JF2282: Austin Flipsters With Lincoln Edwards
Lincoln is the owner of Equity Boost Real Estate, a real estate investment group based in Austin, TX. He’s successfully completed multiple flips and started a popular Youtube Channel called Austin Flipsters with his friend, Lauren, where they show how they flip houses for a profit: The before, after, and all the drama in between.
Lincoln Edwards Real Estate Background:
- Owner of Equity Boost Real Estate and founder of a popular youtube channel Austin Flipsters
- Bought his first investment in 2007
- His company flips 12-20 luxury properties per year and wholesales another 50
- Based in Austin, TX
- Say hi to him at: www.austinflipsters.com
- Best Ever Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People
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Best Ever Tweet:
“Creating our Youtube channel has helped us in many ways to meet investors, create new deals, and grow our marketing” – Lincoln Edwards
Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners, and welcome to the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. I’m Theo Hicks and today, we’ll be speaking with Lincoln Edwards.
Lincoln, how’re you doing today?
Lincoln Edwards: Hey, doing good. Thanks for having me.
Theo Hicks: Absolutely. Thanks for joining us. A little bit about Lincoln’s background—He is the owner of Equity Boost Real Estate and founder of a popular YouTube channel called Austin Flipsters. He bought his first investment in 2007 and his company now flips 12 to 20 luxury properties per year, in addition to wholesaling another 50 deals. He is based in Austin, Texas, and his website is https://www.austinflipsters.com/.
So, Lincoln, do you mind telling us more about your background and what you’re focused on today?
Lincoln Edwards: Sure. Well, like I said, thanks for having me on. I’ve been investing in real estate, like you said, since 2007. That was kind of my first deal, was really just house hacking, renting out to my buddies. I got started seriously investing full-time in 2011 first in commercial real estate, and then in residential redevelopment stuff. And we launched a grand experiment, this YouTube channel Austin Flipsters in 2018, and then kind of have been growing it. And there we take people along for the journey on our fix and flip projects here in Austin, Texas, along with my partner, Lauren. We’re kind of HGTV meets Youtube, and it’s been kind of a fun wild ride getting out there and interacting a lot and building an audience.
Theo Hicks: Nice. So is your main focus on that YouTube channel now, or is the main focus the flipping business and then the YouTube channel is kind of a secondary thing?
Lincoln Edwards: Well, really, our primary business has been our own fix and flips, and in the wholesaling company that you mentioned, Equity Boost Real Estate, was really the original offshoot of that. We’re spending a lot of time just sourcing deals, and there’s just so much that goes into that; once you turn on that marketing machine of generating deal flow, you don’t want to turn it off. So since to build our equity boost and wholesale—once we had all our capital tied up in projects, we work with other investors here in the greater Austin area so that we keep that marketing machine going and we don’t miss out on these opportunities.
And then the YouTube channel, Austin Flipsters, has been kind of another offshoot. I look at that as sort of our marketing for our business, both wholesale as well as the fix and flip. So we’ve looked to find a direction. At first, it was just sort of like figuring out, “Okay, how do we make the most out of social media and see where this thing can go?” And really, it was like filling a void. I started realizing and reading about people that were building real brands and businesses on the back of social media, but YouTube in particular… It sort of blew my mind when I read about a 6 year old kid who was bringing in 100 million dollars a year talking children’s toys… And it kind of blew my mind.
So I’m digging a little bit deeper, and I thought, “Man, I wonder who’s doing this. I wonder who’s the fixer-uppers of YouTube,” and there was nobody doing it. It was a real void. And so we thought, “Well, why not? It could be an experiment.”
And it’s been a great experience, just sort of learning on that platform as we go and, just the amount of connections that it’s opened. Like I said, it’s really been amazing, and it’s basically free marketing. We’re not paying to advertise, we’re getting distributed on these platforms, and a lot of opportunities have come our way just by getting out there. We’ve bought and sold properties from our audience base, we’ve got a lot of wholesale clients… We’re both licensed realtors as well, so we’ve gotten regular traditional clients that way. It’s just been kind of crazy. So it’s Wild West out there.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, so I’m looking at your channel now and you’ve got 90,000 subscribers, and then some of your videos have — a video with 536,000 views… And these are the very, very heavily edited. So do you mind walking us through how you were able to grow such a large following on YouTube?
