Our Story: An Interview with Hanha Hobson

Our Story: An Interview with Hanha Hobson

I was approached by a local faith based blogger, Hanha Hobson. She wanted to interview me about our story, how we view our business. The post published a while ago, but thought I should put it here for you to read.

Here are some of the questions Hanha asked me:

1. Tell me about yourself and how The Inspiring Investment came to be.

My name is Katelynn, a former ICU nurse – turned real estate investor. I’m grateful to be married to my best friend, Uriah. We work together to run The Inspiring Investment. The groundwork for our company was set when we bought our first house: a fixer-upper. We didn’t buy it because we wanted to be real estate investors. We bought it because we were broke.

The beginning of Uriah and I’s relationship certainly wasn’t a fairy tale. I was not following the Lord as a young college student; I wrestled with a rebellious heart and Uriah wasn’t a believer. Long story short – we ended up getting pregnant. To make things worse, during my pregnancy, my parent’s marriage fell apart. The should-be excitement of a new baby was drowned out by disappointment, anger, resentment, and depression: not to mention – strained finances. These combined emotions and the learning curve of motherhood left me feeling at rock bottom. However, God was at work in our redemptive story.

Family Business Picture

While in Prague, (taking the only course available that would allow him to finish his Industrial Design degree in time for our baby girl’s arrival), Uriah met a man who was leading a missions trip group. This man eventually lead him to Faith in Christ. He came back home and asked me to marry him.

A few months into our marriage, we were still struggling with the drama that had been our life and adjusting to parenthood.

Then, there was this house.

We found it on Craigslist, located in the middle of nowhere in Holly Springs, NC. It needed so much work: unwanted and ugly, but when we walked in the door, all we saw was potential.

We knew we needed to push the reset button, and this house was it for us.

Four years of DIY projects and lots of home depot trips later, we sold our first “flip.”

2.  What types of services do you provide and what do you hope to accomplish with your business?

  • Buying Houses – Our services primarily include buying houses that need work from individuals who want a convenient, stress-free way to sell their home as-is, in the timeframe that works for their specific needs.
  • Retail Listings – Uriah is an experienced broker who has over 500 transactions under his belt. He can help clients list their home and find their next one. His experience in construction and real estate is a valuable asset to his clients.
  • Design Consultation – Over time I have learned the valuable skill of achieving a great design at the best price. I can help guide you in making the best selections towards showcasing your biggest investment – your home!

We want to grow a successful brand with influence. Our goals are:

  • To reach homeowners who have a house in disrepair and sellers who want another option in selling their home.
  • To inform, entertain, and inspire people with home, renovation, design and real estate interests.
  • To be salt and light: do good work that reflects the redemptive-renovation work Christ wants to do in us.

3. Can you talk a little bit more about the name of your business? Why and how did you choose it?

Yes! The name of our brand developed out of the goals listed above.

To be different. We aim to do good work and treat people well. Investors sometimes have a bad rap and house flippers are known to do sub-par work. When you see a “we buy ugly houses” sign, how do you feel? Kind of yucky, right? A feeling that may reflect how a seller feels about themselves or situation. We don’t want to be a company that exists to continue that cycle. Our name exists to reflect hope and change.

To influence, inspire, and inform people. We feel passionate about real estate and renovation and would love to influence the way people view their home. For some – it’s the biggest investment they will ever make.

Before and after T Time Collaboration

4. You mention that the message of your company lies in the redemptive work of restoring homes. Tell me more about that.

One house flip, in particular, made the correlation remarkably clear: The Overgrown Ranch.

The family we bought it from was going through a difficult season. The house was their father’s and they’d just lost their mother. The father was in poor health and needed assisted living. His house was in bad shape as well, but we saw its potential.

We stayed in communication with the family up until and even after closing, and ended up inviting them back after the renovation was complete. The gorgeous reno was completely staged, ready for its debut. We’d torn down walls, created an amazing layout for entertaining, complete with a fully renovated kitchen. It felt brand new. The family wandered around the house they once knew, caring for their aging parents. It was a quiet and bitter-sweet moment.

 

One of the daughters walked up to me with tears in her eyes and told me, “It’s like you have completely redeemed this house and brought redemption to the whole situation, you know, it’s kind of like how Christ redeems us!” At that point, we both had tears in our eyes.

Renovations so beautifully mirror the redemptive work of Jesus. I believe when God looks at us, he sees potential, too.

