Interview with Carrie Forsyth - Red Barn Homebuyers Franchisee

Interview with Carrie Forsyth
Red Barn Homebuyers Franchisee

Investing in a franchise can offer essential resources and support to thrive in the real estate industry, which can be a profitable venture. In our interview, we'll chat with a franchisee who will shed light on the franchise model, the real estate market, and the critical success factors in this field. Whether you're curious about real estate investment or considering franchise investment, this interview will furnish valuable information and perspectives.

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Ken Corsini

Carrie, thanks so much for coming on the show. Welcome to The Deal Farm. How are you doing?

Carrie Forsyth

Good morning. Very good. Thank you.

Ken Corsini

Good. Well, for our listeners, maybe tell everybody where you are from and where you're living and where you're operating your business.

Carrie Forsyth

Sure. Right now, I've always lived in Erie, Pennsylvania. Right now, it's snowing and beautiful, but it makes it hard when it comes to flipping houses. It does slow down progress.

Ken Corsini

I can imagine. Yeah, winter is probably a little bit tricky. So Erie, Pennsylvania, for those folks that don't know, you're right on the Great Lakes, right?

Carrie Forsyth

I am. It's a 10 minute drive from me.

Ken Corsini

Wow. So you guys get that wonderful lake effect snow, I imagine?

Carrie Forsyth

We do. Not as bad as Buffalo, but we are not strangers to having snow. So we fight the elements and do the best we can do. Try to work inside whenever it's snowing and cold and outside when it's beautiful.

Ken Corsini

I can't even imagine trying to do exterior work in the winter in a place like here. That's got to be tricky.

Carrie Forsyth

Last year, we had a tarp up over a porch while we were trying to redo the porch just to keep the snow from taking over.

Ken Corsini

Oh, my gosh.

Kevin Corsini

And that's classic rust belt, isn't it? Isn't that considered part of the rust belt there?

Carrie Forsyth

Yeah, Pittsburgh is more the rust belt, but yeah. We used to be very... What do I say? There were a lot of industry here 25 years ago, and it's all turned into more of a place for tourists in the summertime and that thing. Fishermen like to come here in the summer. People do a lot of ice fishing, too, but we haven't gotten that cold yet.

Ken Corsini

Interesting. Well, for those that don't know, Carrie has the privilege of being one of our first franchisees at Red Barn Homebuyers

. And so we thought it'd be interesting to get you on and hear your story. What were you doing before you got into real estate? And what's it been like since you've been a full time real estate investor?

Carrie Forsyth

Sure. I was in corporate America for many years. I had gone to school later. And the last 11 years I worked at the company that everyone tries to get into in Erie, Pennsylvania. And I worked there for 11 years and did well. But during that time, I had the unfortunate situation where my son passed away. And during that time, as much of a struggle it was, obviously, I had taken some time off, went back and went from a buyer to a commodity manager. And although it was a great job after COVID, they asked me to come back to the same desk that I sat in when my son was sick, when I was struggling with hospitals and that thing. And I just said, no, I'm not coming back. And that, we've been working from home for two years. There's no reason. Everything I do is out of state anyway. I did a lot of traveling during COVID, and I decided that it didn't make sense. My husband and I had been tinkering in flipping houses on the side while I was working, so we were comfortable in the space of flipping houses. And I had just decided, you know what?

Carrie Forsyth

I cannot do both. I can't work on houses and commit to it and get them done in a quick fashion like they should be until I actually take that jump. And we were introduced to... Actually, we saw your show of Red Barn where you gave away a franchise. And so that triggered our research. We started looking into it, learned more about the company, and decided, you know what? Now is the time. Because the company wasn't taking care of what I needed. And I felt these are people who care about me. So I needed to find somewhere was a little bit more personable.

Ken Corsini

Yeah.

Kevin Corsini

You've been in corporate America. I mean, that's a steady salary benefit, very different from opening your own business and having your own company working from home. That's a risk. That's a big change. What was the impetus to, you know what, I want to own my own thing and not just find a work from home arrangement with another Corporation?

Carrie Forsyth

Sure. Well, it is a big risk because, and I know I've been asked, what's my goal for the first year? My goal was to replace my income. Now I started in August with my first leads, and I know what it takes to replace six figures. So I was very nervous about it, but put my head down and have gone into it. Now, I also want to build wealth. So my goal for the first part of the year was to get some rentals, which I have three rentals right now and one flip that I'm working on. Actually, I've made a deal with the contractor, so it's great. He's somebody I met through one of my leads at Red Barn, and he's managing that whole project. I visit every once in a while and deliver some material. That's about it. So it works out really great because I found a like minded person. I think it's really important to bring in like minded people whenever you're trying to build a business

, and he's somebody that I can count on. So when that part of that is set up, I've got some real estate rentals going and that working on.

