Transplanted NY couple turns to flipping houses down south

By MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR
Carolina and Chris Balsamo were a couple living on Long Island.
Husband Chris was working on Wall Street.
Wife Carolina was working as a nutritionist.
They got the idea of getting into the business of flipping houses.
Flipping, for those who don’t know, is buying a piece of property, making improvements to the property, and then selling it for a profit.
Carolina, in a phone call, explained she and her husband decided to take on this venture in the bustling city of Miami, Fla.
They bought one property with the intention of flipping it, said Carolina.
This one property, in time, turned into a business, said Carolina.
Along the way, she found herself transformed from nutritionist to contractor and project manager, overseeing the revamp of properties. And Chris became the deal maker, seeking out the next project for the couple.
And this is the basis of a special on A&E, which aired on Oct. 20, the couple hope to turn into a regular reality series.
Carolina said when she and her husband took on the task of flipping houses, she was not a contractor and had no intention of becoming a contractor. For that first property they bought in Miami, they hired a work crew to handle the dirty work. But it turned out to be the wrong work crew, said Carolina. If things could go awry, they went awry. So, she decided to take the bull by the horns and oversaw the project to completion to make sure things went right.
As the couple flipped more properties, Carolina said she would ask questions of the workers on-site. She learned about electrical work. She learned about demolition work. She learned about plumbing. If it was related to renovating the property, Carolina said she became an expert. She also was more than willing to get her hands dirty and did the work herself to continue her education.
“It was like going to college… I learned my way around a work site,” Carolina said. And she earned her right to be a contractor.
The world of construction tends to be a world dominated by men. And it’s a fact of life that producers use to help promote “Flipping Miami.”
However, Carolina, who was born in Colombia, said she has no problem showing she is one of the guys.
Carolina explained she had no brothers in her family. So her father treated her like a boy He took her hunting and fishing.
And she became a tomboy.
So, Carolina said working with men has not been a challenge.
“Every day I prove myself,” said Carolina—who when she’s not in work gear can be found in short dresses and high heels and who press materials describe as “sexy.” “I like to swing a hammer and using drill bits.”
The couple found itself on television through a little bit of serendipitous networking, said Carolina.
Carolina said Chris had written a movie script. Her husband had hoped to pitch the script at a film festival he planned to attend, said Carolina. And he brought her along.
Carolina said she likes to talk… a lot.
So while she was at the festival, and her husband was out somewhere else, Carolina said she met a woman in the television industry and they got to talking. The woman asked Carolina what she did for a living.
Carolina said she replied, “I’m a contractor…. I do electrical work, plumbing…”
Now, mind you, Carolina explained, she was at the event in a small dress and make up. She didn’t look like the stereotypical contractor.
The woman was intrigued, said Carolina. And she was charmed by Carolina.
The woman then decided to introduce Carolina and her husband to the producers of what would become “Flipping Miami.” The couple pitched their life, essentially. And the producer loved what he heard.
Right now, the show was one-off special. But the hope is for more episodes where America can watch a good looking couple getting dirty, said Carolina.
If someone is interested in getting involved in the world of flipping houses in Miami like she and her husband did, Carolina had some words of advice.
“There are so many opportunities down here to make money,” said Carolina.
But if you do enter the flipping world, Carolina said you have to be “hands on.” She said you can’t take on the project by proxy, hire a crew, and hope everything goes all right. As she and Chris learned, Carolina said you have to supervise the project. You have to spend time with your investment, said Carolina.
However, Carolina said it’s possible to have success with it. “If we can do it,” said Carolina. “Anyone can do it.”
“Just keep your eyes open and learn the process,” said Carolina.
“Flipping Miami” airs on A&E at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.
For more information about “Flipping Miami,” you can follow the couple on Facebook at “Flipping Miami” or go to www.aetv.com