On the show today we have one of Seattle’s premier real estate investors and brokers, our good friend, Leka Devatha from Rehabit Homes
– Certain Lending
– Heaton Dainard
– Fixated On Real Estate
– Matt Smith – You can find him as Bongo’s in Seattle
– Caliber Real Estate
– Nghi’s hard money podcast
– Leka Devatha’s video card
– Rehabit Homes
– Real Estate At Work Meetup – all proceeds go to charity, and free lunch!
– Din Tai Fung – http://dintaifungusa.com/
– Thai Tom – https://thai-tom.business.site/
Notes from the show
The Vantastic Life is…
– in South Carolina headed to Congaree National Park
Today on the show we have our good friend Leka Devatha!
Grew up in Bangalore before meeting her husband (Vijay) and moving to Seattle.
She was in fashion, then bought a lot of land, and got obsessed with buying old fixers and remodeling them. Make our Seattle community a better place one house at a time.
She’s flipped 30 homes since 2014, and is going strong!
The first home she built in 2012 was her personal residence.
Come see us in the Pacific Northwest!
So you move here, and built your house, you were in fashion… what did you do?
She worked in corporate for Nordstrom’s.
Acquired her first deal purely though networking. She also went to our meetup early on.
Her first deal was in Shoreline that she got from Kenny at Caliber.
* On this first deal she was involved every single day!
* Helping with the demo and trim boards.
How did you find your general contractor at first?
I know that you share a contractor with another investor (Jimmy Tang).
This is great to keep the contractor busy!
Interviewed 16 different contractors before finding the one she wanted to go with.
Leka is part of the FortuneBuilders, but has had to adjust to the market here in Seattle.
With the contractor she wanted a good balance and someone she could have fun with. Unfortunately the contractor moved back to south east Asia after doing the job.
How long did you spend finding the first deal?
Actually I made a rookie mistake… she found a deal before finding a general contractor. It was about a month burn on hard money.
What do you recommend to newbies just getting started?
If you’re a new investor I would recommend finding a project, then finding a GC.
If you don’t have a house a GC is not going to want to work with you because they don’t know when you’re going to find a house.
Highly recommends partnering up with an experienced investor to get some of the experience that will carry you quicker down the path than if you were doing it on your own.
I completely agree! This will help you to not lose your shirt in a changing market.
Totally! There are definitely market adjustments happening right now.
Experienced investors would love to work with a new investor that could bring something to the table.
Do you just flip, or do you do it all?
We do BURR, buy fix sell, and redevelopment.
We do Vegas as well if you want to go down there.
Where do you buy most of your deals these days?
I’m very selective of where I buy my deals from, and am constantly networking (and knocking on doors). My best deals come from experienced wholesalers, and even the MLS.
I also do a lot of deals with Heaton Deanard, I do a lot of deals through them.
Do you look at deals that go through all of the Facebook groups?
I’m a nerd and constantly looking at ALL of the deals. Every single deal! And will even get back to the investors and tell them if they are off on their numbers.
Likes to go back to deals that are from a year old to see how it ended up doing. Just to stay sharp!
You should always list back when a wholesalers brings you a deal. Meaning if they bring you a wholesale deal, and you do the deal, and it goes well… you should list it with that wholesaler.
Be careful with your first few deals. You have to ask why you are getting the deal, and why the other investors passed on it.
Do you guys do any direct mail marketing?
We have in the past, but haven’t lately. That being said we are going to again in 2019!
I see that two years in a row you got big awards from Heaton Deanard. Tell us about that…
We did a really beautiful house that we were awarded for. It was really cool!
The second was a darling house in Sunset Hill that won her the master flipper award in 2018!
What do you enjoy doing the most in the business?
I love meeting people with different mindsets every single day! People that were doing other things in the past and are now doing real estate to secure the futures for themselves and their families.
I also design every single one of our homes. I have FUN with it, and it helps me to enjoy my work that much more!!!
Reminds me of Donna at KD3 Home Solutions. You guys should talk shop.
I think we have done homes a few streets apart!
Sorry fellas, but I love seeing the gals house designs versus the girls house designs.
I don’t involved in that part, we have a partnership over here.
So, you have your real estate license… I think that is the best! Why did you get yours?
I wanted to get inside of houses on my own!
If you’re going to be a serious real estate redeveloper know that doing both is a lot of work.
Having your real estate license is a discount card, an insurance card, and the rules aren’t that complicated.
This is a very important topic for me!
It can be a lot of work to be a successful real estate broker, but being an investor and broker brings a huge service to your clients!
I think that in the future if brokers don’t know how to provide options you’re going end up having a job instead of their own business.
Why Keller Williams Eastside?
They have so much education and I have a coach that is amazing!!!
I feel like if you have a good coach… that’s where you want to be.
They let her wholesale off market, although everything is a case by case basis.
How is your team setup these days?
I am a one woman show, but I hire people all the time.
Partnering is good general contractors and agents is essential!
Vijay does help on an as needed basis, but has a full time job.
What I’d your buying criteria?
Going into 2019 my buying criteria has changed and I’m looking for more development, multi family, and new construction. And adding more rental properties to our portfolio.
Definitely different from 2018 – find a good house and flip it to the nines!
It’s great because you can adjust to the market and you don’t have to do the same thing over and over and over again.
Where do you buy?
We buy all over the place. King, Pierce, and Snohomish.
How do you finance your deals?
We use Certain Lending.
You bring them a deal, they put it out in the hard money universe, and find you a great hard money deal. I do all of my deals with them!
They broker the loan and the investor does not pay for that.
Let’s link Nghi’s podcast.
How are you helping Certain Lending?
I help them out with the have new products when I can, but don’t specifically work for them.
Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to most?
When I first started I loved being mentored by Sean Katona. I also love Jimmy Tang and Jared Holland. Tarl is such a great inspiration!
I love being apart of the Seattle investor community! You are a wealth of information (Julie)!
James Deanard is a big one!
What are your goals for the next few years?
Adding more rentals to my portfolio. Starting in the next couple of years… Who knows where Certain Lending with go… that’s where I want to be.
It’s a fun ride! I’m excited!
Are you doing some video stuff?
I shot my first video business card, and it was so much fun! I did this with Jeremy Pool.
I had Ariv rap to one of my pajama parties!
#1 what is your favorite restaurant?
What’s your favorite travel experience?
Galápagos Islands expedition cruise was so untouched and amazing! Out at sea all day, and then show up at this magical new island. Everything there is native to the islands so you don’t see it anywhere else.
They do a great job of keeping the islands very clean!
A lot of strenuous hiking, so not very kid friendly, but super fun!