From Mechanical Engineers To Making $160K/Year Flipping Houses

Jordan Fulmer
$5K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
1
Employees
Momentum Property...
from Huntsville, AL
started April 2018
$5,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
1
Employees
3.06M
alexa rank
16
followers
2
followers
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From Mechanical Engineers To Making $160K/Year Flipping Houses

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Jordan Fulmer, and my wife Melissa and I founded Momentum Property Solutions, a real estate investing company in Huntsville, AL. Our primary focus is on buying houses from homeowners in challenging situations.

These situations range from life stressors to the house itself needing repairs. Nearly every home we buy needs work, and we specialize in renovating them and getting them back on the market to either sell or rent.

We make about $2,000 per month in cash flow from our rental properties, but we also receive chunks of capital along the way from selling properties. Due to our increased marketing efforts, we are averaging a deal every month at this point, which is a considerable improvement from when we started!

momentum-property-solutions

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

My wife and I started our careers as mechanical engineers, but we always knew we wanted to do something different. We just didn’t know exactly what it would be. It all changed when Melissa had a coworker that left his job to run the company he had started. He had started a successful company selling paper products on top of working full-time as an engineer. I still remember what he told his boss as he turned in his notice - “I can’t work here anymore. I’m losing too much money.”

That moment opened our eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship. Melissa picked his brain as much as she could during the weeks before he left. Since then, he has told us that dozens of people asked him how he started his own company, but we’re one of the only ones that followed through and put his advice into action!

If you mix your talents, passions, and goals with a sound business venture, you’ll be unstoppable!

In all honesty, Melissa caught the entrepreneur bug before I did. One thing that her coworker told her was to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. She immediately began reading through it and began to shift how she viewed finances. I hadn’t caught on quite yet, but I would soon follow.

Not too long after all this, I was on a work trip, and one of my co-workers began talking to me about how he owned several rental properties. When he learned that Melissa and I had full-time jobs with no kids yet, he encouraged me to look into buying rentals as well. The idea of having cash flow while the rent payments pay down your mortgage intrigued me. So I came home and pitched the idea to Melissa, and she was all in! After all, most of her books focused heavily on real estate. She was just waiting on me to get on board before pursuing it!

We didn’t have much experience with real estate before starting our business. We had bought our own house, but that was about it! I had done some woodworking as a hobby, but nothing compared to the level of renovations we would soon be doing. We were in for a rude awakening!

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

We bought our first rental house not too long after deciding to take the plunge into real estate investing. Melissa’s aunt was already a successful house flipper, and one of her partners had a house that he was already working on. We decided to buy that house from him once it was finished, and we immediately began renting it out.

We immediately recognized the struggles that are involved with owning rental properties. On the front end, all we were thinking about was the difference between the rental income and our mortgage payments. But it wasn’t long before issues began popping up (structural problems, missing shingles, plumbing leaks). Yikes! However, each of the issues we’ve faced has made us better suited to handle the problems we now encounter regularly.

Buying distressed houses can be extremely risky since there is always the threat of paying too much for a “lemon” property. Several factors go into evaluating a potential deal, such as how much it will be worth once it is fixed up and how much it will cost to get it there.

For us, the ability to accurately calculate these two values ultimately came with time. And we didn’t always get it right! There have been plenty of times that we grossly underestimated the rehab budget on a project, and that led to very painful conversations with the sellers we were working with. But once we had several projects under our belt, we were able to estimate the cost to fix up a house with much more confidence.

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Describe the process of launching the business.

Our first deal was relatively easy because we bought the house pretty much turn-key and rented it out immediately. However, our goal was not to simply have one rental house. We wanted more! There was one minor issue, though. We had just deflated our bank account to make the down payment on the first house, and it would take us over a year to save up that much again.

That’s when the first growth phase of our business began. We had to get creative if we were going to keep growing. We had been to a couple of real estate training that had introduced us to the idea of creative financing, but we didn’t have a clue on how to implement it.

