month lease, and you’re not sure what you want to do with that, or a vacancy coming up, consider selling your house, getting your equity out, and reinvesting it somewhere else, or doing something else with it. Sometimes we own properties that are not performing very well, but we just have them out of habit. We don’t really want to deal with it.

Often times, when you look at your portfolio, you realize you have a lot of equity. I always tell people to consider the return on your investment versus the return on your equity. If you could get more investing that money somewhere else than the equity is providing you right now, sell it, do a 1031 exchange. Buy something else. Upgrade it into multi unit. Whatever you got to do, but get that passive income going up out of the value that you already have in your home.

Brandon: There you go. That is an awesome quick tip. Now, before we hear from Ashley, let’s get to today’s show sponsor.

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Brandon: Alright. Big thanks for our sponsors always. You guys make this show a reality. With that, I’m ready to bring in Ashley. Ashley Wilson is our guests today. She is a house flipper, who actually got started by investing or by flipping while living in Europe, investing in US house flips alongside of her family. Got an amazing family business.

Her husband was actually a professional hockey player, hence the traveling around the world. Despite that, she was able to build up a very profitable flipping business. We are going to hear from Ashley today on how she did that. You guys going to love this show. Make sure you get some paper, pen, whatever. You’re going to want to take some notes because she has a ton to say so. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview with Ashley Wilson.

Alright. Ashley, welcome to the BiggerPockets podcast. How you doing?

Ashley: Good. How are you?

Brandon: Man, I am good. I just woke up. I’m a little less chipper than normal today. We’re going to have to have you carry the show. I’m going have to just sit back and Ashley’s going to cover this. Does that sound good?

Ashley: It does. I think I can do it. No.

Brandon: Alright. Alright. Well, I’m going to start the with question that I always start with. Well, I don’t always start with this question, but I want to know. We know you get into real estate. Obviously, it’s a real estate show. We’re going to be talking about how you and your family have build this awesome, amazing business that I’m really fascinated to hear more about. Before that, tell us about why did real estate even come on the radar? Why real estate investing? Walk us through that journey.

Ashley: Absolutely. Back in about 2009, my husband who is now a retired hockey player, who was playing at the time, we were just trying to figure out what was the best way to invest our money. We kept coming back to real estate, specifically BiggerPockets. We were reading through the content, listening to the podcasts, and we decided this was a perfect fit for us.

What we decided to do at the same time, it was during the Obama first time home buyer tax credit, and there was a short sale across the street, which was perfect because we were actually looking for a property for ourselves during the season where he was playing. We made, I think a pretty decent but lowball offer on the property. Ended up getting it a few months later. Of course, you know how short sales go. We ended up house hacking that property.

What we would do is we would live in the property during the season, rent out other rooms to other guys on the team, and then in the offseason, pre-Airbnb, we would be BRBO it. It was a destination town, so it made really good money in the summer for us. Eventually when he signed with another team, we just rented it out to hockey players during the season.

Fast forward to 2014, he was playing in Europe. Actually we were in Riga, Latvia at the time. We decided that we wanted to get into flipping. My dad is a general contractor. He’s had his business for over 45 years. He was a perfect partner, so we wanted to be able to have someone, boots on the ground, and that was perfect fit for my dad. He was looking to get out of doing the day to day. We were looking to get into flipping.

It was perfect partnership. We leveraged technology. Now we are in our fourth year. We just hired my brother, who also is a GC on our houses. My husband just retired, so he is now a realtor. My sister-in-law’s involved. My mother’s involved. It’s a whole family affair.

David: Wow. That’s pretty cool. You got the whole family involved. Let’s take it back a little bit to where you mentioned you were house hacking. Can you share some of the details of how you structured the house hacking, and what kind of money you were making from that?

Ashley: Absolutely. During the season, we actually would just make ends meet, so to speak. We just wanted to cover our costs. We wanted to basically live for free, but we didn’t need to turn a huge profit on it, because we considered our bread and butter during the summer time. In the summertime, the first summer we rented it out over the course of three months and made 20,000.

The second summer we rented it out, and we did some home improvements, and also I advertised it earlier on, and gave incentive to people who have previously rented from us, that if they booked by December of the previous year, that they would get some money off on their rent. We made 30,000 the second year over three months.

Then we made 40,000 over three months, the third year. We actually did quite well with that property. It really turned us on to real estate investing, as you can imagine.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

David: Was that profit, 20,000, 30 and 40, or was that your gross?

Ashley: That was profit.

David: Oh my goodness.

Brandon: Just for the summer?

Ashley: Just for the summer.

Brandon: What town was that in?

Ashley: Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Brandon: Hershey? That’s a tourist town? I’ve never even heard of it, other than the candy bar. Is that where they made the candy bar?

Ashley: That’s where they make the candy bars. Yeah. Hershey chocolate factory.

Brandon: Did they name the candy bar to the town or the town after the candy bar?

Ashley: I should probably know this, but I don’t know how to answer this question.

David: I have a better question. Did you decorate your Airbnb to look like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory [inaudible][00:11:02] sold it?

Brandon: That is a better question.

Ashley: Actually, you know what’s really funny? Most people are obsessed with the hockey team there. They have a long history of being a very good team. They’ve won a lot of championships. My husband was part of two back to back championships with that team. People are actually more interested in running it with pictures of hockey players, and knowing that the Hershey Bears stay in that place during the regular season.

Brandon: That’s a good idea.

Ashley: It wasn’t hard to run. We just pitch that. People still contact me about that place even though we actually sold it to someone who was renting from us. It was just a perfect deal, and we were looking to move on. That’s how we ended up with that property.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Ashley: Yeah.

Brandon: One of my very first duplex I ever bought was, I’ve told this story many times I’m sure, it was Kurt Cobain’s baby home. Nirvana’s frontman’s baby home. I still own it today. I always think I should try and do a Airbnb because, for the same reason, people would want to stay in Kurt Cobain’s baby home.

The problem is, people who want to stay in the hockey player’s home, they’re probably cool people. People who want to stay in Kurt Cobain’s home, they might not come out of Kurt Cobain’s home, if you know what I mean. I don’t know if I want to go that route. I don’t know.

I think there’s validity in what you’re doing there. That’s a cool little, what do they call them, a unique selling proposition. USP. Every company’s got to have a unique angle. We call it an unfair advantage. You find what those are and you exploit those. You say, ‘This is what I’m good at. This is what can make us money, so I’m going to do it.’ That’s super cool.

Actually, it’s an interesting strategy about, where people could potentially, I’m not saying that you guys did this and say that you could. Buy houses in different areas of the country or the world, and then you can live in certain areas for time, and then Airbnb it when you’re not there, VRBO you’re not there.

