Our Month in Review: January 2017

Kicking The Year Off

2017 is HERE and believe it or not, the first month of the new year has nearly past already!  With our new year’s resolutions and goals set personally, we decided some new goals and resolutions as iCandy Homes too! It’s with great excitement that we kick off this sweet resolution together.

Welcome to our blog series: Our Month in Review!

At the end of each month, we’ll give you some insight on our projects, the new strategies we’re trying, and the accomplishments and lessons we are gaining along the way! As you know, you’re an important part of our story, so please give us your feedback! No really, leave your comments below! We love to hear from you. Now, without further adieu, lets dive in!

So, let’s begin with the transition of the new year and how this month started out. The start of this year was different than previous years because we had a proven framework for reaching our goals this year and not just setting them. Based on some techniques learned from Todd Herman last year we achieved the goals we had set out for like never before! It was an anomaly, honestly. The results from these strategies started to snowball and we achieved even more than we imagined we would. So, naturally having a proven method got us off to a confident start in 2017.

Why is this important to you?

Because you, like us, have only ever been taught how to Goal Set and not how to Goal Get. There is a distinct and important difference. Tressa Dorman-Downing delivered a phenomenal Goal Achieving Guide webinar followed up by an amazing monthly REIA meeting where she took everyone through the process of setting goals in such a way, that it’s almost inevitable that they’ll be reached. (It has nothing to do with SMART goals, vision boards or 24/7 hustle) We felt it was important enough to record it just for you.

Watch the replay here.

Now that we had a look at what we wanted to create for ourselves in this new year, it was time to get to work!

On The Flip Side

Currently as a company, we are working on:

1 new construction house,

2 large scale renovations with second story additions,

3 rental properties that we are fixing to sell,

and about 4 of our projects are on the market.

With that in mind, many of our daily operations are manned by only 2 employees at iCandy Homes Chicago. When it comes to marketing and education, Tressa is running the show (literally because of our live events). Meanwhile, I am currently responsible for estimating renovations, building our scope of work for new projects and then managing them until they are SOLD. John & Janelle Swiercinsky, the founders of iCandy Homes Chicago, are still raising funds and managing the books for us while they run our other branch iCandy Homes Tampa. It’s a lot of work. As you can imagine, it takes a little bit of organization and planning to balance all of the moving pieces of renovating, for all of us.

This was definitely one of the lessons learned for me this month! It became apparent to me this month just how important finding great contractors is for allowing you, as the investor, to be just that in your projects! We were lucky enough to find a pair of contractors who work together, that were previously production house builders, so they have a lot of knowledge in building and construction in general. For perhaps the first time, I’m able to take on a slightly more passive role in my projects. Both of these gentlemen communicate well and were able to help us through a few issues with our properties by immediately presenting solutions to the problem at hand.

Download My Contractor Vetting Guide Here

Recently with our larger scale renovations, one of the major snags that we have had is architectural plans. We ran into issues with our two large renovations by having their plans created incorrectly. Thankfully for us, we had high quality contractors who were able to spot many of the mistakes on paper before moving forward and were able to get them changed. My recommendation with hiring an architect is to find them by visiting job sites that are going on in the village/city you are working in. You can get feedback right on site from the contractor on how the plans were, whether they needed to have many field changes or actual changes to the plans during construction. This will help you as a newer investor have confidence in the person that you are working with.

I also started a video series via Facebook Live where I have been giving a live property tour with explanations behind the updates at one of our major renovations, Wilmette. There are 5 videos on facebook where you can see the house being constructed through the different stages of the renovation. If you have not seen any of those, go like our page iCandy Homes LLC and check them out! It’s been a lot of fun because it’s a massive transformation. Here’s one of the before and after pictures.


I will be starting another one very shortly on our new construction project to give a whole new look into the differences between new construction projects vs. large scale renovations!

Learning Curve

As I mentioned earlier iCandy Education is evolving. We’re experimenting with new ways to find people to work with that want to invest in real estate. And we’re having our first 3 day Fundamentals of Real Estate in almost a year, which we are crazy excited about. (February 10th, 11th, & 12th)

If you’re interested in attending we still have seats left. Tickets can be purchased here.

We had some shocking results come from our most recent bandit sign campaigns. In the past, we have seen 1 call per 2-3 bandit signs placed. On this particular marketing campaign we had about 1 call per 10 bandit signs! It was definitely an unexpected result for us. In hindsight, it seems that recently there has been a huge influx in the amount of bandit signs being placed throughout the Chicagoland area by many different companies which has got the villages on their toes. Signs seemed to be coming down faster and more of our crew was being stopped.

We also placed roughly 1200 bandit signs over the course of 3 weekends. So, our higher volume to low call rate led us to the conclusion that more isn’t always better. I also want to be clear that I am NOT discouraging the use of bandit signs! It is so important to be marketing, but it is just as important to track your results. If we continue to track our results and find that something else is working better, we’ll be sure to let you know. Also, remember that you may not always see the “average” on every campaign that you do, which could be caused by many different factors.

To sum it up, January has been a month of large growth for us as individuals and as a team! We tried new forms of marketing, and we are evolving our education, as well as selling two of our properties and getting 2 more under contract. A buyer has been found for all of our rental properties.

There has been a lot of progress during this first month, and we are excited over our aggressive goals for 2017! As always, if you have any questions at all regarding any aspect of rehabbing or investing, throw it in the comments and we will answer it as soon as we can!

Here’s to the Best Year Ever!



Dustin Hatfield

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