Joshua Peterson

There’s certainly no one right way into the
real-estate investment market. But Joshua
Peterson definitely wouldn’t recommend his
path to the novice investor. “ Obviously, it
adds another element to the homebuying
experience when it’s over FaceTime,” he says.

This was March 2015 and the man on the other line was Joshua’s father-in-law, who’d driven out to the small town of Kasson, Minnesota, to give him a virtual (and, at times, grainy) tour of the off-market property.

Joshua had hit a ceiling in his career at JP Morgan; without an MBA he felt stuck in place. So, he and his wife Karen took a cross-country leap of faith, moving from California to Minnesota, where he’d enroll at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Classes didn’t start until the Fall, but the investment in Kasson seemed too good to pass up. And his father-in-law told him to go for it, so Joshua closed the deal with the realtor that same day over the phone. “My father-in-law missed some big things. We had to raise the floor up two inches, things like that,” Joshua says, laughing. “So, there were definitely some surprises waiting for me.”

But Joshua, Karen, and their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter got to Minnesota and then got to work. Joshua had grown up in construction and right away started to put together a team he trusted. Karen fell in love with working on the interiors, picking out fixtures and the other little touches that would speak to the prospective buyers who’d eventually be walking through. The renovated home stayed on the market for just three hours before it sold for a $50,000 profit; it only took four and a half months for the Petersons to go from FaceTime to flip. “Once Karen got that taste — to be able to do that and have the success of it closing so fast — she was sold after that,” Joshua says.

In the last four years, the Peterson team’s been growing. Joshua and Karen have two more children: a 3-year- old son and an 8-month daughter — and these days, the 5-and-a-half-year-old is an active participant in the flipping process. “She likes to paint. She loves to use permanent markers on things she shouldn't,” Joshua says. “It's all about being present; giving your kids opportunities that you didn't have growing up.”

Joshua’s also built a trusted team of local contractors, lawyers, and realtors to work with his company. He thinks it’s the biggest factor that’s allowed Benaiah Properties to find success. Business is better than the young couple could have ever dreamed of a half decade ago when they first picked up and moved their lives to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

But the final piece of the Peterson team was still missing until Joshua found a team member over at Benaiah Properties was stuck in the cycle of buy, flip, and then buy again with the profit. By quickly understanding the opportunity and seamlessly supporting Joshua with streamlined capital, helped him turn a small business into a career. These days, Benaiah Properties is flipping an average of three homes per month in the lucrative, growing market of Rochester, headquarters to the world-famous Mayo Clinic. Joshua explains as an “accelerator” for the whole operation.

And it wasn’t just the loans that helped Benaiah Properties grow. Joshua has been able to lean on a team member as a trusted advisor — he’s become something like his unofficial CFO. “A team member can be in California and confidently advise me about numbers here in Minnesota. He can even be a back-channel to review a deal for me to see if it's worth going after. He’s a sounding board. And he’s really used his resources to see how he could help,” Joshua says. “Even smaller credit unions, they're not able to give you that. It’s definitely a rare thing.”Joshua’s first bit of advice — to not buy a property over FaceTime — is delivered through a grin. But he gets dead-serious when he starts in with his second piece of guidance. It’s the thing he wished he knew before he first dove headfirst into the fix-and-flip world.

“Blind spots are what take you out. So, if you can build a team and have somebody that can look out for your blind spots, that's huge. We used 25 contractors last year — I can call any one of those guys and they’ll be on a job site the next day. And guys like a team member — it's never taken longer than an hour for a team member to reply to a text message or a phone call and get all the details in front of me so that I'm not looking for information,” Joshua says. “I was full-blown at risk my first deal. But just having the relationships in place today, that automatically takes a big portion of the risk out. I know who to call at this point. I didn't know that going into it. But fast-forward to today and it's just a phone call away.”