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About

The Full Story

an unconventional cuppa tea worthy read 

8 MIN READ

Hello and thank you so much for visiting!

My name is Julia, and I love all things DIY, interior design, down-to-the-studs renovation, and most importantly, real estate investing. My passion for pretty spaces and real estate investing started somewhat unexpectedly and blossomed into a creative outlet that's part Pinterest, but mostly power tools and spreadsheets. 

In 2020, as I neared the end of my MBA program, I was overjoyed to secure a sales analyst role at a Wall Street megafirm. I would be leaving a rural upbringing in the foothills of the Catskill mountains to spend my days in a shiny office, working with brilliant finance minds, in the heart of Boston. A dream come true! As soon as I accepted the job, I began researching the housing market in the greater Boston area and crunched numbers to see if I could afford to buy a home instead of renting. I had read so many books about building equity in real estate and strategically growing a real estate portfolio over time that could be both diversified and quite self-sufficient... not to mention, hugely lucrative. On top of researching how to be a successful real estate investor, I followed lots of interior designers and builders on social media, further enhancing my interest in real estate. I wanted to acquire, design, renovate, and capitalize on residential properties of my own.

I gathered my tip money from waitressing throughout college and contacted a realtor in the greater Boston area. I needed to hunker down and do some serious searching to see if I could accomplish my goal of never paying rent a day in my life. After driving 5 hours to Massachusetts and spending the entire day touring as many condos as possible, there was only one option on the market that I could reasonably afford within a 1-hour commute to the office. It was a 600-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo within a 9-unit classic Colonial mansion In Lynn Massachusetts. The home was built in 1900 for an affluent businessman during Lynn's heyday and was later converted into 9 separate condos. The common hallways were accentuated with oversized crown molding, ornate wooden railings, and classic wallpaper. I saw so much beauty behind the building's serious need for TLC. The siding was in terrible shape, the driveway cracked and crumbly, and the walls of that little condo inside were popcorn-textured and stained yellow from the previous owners' incessant cigarette smoking. The bathroom was covered in chocolate brown square tiles that came straight out of the 1950s, and the carpets no longer had a discernible color to them. It was, as the flippers call, a complete gut-job.

 

I never anticipated that my first home would require so much work, but I remembered the advice I had read: 'buy the worst place in the nicest area you can find, so long as the spread is wide enough.' So, I made the decision to purchase it. At the time, I didn’t own a single power tool, nor had I gained any experience in interior design. I relied on YouTube tutorials to learn how to use tile saws, table saws, drywall trowels, nail guns, blow torches, and everything in between. I lived in a construction zone for months, showering at the gym when the bathroom was in shambles, and cooking with an air fryer while the kitchen was cordoned off with plastic sheets. I rented tools that were too costly to buy, cut sheetrock right in the store aisle when it wouldn't fit in my Honda Civic, and made too many mistakes to count. I found myself in a life situation embellished with the most formative challenges and exceptional triumphs all happening at the same time. 

I smoothed and revived the yucky textured walls, smashed out the kitchen floor and laid new tile, got rid of all the carpet and laid click and lock vinyl throughout the main living space, refinished the cabinets, learned how to rebuild a shower from the studs out and updated every light fixture, backsplash tile and appliance. I even reconfigured the kitchen to accommodate an in-unit stackable washing machine and dryer.

 

I worked my finance sales job during the day and renovated at night and on the weekends. I managed to strike the ultimate combination of a white collar + blue collar existence... and let me tell you, it's a pretty cool place to be. I began living in this space where I could understand the intricacies of some of the most cutting edge finance happenings and could also come to appreciate the depth of knowledge tradespeople need to have to be experts at their craft. I had just as much fun in the board room discussing mutual funds as I did in the aisles of Home Depot chatting with an electrician about why my ceiling fixture was arcing. I saw people in a whole new and improved way and began living the best life I ever dreamed of living.

 

After many months of learning and crafting, my first Property Project was complete! The tile wasn't perfectly level, the grout lines in the shower had some real funkiness to them and my cabinet paint job could have been much better. It was far from Better Homes and Gardens magazine worthy, but my gosh was that Pilot Project gratifying to complete. 

In addition to that first condo renovation project, I had served as the building manager and took on a long list of new responsibilities. I ran monthly HOA meetings, developed budgets and renovation plans, and helped owners with varying levels of socio-economic hardship save for their portion of the building's improvements, all while working my sales analyst job from the one acceptable corner of my condo during the Covid-19 pandemic. After months spent enhancing the building's energy efficiency, organizing roof repairs, getting the water main replaced and raising HOA fees to better pad the reserves, I renovated the building's common laundry room and push mowed the grass myself to save owners the landscaping charges. I did everything I could to reallocate funds, make dollars go further, and help the owners reach their goals for their home. I also learned that when buying a piece of real estate you should hire a building inspector who will actually warn you of a property's problems and not give you a clean bill of health when things were so obviously wrong to begin with. Lesson learned, that ignorance is in fact not bliss. 

A little over a year later, I sold that condo within its newly improved building, profited over 55% on my investment, handed my management role down to another owner, and rolled my proceeds straight into the next one. I gained invaluable perspective and confidence from that Pilot Project and all I could think about was how much better I could do it if I did it again.

 

Since that first investment, I've expanded my real estate portfolio to include long-term rental properties, and flipped multiple other residential properties including my most recent renovation project, a single-family Colonial in Swampscott, MA. I've gained real estate partners across the nation, absorbed loads of knowledge from a wide spectrum of mentors, and have leaned on friends and family who have been my greatest source of motivation and emotional support. Julia Property Projects has grown into a continuous series of real estate investment projects inclusive of flips and long-term rentals, none of which will ever follow the same theme or color palette. Each project tells a unique story of creativity, dedication, partnership, and prosperity.

As I continue my real estate investing journey, I'm excited to share tips and tricks I've learned along the way, blending approachable and affordable DIY projects with renovation budgeting and real estate investing strategies. I hope my work motivates you to pick up a hammer, play with some paint, and invest in real estate even if you don't have a whole lot of dough to work with. 

Thank you for being a part of this whirlwind of a creative journey. And remember, right when you think you've given it all you've got, dare to give it just a little bit more.

With so much love and enthusiasm,

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Logo inspiration

Logo inspo

Years ago my mom gifted me a sparkly pink and white gnome, a token she said would bring good luck and prosperity. Inspired by this cherished gift, here are 3 symbolic qualities about gnomes that resonate with the JPP brand:

 

  • Gnomes are recognized for their diligence and industrious nature

  • Gnomes are thought to be great holders of knowledge

  • Gnomes represent good luck and prosperity

Julia Property Projects is a continuous mash-up of renovation projects, interior design learnings, short-form entertainment, and real estate deals, all under one umbrella. At the heart of the brand philosophy is the desire to evoke joy and inspire others to embark on their own real estate related endeavors.

 

Join me on this transformative journey, where each project tells a unique story of creativity, dedication, partnership and prosperity. 

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