Ashley & Andy Williams talk their new 'Flip or Flop' series, giving back & being a voice for veterans (EXCLUSIVE)
HGTV is switching things up. The network has gone through some significant changes in the recent months. After a fifth and final season, audiences will say goodbye to Chip and Joanna Gaines’ fan favorite Fixer Upper. Another beloved series Flip or Flop is expanding across the country and will introduce several new spin-offs including the much-anticipated, Flip or Flop Ft. Worth. Starring military veterans Ashley and Andy Williams, this married couple are making a mark on the real estate and design industries while giving back to their community and fellow military veterans. The couple met overseas while stationed in Iraq – Ashley was in the Army while Andy served in the Marines. Once they returned stateside, real estate became a way for them reimmerse themselves back into everyday life. Since Flip or Flop Ft. Worth was announced, life has been a whirlwind for the couple. “Real estate became important to us because, with us being veterans and transitioning out of the military -- there's not really a lot of options where you can control your own destiny," Ashley explained to me as we chatted on the phone a few weeks ago. “We've had a lot of experience in the military. We've had a lot of job experience, but that doesn't always translate into a civilian job. A lot of times, veterans, including us, were getting docked for time spent in the military because no one understood what we did. A lot of things require certificates and training and a lot of times we don't get the paperwork behind it, so it's like it never happened. Real estate was a way that we could control our destiny.”
The Williams’ business Recon Realty, Inc., was born out of the climate of the country and the couple’s desire to invest in their community. “America was going through its own problems between 2005 and 2008," Andy explained. “The entire country was at war, but also economically, the country was rebounding. Initially, I invested in my hometown. We were renting houses because there's a lot of people that needed rental homes, and a lot of homes were dilapidated and needed to be repaired. However, there's no real financing in that market accessible to those people in that community. So, we decided to invest in our town. One house turned into ten, ten houses turned into a ten-unit, a ten-unit turned into a twenty-five house rental portfolio, and we just built it from there. Then we started rehabbing. When we started the rehab to resale, the war was coming to an end, and a lot of veterans were coming back home. We were like, ‘Hey, you know what, we can make a little bit of money, make a little bit of an impact, and solve a little bit of a problem.’ We started our real estate company with the mission of revitalizing communities and bringing our fellow veteran along.”
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