Don’t try to do it all yourself. You’ll be worn out and hate the process and the point of investing is to do it again and again. Get a great team behind you that you can count on and trust to get the job done. That can be your family and friends, a professional, Gary down the street even…but don’t do it yourself. It’s a lot to take on, and your body will thank you for asking for help!
Shows like Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines have really glamorized the creativity and enjoyment that comes with buying a rundown home, fixing it, and then selling it for a profit. Some amateurs have ventured into this industry and have made a lucrative career out of it. But others, particularly when a market is stagnant, have lost their shirts. As a part of my series about the ‘5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Successful Career Buying, Rehabbing, and Selling Properties’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordan McBride.
Jordan McBride, is a successful realtor and team leader and the owner of Native Developments, a company devoted to helping investors, invest properly in real estate. Jordan is not only a guru on houses, but a tequila connoisseur, amateur gardner and an expert in her community. She’s a wife and mother to 3 beautiful children and they live happily in the small community of Westgate, in Columbus, Ohio.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
My parent’s flipped houses growing up, and I fell in love with the idea of these “houses” being torn apart and put back together. I hated some of the work they did, following market trends, but…I loved the houses. Each one had a story and I couldn’t get enough.
As an adult, I found myself in a crappy 9–5 with no time for my daughter, so I walked in one day and quit. I signed up for Real Estate classes the next day and never looked back. Now, I’m running two real estate related companies and teaching other people about these houses, how to love them and bring them back to life without painting everything gray!
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
Native Developments, my new company. One of our first clients was so gung-ho. He was just really excited to get started into flipping homes in central Ohio. We found a perfect house, he bought it and the renovations started. Everything went great, until he realized he had to pay the mortgage payment! He didn’t even process the fact that if you own the house, you have to pay the mortgage for it (unless you pay cash obviously!) It’s something so simple and normal to me, that it blew my mind he didn’t know that!
It made me stop and slow down. I needed to educate these first time investors on how things work and what to expect. There was a need to reform the business into a more educational process and not just dive in assuming they know what they’re doing! Yes, we want you to make money and help the community, but we also need you to be educated for the future!
Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to” –Audrey Hepburn
It’s simple, but faith is what we all run on. On some level, quitting my job and starting in Real Estate was 100% faith based. Yes, my husband was on board, but I had to have the faith that I would be successful! Flipping houses, having two more kids and starting a brand new company in the middle of a global pandemic…faith! Who does that…someone crazy, and running with a lot of self-belief and faith.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! We are looking to start flipping homes as a company, not just for others, which is huge when it’s your own money to mess up!
I also am looking into contracting some “tiny homes” close to downtown to help our growing homeless population as a non-profit.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We want you to be successful, and learn to invest without us. We don’t want to hold your hand forever, but give you the tools, contacts and lessons learned for you to put on your own and keep helping the communities grow and prosper!
We are specifically picking first time investors or fairly new investors to work with. We want to show you how we’ve failed, what we’ve learned and how to get past hurdles, so those people and their families can thrive. Yes, we teach you how to make money, but more importantly, we live here too! We want you to make our communities better, give the residents nice places to live, and help the city we love so much to keep growing.
Some of our houses we recommend are only profiting $20-$30k at the end. We don’t see it as you have to make $100k for it to be a good idea. We see it as that’s $20k you didn’t have before, a whole bunch of new lessons learned and a house that’s ready for someone to enjoy safely and with peace of mind!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
As cliché as it sounds, my husband has been the biggest backer for me. He didn’t bat an eye when I told him I wanted to do Real estate and quit my job. He didn’t laugh at me when I started Native Developments a month after we all went into quarantine. He knows the value of my knowledge, and he knows I won’t do something without my whole heart into it. He’s the best, and he’s always there to listen and support!
Also, my mom. When I told her about Native, she jumped right in as my guinea pig. She bought the first house Native ever did. Although it wasn’t easy, she handled it and asked questions that made me re-evaluate things and how I had them set up. She definitely gave a lot of good for thought to see if I could make this work!
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Innovative: I’m a dreamer for sure! Always have the big ideas, and the spontaneity to jump head first into it! You have to be a problem solver, not just in this industry, but in life. If one design doesn’t work, sit there and figure it out. Move the cabinets around, move windows…figure it out! I don’t give up on things, and that’s super annoying to people!.