Lincoln Edwards: Yeah, yeah.
Theo Hicks: Everyone listening, I’m sure they would love to have 90,000 followers and 100,000+ views on their videos.
Lincoln Edwards: Yeah, that was a real learning experience. You know, there are people on YouTube talking about real estate obviously, but it’s really heavily focused on people that want to invest directly, that are kind of more hardcore. And it’s in the weeds…. It’s about the numbers, and refinancing, and that sort of thing. And when we first started out, we thought we would do a little bit of that, and we would make each project sort of drawn out into long episodes, and had a lot of struggles getting started, getting anybody to watch it… And we kind of realized, “Look, there’s not a lot of payoff to come watch us do one small aspect of the house.” So we really doubled down and said, “Well, look, let’s put all our eggs in one basket, let’s do a full HGTV style, highly edited, high-quality video that takes you all the way from purchasing a property to renovating it, and shows you the big payoff at the end.” And that was the secret sauce for getting engagement.
But when you’re starting on YouTube, it doesn’t matter how high quality your video is, at first, nobody is going to watch it. And there’s a million tips and tricks on how to get it out there. None of them seem to work. And then one day I said, “Why don’t we just run our first episode? Why don’t we just run that as an advertisement.” So you can go on YouTube and you can click on a regular ad, and we just had an entire video; it wasn’t selling anything. It wasn’t pitching to subscribe to our channel, it was literally just, “Hey, this is an episode.” We invested a few hundred bucks in just getting it out there, and that got our first few hundred subscribers. And from there, it just took off organically. We never had to really advertise it again, because it’s all based on this algorithm. Once they kind of figure out that, oh, okay, this is getting organic engagement from real people, real viewers, then it actually starts to promote you. But up until that, it doesn’t have really that feedback loop to say like, “Oh, this is a channel people will engage with.” So that was the spark that ignited it, and making the videos as high quality as we possibly can… And it’s just engaging and entertaining. I think that’s been the secret to it taking off.
Theo Hicks: Who’s editing these? Is it you, or are you hiring someone else to do all the editing? I’m assuming you’re hiring someone else, so maybe walk us through your mindset for creating one of these videos. Do you just have hundreds of hours of recordings that you send to an editor, or do you know ahead of time specifically what you want to record? I’m looking at a video here and — is this your wife in the videos?
Lincoln Edwards: No, my friend and partner, Lauren.
Theo Hicks: Okay. So I see pictures of you guys like in a restaurant, I see you guys in the field… I was just going to ask you what the format is for creating these episodes.
Lincoln Edwards: They’re all centered around a house that we’re renovating, obviously… And we’re really just trying to focus on, “Okay, what is going to make this specific house stand out, or a little bit unique?” And it’s been an adaptation, because whereas before we were kind of copying and pasting designs from house to house because nobody would notice the difference, nobody was seeing our channel… And now it’s like, you really have to put out something fresh.
So we basically take, “What do we want to focus on this episode? What do we want to highlight?” And then we kind of batch our filming around check-ins, because it’s a real challenge… You mentioned a full-time videographer and editor, Joey, who is awesome, and is really the star of the show in terms of like getting it produced and getting it high quality… But then we work as a team on the direction, the edit, the storyline, the whole thing. So we batched the shooting; we dedicate one day a week to getting everybody to the projects, filming, and highlighting what we want to highlight, and then we spend the rest of the week actually running our business. And that’s the way to do it. Because at first we didn’t really know what we’re doing. We’re just like, “Okay, let’s literally film everything and anything,” and there’s just way too much footage and it makes the edit near impossible.
Theo Hicks: And then if you don’t mind, how expensive is it to make a video?
