A Passion That Grew Into a New Career: Dane Fitch’s Real Estate Investor Story
Dane Fitch’s career path took a sharp turn when he decided to branch into the investment world of flipping properties. Since making the move a little over five years ago, he has done 80 flips (60 of them being in the last two years) and he left his job as a high school English teacher to become a full-time flipper. What started as just a desire to increase his wealth, turned into a profitable, full-time, house flipping business.
With his teaching prowess and love of learning, Dane developed an impressive aptitude in the industry. He understands the perspectives of both flipper and lender—and his story of getting there is an inspiration to anyone wanting to try their hand at flipping homes.
When Dane flipped his first house, he was a high school English teacher. At that time, most of his knowledge of the industry came from family members who worked as Realtors, his mother being one of them.
During the recession, she offered up the idea of buying a house she had found to resell it. With a desire to make extra income, he obliged and bravely put down the money—his whole life savings in cash. Unsure of the process, he enlisted his, notably handy, brother to help manage the project. In his words, they “made every mistake possible” but still managed a $40,000 profit. Thus, began his interest in the flipping world.
Since selling that first property in January of 2014, Dane has since left his career as a teacher and began flipping full-time in Oregon, primarily in the east side of Portland.
Learning the ropes
He has grown his business to the point where he and his partner operate a fund of about $1.2 million of their own money, allowing them to flip anywhere from 8-12 properties at a time. Looking back, he recognizes and appreciates the lessons and trials and tribulations they went through to get where they are today.
After his first property gave him a profit of $40,000, his next ones only made him $3,300 and $7,600 respectively, reminding him to always invest carefully.
Some of the ways Dane credits his business scaling so successfully is having a phenomenal office assistant, network of wholesalers, hard money lender, knowing when to not buy a property, understanding of the current trends and styles in designs, and a constant lookout out for ways to make tough jobs easier (like not removing wallpaper, just shiplap and paint it).
Additionally, they have learned many other things about the industry and what works for them in their house flipping endeavors. Examples include that they prefer to flip first-time buyer properties, buy supplies in bulk at Home Depot to save money, keep reliable plumbers and electricians who are “worth their weight in gold”, and know that tasteful fixtures, back splashes, and new paint and carpet will contribute to the “easiest $15,000 you’ll ever make.”
Discovering LendingHome as a hard money lender
Prior to learning all of the intricacies of his business and diving in deep, Dane first started out paying for properties in cash, then used an expensive hard money lender. It wasn’t until after going through all those means, that he was introduced to LendingHome.
Dane was originally referred to LendingHome by one of his wholesalers, after sharing his woes about an overpriced house. The wholesaler ended up selling that house to Dane for a price based on the savings they would get by using LendingHome instead of their other hard money lender.
LendingHome simplified the financing process so much through their Pro Platform (a membership that more experienced house flippers have access to), Dane was able to upload an application in 5 minutes and have it funded in as few as 5 days. This unparalleled benefit helped him scale his business. It was so simple that he passed the task off to his assistant, checking one more thing off his to-do list and increasing efficiency.
“I love the value that LendingHome brought to my business. A lot of investors share my story of quitting their day jobs to try and make a better life for their families through real estate. I’m totally on board with saving them time and money because I know how that can be the step to move them towards financial freedom in their lives.”
The fulfillment of flipping
Dane loves talking about real estate and really enjoys meeting new people, learning their strategies, and sharing his own. The storytelling part of the REI community, as well as learning from others, understanding their experiences, and sharing his own techniques in financing—the very people-oriented fabric of real estate investing—are aspects he finds extremely rewarding.
There is one policy of Dane’s that is woven into each position he’s had in his career, whether it is teaching or flipping—and that is integrity.
“Always take the high road. Err on the side of integrity. You can always make more money; you can’t always get your integrity back. I can’t tell you how many deals I’ve gotten and made from referrals in which I’ve given more value than getting in return.”
Dane’s approach to business is in the spirit of honesty and transparency that LendingHome values.
“I love the value that LendingHome brought to my business.”Dane Fitch
What is one thing you wish you knew before starting to fix and flip?
How have you seen the industry evolve since you started and where do you see it going?
I’ve seen a lot of investors moving in a more buy and hold direction. I’ve also seen them moving away from auctions and more to buying direct from sellers which means marketing for off-market deals. In general, there is a lot of competition from many investors entering the market. You need to find a niche and be the best at it.
What is your brand in your house flipping?
We like a mixture of the modern farmhouse. My partner likes a modern shiplap look with lots of different textures. We are really enjoying open shelving in the kitchen right now as well.
What advice would you give to someone new to house flipping?
Get a mentor. There are plenty of great people who want to pass on their knowledge to deserving people. Show that you value someone else’s experiences and are willing to add value to that information. The knowledge will save you a lot of money. Being able to learn from others’ mistakes is invaluable.
What has been the most rewarding experience in house flipping?
My partner and I got to remodel our kids’ preschool. It’s a non-profit and we gave it a really modern look that the teacher just loved. Every time I go in, she is always so thankful.
What is your dream property to flip?
Honestly, one that is easy and without headaches. I’m kind of boring that way. I would take four carpet and paint flips with small ROI’s over a million dollar project with a six figure return all day.
If you could imagine a service or tool or resource that would improve the way you work in the future versus today–what would it be?
I think there needs to be a different way to sell your house. I think it needs to be easier. We should be able to sell our houses like we sell cars. I’m thinking an online marketplace that you don’t have to pay a 6% commission.
What do you hope for the future?
I’m really interested in the mixed commercial housing and the communities that can be created from a mixture of urban housing and commercial space. I’d like to see people living closer, but sharing their outdoor space and supporting each other’s local businesses right under their own housing.
Dane’s positive feedback about LendingHome is a testament to our service. Our team offers an informed, supportive staff to help guide flippers in the right direction—many of which are experts who have lived through it themselves. We strive to cultivate a community with outstanding customers, like Dane.
In addition, LendingHome’s unrivaled terms are best paired with the human touch and support. This added benefit enriches the service that we are proud to provide to our customers.
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