We just renovated a house and I tore down a wall while my husband was a work because I knew he wouldn’t want to do it. He just can’t see the final result. Let me tell you, it’s stunning. We finished the project and he loves it, but he wouldn’t have agreed to it if I explained it before.
- Follow your gut…over the years I learned the hard way that my gut is usually right. Now, I make a point to sit in the decision before I respond and listen to what my gut says! I’d rather go down on my own accord than jump on someone else’s bandwagon. I’m not afraid to make mistakes, but I am afraid of not taking chances.
- You have to be coachable. I didn’t gain this knowledge overnight, and it took me learning from other people on what to do. I have a team behind me and they also have to be coachable. If I can’t be taught anything new, how am I hoping to teach others what I know.
We tell our kids this all the time, at least I do, that they have to be on a team so they can learn to be coached! Team experience is key, especially when you need the best behind you!
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry? If you can please share a story or example.
- The idea of waking up and the market crashing is pretty interesting every day. It clearly hasn’t crashed, and hopefully it doesn’t anytime soon, but real estate is cyclical.
IT WILL CRASH at some point, and no one knows when. It’s almost exciting to just not know your future 100%. It really makes you hustle now and set yourself up and your clients, for success during a recession.
- The excitement on their faces when they get to see the final walk through of their vision. Most of the time, these houses are just disgusting when we get them. Nasty, termites, fleas, sometimes poop on the floor. You name it, we’ve seen it.
They really struggle to see the finished product, even with our vision board’s photos, renderings, etc. They almost don’t believe it can happen. Then, we take them on walk throughs for each phase that’s complete, but the last one has to wait until it’s staged and ready for market! When they walk through and see how much the house has transformed, what they’ve been working on, and what they trusted us to help them with…it’s like a kid on Christmas morning. They are excited about walls being gone, fireplaces, tile choices, cabinet pulls. All of which they picked, but just didn’t see it coming together.
- Real estate is just crazy. It’s ever changing and every single day is different than one before. One day I go to sleep and my clients are happy and content and the next day I wake up and we are the #1 market in the nation and clients are overpaying for houses by $50k in cash making finding a good investment property nearly impossible! It literally changes daily, and keeps me on my toes!
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.
- Right now, people are overpaying for houses. By a lot. My client just lost out on a bid and he was offering $50k over asking price and buying as is. That’s insane, but he lost. Someone bid more. By doing this, people have negative equity before they even move into the damn house. That’s not sustainable. When the market levels out again, they will be out a lot of cash reserves and won’t be able to make that back.
- Investors are quick flipping houses. Buyers are buying them and then selling because they can’t afford the repairs the house needs. My neighbor just went through this. Bought from an investor and $20k later out of pocket, she sold because she just couldn’t keep up with them. They are rushing the flip, but doing bad work. It’s a lose lose situation. That’s something we don’t allow to happen.
- Sometimes, agents are sucky. I work with so many agents who just genuinely suck at their jobs. They got into RE to make quick money, and don’t actually care about their clients or investors. They don’t have the knowledge or the desire to learn to guide properly.
If I could reform the industry…..
- I would make agents retest every 3 years when their CE is due. See if they’ve kept up with the laws changing, see if they have any past violations and instead of a fine, take their license away for a specified time.
- I think it would be beneficial if we taught about Real Estate, mortgages and credit in schools. I’d happily go in and discuss how to do these things properly, what it all means, and how to manage it. I think too many people are rushing into buying a house, or an investment property without actually knowing what the hell they are doing. Teaching people when they are young how to do it right…would really help the market I think.
- Real Estate is everywhere, yes. We all know it’s really driving our economy and helping in so many ways, but it’s hurting people in so many ways. We need more programs for first time buyers so they have the opportunity to buy and not overpay. Giving more grants, education opportunities, down payment assistance, etc.…to those who need it most.
What advice would you give to other real estate leaders to help their teams to thrive and to create a really fantastic work culture?
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. Not just the tedious minute stuff, but the big stuff too. Make them feel like what they are doing matters! Let them spread their wings a bit. Sometimes as the leader, you have to trust and listen to the team you’ve put around yourself. Hopefully they are smart and driven and creative as hell. Let them show you that daily!
- Shut up and stop trying to impress people. Literally no one cares what kind of car you drive, what you’re wearing or if you’ve got some big fancy house. What they care about is how you treat them and others. If they feel like you care about them, and their opinions, and that they have a voice and a place in this office/industry, they will work better for YOU! As an added bonus, they won’t talk bad behind your back either and maybe they will notice your new Tory Burch purse, or Armani suit, but really, who cares either way?
