Real estate house-flipping shows promote the glamorous aspects of investment real estate and lure many into believing anyone can flip houses to make a quick buck. But how easy is it really? Nest Editor Alex Klein met with two local real estate investors who explained (patiently) the process and how they came to the profession.

The right mix

John and Corinne Tesh have been house-flippers since before it became en vogue. Corinne has her broker’s license, a degree in interior design and a background in project management. John was a commercial photographer with previous rental property experience. They believed that together they had the right combination of skills to make this venture a success.

They were quick to discover, however, that finding the right properties and converting them into large profits is pretty difficult. One month they submitted more than 20 offers on houses without a single response.

John assured me it’s a lot harder than people think.

“This is a business where you better know what you’re doing. There are a lot of moving parts, there’s a lot of money involved and it’s difficult to get leads and do the necessary marketing.” So when Corinne received an email last September about a free real estate investor networking group — Greensboro Deal Maker Sessions — the couple decided to attend.

Expensive backpacks

That evening they met a man who would change the course of their future: Jim Williams, who some may know as the We Buy Ugly Houses guy. The Teshs bought a house presented that very night (more on that later), and soon after Jim sat them down to discuss the HomeVestors franchise. John and Corinne were dubious at first. They had already spent a tidy sum on other real estate investment seminars, bootcamps and gurus. Corinne found these helpful; John however describes them as “expensive backpacks” because all you walk away with is a lot of material to read and implement. Corinne credits these events with giving her a solid foundation, but both agreed that they needed more guidance and structure.

Since joining HomeVestors less than a year ago, John and Corinne have purchased and sold 14 houses through their company, Citygate Homes LLC, and they estimate that by the end of the year it will be 25. Next year, they plan on 40. Corinne and John recently asked themselves, What would we be doing if we weren’t doing this? Really, what? According to the Teshs, attending Deal Maker Sessions and joining HomeVestors is the best thing they’ve ever done.

Abundance vs. scarcity

Corinne credits HomeVestors with providing structure, coaching, marketing and lead generation, as well as making them part of a team. John and Corinne now run the Greensboro Deal Maker Sessions, which were created by Jim to allow those involved in the business to network and share their deals. Everyone is welcome and the sessions are free to attend. The Teshs appreciate Jim’s “abundance mentality as opposed to a scarcity mentality — he really feels that there’s enough to go around, and everybody is better off when they share resources.”

‘The smell of money’

The home that John and Corinne purchased at their first Deal Maker Session happens to be their most dramatic rehab story. “It was a hoarder house! Our painter was gagging. We had to take turns going in and out of the house because it smelled so bad. The seller from JKK Properties was pregnant and couldn’t even go inside. We literally hauled 12 dump trucks’ worth of stuff out of that house. Our feet stuck to the carpet!” So they tore this house apart and even bleached the walls. “After that, the house started to sing,” said Corinne. It sold only a week after they completed the rehab. “This house is now famous in our circle. It’s been used in a PowerPoint presentation called ‘The Smell of Money.’ You literally had to breathe through your mouth.”

Have what it takes?

Although the difficulty of refurbishing and flipping houses is real, John and Corinne believe it’s a viable career option for the right candidate. “You actually don’t need a lot of money to do this job,” says John. “There are investors out there, hard-money lenders, plenty of ways to make it work.”

So what do you need? The entrepreneurial spirit, a strong work ethic and, of course, the ability to see potential in what may look like nothing more than a house full of trash.

Next Greensboro Deal Maker Session

7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct 6

Wingate by Windham

3901 Sedgebrook St. (Off Highway 68), High Point


Interested in investment properties and real estate? Join Nest Editor Alex Klein on Oct. 6 at the next Greensboro Deal Maker Session, where she’ll experience what its like networking with the real estate investing movers and shakers of the Triad. Free to the public.

Read part 2 of the HomeVestors story in the next edition of Nest, Oct. 28.

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