Real Estate Investor and Author
Welcome to ‘Meeting the Local Experts of NEA,’ our exclusive interview-style blog series that delves into the captivating stories and insights of Northeast Arkansas’ most prominent figures in the real estate industry. Join us as we explore the experiences, expertise, and journeys of local real estate professionals, investors, and experts. In these candid conversations, we aim to shed light on the exceptional individuals who are shaping the real estate landscape in Northeast Arkansas, offering valuable insights and expertise that can inspire and inform others interested in this dynamic field.
In this exclusive interview, I chat with Charleston Girley, a real estate investor and author of “The Black Accountant,” who transitioned from rental properties to the world of flipping. Charleston shares his journey, the books that inspired him, and insights into the real estate business. Here is what he had to say:
Josh: I know you like to flip houses and you have a drive to help people. What got you into real estate?
Charleston: I started back in 2020 right when Covid happened. I had a mentor who suggested real estate to me. At first, I was not interested. But after reading a few books, I jumped into the game and got my first rental through an FHA loan. So, I was in the rental game for about two years before I started flipping.
- Understanding the Lingo: FHA Loans: An FHA loan is a government-backed mortgage program that promotes accessible homeownership with a low-down payment requirement, often just 3.5% of the home’s purchase price. These loans are popular among first-time buyers and those with lower credit scores, as they are insured by the government, allowing a wider range of borrowers to qualify. Mandatory mortgage insurance and specific guidelines apply to this program, which has helped numerous people realize their dream of homeownership.
Josh: Which book changed your mind?
Charleston: Rich Dad Poor Dad, Cashflow Quadrant, and Investing in Real Estate with No Money Down.
Josh: WOW! What a similar start we had. Clay introduced investing to me, and at first, I was not particularly interested. Then I read BRRRR, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and 8 months later, here I am. So, do you still have rentals, or did you go full gas into flips?
Charleston: I still have about nine rentals. My first flip was a rental I was going to have. A private investor contacted me about rehabbing it. The numbers made sense, so I decided to give it a trial run, and it worked. So, after that, I kept flipping while still collecting some rentals.
Josh: Can you tell me about that rental gone flip? I am interested in flips myself, but they are intimidating. Especially with a full-time job and a 3-year-old also needing my attention.
Charleston: So, it was a house in foreclosure. I got it for $50,000. The investor contacted me since I posted a lot on social media and asked if I had any investments, he could invest in. Originally, I thought no. But the deal took about 5 months to close. He gave me $18,000 and wanted a $5,000 profit, so $23,000 in all. So, $18,000 plus $50,000 I was all in for $68,000 on the deal. I rehabbed it with the $18,000 he gave me and was able to sell it and made about $7,000 myself.
- Understanding the Lingo: Foreclosures: Foreclosure is the legal process that lenders use to take back property and secure a loan after the borrower stops making payments. We wrote an article on that, Understanding The Foreclosure Process.
Josh: That is a nice chunk of change to walk away with, and I bet you learned a lot about the process too. Is 5 months a normal turnaround, or were there complications you had to work through?
Charleston: From people I talk to, 6 months is an average time, but I normally do 2 months. 1 month to rehab it and one month to get it sold. It does not always pan out that way, but that is what I shoot for.
Josh: 2 months seems efficient, kudos to you. I am sure if we tried it, we would be closer to that 6-month range. You said in the past you have a dedicated team for these jobs. Is that right?
Charleston: Yep, I have a team of about five guys that get it done for me.
Josh: Any tips or tricks for building a good team? Finding dependable contractors is the bane of most investors’ existence.
Charleston: I would say honestly asking around and asking for referrals. That is how I came across my guys. When I started in rentals, I needed minor repairs done, and so people pointed me to different guys. After working with them for a while, I asked if they would like to be a part of my team since I was getting into flipping, and they agreed.
Josh: I think that’s good advice. Referrals are the name of the game in this business. One last question. How important is ARV?
- Understanding the Lingo: ARV: ARV, which stands for After Repair Value is a crucial concept in the real estate world, especially for investors and those involved in property renovations. It represents the estimated value of a property after it has undergone necessary repairs or renovations. Understanding ARV is essential for investors as it helps in assessing the potential profitability of a property.
Charleston: To answer your question, I normally seek either right at ARV or below to get off the deal quickly. Your money is made, however cheaply you’re able to buy the original house for. It is not the sell price.
That concludes our insightful interview with Charleston Girley, a remarkable real estate investor and author. If you’d like to connect with Charleston Girley, learn more about his experiences, or get a copy of his book, “The Black Accountant,” you can find him in the following places:
- Book: You can purchase “The Black Accountant” on Amazon via this link.
- Facebook: Connect with Charleston Girley on Facebook at CJ Girley’s Facebook Profile.
- Instagram: Follow Charleston Girley on Instagram at theaccountant_5.
- Website: Visit his website for more information on his real estate endeavors at cgirleyestates.com.
We hope you have enjoyed this first installment of “Meeting the Local Experts of NEA.” Stay tuned for more inspiring interviews with experts from the Northeast Arkansas region.