That’s what I’ve been looking into possibly doing in Hawaii, is buying something here and then just owning the rest of the time. That way you’re still paying the mortgage down. You’re hopefully building wealth through appreciation, and your vacation rentals hopefully paying the cost.

Did you ever run into any issues when you were doing the Airbnb, or the VRBO? Did you run into any kind of legal issues there? I know nowadays people are having a lot more problems with vacation rentals. Did you struggle with that at all?

Ashley: We struggled initially because it was in an HOA community. Part of the bylaws had some verbiage in it that made it a little bit difficult to understand whether it was clear that you could do short-term rentals. We were just very transparent with the property manager of the HOA. We went and spoke with them. They presented it to the board, and they granted us approval.

I know that when teammates of his found out what we were doing, and they looked into doing it, I don’t think they wanted their community to turn into that. They didn’t give approval to other people. Maybe because we were one of the first, and they had already given us approval before anyone has asked, and realized, ‘Oh, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.’ I think if we were to go back and do it now, I don’t know if we would have gotten approval, but fortunately, we just fell into a very lucky time to ask because no one had asked yet.

David: Well, that certainly worked out. What a way to get started in real estate. That’s awesome. I’m sure that whet your appetite. ‘Okay, well, let’s look into this little more.’ Can you tell us what your next step was? I know you’re in flipping now. Your family is, you’re working with them. Can you tell us about the dynamics of your family, how you have that structured, and whose role is what?

Ashley: Absolutely. It started with my father and myself. What we’ll do is, as I said before, my dad is the boots on the ground. He has construction knowledge experience over 45 years. He has so much experience that when inspectors walk through, he actually educates the inspectors, and not in a condescending way or anything. My dad’s a big teddy bear. Everyone loves him. It’s more so in a way of, ‘Oh well, in 1950, the code was this.’ My dad is just very knowledgeable about the history of codes, more so than any of the inspector we’ve met. That’s been very advantageous for us.

My brother grew up working for my dad. I know a lot of people grow up working for McDonald’s or something. My brother never did that. He always worked for my dad in the summers and on school breaks. My brother had this construction knowledge experience. After he graduated from University, he went into a project manager role. It is a perfect combination because he had the construction knowledge experience with project management training. He did that for a few years. Our business grew too large, so we asked if he would come on as a project manager and that’s what he’s doing currently.

Those are the two major components. My husband, obviously, is looking for something to do after hockey, that is interesting. He’s always wanted to be in real estate. He actually came up with the idea for us to get into flipping. He wants to exploit the realtor component of it because obviously, that’s an extra commission that we could be making instead of giving it to someone else.

David: You play a pretty big role in this whole thing too. What’s your specialty?

Ashley: My specialty is basically anything you can do remote. That’s how our relationship started. For example, I order the materials. We leverage technology to it’s fullest. We utilize FaceTime. When my dad was going to look at houses, we would be FaceTiming through the houses and going over the project- what walls we’re taking out, what walls we’re leaving, what specs we want to end up with. I can schedule the contractors for him. Anything to help him out, so he can just focus on the job.

I do all of the accounting. I run our social media. I find the houses. I do the analysis. Literally anything you can think of where you don’t physically have to be at the house, that is my responsibility because that takes away a lot of pressure, and administrative tasks that slow my dad and my brother down. Even paying the contractors, that’s what I do. They don’t do take care of that. We just work very systematically to help each other out as much as possible.

Brandon: That’s awesome. I’m re-reading right now the book, E?Myth Revisited, which is a Michael Gerber. He talks in there about the tactician, the person who is in there doing the work. That sounds like your dad is a tactician. You are the entrepreneur. You’re overseeing the whole thing, making sure the machine is flowing and working correctly. That is such a valuable role to have and what a lot of people lack.

People are like, ‘Oh, I can swing a hammer. I can flip houses,’ but they lack everything that you just said, that you do, they lack. I think people need to understand. If you want to get in the house flipping, that’s great. Just know that it’s not about being able to swing a hammer. In fact, that’s probably the least valuable skill of the entire organization is to actually swing a hammer. A lot of people can swing a hammer. Very few can do it honestly. That’s super awesome you have a dad that can do it honestly, and work with him.

I’m curious about that though, that dynamic between you and your father, and your brother. How do you guys work out things like, do you guys split the profits at the end? Do you pay them a salary to do it? How does that function work?

Ashley: This is actually a question we get asked a lot. Initially, when it was just my father myself, we split the profits 50-50. I know a lot of people will argue, why split 50-50? Remove the fact that he’s my father. Just say why would you split the profits 50-50 with a GC? First of all, my dad brings over 45 years of experience, as I said. Not only does he have the knowledge, but he has connections. That’s invaluable.

Another component is, we both want to work for ourselves, and this way we each own 50% of the company. There’s no boss. It’s not you have to answer for this person. There’s no resentment. We make decisions together. We operate together. We win together. We lose together. The icing on the cake is that he’s my dad. When you look at all of the specs of what we bring to the table, it’s only fair that it’s 50-50.

A lot of people too, especially in this area, want to give a contractor 20, 30 maybe 35%. In our area, I don’t know for everyone else but in our area, there is normally a 20 to 35% up charge on GC work in general. What makes it more exciting and gets the GC more committed to work on your project when they’re guaranteed 20 to 35% doing the exact same job for Joe Schmo down the street, and there’s no risk, and they’re not being told every single day, ‘When is this going to be done? Time is important,’ blah, blah, blah.

In that sense, it’s really fair. It’s turned out to work exceptionally well. Honestly, I think it’s the way that it should be conducted because then we both have something to win, and we both have something to lose.

Brandon: I love that. I think that’s fantastic. I’m always a huge proponent for 50-50 partnerships when you can make them work. Yeah, people have asked me on both sides. Why would you give somebody 50% for doing that? Why would they give you 50% for doing that? It’s hard to argue with 50-50 when you’re talking with a partner. Whether that’s a partner, or GC, or whatever. My best flips I’ve ever done have been when I 50-50 partnered with the guy running the show.

Again, people are saying, ‘Well, you can get that way cheaper by doing whatever,’ but it just made it so easy and fair. We are both perfectly, equally aligned in making results happen. I love that you said that.

What about family dynamics? There’s been very few projects where I haven’t hated my contractor at the end of the project. How do you and your entire family work together without hating each other at the end of the project? Do you have any tips for people who are thinking about working with their family?

Ashley: You have to know when to turn in on and turn it off. People who sit next to me when I talk to my dad about the house, especially like my husband, he’s like, ‘I cannot believe you and your dad are yelling at each other, and then are like, “Love you, bye,” and hang up the phone.’ It’s a little bit comical, but you have to be able to draw the line between work and family. If you’re not able to do that, I don’t recommend working with family. Fortunately for our family, we’re all able to do that.