So we dove headfirst into learning about lease options and owner financing. Having these strategies in our tool belt allowed us to buy more properties without dipping into our pockets so much. However, because these strategies aren’t as well-known as the traditional sales process, we had to get good at talking with homeowners and explaining our processes. And we heard “No!” quite a few times! But we were able to use what we had learned to help out several homeowners that needed our help, which was extremely rewarding.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Once we began pursuing more real estate deals, we realized that locating profitable houses to buy would be our most significant challenge. And this remains to be our biggest challenge to this day. We live in a scorching real estate market, and home prices have been high and continuing to climb across the country for the last few years.

We’ve tried it all when it comes to marketing for houses to buy. We initially started by sending out direct mail in the form of postcards and letters. We were sending them out like crazy, and it did bring us some deals. The trouble was that it was extremely inconsistent. Nevertheless, we continued to do it because we didn’t know anything better.

Then at a real estate meeting, I talked to another young investor that had been having success, and he said that most of his leads were coming from cold calling and sending text message blasts. He said that he had even hired a virtual assistant to handle all of those operations. That was all I needed to hear! I felt like that was the missing piece of the puzzle. I didn’t mind dumping money into a marketing method if I knew it would provide consistent results.

The problem was, that it didn’t provide results at all. After months of cold calling strangers, we didn’t have a single deal to show for it. We eventually had to decide it was enough and try something else.

That’s the thing. It was never in my thought process to quit altogether. I was determined to figure out a way to succeed because I knew it was possible.

Around that time is when I started researching SEO. I saw a Facebook ad from a guy that felt like he was re-telling my entire story. He hit every pain point I had gone through and talked to it in a way that I knew he had experienced himself. His remedy to all of these marketing issues was SEO, and I dove into his program headfirst.

That was in June of 2021, and less than a year later, we have already begun ranking #1 for highly competitive keywords in our market! Anyone who knows SEO knows that the domain rating assigned by Ahrefs is an indicator of the overall authority of your site. In about ten months, we have grown from a zero to a 26! This took our site from past the tenth page of Google to position #1 for “sell my house Huntsville al!”

momentum-property-solutions

Our success with SEO can be attributed to two things. The first is that we spent a significant amount of time early on building a website that engages and builds credibility with our traffic. Not only does this result in more conversions, but it also sends ranking signals to Google when people spend large amounts of time on our pages. The second thing we have focused on is building high-quality backlinks. We consistently respond to HARO pitches, and we use our blog as a backlink magnet by writing informative content and performing outreach to build links to our articles.

Although we have worked extremely hard to rank organically, most of our leads from our site have come from PPC advertising. I initially began using PPC to drive traffic to our site so I could see how they were responding to our content. But then leads started coming in, and we kept rolling with it.

Don’t get discouraged by a sub-par deal. When conducting business, you will likely make mistakes and lose money sometimes. But these are the times that we can learn the most.

For the last several months, we have been averaging a little over one solid lead per month using PPC advertising. This may not sound like a ton, but it is a huge deal compared to where we came from with traditional marketing methods.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Our business has done very well in the last couple of years. Last year, we had a net profit of about $160,000. However, that was from selling a few flip houses. Our goal for this year is to make our income more consistent. We are still working this business part-time and want to know when it makes sense to jump into it full-time.

The nice thing about SEO leads is that they are free once your site is ranking. However, it takes a ton of time and effort to get to that point. PPC is a little easier to track. We spend about $1,000 per month on PPC campaigns, and we have been averaging slightly over one lead per month. When we close a lead, the average profit is around $10,000, so not too bad of a return!

