Meet 29-year-old Meghan Spears, a professional with a background in accounting and business law who took one season of Flip or Flop and a different approach to her New Year to become a successful New Orleans realtor and real estate investor.
She now has flipped 5 properties and shows no signs of slowing down.
Morgan: What inspired you to start this business?
Meghan: Ironically, I’ve always wanted to stay home and home school my kids, but at the same time, I’ve ALWAYS been obsessed with home magazines, HGTV, and the likes. After watching a marathon of the first season of Flip or Flop and seeing how I was a little better versed in contractor terminology than they were, I started to think with the help of my family (who had a background in construction) this may be a way for me to meet my goals of gaining financial freedom, the flexibility to spend more time with my kids, and do something fulfilling. My background is in accounting and business law so that New Year’s Eve I stayed up crazy late and put together a spreadsheet with a three-year plan.
Morgan: How did you begin financially preparing yourself to invest and grow your business?
Meghan: When I finally made up my mind to pursue investing, I started working three jobs. I worked as a school administrator, a realtor, and a waitress. Most importantly, I continued to live modestly. As my income continued to increase, my expenses stayed the same.
After six months I had a decent amount saved, but nowhere near enough to take on a project alone. I sought out someone to partner up with to see about purchasing a property at an upcoming auction. Between my savings and a small “vacation” loan from my credit union I was able to come up with my half to buy our first flip. Credit cards and my income over the next 5 months paid for labor, materials, and overhead. Things were incredibly tight for a while. Like peanut butter and jelly tight, but the home went under contract within a week and the rest is history.
Morgan: How do you decide what properties to buy?
Meghan: I’m constantly analyzing neighborhoods of interest. What house is listed for, # of days on the market, what the current inventory is like and the demand, the quality of the materials used, and what they eventually sell for? When something comes in those areas, I usually send them to my investor clients, and if it’s not something they want to bite at and I have the capacity to take it on, I do.
Morgan: What are 3 key elements for successfully investing in property?
- Plan realistically and conservatively – Be realistic about the figures and modest about the return. If you don’t have a clue, get an estimate from a licensed professional who does.
- Don’t sacrifice quality – Always work to produce something you won’t later be ashamed to say you created later. I always take into consideration, is it something I’d be willing to live in with my family.
- Get in and get out – I see so many investors that get fixated on making a certain figure and if they under budget repairs, they want to be sure to recoup the loss in the profit and will adjust the sales price accordingly. The down fall is that many times the variances, maybe due to a repair, shouldn’t change the value of the house (i.e. termite damage, a broken pipe under a slab that may need to be tunneled). These sorts of repairs shouldn’t push you to list at a higher price if the comps don’t prove them. Buyers should do their best to detect the extent of damages prior to the act of sale in an effort to mitigate any surprises. Time is money and I’ve seen where investors could have sold and completed a second project while aiming to get a higher profit, only to end up reducing the price months later to the original sales price discussed.
Morgan: How do you plan for your future in the business ( i.e. continuing education, following or setting trends, expanding, etc.)?
Meghan: I’m currently developing a real estate team to better serve my clients, while I work towards obtaining my broker’s license. In terms or investments, I’ve decided to continue at my current pace of 2-3 projects a year. This past year, I began coaching other young professionals to break into the field while maintaining their full-time jobs and have worked in the capacity of a consultant, as well as being their realtor. Anything more ambitious may get to be overwhelming until my team grows and the right agents with similar values have been identified. I feel comfortable working at such a pace.
Morgan: How can people keep in touch with you?