We have another complexity component. We are also house hacking right now, with my brother and his wife living with us. There’s another added component. Not only do I work with my brother, but he also lives with us too, which is a whole other dynamic. We never stop talking about work. Whenever my dad calls, it’s always about work. It’s turned into, this something we all love to do.

At the end of the day, we just know that we all want this same thing. We all want us to be successful because we all win when everyone successful, so supporting each other in any way possible is only advantageous for ourselves too. It’s not only helpful for my brother if I pick up the phone, and take his call, and do whatever he asked me. It’s also, in the long run beneficial for me too.

Brandon: Yeah. That’s fantastic.

David: You’ve got so many aspects to your story that I really, really like, Ashley. We’ve talked about house hacking. We’ve talked about a USP, your unique selling proposition now. Your unfair advantage and having family members that you take advantage of, because they’re really good. Your dad sounds like a rockstar contractor. You’re just really looking at it with a business mind and putting all the pieces together.

I know for a while, while your husband was playing hockey, you guys were living in Russia and Latvia. You were all over Europe. You were still flipping houses here in the States. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you did that, how it was structured, why didn’t scare you? This is obviously a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. I just love meeting other people who do the same thing.

Ashley: First of all, I knew the area. Even if you don’t know the area and you’re remote, if you have someone who does know the areas- for example, even if I didn’t know the area, my dad knows the area, my partner knows the area. First of all, you have to have someone who knows the area really well. Then you look at houses in good areas. Normally they have the best returns. I think we can all agree to that. You just leverage technology as I was saying before.

If you would walk through a house and look at all the potential problems, you just use FaceTime to walk through the house. If you need supplies ordered, instead of going home and ordering supplies, my dad just shoots me a text so I can order supplies. All payments, as much as I can set them up electronically, I would set up every payment electronically. Negotiation, instead of having my dad make that call and waste his time, when he can physically be at our project, I would be on the phone making that call, because you can call from Europe. Really what we are trying to do is leverage each other’s skillsets.

My dad is really, really good at the construction component. There is nothing I can do from Europe to replace that component of the rehab. I don’t want to even touch that. My dad is really good at what he does. There’s no need for me to try to replace him. It’s great for me to learn how to do some of those things, but it would be better for me to do the paperwork side of things, which I’m sure everyone would agree that most, really good contractors are normal not good at paperwork. That’s something I am good at. Why have my dad have to do that skillset when I’m already good at paperwork?

That’s what we try to do, is try to exploit each other’s strengths, and downplay each other’s weaknesses with the other person carrying that weight.

David: You nailed it. The secret to being successful in real estate investing is, you figure out what you’re good at. You find people to do the stuff you’re not good at because that’s what they’re good at. You bring everybody’s strengths together. Then not only are you successful, but usually you enjoy it more because you’re not trying to do this stuff that you hate.

Everyone listening, if you’re finding that you’re struggling with real estate investing, you’re probably doing a lot of stuff that is not in your wheelhouse and you’re not good at. Ashley should not be at the house swinging the hammer. Dad should not be trying to run the books or analyze the property. Husband really shouldn’t be doing anything but selling it. It sounds like you guys got it down.

Brandon: That’s awesome. Recently I had a guy tell me this idea. If something in your life, he said use the word light and heavy, does it feel light to do this task, or does it feel heavy to do this task? The things that feel light are things you should probably be doing. Does it feel light to be negotiating with contractors? For me, it does not. It feels like the heaviest thing in the world for me to have to call the contractor and deal with them. It just feels heavy, so I shouldn’t be doing that.

What feels light? Man, finding deals. Analyzing deals. Running numbers. Sending Direct Mail marketing. I love that. I could do that all day. It’s fun. It’s not work. Yeah, that feels light. Ask yourself what feels light, what feels heavy, and then focus on the light things. Find somebody else who’s the opposite, because there is somebody else who’s the opposite. I love that.

Ashley: I actually always say that when you increase complexity and decrease frequency, you increase errors. What we’re trying to do is that when any task is complex, the same person should be doing that because they become a master, and that minimizes errors and vice versa. We’re trying to decrease errors every which way we can.

Brandon: That’s smart. I like that a lot. Well, cool. Alright. Yeah. This idea, do you recommend flipping at a distance?  Do you think it works in this way?

Ashley: Absolutely.

Brandon: Perfect. You don’t have 50 years of experience. How many years have you been doing this now? Four, you said?

Ashley: This is our fourth year.

Brandon: Okay. Yeah. You started flipping houses. Was that your second year? When was that? Was it right away you were flipping?

Ashley: In 2014.

Brandon: Okay. Yeah.

Ashley: We started with the house hacking in 2009. Then in 2014 is when we started flipping.

Brandon: That’s perfect. It just shows that it is possible to do this stuff. When you hear people say you can’t do that because of this x, y, z. You’re just like, ‘Yes, I can.’ You just did. I think that’s super cool. It’s not just flipping. I always opposed the idea of investing it, not opposed, but I’ve not done investing at a distance. It felt weird to me. It wasn’t really until I became good friends with this guy, David Green. Also, I realized, ‘Oh, people do this. There’s ways to do it.’

Now I still like the idea of being started locally if you can. If you can’t or you’re in a weird market, consider going at the distance. David Green wrote an entire book called, Long Distance Real Estate Investing. Guess what’s it about? It’s about long distance real estate investing. Definitely, guys. Check that out. He talks a lot about the core four, having four people on your team that you can just really trust.


What’s funny about your story is, one of those is your contractor. Core four there, right? Another one is your lender. I want to get there in a minute. We’ll talk about that. Another one is your agent. Now your husband’s an agent. Then property manager. Are you guys doing rental properties at all or just flipping?

Ashley: No. Just flipping now.

Brandon: Okay. You don’t really need a property manager. You have a project manager. It’s kind of the same thing, for flippers. You have your core four essentially, all setup in the same way. Super cool. David, what is the URL for long distance book? Is that that’s what it is?

David: BiggerPockets.com/longdistancebook.

Brandon: Or /store will get you there as well. You can look at all the books. Cool. Alright. I want to move on and talk about finding deals. How did you find deals in the beginning and how are you doing it today? How has that changed?

Ashley: We have found deals every which way you can imagine. We’ve found them on the MLS. We’ve found them through an estate attorney. We’ve found them off of Craigslist. We’ve gotten leads through off-market properties, where people know that we offer referral bonus for any off-market leads. We’re open to anything, any which way. Just put it out into the universe. Keep looking. We’re still finding them.

Obviously it’s gotten a little bit harder on the MLS, but I think you have to be a little bit more creative in your search. For example, looking at rentals, you can typically see whether or not those properties are put up for rent because they couldn’t sell them. Then you can contact the owner if you see that they were previously for sale. Even if they weren’t for sale, you can contact the seller, the person renting the property and see if they’re willing to sell the house. That’s one way we’ve done it.

