Real Estate Investing Success: Team Falcone
Paul and Jessica discuss overcoming challenges and flipping homes in North Carolina. Paul is a member of our Bridge Pro Program.
Meet Paul Falcone, our Bridge Pro investor who has done more than 20 loans with us over the past three years. Paul and his wife Jessica run a fix-and-flip business, Back on the Block LLC, in North Carolina. Paul had been investing in real estate and flipping homes since 2013, before establishing the LLC in 2017. Prior to investing in real estate, Paul served in the US Marine Corp and fought in Iraq.
We were honored to host Paul and Jessica at our headquarters in San Francisco and learn about their story and journey as property investors.
Parents to two beautiful children, ages 13 and 11, Paul and Jessica are a team at home and at work. As a licensed real estate agent, Jessica is the buying agent for all their investment properties. In 2017 alone, the dynamic duo flipped more than 30 homes, with properties ranging from three to five bedroom houses and 1,000 to 4,000+ square feet.
How did it all start?
Paul found his passion for real estate in a rather unusual way. One night, years ago, he came home to find everything stolen from the house. The family felt forced to move. While looking for another house, Paul stumbled upon a foreclosure at a price much lower than what people had told him he could get. After moving into a new home, finding real estate deals became Paul’s passion, and he feels grateful that some good came of such a bad experience.
It took Paul two years to renovate his old house. During that time he drove one hour back and forth between the new house and the old one, every day. True to his character, Paul used his commute time to listen to podcasts and any information he could find about real estate business.
"I would also just talk and listen to what other people were doing, people who had been doing it for a while. Just learning from other people has saved me a lot of time," says Paul.
But, just like any other business, flipping homes comes with its own challenges. For Paul, the biggest challenge was to learn how to delegate responsibilities.
"With the first house that I sold, I had too much emotion attached to the process and was too hands-on. It took me two years to complete. So I learned to use my time effectively," he says.
When they had just started, Paul and Jessica worked on one property at a time. Today they are managing multiple projects, and from what we can tell, they don’t plan to slow down anytime soon. (On their way to San Francisco, Paul bought a property, in addition to having about three deals closing, another three starting, and two under contract.) Considering how much the Falcones’ business has grown, managing their time and contractors as well as finding the right lenders has become critical to their success.
Paul and Jessica work with management realtors who look out for them and, typically, hire different contractors for each property. "It’s kind of a lot of trial and error, and comes down to finding the best fit for each situation, getting it done, and moving on to the next project," explains Paul.
And speaking of trial and error, Jessica remembers buying a property that they thought was fine, only to find out later that the entire septic system was malfunctioning.
"Overcoming that entire issue and being able to sell the house and make a profit made it the best experience to me. Because we learned so much from it. We know exactly what to do now to prevent something like that from happening," says Jessica.
Jessica’s careful, detailed approach balances Paul’s fast-moving pace. She helps with planning everything that needs to be repaired as well as staging the properties. They’ve found that staging usually increases the profit they make on a sale and helps sell the properties more quickly.
Working with Kiavi
As far as funding their deals, the Falcones have found that working with Kiavi gives them a lot of confidence. Paul discovered Kiavi through Google search, and after doing some research, decided to work with us.
"I’m able to go into a property with a lot of confidence. I’m not going to go to underwriting and have the deal shot down for this or that reason. If I have a deal I know Kiavi is going to fund it," says Paul.
When thinking about business growth, in the short term, Paul’s goal is to double the volume of houses flipped, as they had done in 2017. In the long term, he’d like to look at different types of properties, like rental houses. So, he’s been studying a lot of commercial buildings, including apartments, and other more hands-off projects.
"When you’re flipping five to six houses at a time, there’s always something that demands your attention. In long term, I’d like to maybe find something big and relax a little," says Paul.
Looking back at when he first started, Paul remembers a lot of naysayers and people who doubted his idea to flip houses. But as he looks at profits he expects to make this year and how much they’ve been able to accomplish with the business, he feels especially proud.
Paul’s advice to anyone thinking about flipping homes is tell yourself you can do it. "Listen to yourself, listen to your gut, and work towards something you’re proud of," he says.
It was a privilege for our team to learn firsthand how Paul and Jessica navigate the complex world of house flipping and how our products have helped them grow their business and provide for their family. We wish Paul and Jessica tremendous success, and look forward to helping them close many more deals and reach their business goals this year and beyond.