How did you first become interested in home renovation and flipping homes? Was there a “light switch” moment, or is it something you were always drawn to?

My mom first introduced me to renovations and real estate when I was younger, but I would say the light switch did not turn on for me until I was in college. At that point, I became more hands-on with design and development and really found a passion for it. Now I am so drawn to the whole process. I love having the ability to be creative in a space that means so much to people.

What are the first things you look for when evaluating a property to flip?

First thing I look for is location. Do your homework on the property. Make sure you take a good look at the big-ticket items: roof, plumbing, electrical and foundation. If you don’t do your homework, you can run into a lot of unexpected costs that will add up.

How do you decide which projects to tackle yourself and which ones require a professional?

I definitely leave plumbing and electrical to the pros. I also think your roof is such a crucial part of your home, so for example, if you think you might have water damage, I recommend letting a professional inspect your roof versus trying to patch it up yourself.

Personally, I always help demolish and clean up my remodels. It’s a bit tedious, but it’s not challenging, and it saves me money on outside labor costs.

Can you share any tips or tricks for picking the right products for your renovation? How do you balance budget with quality?

There are many alternatives these days that look the same. For example, with countertops I love to use quartz. It’s durable, doesn’t scratch like marble does and can be more cost-effective.

Another trick to stay within budget is a fresh coat of paint. Sometimes people think you need to replace the cabinetry in the kitchen or bathrooms when in fact, a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference.

What’s your favorite and least favorite parts of the renovation process?

Renovating a home is exciting; it’s an opportunity to make a space your own. I love the creativity side of things like picking out paint colors and finishes. I also love the little details, like picking out the hardware for the kitchen cabinets.

My least favorite part is thinking about the budget. One thing I’ve learned is that when it comes to financing your home renovation, explore all your options. I’m working with Marcus by Goldman Sachs, whose home improvement loans are a great option if you’re looking to borrow money and have good credit. Marcus offers no-fee, fixed-rate loans up to $40,000 that have no fees, ever. That’s one thing I wish I would have had available to me when I first started renovating homes.

Did anything about stand out about your first homebuying experience? Is owning a home something you always aspired to?

I think everyone aspires to own a home someday. For me, buying my first home was one of my most exciting moments. 

When I bought my first home, I got it “as is” and didn’t really understand what that meant.  In my particular situation, that meant the former owners left every single thing in the house. I spent the first 2 weeks decluttering the home of all their personal belongings! 

What advice can you offer for first-time home buyers? What’s the most overwhelming part of the process?

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to love the location you’re looking in. Look for homes in neighborhoods and areas you either know and love or see growth and potential in. Most importantly, always get your home inspected before purchasing so you have a good idea on how to set your budget.

First-time DIY projects such as replacing cabinetry or laying tile seemed very intimidating at first, but they were actually fairly easy. Just be patient and do your homework.