262 Carroll St.
Military veterans Andy and Ashley Williams have officially wrapped up a season of work on HGTV’s Flip or Flop spinoff Flip or Flop Fort Worth.
The show premiered Nov. 2 and the nine-episode season followed Andy, a real estate agent and home renovation expert, and his wife, Ashley, a designer, as they bought and sold rundown houses in Fort Worth for profit.
“Now that season one is over, we’re still hopeful that we will have a season two. We don’t know as of yet, so we’re still kind of on pins and needles,” Ashley said. “But we are very excited about just continuing our mission” with their business, Recon Realty.
Helping veterans has always been important to the couple, as they met while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army. During their HGTV work, the couple was committed to hiring veterans to help on their projects. Beyond the TV series, helping veterans and continuing their mission remains paramount for Recon Realty.
“The primary reason why we did season one is to expose the mission of Recon Realty, which is really about changing the narrative for veterans’ reintegration,” Andy said.
Now that the couple is off the set and can get back to running their realty business, Andy says, they are making a commitment to buy hundreds of houses in Fort Worth to “renovate to rent” and build awareness around veterans becoming landlords. They plan to have veterans involved in every step of the process.
Through Recon Realty the couple will complete case studies where veterans shadow them on flipping homes, in addition to having each veteran make a commitment to buy five, 10, 15 or 50 homes as they integrate into the real estate industry.
“We’re gonna kind of take the camera off of us and put the visual on the veteran reintegrating,” Andy said. “A lot of veterans wanna get into flipping houses, which is viable. But right now I think there’s a better opportunity to go into some of these neighborhoods and have them go renovate the properties.”
In addition to working with the veterans on their properties, Ashley and Andy are also going to continue to buy houses and turn them into affordable rental properties. In fact, Andy says they plan to “deep dive into some of the harder neighborhoods” including Stop Six and Como.
“Being on the platform of HGTV brought so much attention to our mission, and we had veterans reaching out, literally on every social media handle we had,” Ashley said. “They’ve all been looking for the chance to shadow someone. The chance to have someone literally walk them through step by step, on how to buy, renovate, flip, whatever they want to get into in the real estate business.”
This is what Recon Realty plans to accomplish.
In addition to the shadowing opportunity, Andy explained, the couple is working to start a certification program to “re-deploy veterans into the real estate industry” and have an association focused on veterans owning land in America.
Ashley added that while the beginning goal is to have the veteran population buying and renovating houses, the next step is to have those same vets become landlords and rent the houses out to their community.
Ashley and Andy plan to commit to these communities and neighborhoods, just as they expect the veterans to commit, and they have a 10-year plan for doing that.
The pair is making a commitment to buy 500 houses over the next five years while challenging 50 veterans to commit to buying 50 homes in the next five years. Then, Andy says, they’re going to challenge 100,000 veterans to buy five homes each, in the next five years.
“What we wanna do is empower the veteran community and challenge them to take an interest in ownership into revitalizing and reintegrating into the U.S., and doing it through income properties, renovate to rent,” Andy said. “I think there’s a huge opportunity to, not just build wealth, but also transition and be a part of the process [of revitalization] in some of these inner cities.”
The plan will start in historically low-income Fort Worth neighborhoods including Stop Six, on the city’s east side, and Como in West Fort Worth before expanding to different areas of the city and beyond.
“We feel that America is shifting to a landlord nation, and we see that rents are going out of control,” Andy said. “We want to be in a position to be able to monitor and maintain some of the inventory in this country, and we want more patriots to own more of America.”
Ashley added that in Como, for example, builders can put up a two- or three-bedroom house with two baths for less than $120,000, which could potentially rent for less than $1,500. “That’s still below market rent, and you’re getting a quality house in a neighborhood that’s up and coming,” she said.
Andy says getting started with this commitment to Fort Worth and to overall neighborhood revitalization and the reintegration of veterans was why the couple decided to do the HGTV show in the first place.
“That’s why you didn’t see us selling anything or promoting anything. It was all about the mission,” he said. “And we’re very thankful for HGTV for giving us a platform, but we’re going to carry it forward.”
Throughout the nine episodes, the couple worked on homes in two zip codes. Since the end of the show, the pair has kept buying homes in those areas, and they intend to continue this with their veteran integration project.
Ashley explained that through this enterprise, veterans can be in control of their own future. She said that she and Andy want to continue to serve the community, serve the veterans and be a part of the solution to the problem of the lack of quality, affordable housing.
“The best advice I’ve given is don’t go into flipping houses trying to make a bunch of money. Go in there trying to solve a problem,” Andy added. “The start to finish is fun, but go into it with the integrity and ethics that you want to solve a problem. And if you become a solution, you’ll make money in this business.”
As the couple works through different areas in Fort Worth they do eventually plan to expand into other markets and work with veterans in those communities. And for every market they leave, they plan to have a veteran stay behind to continue to operate those rental properties and maintain that neighborhood value.
“I have a veteran right now in Como, he’s committing to buying 25 rooftops,” Andy said. “So we’re capitalizing him, we’re training him, we’re supporting him, but we’re also going to build alongside him.”
“I don’t know where America is going to be in 10 years,” Andy said. “But I do know today that Dallas, downtown Fort Worth, all these neighborhoods — they’re needing revitalization, so we just want to have participation there.”
Interested veterans can email getinvolved@TeamReconRealty or go online at www.teamreconrealty.com