Carrie Forsyth

And now my goal for the beginning of this year is to work on some wholesale so that I can actually replace that income. Those other things are going to be building me wealth, but I need to be able to actually replace that income. And come April when I'm selling a few houses, I plan on doing it. I think it's really important to have a plan. And initially I had sat down and thought about, what's it going to take to be able to replace what I was earning?

Ken Corsini

I love your approach to real estate

. And it's the way we coach a lot of our folks that come into the franchise is don't just focus on one thing. It's like you said, you've got wholesale deals for just replacing income, paying bills and whatnot. Flips, to occasionally just pop a big deal and put a lot of money in your bank account. But then rentals for building wealth. And there are all three different strategies. And I love the fact that right out of the gates, you're already thinking about that approach. As long as I can replace my income, but over here, if I could pick up four or five rentals this year, and now I'm building long term wealth, I think it's such a smart approach to real estate.

Carrie Forsyth

I guess sitting back and looking at your own situation is really important. I want to leave wealth to my children, my grandchildren, and be able to know that everybody's taking care of. But I also know that here and now, these houses don't buy themselves, so you've got to have some money to be able to get going with. So it's important to keep turning them over at the same time.

Ken Corsini

It is a little bit of a balance, right, to wholesale some deals, put some money in your bank account, and now you've got some money if you need to put some equity into a deal or you need a down payment of some sort. And that's the other beautiful thing about this space is you can legitimately make money without having to buy anything. You just wholesale houses, you're assigning contracts and you're putting money in your bank account, even if you didn't necessarily have the bandwidth to buy houses. It's a way that you can get in the space. It's how you get started.

Carrie Forsyth

Right. Well, I will tell you, my attorney was like, Couldn't you just start with one? I had found a deal. I went to the dentist and this is another thing I would always recommend is be passionate about what you're doing. And when people ask, tell them. So the woman who was cleaning my teeth said, What do you do for a living? I said, I used to work here, and now I buy and sell houses. And she started talking about how her father owns a lot of properties around a local college. I said, so that's who owns those houses. I've always wondered who owns those houses in that area because I went to school there. And so he gave me a call and I was looking to sell 11 properties that he wants to retire. Knowing her, which I really didn't know her, and turned into a very large deal. But my attorney is like, Couldn't you just start with one?

Kevin Corsini

Instead of 11.

Carrie Forsyth

He's feeling a little overwhelmed because in Pennsylvania, this is not a common practice. The wholesaling thing is not exactly because we have a transfer tax, so it's not as liquid as what you would be doing in another state, probably.

Ken Corsini

Right. I do love portfolio deals, though. We've done a handful of those over the years. When you can knock down 10 deals, or we've done 30 at a time before, it's nice. You come across these landlords that have owned houses for some period of time and they're burned out. They're ready to sell, they're ready to cash out. And if you're there, you're well networked, you've got the right leads. It can be a real lucrative opportunity to flip a lot of houses at one time or wholesale a lot of properties at one time, which is great.

Kevin Corsini

Okay, now that you're out of the corporate world, how is your life different? Are you talking about swinging deals at the dentist office, networking, just day to day? How is your life different now than it was when you were in corporate life?

Carrie Forsyth

I'm not strapped to a chair all day long, which is a huge thing for me to be so inactive. My job required me to either be traveling or be in a chair and in front of my computer. And it's hard to feel good if you're not out and about every day, even though we've got terrible weather. Well, some people think it's terrible weather, but at least I'm able to go, okay, you know what? I need to get away from the desk, and I'm going to drive over to this property and just check on things and make sure everything's moving forward. And it breaks up my day. I feel a little healthier not having to just be strapped to a chair, for lack of a better word.

Ken Corsini

That's awesome.

Carrie Forsyth

It's been a lot of fun. I think I'm meeting a lot of new people. The challenge is finding good contractors who you can have faith in because you need to be able to trust them and know that they have your best interest and that they're going to be there and available for the next one.

