Meet the Investor: Katie & Uriah
1: What is the name of your business? Tell us a little bit about it and you!
My name is Katelynn, but my friends call me Katie and the guy next to me is Uriah, my husband and business partner. Together we own The Inspiring Investment : a home-buying, house flipping and renovation company based out of Raleigh, NC. We met at App State where he was studying industrial design and ended up married with kids super young.
2: How did you get started and why?
We started flipping houses by accident. At the very beginning of our marriage we were dead broke, my parents were going through a divorce, we had a new baby, and I struggled with some sort of depression during what was a truly challenging season. We just needed to start over, to have something that was ours. But like I said, we had no money to our name and family couldn’t help out. So … naturally, we took to Craigslist.
There it was: a light blue ranch, with good bones, broken siding, missing floors, and half-finished tile work in the “middle of nowhere” (Holly Springs, NC) - right in our budget.
Think: rodent droppings in all the cabinets, faux brick linoleum, blue marble laminate countertops and a basement full of mason jars filled with Lord-knows what. Of course, we bought it.
That first house was a 4 year live-in renovation overflowing with weekend projects, DIY’s, and YouTube education. We pinched pennies, saved up for materials one project at a time, and survived on boxed mac & cheese and frozen broccoli. It was awful and wonderful all at the same time.
We ended up selling the house, paid off our vehicle, all high interest school debt, and a little more. Uriah decided then and there he wanted to do this for a living. (I’m embarrassed to admit now, but I did not support this idea, especially after just living through a 4 year project.)
Near the end of our time at that first “flip”, by the grace of God, Uriah landed a position with a hedge fund building a rental portfolio in the Raleigh area - his role: real estate acquisitions and construction management.
Working at this company taught him all the basics of what we needed to know to flip houses on a larger scale, so that’s what we did. We began looking for houses that didn’t fit the parameters of the company (with his boss’ permission), found our own funding and began flipping houses on the side.
Ultimately, the answer to how we got started was that things sort of fell into place at the right time. We had almost nothing to our name - so we bought what we could afford. We believe the Lord provided exactly what we needed right when we needed it. The most valuable gift: an opportunity to learn.
I think our “why” is a bit of an emotionally-driven answer, compared to most real estate investors. In the midst of a season of depression and brokenness, we began rebuilding that broken house and in a way, this set the foundation of our marriage too. That first house that we “flipped” in the beginning, was a truly a redemptive renovation and incredibly healing both emotionally and spiritually as we learned to lean on each other.
Yes, there are financial benefits to flipping houses, but there are far easier, more passive ways to invest in real estate. Each time a seller affirms they felt a sense of hope and value after working with us, I’m reminded of the value God sees in each and every one of us. Every time I stage a flip, I’m grateful for the potential Jesus sees in me. Each time we sell a flip, I’m reminded of how He provides our every need. This is our “why” and what drives us to do good work that matters.
3: What was your biggest hurdle to get over to start and how did you overcome it?
I would say money. We overcame this by partnering with people in the beginning and worked hard to develop real life relationships with private lenders and eventually bank lenders that would work with us as we grew.
4: Think of one project.
If I could share one project it would be The Modern Split. A split level home in Raleigh that went through a major overhaul. This was a flip project, we acquired through a direct referral, and financed with private lenders. Usually, we only share numbers with our active email subscribers, but I’ll make an exception:
The Modern Split:
Purchase price: $240,000
Final rehab #: $ 120,000
Sold for: $465,000
** These numbers don’t show the cost of replacing stolen appliances, tools that walked off the job, the 9 months of holding costs (utilities, insurance, interest to lenders) nor the agent fees to sell it. So our actual total profit for this one was $57,654. Not bad but for a $120,000 rehab, not something to write home about.
Biggest lesson from this project: Don’t trust subcontractors until they have earned it!
For more information on The Modern Split and to read the stories of our other projects please visit (https://theinspiringinvestment.com/flips/the-modern-split/)
5: Favorite style/design/wow factor: What is your go-to wow factor & why? Or, is it always something new?
I’m drawn to classy, clean-lined, but comfortable design and take inspiration from Chris Loves Julia, Hartman Haus, The Grit and Polish, and Studio McGee.
We’ve been working to standardize our selections, without making every house look the same. It’s more challenging than you’d think. Special features, lighting and staging are three things that add a wow-factor so although I have some standards for lighting, I make a point to choose fixture packages that are unique to that space, especially on higher price-point homes.
6: Biggest piece of advice:
Know your market. Not just study the houses and neighborhoods, but know the intricate details of what's going on in particular parts of town that you want to work in. Is there new development pushing prices higher on the East side of town? Why is that? Who is doing most of the building there? Are there some homes to buy on the fringe of the HOT parts that may turn into HOT areas during your hold time? This is where the big possibilities in our industry come from. Don't invest based on the “what if” numbers, only the “here and now” numbers. If you get lucky and the area does turn during your project then great, but if it doesn’t then you are safe. Remote investing seems crazy difficult and if you aren’t intimately aware of what's going on in your town then be careful of what you buy. In some towns it's a street by street difference of 10’s of thousands in price difference. Once, we bought a flip where one HOUSE over comped out $15,000 less than ours.
7: Book Recommendation:
Uriah’s not a big reader, but I love a good book. That’s a hard one. I think I’ll share a few based on type:
Christian fiction: Redeeming Love
Business / Life: How to win friends and influence people
Real Estate Negotiations: Never Split the Difference