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‘Flip This House’ star shares market advice

Reality TV persona discusses turning investment into 3 types of returns

Posted: June 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.

J.D. Esajian, star of the A&E TV show "Flip This House," discusses real estate strategy at the Women's Council of Realtors Mega Forum on June 20.

Realtors were given a recession-proof business formula at the recent Women’s Council of Realtors Mega Forum: Invest in a combination of properties that provide active income, passive income and interest-building income.
“The unique thing about real estate investors is they can make money in any market,” said J.D. Esajian, head project manager for real estate investing company CT Homes and star of the A&E TV show “Flip This House.”
Esajian was the keynote speaker at WCR’s June 20 forum at the Porter Valley Country Club, which was attended by 200 Realtors and others working in real estate.
The “Flip This House” star defined active income as typical listings and whole sales, passive income as rentals and interest-building income as lending situations.
Realtors are sometimes hesitant to become investors themselves because of market changes, the risk involved, or a lack of knowledge. But Esajian encouraged the audience to educate themselves on investing opportunities.
“It doesn’t matter what the market’s doing,” he said. “It matters what you’re doing in the market.”
But investing in property, rehabbing it and turning it around for a profit isn’t as easy as it looks on TV, he said. Esajian said that those interested in getting started must first learn the basics of how to locate distressed properties, estimate repairs and manage contractors efficiently.
The “Holy Grail” of real estate investing is in three numbers, he said: the “after-repair value,” which is what the property will be worth in its best condition in the current market; the repair costs; and the initial and maximum price the investor is willing to pay for a property.
Determining the three numbers for each potential investment comes with practice, Esajian said.
The real estate investor also discussed various ways that Realtors and investors can better market their properties. Realtors should focus more on improving the quality of photos and descriptions for properties.
“Don’t waste that description,” Esajian said. “You want someone to feel like they’re actually in the home while reading the description and looking at the photos. These things create emotion.”
He touched on “sizzle features,” which are additions and renovations you make to a property that add value and up the selling price. Some examples were heated floors, special windows or special showerheads.
“A lot of investors look at cutting costs,” he said, but installing a few sizzle features is a worthy investment.
Esajian wound down the daylong forum, which included speakers from the WCR’s 11 Southern California chapters.
Jamie Saltman, the 2012 WCR president for the state of California, shared her vision for the organization: Redefining success.
“Ask yourself, ‘Are we doing business the same way we did 10 years ago?’” said Saltman, of Long Beach.
The Mega Forum was the second of four to be held in the state this year. The next will be held in Mission Viejo on July 17. More information can be found at


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