Real Estate Investing Success: Mark Ferguson
Mark has flipped 182 houses, owns 25 rental properties, and as a real estate agent, has sold more than 1,000 homes. He is also quite an influencer in the business, has built a successful real estate investing network, and is the founder of InvestFourMore, with a popular YouTube channel, blog, and house flipping books to his name. Mark knows the real estate industry inside and out and has a breadth of knowledge in many different avenues.
It goes without question that he is the cream of the crop when it comes to experienced real estate investors. His journey to his success was kismet too. A combination of a common post college discovery and inspiration from watching his father’s career, Mark found his niche and never looked back.
Hailing from Colorado, when Mark graduated from college, he had his sights set on a career in finance. As fate would have it, he couldn’t find a decent job in that field that fit the bill. After watching his father his whole life find fulfillment as a real estate agent and occasional house flipper, he decided to give it a shot. He discovered he enjoyed real estate himself. Seeing how hard his father worked, he knew the grind, rose up to the challenge, and earned his real estate license.
When he first began flipping alongside his father, he thought of it as a branch of his real estate agent career. It was just another path related to his work that would help him not only earn extra money, but also keep him more knowledgeable in the field.
"I did not have a lot of expectations and did not go into thinking I was going to become a millionaire or anything," he says.
But when he started to expand his house flipping business , he took it upon himself to really kick start his education on the craft, using the excellent resource of his father’s expertise as his first line to learning and guidance.
Mark, being proactive, started his blog InvestFourMore to help teach others what he knew about flipping. As all good writers and teachers know, there is always more to learn. So, he continued his own education through his business, reading online articles, networking, and interviewing guests on his podcast. He has built quite an impressive community and real estate investment network around his media presence and writing projects (see his books here), which has provided plenty of support and advice to both novice and professional real estate investors.
House flipping business projects
Since Mark started house flipping, he has 182 flips and 25 rentals to his name. He flips 10 to 20 homes at a time, with the record being 22 at once!
Mark primarily flips houses in Northern Colorado, focusing on cities like Loveland, Fort Collins, Greeley, and the surrounding areas.
A typical project of his looks like this:
The property is bought for $180,000 to $200,000. It’s about 1,800 to 2,200 square feet and built in the 1970s. He spends around $40,000 on roofing, floors, paint, kitchen, baths, HVAC, plumbing, fixtures, etc. and then sells it for $275,000 to $300,000. His company also flips properties that range from $100,000 to $400,000 in price that are anywhere from 10 to even 100 years old.
When it comes to style and branding of home renovations, his company has a go-to color palette and general style they lean towards, but they always try to embrace the individuality of the properties and welcome different overall designs, as well as general look and feel.
And when discussing a dream property, Mark says "One that needs paint and carpet with a $50,000 profit!"
We can’t help but agree with that!
(And watch this to learn about Mark’s ten scariest house flips!)
As Mark’s business has grown, he has hired a skilled team, some of which are trusted friends and family members. Of course, his father, who he bought out of the business in 2013, was a crucial support and partner. Mark’s wife, Jeni, also used to help with the house flips and was a real estate agent before supporting him at home in a much larger role as mother to their three children, nine-year-old twins and a 5-month old.
In addition, he has a project manager Nikki True who is licensed and manages all the contractors, helps with rentals, and is responsible for office management.
Alex Adams is another family member who has been brought into the mix. He is his nephew and CFO. As a math whiz, he owns accounting, bookkeeping, and money management, as well as other parts of Mark’s online business like his website, YouTube account, etc.
His college roommate Justin Gesso left the corporate world to join Mark. He is a licensed agent, helps manage the blog, his books, office tasks, and more.
Carrie Aragon who is licensed and an office administrator, and Barb Grabenstein is an agent and property manager for his rentals are also key players on his team.
And to keep the contracting work running smoothly, he employs three full-time contractors and a number of others as subs.
Eventually, he would like to have all roles for renovations in-house. Right now, they use outside vendors for plumbing, electrical, roofing, foundation, flooring, and HVAC. Outside of those, they try to keep everything within their team.
Prior to becoming a Kiavi customer, Mark used a lot of private money and occasionally hard money lenders for his house flips. However, he usually shied away from using hard money lenders because the cost and hassles that came with closing deals outweighed the benefits. He found issues with the appraisal, draws, and approval processes so though private money was more expensive, he preferred it for the convenience.
However since using Kiavi as a hard money lender, Mark found their loan process has alleviated those issues. He says, "Kiavi provides an easier closing without an appraisal and fewer hoops to jump through. It has been much easier so far."
"Kiavi provides an easier closing without an appraisal and fewer hoops to jump through. It has been much easier so far."Mark Ferguson
Hindsight and advice
When Mark looks back on his house flipping career, he wishes he would have known more about direct marketing and creative ways to source properties when he first started as he used to buy almost everything through foreclosures.
He has not only found more efficient ways to source properties, but to find partners. He uses referrals, craigslist, Facebook, signage, trucks, etc. to discover various contractors and experts. However, ensuring that he employs quality people is of the utmost priority.
"The hard part is not finding them but vetting them. We go through a rigorous process with our contractors."
When it comes to changes in the industry, Mark has noticed in recent years that more people are flipping and the margins have gotten tighter on most deals.
"The cost of labor and materials have skyrocketed and are much higher margins than before."
And for preparing for the future or any potential downturn, Mark says, "We do business the same way in every market. You never know when a downturn will come. We always price aggressively to sell, try to take on manageable projects, and keep plenty of cash on hand."
The hopes and rewards of flipping
One of the greatest rewards from his career is the community outreach—when young adults or kids tell him that his books or videos have helped them. Not only is Mark creating better homes and neighborhoods, but he is also inspiring a generation to start their own house flipping endeavors.
He hopes that the future for flipping businesses brings a better way to vet contractors to ensure quality work—as well as less stressful scenarios.
As for his projects, Mark hopes to really tap into the commercial rental properties.
And with his skillset, presence in the industry, and unparalleled knowledge, we have no doubt that he will tackle that goal with gusto and thrive!