The Secret to Success, TJMG Properties History Part 2

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4 a

Chris MacEwen (L), Keith Jones (R)

The secret to success, part 2 in a series of the history of TJMG Properties.

It’s the year 2010… Apple has just released the iPad and Justin Bieber continues to dominate the world of pop culture, all while back in the small community of Central New York, The Jones & MacEwen Group still consists of just 2 young men working full time for other companies, sitting on their first purchase…a renovated and rented 3 bedroom house in Liverpool, New York. While this investment puts a couple dollars a month into their company account, Keith and Chris ponder a second property to purchase.

Another house in Liverpool proved to be the perfect opportunity. The Owners of the home were leaving town and looking to sell a rental property, complete with tenants and no renovation work necessary. While the choice to purchase or not was a bit of a no-brainer, the experience of buying yet another property had now cemented the team of consultants, such as the mortgage broker, inspector, lawyer, realtor and insurance agent.

Keith explained: “Chris and I learned early on that the importance of making connections and lasting business relationships is one of the most critical pieces of the pie, if not ‘the most’ important aspect.”

Sarona Clay 101_0375

Later that year, an empty house in Clay, New York became the 3rd property in the portfolio.  The house closed at a good price but that was due to the good amount of necessary repair work that needed to be done. To a small business, $12,000 in cosmetic improvements was a LOT. So once again, nights, weekends, and any personal time off from their full-time day jobs was spent by Chris and Keith in their tool belts and painters caps getting the place ready for prospective tenants. The renovation work took about 6 weeks and the house sat on the market for just under 3 weeks… then finally – a happy tenant moved in.

Chris stated: ”One of our goals on every acquisition is to learn something, and my big takeaway from this project was that our time is far more valuable creating systems and researching new market opportunities.  The best use of our time was not going to be swapping out kitchen cabinetry.”

With about $3,000 in income per month and 3 mortgages to pay for, Keith and Chris decided that their 4th purchase would be a flip instead of a rental. It was time to get some quick cash into the bank. Having religiously watched Richard Davis on his original reality show Flip This House in 2005 and then onto The Real Estate Pros in 2007, they thought it was time to give it a try.

The house in Liverpool, which was empty for years, was purchased for $110,000. Surprisingly enough, it sold in the fall (Spring is peak selling season) for $175,000. After expenses for renovation work and other holding costs, the team of 2 profited about $20,000.  Keith says “We studied and learned from Richard Davis. The purpose of that tv series was to show others how to flip a house and make a profit. It did just that for us.”

That experience launched Chris and Keith into the world of project management, where schedules and budgeting are the most important factors for increasing profit. Their consultant team had now expanded to include landscapers and other general trades.

With each project, the circle of business associates and contractors expanded. They quickly began to see that more square footage typically means more money… in this market anyway.  Keith explained “The residential realtor that we were working with, Eddie Polito, whom we trusted and respected, whispered in our ears that with our formal and structured approach we may want to consider some larger projects as they come with larger payouts.”  They knew she was nudging them into the world of commercial realty and at this point in time, they were ready to bite!

Stay tuned because the first commercial purchase comes next!

If you missed part one of the story behind the success of TJMG Properties, CLICK HERE.