Ken Corsini

I remember when I left the corporate world, I think the word that came to mind was liberating. I just remember how those first couple of weeks of not reporting to an office, not clocking in and clocking out was just so liberating. It's like, I am working for myself now. Doesn't mean I didn't put more I think I probably put more hours in, but they were still the most fulfilling hours because it was me. I was working for myself. Did you have that same sense when you stopped reporting for duty at a corporate job?

Carrie Forsyth

Yes. I have to say I had a business years ago, 15 years ago. I owned my own salon, and so I knew what I was kind of getting myself into, owning my own business. You want to spend more time doing it, at least for me, I want to spend more time doing it. It's not something that I dread every day to be able to not have somebody tell me, you're going to come back to this office and you're going to sit in this chair. No, I'm not doing that.

Kevin Corsini

You have some autonomy now. You're your own boss.

Carrie Forsyth

Yeah. You have a great life now.

Kevin Corsini

You just recently won an award as well, right? I mean, you kind of went from tinkering with real estate on the side. Now you're doing it full time. You got a Red barn home buyer franchise, and you just won an award. Tell us about that.

Carrie Forsyth

Sure. One of the things that I learned from joining the franchise was to get involved in local activities. And so I had put myself out there with our apartment association and started going to meetings, met a lot of people and I didn't know this was even a thing, but they have awards programs for rentals that get fixed up and for flips that get fixed up. And I had been working on before I started with Red Barn, I had been working on a house that was down the road for me. My real estate agent called me one day and said, house just went for sale by you. And I knew exactly what house she had been talking about. I was looking at it for years and I said, 15 minutes, I'll see you there, and made an offer. Probably paid too much for it because I wanted it. Long story short, it's actually the house with tarp over it and the snow. So we bought that house, did a lot of work to it. It was a 120 years old, beautiful Craftsman style house. And I had always wanted to do a Craftsman, but it is actually between me and my daughter, so I see it all the time.

Carrie Forsyth

And I really wanted that house because I always wanted to redo a Craftsman. So we did and I put it in for the award and actually won first place on that.

Kevin Corsini

That's awesome.

Carrie Forsyth

A lot of fun because of course it wasn't something when I was doing the house that I was planning on doing, but I already have next year's winner planned out.

Ken Corsini

Hilarious. And there was a local award.

Carrie Forsyth

It is. We have an apartment association for Erie, Pennsylvania that they have been established for years and have a lot of great tools that you can pull from. So it's a great organization and it's also been very helpful. We had a Landlord 101 class that a friend and I had gone to and it's been a lot of fun being able to get more involved in that and having the time to do it. Honestly, when I was working, I would not have been able to spend that time because it's not that much time. They have a meeting once a month, but the classes take longer and that kind of thing. I was glad I was able to do that and got a little lucky and got into that and won that award.

Ken Corsini

That's awesome. Well, like you said, you might have overpaid a little bit and we've done that before where we've wanted to do a house because we knew that after product was going to be so good and we maybe potentially overpay a little, meaning we didn't maybe make as much on the back end. But there's something to be said for credibility. And so for you winning an award in your community, you've got all sorts of credibility. Now when you're talking with Sellers, you're talking with agents, you're talking with lenders, especially when it comes to private lending. And now you're building out this portfolio of before and afters. It creates so much credibility. And for you sort of in your first year of business, being able to build that track record is huge. It'll make it that much easier.

Carrie Forsyth

And one of the things that I loved about this house was it's kind of on a heavily traveled road, but yet still we're close to town and has privacy, so it's in a unique spot, but people will go by and see it and be like, Honk, and you're doing a great job. And then the greatest part about this house was two generations had come back to see they were like, I used to live here. And this soldier gentleman, he stopped and he would come back and check on me every couple of weeks, basically to see how far he's like, I can't believe I don't know how to explain this to my sister. And he would take pictures and that kind of thing. Well, the day before the open house, he brought a sister, she's 82 years old and walked her through it. And they were just so elated, and the house had changed so much. Of course, I had moved some walls out of the bathroom and they just could not believe that it could be what it was. And to hear them say, mom would have been so happy to know that it's all better now.

Carrie Forsyth

So it was a lot of fun.

Ken Corsini

We've done that on many occasions where the previous family came back and we're just amazed. And that's all the feel goods to flipping. That's the stuff a lot of times we don't even talk about. Sometimes it's just the feel goods restoring something that had been dilapidated. Especially when you see the previous owners come back and really appreciate what you've done. That's always a good feeling.