Lincoln Edwards: A real expense is our videographer. So he is on a salary; he’d probably don’t want me putting his salary out there, but a market rate salary for somebody like that… And then beyond that, it’s our time and just camera equipment, editing equipment. So you’re talking a few thousand dollars per video.
Theo Hicks: And then, do you do 12-20 flips per year, so those would be 12 to 20 videos per year?
Lincoln Edwards: Yeah, exactly. We’re trying to make at least one video. And we slowed down during the pandemic; we kind of took a step back. We’re gearing back up now, so we’ve got several more episodes that are kind of in the pipeline that we’re working on at the moment.
Theo Hicks: I see you released one six days ago from when we’re recording, and it already has 260,000 views. So that’s awesome. And then you mentioned before that you’ve gotten a lot out of these videos – relationships, things like that. So are you getting deals from these videos? Are you getting investors from these videos? How are these videos, besides the advertising dollars you make on them – how is that helping your fix and flip business?
Lincoln Edwards: So like I said, the episode before last, the one you just mentioned, that came out a few days ago – the one previous to that we bought from a subscriber who reached out to us, sold us that deal, and it was a house that we flipped as well as five vacant lots that we ended up working with another developer on those. And then yeah, we’ve gotten several clients and sold several wholesale deals for our wholesale business.
We’ve got an episode in the works where we’re going to actually highlight a project that we worked with some first-time investors on. We sold them the property wholesale and we’re going to kind of document the progress of that flip in an episode. And we’re also going to showcase – I think in that same episode actually – some clients that moved down to Austin from New York, we met through the channel, helped them purchase their property; it’s not wholesale, just traditional retail, and then we’re helping them remodel part of the house.
So we’re trying to showcase on the channel in a way that’s entertaining and visually interesting the interactions we’re having with our audience, but that’s just part of the strategy with YouTube marketing and one of the ways that it pays back the time and investment in growing that social media.
Theo Hicks: Okay, Lincoln, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?
Lincoln Edwards: Wow, superlatives. Man, you guys are all about the best. I think for me, I would advise getting out there and growing your network as much as possible. Even if you’re not doing it on social media, just actually getting involved locally with other real estate investors, wholesalers, diverse [unintelligible [00:13:43].17] and actively growing on a weekly basis.
We dedicate, like I said, one day a week towards marketing, towards getting out there, and the returns on that are sort of exponential. And in today’s environment, it’s the easiest thing in the world to turn on your camera, create an Instagram account and just talking through your journey; you’ll be amazed at the sort of connections that can come just from building a small following and interacting actively in your local market, to deal flow, to joint ventures, to growing a bigger business. At least that has been a key to success for us.
Theo Hicks: Okay, Lincoln, are you ready for the best ever lightning round?
Lincoln Edwards: I am so ready for this.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. Alright, first a quick word from our sponsors.
Theo Hicks: Okay, Lincoln, what is the best ever book you’ve recently read?
Lincoln Edwards: It’s a standard, it’s a classic, but I re-read once a year How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’ve got an audible membership. I read a lot of books, but I’ve found re-reading the best ones has an even higher return on investment than reading something new.
Theo Hicks: If your business were to collapse today, what would you do next?
Lincoln Edwards: I would take six months and do nothing. I don’t think I would rush into anything. I would talk to a lot of folks and I would mostly relax, decompress, and then figure out where the next opportunities are.
Theo Hicks: Tell us about the best deal you’ve done; not money, but one that got the most views on YouTube, like, what the story was.
Lincoln Edwards: Our best deal has probably the least views, because it’s the least entertaining. It’s a house that we just bought — it was 130 grand under market value and we just bought it and relisted it and sold it, and it made for a not very compelling YouTube video. And the one that’s got the most views is just sort of random, and it’s a very traditional fix and flip; one that we got, I think, off of a mailer. It’s got over a million views, and to be honest, I think it’s one of our worst videos. I don’t know how the algorithm works. But I think our latest video, the one you mentioned, that came out a few days ago – it’s tearing it up. I think it’ll eventually become the most viewed video.