He wants to renovate our hearts.

5. How do you find the courage to spread the gospel and share Christ’s love through your business? Have you faced any challenges around this?

Sharing the gospel: honestly, I’ve had a lifetime of struggle with this subject. It’s only recently felt more natural and less awkward to be open in this area, perhaps because I’m beginning to see that God knew what He was doing all along. I think He allowed me to have the story I do to open my eyes to my own depravity. He has given me the role I have, so I can do this: tell my story and make a real-life analogy about the beautiful work of Jesus.

For us, renovations have always come hand in hand with a redemption.

As a young woman, my rebellious heart led me astray, away from the boundaries of God’s best for me, resulting in some poor choices that affected the rest of my life. Uriah and I ended up pregnant and I was a single parent for a period of time. My parent’s divorce left me struggling with anger and resentment. A lifetime of issues with comparison and forgiveness ate away at me. Thank goodness I serve a God that works all things for good. Slowly, God worked in my heart. It’s by His grace, I see my need for His redemption. Instead of living in shame of my past, I live free of condemnation. I am a renovation in progress.

I often tell Addison (my oldest) that her life changed my life – how precious she is to me! Uriah is an amazing man who is the perfect compliment to me and we are now blessed with 4 beautiful children. Our strong community of friends challenge us to be more like Jesus and our business gives us the means to do that. God is so gracious!

There are pieces of life that are filled with blessings alongside painful, difficult moments and poor choices – it’s all being woven together to create a beautiful tapestry: your story. When your work is a natural extension of His work, it becomes easier and easier to share it.

6. What advice do you have for people who may be interested in this type of work?

I think my biggest piece of advice would be to not give up! If flipping houses is something you want to do – go for it! You can do anything you put your mind to.

**But be forewarned – Flipping houses is not passive income. I think a lot of people like the idea of real estate because it can make their lives easier or make them easy money. It’s true – real estate has the power to open that potential – but it’s a long play.

I’ve never worked harder or more hours in my life, BUT, I love it.

I love it because it’s a part of who I am, I can feel God moving in me through this work I’m doing. For the first time in my life, I’m where He wants me to be.

icu nurse turned house flipper our story our testimony

So, if real estate investing or flipping houses would do this to your soul, yes, you need to do it.

To get started:

  • Read, Read, Read
  • Study your local real estate market
  • Subscribe to blogs that talk about real estates, like mine ?
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Connect with other like-minded individuals

I’d love to connect with you! Make sure you follow us on Instagram!

In the beginning of our marriage, we had trouble making ends meet. Finances were tight. #thestrugglewasreal… and we had NO idea how to manage our money. I went from being a girl whose needs were always met to choosing between a haircut and staying on budget for the groceries that week. And by the way, what is a budget again?
We sought help for our sad pocketbooks as we attended FPU through our church – a program by Dave Ramsey to help idiots people like us learn a sensical and biblical view of how to manage money. Quickly we learned that Uriah’s $30,000 a year was not quite enough to live on and have unnecessary things like… cable. Store brand boxed mac-and-cheese with microwavable frozen broccoli soon became our mantra. {the spiral kind is the best}
Overwhelmed with the reality that we were on our own with little income and an infant to care for, Uriah ended up having to get a second job while I pursued finishing my nursing degree. And within our first year of marriage, we found our first “flip”. I’m not gonna lie, things got worst before they got better. Renovating that place was the longest 4 years of my life. It was like DIY by force. Young House Love was my best friend. Compelled to be frugal in areas I never thought I would have to be, I learned to love craigslist and thrift stores. More importantly, I learned to make the most with what was in front of me.
Now, I look back on those difficult times and I am SO grateful. Grateful for the struggle. Struggle is good. Sometimes struggle is necessary. It develops character, grit, and perserverence. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned while living through a fixer-upper renovation.

