Who am I? Just so you know who you are dealing with at Houfy!
My name is Thijs H. Aaftink, born in 1970 in New York, parents both from Holland, 2 sisters. We grew up in the US, Madrid, Paris and the Netherlands.
People call me "Tice" in the US, "Tais" in France/Spain - the name comes from Matthew/Mathias/ Mathijs in Holland.
I was a bad studier and it took me forever to finish high school and I never opened a book at the university. (I thought it was a total waste of time) - Actually I only liked studying things I liked! I guess all of us do. Can you imagine studying German in Holland? For me a total disaster. I speak German/Dutch, but writing that language is a serious undertaking!
Used to be a pretty good field Hockey player, became indoor champions of Holland when I was 16 with our team and injured my knees, due to the extensive trainings + got some scars on my head, knees etc. Field Hockey is a tricky sport.
Started golf: became addicted to the game and quickly moved down to around Handicap 6. Could do hooks and slices on command fairly easy with my "hockey" background.
In 1993/4; I started working for Club Med as Golf Instructor - first part time, then full time.
This is where I met Cristina, my wife, from Italy and also an ex golf Instructor at Club Med. Cristina was working at the accounting office in Agadir, Morrocco when we met in 1994. Cristina had studied at the Hotel School of Lausanne Switserland and speaks/writes/reads 5 languages fluently.
In Aug 1995, we packed our suitcases and started a journey to New York, Manhattan! I could "work" for 3 months at a friend of Cristina's father on Wall Street. Cristina was left to find a job. Our apartment was paid for 3 months. Good luck was the message.
So, I had to study.. the bond market, the stock & options markets, take classes, and thought I better do this one or else.. I'll be a golf instructor at Club Med for the rest of my life.. so I did. And I liked it, I actually love math. Cristina found a job as concierge at the Pierre Hotel in New York, very high end.
Between late 1995 - 1999 I worked for several brokers, created my own stock broker branch and completed several Series X exams specifically for the securities industry in the US (7,8,10,24,63,64 and a few others)
Sept 99, Cristina and I got married - Oct 99 we moved to Miami Beach, high speed internet, no need to be in NY. In Miami Beach I continued with stocks, mostly working with Italian and Luxembourg banks. (very large trading for their funds)
2001: Nicholas was born. + 9/11, I was studying for Real Estate Agent in Florida + did some insurance exams. 9/11, we had our phones off and heard about it during coffee break 11 am ET. Very strange day! No planes/cars/traffic anywhere on Miami Beach.
I was a pretty super licensed agent. smile - stocks/real estate/insurance - all commissions based businesses!
2004: Cristina and I moved to Breckenridge Colorado, we sold our House in Miami and bought a few places in Breckenridge to start short term rentals. (Real Estate commissions!)
2006: Matisse was born + Started Bookbreck - property mgt company - sold/"gave away" in 2008. (Management commissions!)
Aug 2008: Moved to Marrakech, Morocco - Built 2 homes - RE Commissions!
Oct 2008: Saffia was born.
House 1: Villa Matisse: After 2 1/2 Years of "hell"
Some fantastic times, some awful times, a very hard time in our lives. - Arab Spring!
March/April 2014: Idea of Rooffy (Roof for you) came - Swapnil started in Nov 2014 - I worked in the "Menzeh" our guest house left of the left umbrella.
House 2: Which we still own: Villa Saffia - same architect, much more "modern" - another 2 1/2 years of "hell"..
July 2015: Moved to Playa del Carmen (Mexico) - Real Estate Commissions again! - To a very small house and absolutely love it. When it rains, it rains in our house and we do not care, we didn't built it!
2016: Changed Rooffy to Houfy - Had no idea was bad drug in the US.
2017/2018 - tests Houfy - error: I should have focussed on Real Estate first. Vacation Rentals is VERY complicated, pricing/seasons/payment/filters etc.
2019: Further tests for Houfy - system seems to be working for vacation rentals..
Aug 2019: Moved to Mallorca (Spain) - We were notified our daughters school went belly up. We will be renting places in Mallorca for the long term.
We own quite a few places worldwide, some for rentals and others not. We love to travel, explore and show our kids the world as much as we can.
You will see me working in Mexico/US/Mallorca/Holland or in Morocco.
We can manage the costs of growing Houfy for the foreseeable future. This is without any very serious marketing campaigns.
What I learned out of this history and what for Houfy?
- I will never be dishonest or lie to you! (Sometimes, we might say, we'll do it and end up not doing it.. this is just because we have a LOT of work! We WILL end up doing it! Our list of to do is immense!)
- You choose to support Houfy or not, I'm fine, but free-riding and working against us will result in termination of your membership. I became a very hard person after our Morocco experience. - I know people copy our ideas, just like we copy at Houfy - all fine with me.
- You can help us in any way you want, active or inactive.
- I will share ownership of Houfy in the interest of this project. To be figured out with the SEC the next few years. - We are calculating points already for listing quality/views and membership activity with Guidebooks/Stories etc. - I'll inform how we calculate in the feature.
- I will always try to be as open and as clear as I can, if you have comments/remarks/ questions, please let me know.
- Timing - I know, this is a "time" thing - when will this or that be ready? We do not know and we will try to share as much as we can with you. Swapnil and I work full time on Houfy! = 10AM European Time - 10 PM European Time (=+6HRS ET), Mo- Sat, 6 days! and many times you will see me online at night and on Sundays!
- Are we doing things wrong? most probably, but I will refuse to sell 1 share of Houfy to a VC or anyone else for that matter who's only goal is to make $ out of this project. We might need a VC in the future to give Houfy a boost.. I do not know, as for right now, Cristina and I can quite easily finance this ourselves.
- Houfy is a community project! Without your help, we would not have been where we are right now. I do not know where we will be in 2020/21/24/25. I do know, I want to make Houfy succeed! Just like we finished building our homes in Morrocco. And if you think that is easy.. good luck, try it!
I am building Houfy to:
To create a system to easily share local information around our properties with our guests - Houfy was initially designed for real estate agents and for sale by owner, to share local info and ended up into what it is now. Houfy is very much a project in the making and together with all of you I hope to create a system we can all work with.
My goal is to help you, help you help others and hopefully together we can all succeed!
The cool thing: I can edit this document/article whenever I want.
Written: Jan 31 2019/edited Jan 2020