You can also look for areas and see, ‘This area seems to be a really strong area, why is this house not priced accordingly?’ In fact, that was actually one house that we got. I don’t know if you want me to go into the numbers about it. It was a great deal.

Brandon: Please.

Ashley: Okay. We found this house. It was in a really great area, but for some reason all of the numbers on the property were really low. It didn’t make sense. I said, ‘I think we should go check this house out.’ We ended up purchasing it for 235. We put in a little over a 150,000 in rehab. We ended up selling it for 544. That property, we did it in nine and a half weeks. The market actually supported a 544 price tag, but everyone else had looked at this property and thought, ‘Oh no. You know it should be around the 300, maybe low 400 price range.’

I didn’t see it because if you look at the actual location, it was a great location. Very convenient to get in and out of the city. Near public transit. In a good school district. It just made sense that if you brought the beauty back to this house, it was a 1930s house, that it could command that type of price, and it did.

David: That’s incredible, that you guys did that good on this flip. How many deals are you doing right now? What’s your average profit on most of your deals? Was that normal that you’re doing that good on every house you’re flipping?

Ashley: Around that profit margin. To get to your first question, right now we have one that goes on the market this week actually. We have two that go on the market at the end of April, that we’re doing. We like to have two for each project manager going on at all times, unless their cosmetic flips, then we could maybe do three or four. Most of time, as I mentioned before, we do full rehabs.

There’s a lot of factors when determining our profit, and how much money we want to make on a house, but typically around 50,000 in profit over a couple months period of time would make it worth it to us. Obviously you’re putting in a lot of money. You’re holding it. There’s a risk involved in that as well. We’re doing full gut rehabs. These are not just paint and changing out the light fixtures, and updating the kitchen. We’re doing knob and tube wiring.

One of the houses we’re doing right now has had a full stucco remediation. It’s a 5400 square foot house. That is a massive stucco remediation. We have new plumbing, all new plumbing. Putting in central air. Taking out walls and bringing it in, and LDLs, and things like that. It’s really important to factor a lot of components into your analysis when your determining what you want to make on a house.

David: In your first year, you flipped two houses I believe. What was your, around what your gross profit was at the end of that first year doing two houses?

Ashley: The first year actually, we only flipped one house. Our gross profit was around 65 thousand. The second year, each of us, my father and myself made over six figures on the second year flipping only two houses.

David: Wow.

Ashley: We have grown exponentially each year. The first year we did only one house. The second year we flipped two houses. I like to stay close to close. That means we purchase it. We renovate it. We sold it within that year. We close to close on two houses. We had one in the pipeline, meaning we were rehabbing one at the end of the second year. The third year we close to close on four houses. We had two in the pipeline. This year, we’re going to close the close on eight houses with four in the pipeline at the end of the year.

Brandon: Are you going 16 next year?

Ashley: Yes. I should say yes. What we like to do is we do an analysis every quarter, and then we also do an analysis at the end of the year, to make sure that we’re saying on track. We keep it operating as a business. We are family run, but we want to operate as a business and that’s the only way we’ll continue to be successful, is if you treat it like a business. We actually have weekly meetings, but then we have quarterly business reviews, and then annual business reviews to ensure that we stay on track.

Brandon: That’s super cool. One thing I talk about a lot, I do this on BiggerPocket webinars. I host a live webinar every single week over on BiggerPockets. I talk about this concept known as the stack. What the stack is, it’s a way of thinking about getting involved in real estate, that’s less overwhelming than what most people think.

When people think about getting into real estate, they think, ‘Oh man, I got to flip eight houses in order to make enough profit for me to survive. That’s an overwhelming thing. Instead I’m going to sit on the couch and watch some TV.’ That’s what most people do.

I always encourage people to think in terms of the stack which means, exponential growth. The first year you might do one deal. That could be a flip or a rental. The next year, you might do two. Once you’ve done the one deal, it shouldn’t be that hard to go to two. It’s just a small transition. You’ve already done one. You can do two. After that, could you do four? You’ve already done two, or you’ve done three total now. What’s four more?

Then once you’ve done that, now you can go to eight because it’s not that much more than the seven you’ve already done. Then 16, 32. If you think about that in terms of flipping, yeah, within four years you could be doing 16 houses a year, or if you’re rentals, you could have a 16-unit your fourth year in, and an eight, plus a four, plus a duplex maybe. You can scale up very, very quickly and more securely than just thinking, ‘I got to jump in and do 15 deal this year.’ That’s essentially what you’ve been doing.

Ashley: Absolutely. I think too, that it’s actually harder to get started. Once you get started, you’re on that train. You’re moving forward. It’s a lot easier to keep the momentum once you’re already going. I remember when we first started, one of our challenges was finding good contractors. Now we have so many good contractors. I go to different real estate meet ups. Everyone’s complaining, ‘Oh, I can’t find good contractors. I can’t find good contractors.’

It’s like, ‘How many deals are you doing?’

They’re like, ‘Well, you know I haven’t really made a offer yet.’ If you’re forced in a situation to find good people, you will find good people. You just have to put yourself in that situation, and say to yourself, ‘I need someone good. I need someone I can trust, that does quality work, and I can rely on that person.’ Then you’ll find the person.

David: Yeah. I think when people are first getting started, they don’t realize it’s going to be that hard the whole time. We just described all the people you have on your team. To someone who hasn’t done this, they’re like, ‘How am I going to find all that?’ That’s why you go really slow, because it takes you a lot of time to find a contractor, to find a lender, to find someone to get you deals, to get your name out there, to meet these attorneys that are bringing you deals.

It’s kind of like you’re wandering through the desert, and you found this well where there’s water. You don’t have to wonder for it anymore. You just go right to it every time you need it. You start growing, and growing as you find new wells, as you walk through this.  Now, ‘Man, I know exactly where to go when I need this thing,’ or ‘I know where I went last time, how I found it. I’m going to find it quicker this time because I learned something.’

Every time you become more efficient. That’s why the stack works, because you can go from two to four to eight to sixteen, because you’re getting better at what you do as you go through time. You just articulated that so good. That’s how it works to be successful. That’s why persistence is so important. You’re going to quit if you think it’s always going to be that hard. The longer you stick with it, the easier it becomes, and then the more fun you have and the more profit you make.

You guys are doing incredible on these deals you’re getting. Can you tell us a little bit about how you’re designing what to do in the flip, how you’re picking out the materials, what your edge is on why you’re doing so good on these homes?

Ashley: Absolutely. This is maybe a controversial way to design homes, but I personally feel that people are very scared to design a home based on the buyer that they think is going to buy the home. They think they are limiting the market. At the end of the day, your house, every house, already has a limited market. Why not design towards the buyer that you believe is going to purchase the home?

