"Today is the day" keeps ringing in my ears, from the second I opened my eyes this morning. I know that in a matter of hours potentially millions of people will see my face on their TV: representing a sector of business that we take pride in, representing a generation of American's that I take pride in, and its all about to be in front of the American public, maybe even the world.
Tonight the first episode of the show we have poured so much of ourselves into the last year and a half is about to air. The show that has consumed our lives and schedules and secret fears. There is no turning back now......but I have to stop and ask myself, how did I get to this place?
Lets rewind to 2008, I am a year out of high school and am fresh from backpacking Europe and am ready to take on the world. Just one problem....The sky is falling. Orlando is being rocked by the recession and it is affecting everyone. My parents small business closes its doors and they can no longer afford their mortgage payments; no matter how hard we all try. The home goes into foreclosure and my parents stop opening the mail....a few months later on a rainy lightning filled evening, I get a bang on my bedroom window since our doorbell; like a lot of things had stop working ages ago in our home. I walk outside to see whats going on, only to walk into a scene from The Sopranos. There is a BMW 7 Series in my driveway with its lights on, shining onto 3 men wearing long coats and holding umbrellas. The largest one approaches me and with a deep belting voice ask " Is your father home?" I reply "no, who are you?" to which he replied " I need to speak to him, its very important, tell him its about his house" and he hands me a handwritten note with only a name and number on it and walks away. "What the hell is going on?" is all I can hear in my head. I knew something was wrong. Someone is about to get whacked. Later that night we found out that this group of men luckily were not on the market to off us and we were not gonna be sleeping with the fishes...but we may be sleeping outside: They just purchased my parents house, MY family's home, at the courthouse auction. And they want us out in a week unless we buy it back for a large sum more than they bought it for.
When a man is backed into a corner, he can either fall to his knees and accept his fate...or he can keep swinging and try to create his own fate. I learned from a very young age watching my father win and lose, win and lose, and start all over again that if you want to make it in America,you have to keep swinging...you have to keep going no matter how many times you fail, because this is the greatest country in the world and this is where dreams live and miracles happen everyday. America rewards the persistent. We called every friend in our circle who might have liquid capital and offered them the chance to get in on a great off market deal....AND we knew everything about the home and the renovation...because we have lived there the last 6 years. Ha! We finally tracked down the cash and renovated the home which we sold two months later for a 160k profit! We just turned lemon's into sweet sweet lemonade and it tasted so good.
We started buying homes at the auction every week and were renovating as many as we could afford with our friend until around 2012. After that my family moved to Denver to renovate homes and be closer to the craft beer scene(brewing is a large passion of my family's) I stayed in Orlando, doing the same.
In 2014 my friend Ashlee was approached by a production company who was curious about our home flipping in Orlando and wanted to Skype with us about it. She thought it was a prank and hung up on the person twice. I told her we should hear them out and lo and behold, they were legit, and they represented Mike Rowe! That dude rules! They have to be cool too! So we start talking about what we do, what they do,what Orlando is like, what we are like,etc. A few months later we get a phone call to let us know that they told A&E about us, and they want to film a pilot; They were on a plane within a month from LA to Orlando filming us on our day to day.... The pilot turned to series, and now here I am...Sitting in my home office, nervously typing this article just hours away from our premier to the American public. What a long strange road it has been.
I want you to know that filming this show was so much fun, and that none of us plan on bastardizing our industry, or turning into slime eating guru's that swindle old people out of their hard earned money. We all grew up way too punk rock for that. We just want to have fun for the cameras and keep America entertained, and who knows? maybe I will have the chance to help and inspire American's that they can help their country and change their lives like how we have everytime we turn an abandoned house into a family home again. Here is to home, here is to America. Cheers gang.