–°arrie Forsyth

And they love living there. They love that house. And I said, well, that's kind of my goal, is to make sure, okay, here's two generations. Now two more generations can go through here without a lot of work.

Kevin Corsini

You talk about family. You said that the house was between you and your daughter's house. A lot of people that get into real estate investing do it as a family, do it as a couple. They do it with their adult kids or even their older parents. What's your approach been as far as involving family in this business?

Carrie Forsyth

Well, one of our first flips, actually, was my daughter's house. She had moved back up here from Pittsburgh

, and we were driving through this wonderful neighborhood close to us, and she said, mom or not, she actually was driving through this neighborhood when we said I had said, wouldn't it be nice if we could just find a nice little ranch that we could fix up? And in this neighborhood, kids would be going to a great school district. Her kids were babies at the time.

Carrie Forsyth

And I was working at Corporate America and got a phone call just before lunch. And she said, mom, do you remember that neighborhood we were driving through? And she said, a sign just went in a window, and it's a ranch. And I was like, first of all, we've been driving around for months. And no, she gave me the address, we went there, and I walked the house, came back to my office, and it was an auction site. So I bid and got the house. Fortunately, we did fix it up. We did a lot of work to it because the ceiling was falling in and needed a new roof, et cetera.

Carrie Forsyth

And that was eight years ago, and we had about 100 into it. Today I could sell it for 270 all day long. So for her, it built her a lot of equity. She only is now probably 50,000. I mean, I set her up to be able to be successful. And my grandchildren are in. They have friends in the neighborhood. It's close to everything. It's the neighborhood everybody tries to get into, and the houses just don't go for sale.

Ken Corsini

Oh, my gosh.

Carrie Forsyth

So we got really lucky. So my son actually had bought a house last year, and he's helping me with the physical part. Whenever I need to move a door or whatever, he's there. So he's learning the business. He's been saving his money because he just bought his own house last year. He's ready to buy a second rental. When he bought his house, it ironically had a little house next door that he rents out. So he's all happy. He's got a tenant paying his rent.

Ken Corsini

He's already house hacking. That's awesome.

Carrie Forsyth

Yeah, he's on it. He's on it. He's going to be set. I mean, I'm really excited for him because he sees that vision, and he's 27 years old, so I know I don't have to worry about him.

Ken Corsini

That's awesome. Well, you're building a legacy, and that's really what real estate does. Yes, you build wealth when you build rentals, but you're also instilling, hopefully in your kids the same ability to not necessarily just always flip houses, but to build equity. How do you buy a house and put some money into it and now sit on it for eight years and you got 170 grand in equity. You're setting your kids and your grandchildren, hopefully up for the future where so many people get stuck in the rental rut or buying above their means. But if you can pass that on to the future generations, what a gift. What a legacy that is.

Carrie Forsyth

Yeah. It is really rewarding knowing that they actually heard some of the things I've said.

Ken Corsini

They were listening.

Carrie Forsyth

Yeah. That's nice.

Ken Corsini

Well, Carrie, man, thank you so much for coming on and spending a little bit of time with us. I love your story. I mean, obviously getting into real estate with the circumstances obviously weren't the best, necessarily, but the fact that you got in and you've really been successful right out of the gates, you've got such a great mindset in how you're approaching real estate, and we're thrilled to have you as a franchisee. Obviously, we wanted to have you on because you're one of our banner franchisees. You're doing exactly what we had hoped our franchisees would do, and you're having success as a result. I don't want to take up too much of your time because I know how busy you are. You're out there slinging deals. We want to be a part of that. So, Carrie, thanks so much for coming on. We really appreciate it.

Carrie Forsyth

Yeah, thank you. Thank you both for actually creating the Red Barn franchise

. It's made the path a little easier, and what's great is the help that I get from Dave be able to bounce ideas off of him. I couldn't do without him either, so I just want to throw that out there. I appreciate the support

we get from the team.

Ken Corsini

Awesome. Well, we appreciate you. Take care. Hey, Carrie, just so you know, we're coming up there. I know I keep saying that. It's just winter. I'm going to wait till it gets a little warmer.

Kevin Corsini

We're bringing the camera. We're bringing the cameras. When the snow melts. Right.

Carrie Forsyth

Okay. I'll have something really exciting for you to look at then.

Ken Corsini

There you go. Sounds good. Awesome. Thanks, Carrie. I appreciate you coming on.

Carrie Forsyth

Have a great day.

Ken Corsini

You too. Bye.

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