For example, the house that we’re putting on the market this week is in a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood. Hasidic Jewish people want kosher kitchens. What does that mean? We are actually putting in a kitchen with two ovens, two dishwashers, two sinks and two components in the refrigerator to keep meat and dairy separate, because in kosher kitchens you need to have two spaces for each appliance, and each prep area, so meat and dairy never touch.

Now is that something that some other buyer might not like? Maybe, but in reality most likely an Hasidic Jewish person is probably going to purchase this home. Why not gear it towards someone who we already know is interested in this area?

In a neighborhood there’s typically another house built by the same builder, the same layout, in that exact neighborhood. Most of the time, that house is already been renovated. What we like to do when we go into a neighborhood, as we go door to door and introduce ourselves, we give all of our contact information in case there’s any problem with the property, and also too, if they don’t like noise to call us directly. Things like that, to really set the stage correctly. In addition to that, we use it as an opportunity to get into houses that maybe have the same floor plan as our house, and that has already been renovated.

David: Oh, that is so good. That is so good.

Ashley: We can see different ideas on how we can renovate the house. We have one house right now, where we were going to do something completely different with a master suite. We knocked on the door to the neighbor who had the exact same floor plan. It was a live-in flip from a realtor that they purchased it from. We walked through the house and we were like, ‘This is genius.’ We took the idea of something we liked, and then we saw something that we thought might work a little bit better, if we can figure this phase differently, so we did something a little bit different to another component.

It was really cool because it gives you other ideas. Normally when you come in, you’re pretty dead set on, ‘This is how I’m going to do this renovation.’  Sometimes it’s really good to be open-minded and see some other ideas because that’s what really gets the juices flowing. That house obviously sold. That attracted a buyer. Knowing what attracts buyers in that area, what better way to figure it out than see it first hand in the neighboring houses.

Brandon: That’s super cool. I’ve always heard the tip about going door to door knocking, just so you build a good relationship with the neighbors. I never thought about it from that standpoint of get in there and like see what their house looks like. That’s so good. I’m totally adding that to my list of things to do.

Alright. Do you feel like things have always gone pretty well for you? Do you guys have any horror stories, any deals that fell apart? We can share that.

Ashley: In terms of the deals, there are things where our things start to fall apart, but I think we’ve gotten better at getting the train back on the rails. For example, we know how to do certain things. Okay. My dad’s a general contractor. He knows how to do everything. My dad and my brother taught me how to tile, for example. I think everyone should know how to tile.

This is why I think you should know how to tile. Tiling is at the end of a job. Tiling is very expensive. If your job goes unexpected 5000, $10,000 over, you can recoup some of those loss by tiling. Tiling is something that you decide at the very end of the project.

For example, we have had situations where on our first house, let’s say, we actually were going to reconstruct a porch. We found out that there was no foundation. It looked like there was a foundation when we purchased it. When we actually got into it, there was really no foundation. The footers weren’t dug deep enough. It was a catastrophe. We had to rebuild this entire porch. In doing so obviously that went way over budget, so what we decided to do is we decided to do the tiling ourselves to make up for that lost that we had had.

There’s just little tricks like that that you can do throughout, and just anchoring and adjusting this. This is why it’s always really important to know your numbers, and stay on track of your accounting. You should know by the day how much each house is costing you. You should also know every single day where you are in the project. That allows me when my dad or brother call, and they say, ‘We have a problem. This is going to cost us $3,000 more.’ I can say okay, no problem because I know I can pull it from over here. That’s something that I think is important when you have the dynamics, if you have the ability to have someone who’s tracking the numbers at all times.

Brandon: Yeah. That’s super good. I actually agree with the tile thing. I don’t know. For whatever reason, the tiles is the most therapeutic thing I can do in a house. I love tiling.

Ashley: Me too.

Brandon: I don’t do any of that work anymore. I’ll occasionally do some tile work because I really enjoy that a lot. That’s great tip again. If you go over budget, I’ve done the same thing. Go over budget, tiling is a very good way to recoup some of that. Tiling guys make absurd amount of money. It’s not that hard.

Ashley: So much money.

Brandon: It’s really not that hard.

Ashley: No.

Brandon: I don’t know. Dollar per hour, I think tiling is got to be the most expensive job you can hire for. Speaking of money and stuff, how do you finance all this? How do you pay for the property? How do you pay for the contractors? What’s that look like?

Ashley: Great question. Initially we started financing them ourselves. We were at a lower price point when we first started. That’s how we initially started. I was told and also, my husband’s a huge BiggerPockets fan. He just has this quest for knowledge.

Brandon: Tell him we said what’s up.

Ashley: This thirst for knowledge. I will.

Brandon: Okay.

Ashley: You guys are literally twins. It’s kind of scary. You guys both have the beard going. I guess it’s play off season right now for hockey players.

David: Yes.

Ashley: Maybe you’re channeling that. I don’t know.

Brandon: I know. I’m channeling my inner hockey player right now. I got to tell you. Mighty Ducks was my favorite movie of all time. It still is. Mighty Ducks, probably 3, was the best movie ever. I wanted to be a hockey player, and then I realized I couldn’t skate and so I didn’t become a hockey player sadly. Yeah, anyway.

David: If it wasn’t for sports movies, Brandon would not know what hockey is. I promise you. He’s definitely [inaudible][00:45:13].

Brandon: I grew up in Minnesota, alright. We know what hockey is in Minnesota. Anyway. Alright.

Ashley: Oh my goodness.

Brandon: Anyway. Okay. Finance. How are you doing it? Keep going.

Ashley: Yeah. A year and a half in, even though I was actually discouraged from doing this because everyone was like, ‘You’re never going to get a bank to finance you after a year and a half.’ I was made aware of a small bank that does construction loans to flippers. I reached out and I connected with this individual. I invited him to one of our projects.

When he came to the project, I first walked him through. I told my dad, ‘Dad, you’re not working today. We need to focus. We need to secure money.’ We met him at one of our properties. We walked the property. We talked to him about everything we were doing. At the end, I had created a packet of every house we had done to date, with not only actual numbers but our forecasted numbers too, and an explanation of when any of those numbers were off on, whether I was under, or over the forecasted number.

I presented that information to him. I presented all the addresses of the property, so he could confirm what I was saying was legit. Within a day or two, he told me that we could finance the next house with them. From that point forward, we’ve utilized that resource which has been incredible. Even though some people say, ‘Okay. Well, that’s a small bank.’

In terms of a larger bank, one of the biggest banks in the country, I was able to secure a business credit card with them. We pay all of our expenses through this business credit card. Then I can take those expenses at the end of the month when I got the invoice. I then submitted to the banks so it delays the interest that I am paying on what we’re spending. We try to leverage that option as well, because that way we don’t have to pay for the interest until two months, or two and a half months out. It’s basically like deferred-interest, so almost free money in my opinion.