- Know your weaknesses. I know my zone of genius, and I know where I royally suck. You have to know yourself so well that you know exactly who to put around you. If your team knows that you need them, and you’re all in it together, they will work better for you.
Yes, you’re the boss, but they have to know you’re human. I’m not wonder woman. I act like it, my husband calls me that, but I have weaknesses. My team is better than me at some things, not all, and thank God they are.
Ok, wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share with our readers your “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful Career Buying, Rehabbing, and Selling Properties”? If you can, please give a story or an example for each?
- You need a savvy, knowledgeable agent in your corner. They hold the keys to the kingdom, and know how to get you the most bang for your buck. If they are really good, they can also tell you what finishes, what locations and what features, buyers in those areas want the most! Use that one agent for everything. Trust me, they won’t mind the extra work because it’s guaranteed money. This relationship is vital!
- Establish relationships that are long lasting. You need your go-to people. You keep feeding them, they will keep working for you. Eventually, their prices will drop or they will do you favors because you’re loyal. We use the same 3 contractors usually. I trust them, they know me and the team, and we get it done. I have one title company who handles all our flips and investments. I also use the same rep from that title company each time!!! She knows what’s going on, she knows what I need and I don’t have to share my personal information over and over! You have to maintain those relationships in order to survive.
- Be flexible. Rigid thinking and behaviors simply won’t work in real estate, let alone flipping. You have to be flexible to each situation, each day. If your lighting design won’t work because there are studs in the way, then find a solution to move them. Did your countertop company run out of what you ordered and now you have to wait an additional month…nope…you can go pick out something new, or you have an additional 30 days to stage, get ready for market and do last minute touch ups!
- Don’t try to do it all yourself. You’ll be worn out and hate the process and the point of investing is to do it again and again. Get a great team behind you that you can count on and trust to get the job done. That can be your family and friends, a professional, Gary down the street even…but don’t do it yourself. It’s a lot to take on, and your body will thank you for asking for help!
- Stage your houses! Staged houses sell for more money, faster than unstaged houses. It’s in our contract that each house will be staged fully prior to listing it. It’s easier to sell, looks amazing and it’s such a small cost in the grand scheme of things that it’s worth it! People will walk in and see the house done up, and sometimes even buy some of the furniture! Just do it, trust me!
What are the most common mistakes you have seen other people make when they try their own hand at house flipping? Can you share any stories?
A lot of people go in thinking “it will be a quick flip” and 90 days later, they are still working. Houses have secrets, and those secrets are sometimes hidden…until they aren’t. If you rip a wall down and notice knob and tube wiring. Guess what now has to be removed from the whole house?
Don’t be surprised if you go over budget and over time on your houses. It’s common. We make sure we have a pretty big contingency fund just in case things like termites, structural damage, knob and tube,etc pop up when we start tearing walls down!
Secondly, people often underestimate the cost of repairs. Take a contractor with you for your first estimate. Get their opinion and see if it was close to your thoughts. Wood is expensive, tile is expensive, and eventually it all adds up!
The third mistake is getting caught up doing design features that THEY like, not the broad community. You have to think bigger when it comes to flipping. It’s not about if I really liked the green tile over the blue. It’s about what the mass majority of the public will want! Don’t forget that!
From your experience, what can be done to avoid those errors?
You need a team of pros to help you. Hire someone like me, or ask your agent to just help walk through the process. We can send you contractors and tile choices and help you set up the right team behind you so you’re not discouraged on flip #1.
It’s okay to ask for help, especially in an industry as fast paced as real estate. No one jumps into a hurricane and comes out unscathed.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Jokingly, my husband says adopting all the kids in the world ☺ I totally would sign up for that. But in reality, I really really really want to get our investors and myself (and the public) more involved in the homeless population we have here in Ohio.
I’d like to setup a site downtown, and have different trades come and put up tiny houses for them. Like a community, but their own safe environment. I would help them with job placement, education, health care, haircuts, etc.
I want them to know that we, as their community, do see them, and we do care. I’ve thought about this for awhile, just don’t have it all figured out 100% yet. It’ll happen, just wait! Ultimately, in my eyes, it would turn into a global commitment to help the homeless.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can follow us on social media @native-developments or www.native-developments.com
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.