Foodservice Director (Aramark)
Warren County School District
North Warren, Pa.
Hometown: Waterford, Pa.
Education: Certification, culinary arts, nutrition and supervisory management, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Certified Culinarian, American Culinary Federation.
Justin Tech has been flipping—buying houses, renovating and then selling them, with hopes of a profit—for the past two years. Now, he is putting the finishing touches on his second flip and expects to have it on the market soon. Not only is renovating a house a challenge, Tech says, but he also lives in them during the process.
“I got into restoring houses because I bought my first home and then I started to do some updating. I thought it was fun. I’ve always had that creative itch to be doing something.
The majority of the renovation work is cosmetic, but in one home I changed the floor plan just slightly and opened up the kitchen area. I try to find a home with good structure. Living in a home while completing renovations on it is the tricky part. I work on an area that I don’t really need to live in and then once I get that area done, I move my stuff over to that other area.
When I finished my first flip—it took me nearly one year—I almost didn’t sell it because I really loved how the house turned out from all of the hard work and time. I did, however, end up selling it because I was looking for the next adventure in a home. After I had the home finished, I needed another project to start. I always enjoyed building and renovating things through my high school days. And I like to teach myself. My dad has done this a little bit and he will sometimes help me, but I mostly like to figure it out on my own and talk to others to get what I need done.
I hope one day to be able to build my dream house and live there while I continue to buy other houses to flip. Seeing the finished product and looking at how people are in awe of the house when it’s finished is the best part.
There isn’t a specific type of home or neighborhood I like to work in; the home has to speak to me. If I can see some good structural features about it along, with other areas of opportunities, then I grab it, especially if I can get it at a good price. The first time I bought was at an estate sale, so I got the home for dirt cheap for that area.
The television shows about people flipping houses are totally true. You never know what you are going to find when you are ripping down drywall or what someone has covered up over the years. You just never know. So far, I have been lucky and haven’t had any major disasters. Usually, I find the good ones and I haven’t had anything that has majorly thrown off my budget. It’s about budgeting your time wisely and tackling what you can in the hours you have available.
The most challenging part is deciding where to spend money to get the best results. It’s hard to know what will make the home sell the fastest. Before I start the project, I break down the house in sections and look at where the larger amounts of money will be spent to make the house shine to an interested buyer. With the tougher real estate market, you really have to make the house stand out from others on the market. You don’t want to sink a lot of money into an area that doesn’t make the house stand out.
There is a lot of fear in the flipping process. You hope that the house isn’t a lemon. My biggest fear is going over my budget or not being able to sell the house. But, the thrill of the gamble and the challenge is what gets people like me into this. It keeps you motivated to get you through the project and to go onto the next one.”