David: I don’t want to miss this, Ashley. This is really, really good. You’re able to secure financing which honestly is not easy. That’s one of the toughest parts of real estate investing, is finding ways to finance your deals. Not all of us have a million dollars in the bank of our own money because we saved up our birthday money for 700 years or something, and we can go flip houses.

You need to find it from private lenders, from hard money lenders, from financial institutions. What you’re saying that works so good for you is that, you know your stuff. You knew exactly what you were doing. You knew your numbers. You knew how to talk the language of real estate right. When you met with this lender, he knew, ‘Oh man, this girl is squared away. She’s got all her financials. I know exactly what I’m getting into. I’m not really rolling the dice on this person.’ That’s what lenders like.

These are highly analytical people that want to be able to paint a picture of knowing what they’re getting into. They want to value risk and mitigate risk as much as they can. You made it easier for him to do his job. That’s why they’re willing to give you money. For a lot of people are out there saying, ‘How am I going to get money? I guess I can’t do it. I’ll just sit on the couch and watch TV.’

No, if you learn real estate and you learn how to do a lender’s job, and a contractor’s job- you don’t have to go swing the hammer, but you need to know, like you said earlier, they are probably not very good when it comes to managing books or making payments. Lenders are not going to be very good at understanding how to market something. They’re not going to understand that you’re designing this kitchen to be perfect for someone in a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood. That doesn’t make any sense them. What they understand is numbers. You can take your whole business and put it into a spreadsheet, so it’s only numbers. That’s the language they speak. That’s what they understand. That’s what you’re doing that’s making you so successful without having to flip a 100 houses a year.

In essence what I’m hearing is, you put together a really good core four without maybe knowing that term. That’s what you’ve done. You’ve got people that are really good at every single level of real estate, that are crushing it in what they do. You’re just sitting above the whole thing, knowing, ‘Alright. This is the next move. This is what we need. I need to secure financing. How am I going to give it to the lender in the way he wants? Okay, this is the house we’re going to buy. How am I going to design it?’

Then you give the marching orders to the person on your core four, whose job it is to do it,  and you let them run with it. I have no doubt, four, five years later, we’re going to be talking to you, and you’re going to be just making millions of dollars a year flipping houses. You’re just going to take what you’re doing now, and you’re going to ramp it up quite a bit. You are perfect blueprint of what to do if you want to get started.

My guess is that you guys are very good at what you do, but you’re not running around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to keep up something. It’s very measured. It’s systematic and smart with the way that you’re scaling this thing. You’re learning so much that you’re going to be able to scale it bigger in the future. Brandon, do you have any thoughts on that?

Brandon: No. That was pretty darn good. I actually want to turn this right back around, and ask, Ashley, for people who are listening to this, who are running around like a chicken with their head cut off, trying to manage one rehab let’s say, they’re just going nutty, or they got one rental or two rentals and just can’t handle it, do you have any advice for those people?

Ashley: I just think that sometimes you have to take a step back, and see what is going on and look at it by a step-by-step process, as opposed to just trying to stay afloat. By doing that, you have to look one or two or three steps ahead, maybe even four steps ahead, and line those things up to see what follows next, and how to make the fourth step smooth. How do you make a fourth step smooth, the third step smooth, then the second step smooth and the first step smooth?

I think if you don’t get overwhelmed by the entire project, and you just look at it in a very systematic approach, and take the emotion out of it, which I know is very hard to do on your first project, for us it was very hard to do as well. I’m not trying to say that we’re robotic, and going around “beebop beebop. Let’s get this house done.”

If you just very systematically look at this, even if it was someone else’s business, how would you approach it, instead of just being like, ‘Oh, I have all this money coming out from very end, and the house is never going to get done.’ You’re fighting against yourself then at that point. Just take a step back, and look at what follows next, take the emotion out of it and go to the next step in nail it.

David: Beautiful.

Brandon: I love it.

David: Oh, that’s so good, Ashley. Real quickly, before we got to the Fire Round, can you tell us a little bit about your future? What’s next? What are your plans for the future? What are you hoping to do?

Ashley: Obviously with the flipping, I think it’s going pretty well. We really do like flipping. My husband and I are looking into other components of real estate investing as well. We’ve made a couple offers on commercial buildings. Unfortunately, they haven’t been accepted but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to keep trying. We’re going to keep trying with that. We’ve looked into a couple syndication deals. Note investing, we’re doing that. We actually just bought gold recently. That was quite interesting.

We’ve done a few different things. We, obviously like everyone should do, is diversify their portfolio. Try to get multiple revenue streams coming in. Try to put systems in place to not have to work so hard for those systems to operate. We’re really open to anything as long as the numbers make sense, we’re pretty open.

Brandon: Super cool. Alright. Let’s head over to the world famous Fire Round.

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Brandon: Alright. Let’s get to the Fire Round. These questions come direct out of the BiggerPockets forums, which of course you can go and access anytime day or night, 24/7, at BiggerPockets.com/forums. These are some questions that our members have asked. Ashley, we want to see if you can fire some answers their way.

Number one. What is the best way you found to estimate your rehab cost? I can plug the numbers into the BiggerPockets rehab calculator, which nice little plug there, but how do I know how much to put into each category? What is that going to cost me for flooring, paint roof?

Ashley: When you first get started, if you’re going to look at a house obviously, one tip would be to take a GC with you. That GC will be able to tell you right away what the figures will be. Once you understand the scope of a project a little bit better, there’s this magical thing called Google. Google is amazing. Google is a genius, and can help you determine the cost. Now obviously, it’s typically a range, and you should get estimates.

When we first started we got three estimates on everything, regardless if it was a person that my dad had worked with before or not, we wanted to gauge what the going rate was. We did so by getting three estimates on every single component of the rehab.  Once you know those numbers, don’t assume that those numbers are going to stay the way they are indefinitely.

For example in the last year, in our area everything is gone up at least by 10%. If you aren’t tracking your rehab cost, you will miss that. If you went to go then look at a house and you bid on a house based on 10% less than what it actually comes in at, that could potentially be a huge difference. That could be a difference between a profit and a loss. It’s really important to stay on track of these numbers too.

David: Okay. Thank you, Ashley. That’s very good. Can you tell us, for a flip should I buy my home warranty or not? Can you tell us a little bit about what a home warranty is?

Ashley: In terms of, if you’re purchasing a flip? Is that what they’re asking?

David: Yeah. If you’re going to flip a house. That’s what they’re asking. Not, a house to live in, but should they get a home warranty if they’re just going to have it for couple of months and then they’re just going to sell it?