  1. To live within your means and avoid going into debt
  2. The value of a dollar and what it means to be responsible with that dollar
  3. YouTube tutorials are like DIY gold
  4. The beauty of living simply
  5. To be content with a little or a lot
  6. To realize a lack of entitlement to any material thing.
  7. A strong work ethic
  8. The importance of making a good investment in your home

We made a good investment in our first home {see more on that in Part 1 and Part 2 of Our First “Flip”} and you can too. If you see the value in buying a fixer upper for yourself, desire to have some built-in equity, and are willing to live through a renovation – we fully support you. We have been there/done that and we can help. Uriah knows the market well and can help you determine the value of a particular home or investment property. It will be difficult, and hopefully it won’t take 4 years, but it should be worth it.
Need help finding your own fixer upper to get things started? Contact us
Don’t really want to live through a renovation, but want an updated house? We flip houses in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, and surrounding areas. If we find one that suits you, we can renovate it according to your budget. Contact us here and we can start a conversation.
Until Next Time…

The “Flip” that started it all… Part 1

There once was a young newlywed couple and their baby girl living in a 720 square foot apartment in Raleigh, one they could barely afford. But, they dreamed and dreamed of owning a piece of land they could call their own. Then, one day, the husband said to the wife, “I think I found the perfect house for us! Its way-way-way out in the country in a little town called Holly Springs… Its kind of run down, but we can fix it.”  The doe-eyed wife looked at her husband, as only a newlywed could, and thought… Oh, I just love him SO much.

…. then she saw the house.

before renovation picture of front of first flip

Honeymoon Over.

It was a 3 bedroom 2 bath ranch with rotten siding, faux brick linoleum flooring, marbled blue laminate counter tops, and ungrouted 12 x 12 tile in the MASTER BEDROOM. It was in the middle of NOWHERE. She turns and looks at her husband with disgust … seriously?? “Kind of run down”, he says, “we can fix it”, he says… please.

… But he loved it. So they bought it.

closing table first flip holly springs

Notice the excited smiles – so naive.

So… that’s our story… the beginning of our story. Over the next 4 years, Uriah transformed that dump of a house into something beautiful. To this day, it is still my favorite house. Maybe because it’s the house of all the firsts.

Living through this level of a renovation is no joke, especially when finances are slim. We pinched our pennies, saved for materials slowly and bought them as cheap as possible, most of the time utilizing craigslist. Uriah worked hard at renovating our space, spilling blood, sweat, and tears… mainly my tears. He did this all while carrying a full time day job.

Documenting the progress was not my forte back then. I was a bit busy preventing toddler related injuries on jobsite that was our home. However, I did find some pictures so you can see what the house used to look like.

To give a better idea, here is the main floor layout – not to scale.

CassHoltlayout

Notice the faux brick linoleum? I know, classy. It was everywhere: kitchen, living, dining, bathrooms, bedrooms. The outdoor carpet in our entry way, where our little girl is standing: there’s a story about that.

flooring flip holly springs renovation

This is where our daugher learned to walk!

You see, when we bought the house, the flooring at the entry and down the hallway leading to the bedrooms, was non-existent. It was just plywood. In order to close, our lender required material of some sort.

So what did we do? We went and bought that horrible blue outdoor carpet and installed it ourselves, allowing us to close on our fixer upper.

This awkward shot gives you a sneak-peak of the kitchen in all of its faux beauty: faux brick lenoleum, faux ocean blue countertops, and fo-real ugly cabinet hardware.

fixer upper before holly springs renovation first flip inspiring investment

… and the fan, oh that fan.

That wall color was inspired by Young House Love! Jon and Sherry’s blog was my go-to back in the day for DIY and budget-friendly design ideas. We still follow them today.

hall bath before renovation holly springs flip house

Oh yes, the ocean blue laminate countertops continue: hall bathroom before

Old Deck Boards Before Repair Flipping the Boards

You can sort of see the original condition of the deck in this picture. It was awful and fairly unsafe.

Want to know how we brought this deck back to life – on the cheap? You don’t want to miss {this post}

In part 2, we will share photos of the completed renovation of our first house. We won’t do this with every project, but if you continue readying, you will also find out just how profitable this “flip” was to us. {Read Part 2, Here}

Our intention is not to boast, but hope by sharing this information, you leave inspired to think differently about the potential you could have in your own home, if you buy it at the right price, at the right time, and imrove in the right places.

Would you live through a renovation of this scale? Leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.

The "Flip" that started it all… Part 1

There once was a young newlywed couple and their baby girl living in a 720 square foot apartment in Raleigh, one they could barely afford. But, they dreamed and dreamed of owning a piece of land they could call their own. Then, one day, the husband said to the wife, “I think I found the perfect house for us! Its way-way-way out in the country in a little town called Holly Springs… Its kind of run down, but we can fix it.”  The doe-eyed wife looked at her husband, as only a newlywed could, and thought… Oh, I just love him SO much.

…. then she saw the house.

(more…)