My long-term goal for our business is to diversify our income streams. Because I have put so much time and energy into learning the details of SEO, I want to utilize that skill the best I can. Once our site climbs higher in domain rating and we start getting more traffic, I plan to use affiliate marketing to provide passive income.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The most helpful thing I’ve learned from starting a business is the importance of identifying obstacles to growth and facing them head-on. We struggled with generating leads for so long, but we kept doubling down on the marketing tactics that were giving us mediocre results. It wasn’t until I tried something new that I figured out what worked best for me. And I had to go through things that didn’t work to get there. But I never would’ve known if I hadn’t tried.

Not every deal will be a home run. And that’s okay. Having a full pipeline of average deals is often better than holding out for that one stellar deal.

Now that we’ve begun generating more leads, we have other obstacles to overcome. I now have to grow my buyer's list and get smarter with how I market deals. I also have to raise more funding to have enough capital to purchase the deals that come through.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

The tool that I use the most is Ahrefs. This tool is incredible for SEO. It covers everything I need to improve the SEO of my site. It shows me all of my site's metrics, allows me to check my backlinks, and performs analysis of competitors. It also helps me find valuable keywords to target. However, I use it the most to identify sites to reach out to for my link-building campaigns.

When running outreach for a link-building campaign, I use Buzzstream as a CRM. This tool is specifically geared for link-building, and it does it very well. It allows me to store all of my contacts and conversation histories, so I don’t inadvertently reach out to someone in a subsequent campaign. People often don’t respond to the first cold email they receive, and Buzzstream allows me to automate follow-up sequences to maximize conversion rates.

A tool that I use that is specific to real estate investing is REIPro. I’ve been using this tool for nearly four years, and it makes my job much more manageable. As soon as I have a new property that I need to research, I plug it into this software. It allows me to quickly run a comparable sales report to determine the property's value. I can then perform a deal analysis to know how much I can offer for the house. Also, this tool serves as a one-stop shop for direct mail campaigns. It allows you to pull lists of potential leads, design a postcard, and have them printed and shipped with the click of a mouse.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I’ve already mentioned it earlier, but Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki was highly influential in our entrepreneurial journey. The financial perspective that he gives in this book is vastly different from how most people in our society view money. The book's premise is to let your money work for you instead of working for your money. That idea completely shifted the way we approached our finances and our future.

Being in the real estate industry, we often find ourselves in negotiations about prices or other terms. To equip me for these encounters, I recently read Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. Chris is a former FBI hostage negotiator, so he comes from a unique perspective regarding negotiations. Some of the biggest takeaways I learned from reading this book were the importance of asking open-ended questions and controlling your tone and emotions.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Some of the best advice I could give aspiring entrepreneurs is to look at their situation and goals and develop a plan to meet them. That sounds very vague, but I mean to be specific about what you want out of a business. When we got started, our goal was to replace our incomes with income from rental properties. This sounds great and all, but we needed over thirty houses to get there. With our lead flow at the time, that would take a decade! Not to mention rental properties usually don’t provide “passive” income. If I had genuinely reflected on that earlier, we likely would have run our business differently and may have achieved financial freedom even sooner.

Something I have learned recently when completing real estate deals is that not every deal will be a home run. And that’s okay. Having a full pipeline of average deals is often better than holding out for that one stellar deal. Beyond that, don’t get discouraged by a sub-par deal. When conducting business, you will likely make mistakes and lose money sometimes. But these are the times that we can learn the most. You can then take those lessons moving forward and make your business even more bulletproof.

The last thing I would tell an aspiring entrepreneur is to assess your natural talents and utilize them the best you can. Sure, you will need to develop skills along the way, but don’t miss out on the things that you are naturally gifted with. Some people are great with sales and persuasion. Some are amazing with analysis and back-end business development. If you mix your talents, passions, and goals with a sound business venture, you’ll be unstoppable!

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We currently have a part-time employee working for us to help us with link-building campaigns. She does most of the prospecting for our outreach, while I do most of the execution and writing involved. But we could always use more help!

If you have skills with SEO, feel free to email me.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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Jordan Fulmer, Founder of Momentum Property Solutions
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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