Katrina Bell, salon owner. In her other life: real estate investor.
The owner of Michael’s Hair Design in Martins Ferry, Ohio, nail tech Katrina Bell works four days a week from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Most days, when she gets off work, she changes clothes and heads to one of her many homes, where you can find her hard at work painting, drywalling, caulking, laying vinyl flooring, building decks, or running electrical. Along with her boyfriend Dean, Bell runs a thriving real estate investment company called Catfive Properties.
“We started in September ’06 with a rental, then purchased another one to remodel and resell in January ’07. We have now worked our way into six rentals and five ‘flips,’” says Bell, who takes care of the bookkeeping and office work as well. “We also own a commercial building we are renovating to move my salon to so I can expand. I’m going from 500 square feet to 1,300 square feet on two floors!” Her profits from the real estate business are funding the renovations, as well as going toward her retirement savings.
Far from being negatively affected by the recent financial turmoil, the two have found a successful niche. “We are doing what we call entry-level flips. We live in an area littered with small towns that have a low cost-of-living and low property taxes,” explains Bell. “The formula is very simple. We purchase a good solid house, usually a foreclosure, for a fairly modest amount. We remodel it, update it, and fix whatever needs fixing, making the house appraise for roughly twice what we paid for it. The properties are in the starter-home range and a mortgage is easily attainable, even for someone with not-so-good credit.
“The last two houses we sold had buyers before we were done renovating!”