Ashley: We get insurance our houses on every single project that we do. We don’t get a home warranty on it. If it’s in respect to, getting a home warranty as a selling point for a buyer, I think that it’s a no brainer. It’s $500. It translates into thousands of dollars for a prospective buyer. They seem to think that, ‘Oh wow, a home warranty. Oh my gosh. That’s a $1000 added benefit to this house,’ when in reality it’s like 499.

Brandon: I’ve never actually done a home warranty, but I probably should. David, do you do home warranties on yours?

David: I don’t do them on my rental properties because I found that the home warranty companies, they just never played fair. They always find some reasons to say they shouldn’t have to replace it when it’s a rental. For all my clients that I work with, we always get a home warranty.

One, it’s much easier for a primary residence owner to make it work. Two, it keeps you, if you’re selling a house, from getting sued because you don’t know if your microwave goes on the fritz the next month, or your oven stops working. The buyers, of course, are of course going to say, ‘You knew it. This was defective. You sold me a lemon.’ They’re going to try to sue you. When you get home warranty included, then they’ll just take care of it for 60 bucks or whatever, and you can keep your clients out of court.

Those are the times I use home warranties. As an investor, I usually don’t. I haven’t found one that I can trust that will do good.

Brandon: Alright. Next question. Should I hire an actual property inspector on the house I’m about to buy, or can I just go with my experienced project manager / contractor for the walkthrough?

Ashley: It depends on how experienced your project manager / GC is. If your GC is very experienced and has seen everything from foundation issues, to stucco remediation, to knob and tube wiring, major priced cause problems, then you don’t need to hire an inspector. If you don’t have a very seasoned GC, I would highly recommend hiring an inspector because obviously, an inspector will most likely see things. It’s a second set of eyes, so it’s never a down side. In terms of, at the end of the day, you’re trying to save as much money as you can, to make as much money as you can. You might not have to, if you have a very seasoned GC.

David: Very nice. Do you stage your flips?

Ashley: Depending on the price point. Also depending on the layout of the house. Right now, we’re doing a house that is an open floor plan. Normally with completely open floor plans, I recommend staging because it gives someone the vision. Everyone loves open floor plans in that, until they have to decorate them, and figure out where they’re putting the couch themselves. Staging provides that vision that a lot of buyers can’t seem to make themselves. For lower price point homes in a very competitive area, we actually just save the cost and we don’t stage them.

Brandon: Alright. Alright well, that’s the end of the Fire Round.

Now, let’s get to today’s Famous Four. Alright. These are the same four questions we ask every guest every week. Ashley, we’re going to throw them at you, see what you got to say.

Number one. Give a favorite real estate-related book.

Ashley: I think you’re going to be very surprised because I don’t think anyone has ever said this before. Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Brandon: Oh, I’ve never heard of it. Is this a good book? Okay. Good answer.

Ashley: I know. It has to be Rich Dad Poor Dad. If you’re talking about a book that didn’t change the way I do a process, but actually changed my life and the direction it was heading it’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. No questions.

David: Alright. What is your favorite business book?

Ashley: My favorite business book is Freakonomics. That is because I like psychology. I like research. I like studies. I like how figuring out how people think, and how processes develop. I like that it was the first mainstream book to show that correlation does not equal causation. Any book by Malcolm Gladwell too. I really like him too.

David: Ashley, I’m picking up on the fact that you’re pretty smart. I want to ask about your hobbies, but I’m afraid that you’re going to say that you put Rubik’s Cubes together. Can you do that thing where you put it behind your back and blindfold yourself after looking at it one time, and you could put the whole Rubik’s Cube together in two minutes?

Ashley: Only when I’m standing on my head.

David: Okay. That’s what I thought. Thank you. Other than that, and solving complex algorithms, can you tell us some of your hobbies, things that you enjoy?

Ashley: Well, we have two girls. Obviously, I love spending time with my kids and doing anything with my family. Obviously, I work with my family so I love spending time with my family as much as possible. I also compete horseback riding. I’ve done that since I was four. I really enjoy doing that. Traveling all over the country, competing.

Brandon: Cool. Super cool. Alright. I like horses, but when I was in fifth grade or something like that. I was at a camp. This is the first time I’m ever riding. I’m walking around this little thing. It gets spooked by a deer, and it takes off, just running as fast as it can. I’m just hanging on for dear life, little fourth or fifth grade or whatever. Crying and blubbering as I’m flying around this race track. Eventually, of course, I get thrown off. The horse steps on my head, crushes the helmet that I was wearing. That’s why I am the way that I am. True story.

It took me three years to get back on a horse. I was at another camp. I’m on this horse. It’s a family camp, fourth of July thing. I’m on a horse. There’s a zip-line there. One of those where you jump off this 50 foot or 100 foot tower and people go zip-line. Anyway, the horse track was under the zip line, because that’s smart. They usually just yell, ‘Hey, you know, don’t go the zip-line.’ Anyway, the zip-line person didn’t hear. I’m right under the zip-line as now an 8th grader, and the person jumps. Of course, scares the horse, takes off running again. That time I hung on. I don’t ride horses anymore.

Ashley: I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t either.

Brandon: Two first times. Both traumatic horse experiences.

David: If you guys want to see what Brandon looks like when he was in fifth grade, go to his Instagram account and look at his most recent picture. It was probably post having your head stepped on by the horse, so that might explain the odd shape of [inaudible][01:03:09].

Brandon: Yeah. That was around that same time. I had a rat tail, like a mullet, but skinnier.

David: Oh, that’s so good.

Brandon: It was so good. Yeah. Anyway. Alright, enough about me. What do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from those who give up, fail, or they never get started?

Ashley: I’m going to steal my husband’s answer for this question, which is love it. You’ve got to love it. You’re putting in so much time, and you’re dedicating so much of yourself to real estate that if you don’t love it, you’re going to get burnt out, or you’re going to give up while you are not even started. You really have to love what you do.

Brandon: You know in 200 and what, 278 episodes, I don’t think anybody’s actually ever said that answer. It’s so true. Everything else, persistence, dedication, and sacrifice, and all those things that people say, which are true, you are not going to do any of them if you don’t love it.  At least some degree in your soul, you have to love the pain of building a real estate empire.

Ashley: My husband’s going to die that you said that because he’s literally listened to every single podcast. He said, ‘The only answer people don’t stay is love it, and it’s the most obvious answer. It’s, you have to love it.

I was like, ‘That’s a really good point. Can I steal that from you?’

He was like, ‘No.’ The fact that you just said that too, that acknowledgement, he’s going to be like-.

Brandon: We’ll have to get him on the show sometime to tell his side of the story.

Ashley: Absolutely.

Brandon: We’ll learn all about it. That’s super cool. Well now, Ashley this is fantastic. I think David’s go the final wrap up question. Go ahead, David,

David: Ashley, tell us where can people find out more about you.

