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  • Writer's pictureKaleigh Sullivan

Meet the Investor: Lindsey Mahoney

1: What is the name of your business? Tell us a little bit about it and you!

My business is called Building Bluebird and I love all things real estate! I recently moved back to my hometown of Toledo, OH to become an agent and invest in real estate through house flipping and rental properties. I also run a home renovation & design blog called Building Bluebird and co-host a podcast with my husband called From the Nest Podcast. On the podcast we share our home renovation adventures, talk with real estate investors and discuss our experiences as we begin investing in real estate.

2: How did you get started and why?

I started this business while living in Denver and working on my third live-in flip. I came to the realization that if I was going to be away from my children for 8 hours a day, I wanted it to be for something that I was really passionate about. I quit my corporate job and my family moved back to our hometown of Toledo, OH so that I could pursue my passion of real estate. We successfully flipped one house in Toledo and have purchased 2 rental properties. At the moment I am focusing on building my business as a real estate agent and renovating our new family home. I am a huge believer that your home should bring you joy and not drain your energy every day. I love helping my clients find the home of their dreams or highlight the best features of their home to sell for top dollar.

3: What was your biggest hurdle to get over to start and how did you overcome it?

My biggest hurdle has been time management with this new career and quality time with my family. As a realtor, I faced a bit of a learning curve as I entered the sales world. It has taken a little time to find my authentic voice as a realtor and I am finally making real strides in this area of my business. I love flipping houses and we were successful with our first flip in Toledo, but it took 6 months of my attention to complete the project. I am interested in more of these house flipping projects but I need to focus on a steady income stream first. The same goes for rental properties. It is important to really understand a market before buying a rental property and I feel that I need to first master my realtor role and then focus on growing my portfolio. While I take a step back from purchasing more properties, I have been focusing heavily on renovations in our own home that is a fixer upper. I love sharing projects on my blog and tips to create a home that you love. I want everyone to feel inspired in their home and sharing my DIY projects and tips is my way of connecting with others and sharing my passion.

4: Think of one project.

- What type of project? Flip house – it was our first flip in a new city (Toledo) where we did not live in the property for 2 years while fixing it up

- How did you acquire it? My brother found the listing and I called the agent right away. It was at a great price and the neighborhood I really wanted. The previous owner had passed away and her sister needed to sell it. The owner was a smoker and the home had fallen into disrepair.

- What type of financing? We acquired this property with a conventional loan

- If you’re comfortable, provide numbers (acquisition, rehab costs, sold for etc) We bought this property for $95K and put in about $55K (original estimate was for $40K) and we sold it at $210K.

- Biggest learning curve on this project – so many lessons learned with this project!

o First, the little stuff always adds up – we had to guess on some of the estimates when we put in the offer because we were starting from scratch. We didn’t have our usual contractors from Denver where we knew their rates, so we were off by quite a bit

o It took longer to complete the renovations – next time I would hire out more of the projects and not do so much of it myself

o Understanding taxes! We thought capital gains was a flat 15% but it is actually your tax bracket – this affected our final numbers which was a bummer

o Toledo is not the booming market like Denver, even if the renovation is beautiful! We had to really be careful to not overspend on this home because the market would not support it.

- Provide pictures if possible!

5: Favorite style/design/wow factor: - What is your go-to wow factor & why? Or, is it always something new? Everyone knows that kitchens and bathrooms sell a house, but I love to add an element of surprise somewhere in the house. In our last flip house I focused on the laundry room. This is an easily overlooked space in a flip house so I wanted potential buyers to be surprised when they saw the beautiful and functional space. I added beautiful wallpaper and a shelf above the washer and dryer and created a “mudroom” on the other side of the room. - Does it add value to the property? I believe it does because it sets the house apart from the competition. While others in the neighborhood often have laundry in the unfinished basement, our house has laundry on the first floor and it looks beautiful.

6: Biggest piece of advice:

Crunch the numbers and factor in your time spent on a project!

While it is important to analyze a deal, I also think it is really important to take that first step. Don’t fall into the analysis paralysis trap. You will make mistakes and learn SO much with your first rental property or flip house, but they are lessons you cannot learn by looking at numbers.

7: Book Recommendation: Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

Starting a business can be super scary, but I love Marie Forleo’s mantra that everything is figureoutable and I think about it often as I continue as an entrepreneur.

To follow Lindsey's journey follow her @buildingbluebird and follow her blog

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