DC's Precocious Real Estate Investor Looks for the Next Big Thing

  • April 11th 2014

by Lark Turner

DC's Precocious Real Estate Investor Looks for the Next Big Thing: Figure 1
Paula Wu on campus at Yale.

Paula Wu, perhaps DC’s most precocious real estate investor, isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon. Wu, who is in her mid-twenties and now a first-year student at Yale Medical School, is working to renovate and sell two homes in Petworth and is already thinking about the next project for her development company, Dominic Properties.

UrbanTurf first spoke with Wu in late 2012, when she was living in Dupont Circle and working on a property in Anacostia. Her first project was a four-unit apartment building in that neighborhood, which she bought as-is, fixed up and rented out. Her second project was a Congress Heights building, which she planned to rent until she figured out she could get the equivalent of three years’ rent profit by immediately flipping the property.

For her latest project, she bought two properties in Petworth, which she is working with a couple colleagues to fix up and list this summer. Did we mention Wu is in her first year of med school? (She was also once crowned Miss Taiwan World.)

DC's Precocious Real Estate Investor Looks for the Next Big Thing: Figure 2
Luke Boschma and Daniel Lee, who are working with Wu to flip the Petworth properties.

“It’s been so much fun,” she says of pursuing her educational commitment while building up the development company. Meanwhile, Wu said, both the medical and real estate communities questioned why she’s interested in the other. People in the real estate community “see medicine as a field that’s sort of stereotypical, hierarchical, not as creative,” she explained, while the medical community questions the risk and entrepreneurial legwork needed to make real estate work. Wu sees it differently.

“I think they actually complement each other quite well,” she said. “I love the entrepreneurial side, being able to create something that is really going to be of service to someone and the satisfaction of seeing it come to completion (and) creating a system and an organization that works.”

Building an organization is at the forefront of Wu’s plans right now. She said she’s starting by slowly building what the company can do by doing two home flips at the same time, and hopes to use a similar structure as her the company grows. She’s looking to scale up the operation, she said. So far, Wu has been using her own money to finance her projects. Up next is pursuing financing for a multi-unit project.

“I think that we’ll be able to scale quite efficiently,” Wu said, adding that Dominic may take on building or renovating a small apartment building or a boutique condo building next.

“We’re confident and we want to continue to be a presence,” Wu said. “We’re dreaming of skyscrapers some day, even though I know that’s not technically possible in DC.”

Photos courtesy of Paula Wu.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/paula_wu_dcs_precocious_real_estate_investor_looks_for_the_next_big_thing/8350.

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