Ashley: We are at HouseItLook.com. H, o, u, s, e, i, t, l, o, o, k,.com. We’re also on Instagram at HouseItLook. We’re on Facebook HouseItLook. BiggerPockets, obviously. We’re available pretty much any time on social media.

Brandon: Cool. Alright. Good deal. Thank you, Ashley, very much. This has been a lot of fun.

Ashley: Thank you.

Brandon: I grew and learned a ton as well. Thank you, and we’ll see you around.

Ashley: Great. Thank you, both.

Brandon: Alright. That was our show with Ashley Wilson. That was pretty fantastic.

David: That was amazing. I’m really, really impressed by Ashley. She’s doing everything right. She knows what she’s doing. She’s going to grow to tremendous levels. What a cool blueprint for everybody else to follow if they want to get in the house flipping.

Brandon: Yeah, that was super cool. She also mentioned that, we had another guest on the podcast. His name was Graham Mink. She just told us this after we stopped recording. Her husband played with Graham Mink on the hockey team, at the same time they were investing, getting started. Neither knew that the other person was doing it. He was on episode 119 of the BiggerPockets podcast. Came out back in April of 2015.

Anyway, Graham Mink was a real estate investor as well, has a different story. If you guys want to check out that, just go to BiggerPockets.com/show119. Anyway, I thought that was kind of a funny thing. She said neither of them knew that the other person was doing real estate, despite playing on the same hockey team, until they heard Graham on the BiggerPockets podcast.

Anyway, but yeah. Super cool show. Ashley doing super cool things. Yeah, I’m excited to see where she and her family, and that business goes. We didn’t talk about this. I’m family business guy. My mother in law, my father in law, my own parents, my brother in law is one of my head contractors. I do a lot of family stuff as well. It’s worked out really well for us.

David: Yeah. I think if you do it right, if you have a good family you can trust. People usually have bad stories. They trusted their family just because it was easy, not because it was actually smart. You have to ask yourself.

Brandon: Yeah. That is so important right there. Yeah. That’s true in partnerships too. ‘Oh, I’ll partner with this guy because he’s there.’

‘Was he good at what he does? Does he bring in value to the table?’

‘I don’t know. He’s there.’

David: Yeah. When it doesn’t work out, you’re mad about the fact, ‘Yeah, you can’t do this business. Partners are going to screw you over.’ Well, no. You didn’t do very good due diligence and you made a bad decision.

Family can be great. Family can be bad, just like any other partner. You have to evaluate it all the same way, but it’s definitely working out for Ashley. They’re kind of the Brady Bunch of real estate right now.

Brandon: They are the Brady Bunch of real estate. It’s pretty awesome. Well, cool. Alright. Well, David Green, I’m going to make you feel really bad right now. I’m going to leave you so I can go jump out and go surfing. I’m going to leave you right now.

David: I’ll be with you in spirit out there, watching you surf while I wander around the place.

Brandon: Yeah, come out. It’s good. You still coming out in a few weeks? Come hang out.

David: Yeah. Few weeks. We’re going to get it all set up. I’ll be out there. Maybe we’ll record a podcast from Hawaii, and make everybody else feel bad.

Brandon: On the water? We should totally bring out like a microphone and record on the waves. Okay, we’ll get hit by another surfer boat.

David: Who wouldn’t want to listen to us choking, and gasping for air over in the ocean, as other surfers are screaming and cussing at us, and we’re trying to record. Can we get a guest to go out there with us, on a surfboard and just float?

Brandon: We could find guests that would come out there with us. That would be an amazing show.

David: Amazingly terrible.

Brandon: Alright. I’m leaving. I’m leaving. Alright. Thank you all for listening to the show again. If you like this show, make sure you guys leave us a rating, and a review in iTunes. That helps us out tremendously. Let somebody else you know, know about this podcast. If you’ve never shared this on your Facebook, go to YouTube, find the YouTube version of this show, just go to YouTube.com/BiggerPockets, and then go share it on your Facebook page and let your family and friends know that this is a cool podcast.

David: Don’t be like today’s guest has been, and Graham, and you had a best friend that whole time that you could have been talking about real estate, and you didn’t know it because you didn’t talk to people about it.

Brandon: I know. Isn’t that funny? They weren’t sharing our podcasts on their Facebook page. If they would have, they would have known.

David: You never know what crazy advice, they may give you your motivation, they may give you to help you achieve your real estate investing goals, or that you could help them.

Brandon: Yup.

David: That’s a quick tip number two. Share the show and find other like minded people to share your passion with, so that you can love.

Brandon: Quick tip number two.

David: There you go. That was good. Alright. This is David Green for Brandon Rat Tail Turner, signing off.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Ashley and her family got involved in real estate
  • House hacking their way in the beginning
  • The dynamics of the family business
  • Ashley’s specialty
  • How they split the profit
  • What it’s like working with a family
  • Finding what is “light work” for you
  • Long-distance investing and the core people on your team
  • How she finds deals
  • Close-to-close houses through “stacking”
  • How she designs homes
  • How they finance their deals
  • Her plans for the future
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Fire Round Questions

Tweetable Topics:

Connect with Ashley

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!

7 Comments

  1. Percy N.

    Great podcast @Ashlwywilson

    I was fortunate to meet Ashley on BiggerPockets a few years ago and then met in person to discuss REI.

    Kyle and Ashley are the real deal and great people.

    Wish them much continued success!

  2. Julie Marquez

    I’m halfway through the podcast and this is great! Ashley is definitely someone I want to meet in real life. I love her business and how she works with her family and perfect the systems.

    Anyway, at the beginning of the podcast, David had a tip to get passive income because you never know when your job won’t pay you. He made it sound like W2 employment isn’t secure, but rentals are. I have been employed for 11 years and even during my elected and non-elected unemployment I did not see employment as a risk. Houses are a risk and now that I’m in the middle of an unexpected, expensive huge sewer repair and without a tenant, I’m taking more of a hit than I ever did during unemployment. I love real estate, but I wouldn’t ever suggest that employment is such a risk as he implied.

  3. Scott A Smith

    I’m sure there’s likely great content in this podcast, but I had to turn it off at the intro to Ashley. She might be a fantastic human, but you lost me when you introduced her as the spouse of a Professional hockey player. It’s not hard to get rich when you’ve already got a head start. Hopefully my assumption is wrong, but I hear these pitches all the time and I turn out to always be pretty accurate.

    I’m 42 and trying to start with around $50k in liquidity – where are the articles that provide advice for scenarios when you don’t have family help (my father is a disabled veteran, so no help there and my spouse’s father passed from Alzheimers at a young age – there’s no head start available here). RDPD talks about private investors, but is that something you approach for your first deal?

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