Theo Hicks: And what about a deal you’ve lost money on, or maybe a YouTube you thought was going to do really well, but didn’t?
Lincoln Edwards: You know, they say it’s better to be lucky than good, and I’ve been really lucky in Austin, Texas, because you can make some pretty dumb mistakes and the market just goes up and bails you out. So you never want to get that confused, but one of the deals I learned the most on was a deal I made money on. I renovated a house and then a developer bought the house from me, ended up putting a condo regime on the lot and building a second unit on the back of that house. They probably sold it and made $200,000 to $300,000… And that’s not a loss. That’s not me losing money, but that’s definitely an opportunity cost. I learned a lot just watching somebody — I thought I had added the maximum amount of value and I watched somebody come in and make money where I could have easily — you know, I owned the property and I controlled it, and I just wasn’t creative enough, I wasn’t flexible enough and I hadn’t done my homework enough to realize that that was an opportunity. So I really look at that as costing me a few hundred thousand dollars, and I’ve learned from that mistake. Now we do AB condos and we look for the absolute highest return that we can get out of these properties.
Theo Hicks: What is the best ever way you like to give back?
Lincoln Edwards: When we started the YouTube channel, it really was kind of about our wholesale business and working with brands. But we had so many people reaching out just trying to get started and asking for advice… We started out by just kind of answering those questions, one-off here and there, and it got to be overwhelming. People asked us for an intro course. So we created a House Flipping for Beginners course, and that’s been really rewarding to watch people go through that… And it is a paid course, but during the pandemic, we offered scholarships for people that have been laid off due to Corona, and that’s been really rewarding, helping other people start their journey in real estate investing.
Theo Hicks: And lastly, what’s the best ever place to reach you?
Lincoln Edwards: Well, first, you should subscribe to our YouTube channel. It’s youtube.com/austinflipsters. But if you want to get in direct contact, you can DM us on Instagram @austinflipsters or you can send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Theo Hicks: Well, Lincoln, I really appreciate you joining us today and talking about your YouTube channel. I can’t stress this enough, you guys have to check out his YouTube channel; just from understanding what it takes to make content, the fact that he’s got these 20+ minute-long YouTube videos that looks like there’s an edit every three to four seconds. I’m sure it takes a long time, but it looks really, really good… And I can tell that they’re entertaining. So you guys can watch those and take some tips on how to improve your content as well.
And so Lincoln told us how he was able to grow his channel, and it really just started off with looking at other similar fix and flip channels to see what they were doing, and they identified something that was missing, which was these full HGTV type shows from the beginning to the end, as opposed to getting very detailed, in the weeds in one specific aspect of the flip. And he said that they got their first jump by running the first episode as an advertisement; so not creating a special advertisement for the channel but just advertising episode… Spent a few hundred dollars got their first few hundred subs and from there it grew organically, due to the high quality.
He says that when they’re making a video, they do one per house, and they’ll identify what would be the story or the unique thing about this flip. And then they dedicate one day per week to filming for the project. So whenever they go do the property check-in, they do their filming. And they also have a full time editor and videographer who is on salary to help with these videos.
And he mentioned that he benefits in lots of ways from this YouTube channel, that he’s actually bought homes from subscribers, clients for his program he mentioned the end, wholesaling deals to subscribers, and then being able to, for one example, create a YouTube video of that wholesale deal and how that deal was progressing.
And his best ever advice was to focus on networking, get out there and grow your network as much as possible, whether on social media or just locally, and then make sure you’re dedicating a certain time during the week to do this. So for Lincoln, his business is that one day per week doing the videos. For you, it might be something else, but making sure you’re focusing on networking.
So Lincoln again, thank you for joining us. Congratulations with the YouTube channels. I hope your most recent video surpasses that 1 million mark again. And Best Ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening, have a best ever day and we will talk to you tomorrow.
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