We also chatted about the upcoming second season of her Canadian Screen Award-nominated series, and I saved that part of the convo to share with you now, as the Season 2 is about to air on June 7th at 10 p.m.
You were inspired to start flipping homes after renovating your own home. Can you talk a bit about that?
We found a house that we really wanted to move into, and we had just purchased another home on that street about six months prior to this, so we thought let's just buy it, and take a leap of faith and put our other one on the market, and we did all that...except the other one didn't sell right away, and it was around the time that the market declined, so we had two mortgages. Over the Christmas holidays we had some interest in the house, and after we came back from visiting our families in Canada the house was flooded. The pipes froze - in Nashville - which rarely happens. So we decided we were going to take the insurance money and renovate ourselves and after we did that project, and added on to the house, we thought, we can actually manage this, so maybe we should take on a flip, take another leap of faith. We took on one that was more cosmetic: counter tops, paint, ripping up the carpet, and I think at the time Dave may have been working as a waiter in downtown Nashville, in between a publishing deal and a record deal, and within a few weeks we had made something like $25,000 and we thought, this is way better than waiting tables!
What do you think are the most common misconceptions about house flipping?
That it's easy. Because it's not. That you can make quick money. I mean, you can make quick money but there are so many things that go into it. I would say that it's highly, highly stressful. If you were going to flip one house a year and you had all year to do it and didn't have investors to answer to, it would be a breeze. You'd just work on it. But time is money when you're working on a house and you don't know how the market could change so you have to get in and out and abide by the timelines that you set at the beginning, so it can be very stressful, which some people don't realize. They think it's just a creative process, which it is too.
The other thing is, as a realtor I often have people say to me, "Oh my gosh, my wife is really creative and she'd love to do this stuff," or - this is the best one - "My husband is so handy!" Anytime someone says "My husband would love to flip a house because he's so handy," I think, oh my gosh, that's a red flag, because doing the work yourself can be very stressful. In fact, I have friends who flip houses who used to do the work themselves and they finally realized they can do ten times the number of houses with a lot less stress by turning it over to the trades.
I read that unlike many other renovation shows, you and Dave don't make deals with tradespeople or companies for discounts in exchange for promotion on the show. Can you talk about that a bit?
We don't work a barter system with any of our trades. I am the first to say I am really perplexed when I'm watching other renovation shows and I see them gutting houses to the studs with a budget of $70,000. I don't know how they do that. In Nashville, that's certainly not possible. Why do we pay people? Because we would want to get paid. It's great to have a TV show and it would be great to use that but at the end of the day if I'm a tile guy I still have to feed my family. I hope their business grows from it, and if they're really good at it and we can endorse them it will, but at the end of the day they still have to feed their families. And we make good profit on the houses, and we believe everybody should not necessarily share in the profit, but get something from the experience and make money.
I have a few questions from This Mom Loves readers for you now. The first one is: You use so much colour in your flips. Is there as much colour in your own home?
That's actually a good question! I do love colour! I used to have a ton of colour on my walls. My previous house to the one that I'm now, which I've been in three years, had a lot of primary, it was actually really fun. Everyone who walked in said, "Oh my gosh, it's so energizing in here!" But recently I have neutralized a lot of my own walls and brought the colour in through accents and furniture. But I do go through phases! I am literally looking at paint samples on my kitchen counter right now that are teal and aqua blue and I'm considering painting a mantel in my house that colour, so that's how I'm bringing it in and that way it's easier for me to change rather than the entire room.
How many flips do you usually have going on at once?
Right now we're working on eight. We try to keep it under five or six but right now we have some overlapping because of the weather. People don't think we get bad weather in Nashville but we had really bad weather this year. When we get bad weather in Nashville, it literally shuts down the city. My kids have had 13 snow days this year...and we've only had snow on the ground for maybe two or three of them! If we're expecting snow, they shut the schools down, which means they shut the whole city down, which means our crews don't show...as a Northerner, it's really funny! So that has slowed us down a bit this year!
Last question - is there something people would be surprised to learn about the making of Masters of Flip - an insider secret?
Sometimes when we're walking through the houses that we're going to see and choose from, sometimes we have to get them from different angles, so that's probably an insider tip when you're watching shows. You'll see us from the front, with no cameras behind us, and then you'll see us the other way. So sometimes we have to see it for the first time twice! We always do the front first for the reactions but sometimes you have to see it from the other side as well.
Thanks so much, Kortney!
You don't want to miss the brand new season of Masters of Flip, premiering June 7th at 10 p.m. on W Network.