Nathan Morris is living his best life. The baritone, who has sold millions of records as part of the best-selling R&B group Boyz II Men, has taken his creative aspirations from music to the house-flipping market. His new show, Hit Properties with Nathan Morris, premiered Saturday, Oct. 6, at 10:30 p.m. on the DIY Network. The four part series follows Nathan’s as he transforms an 8,200-square foot, dated and neglected mansion in Orlando, Florida, into a magnificent modern estate. S&A sat down with the Boyz II Men alum to talk about his recent transition, the house flipping industry and what tips he might give to anyone looking to spruce up their houses.
What spurred your transition from music to the house-flipping market?
It’s creative, for one, because I’m involved in the construction as well as the design. It’s another creative atmosphere for me. I’ve always been interested in real estate since I was a kid. I’ve invested in business properties over time. I never really combined them to do the properties and my own construction design in it as well. Now, this is kind of bringing both of them together, which I never really thought about before because I always keep personal separate from business. It actually works for me.
When making a hit song, there’s an X Factor that sets it apart and makes it rise above the competition. What is the X Factor setting this show apart from other shows on television?
Probably the cast. Our idea is to not do the typical. We flip homes in Austin, we flip homes in Cleveland. Because we actually invest in many properties all over, we plan to take this show on the road where we can focus on properties in different regions, in order to show different people what we’re capable of. It’s a lot different flipping a home in Florida versus flipping a home in Buffalo, New York. Those are challenges you run up against and I think that’s more endearing to what people would like to see versus just being in one location.
Is there something about the mansion you chose to flip in Florida that drew you to it? Did it have personal or historical significance?
Honestly, it was a business investment. It was a home that was on a golf course. If you know anything about real estate, 9 times out of 10 if you have an attractive home on a golf course, you could do very well if you buy at a good price. Golf courses are desired communities. We knew we had a win there , it was just a matter of giving the house the right price. So, we got drawn to it for those reasons: the right price, the location and then have an 8,000 foot canvas to do pretty but whatever we wanted. That in and of itself was a daunting task, but it was something we we’re willing to take on. The desire of being able to transform that house from 15 years ago to today was a challenge we we’re excited about. It was one of the big draws.
How would you say the housing market has changed from 15 years ago to today?
One thing I can tell you is there are more options. There’s not just more options property wise. There’s options for people who are selling them, people who are buying them and people who are flipping them. You have to kind of find a special niche that will allow you to be financially successful in this. I’m sure all of us have a friend who’s going to school for real estate. We all have a friend who does construction, we all have a friend who does houses. It’s all a matter of you being able to find your niche in this industry.
How would you say the creative side of house flipping is similar to the creative side of music?
I don’t think they are different at all. You nailed it with the word “creative.” It’s the reason why I do it, because I am a creative individual by nature, obviously with the music I did and performing. This was a natural progression for me when it comes to being creative. Construction and design are all about creativity. The thing I think really parallels the fact that construction and design and music songwriting. There’s no right or wrong to it. It’s all about what someone’s opinion is. What’s in style, out of style . What sounds good, what doesn’t sound good. There is no right sound, right design or right color. Both music and house flipping run parallel to one another. It makes it easier for me to do this. It’s pretty much a mirror of what I do on a daily basis.
How would say the business side of house flipping is similar to the business side of music?
I think the simplest way to put it is the more you have invested the more you make. The more money you put into the home, the more you stand to pull out of it. In the music business, normally the record companies make the lion’s share of the money because they are the ones putting it up and giving you the advances. They’re the ones putting in the lion’s share. If you’re a record company and you put in the most money, you make the lion’s share. Whatever you’re willing to risk, your reward will be greater than the next person’s.
Are there any house tips you would like to give our S&A readers?
The key on every level is functionality. If you can’t function in every space, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. As long as you design the space that is functional for you every day, it will fall into your life in a natural and ordinary way like everything else.
Jordan Simon is an entertainment writer with a degree in English from Fordham University, as well as a screenwriter/director with a passion for producing fresh narratives centered around African American representation. As a journalist, his work has been published in VIBE, Gothamist, Idolator and Untapped Cities. You can tweet him @jordansimon78