Brenda Munguia moved to Arkansas from the San Francisco Bay area of California on a leap of faith. She says she and her boyfriend Chase Calhoun bought a house in southwest Little Rock sight-unseen, packed a trailer to the brim, and drove five days to their new home — their 5-year-old son Niko also in tow.

“Chase was working as a worker’s comp insurance contractor, but he had always wanted to invest in real estate,” she says, “so he asked the company he worked for if he could transfer. After reviewing his options, such as Oklahoma, Missouri, Florida and Arkansas, he decided on Little Rock because the cost of living was great, and he could invest in real estate.”

However, their decision initially felt like a mistake.

“We were taken back by the condition of the house,” Munguia says. “It was worse than the pictures we had seen on Zillow.”

Still, they decided to stick it out, and Munguia and Calhoun buckled down and renovated the house themselves.

“Four months later, we purchased another house in a neighborhood in West Little Rock called Marlow Manor and rented out the house in southwest Little Rock,” Munguia says.

It was their first flip but not their last. Chase now focuses fully on real estate investing and owns a construction company, Calhoun Custom Construction. Brenda and Chase rent out Marlow Manor, and they have since flipped homes in Foxcroft and The Ranch.

“We have moved and done a lot in the three years since we moved to Little Rock, and we can say it was the best decision we ever made,” Munguia says.

The couple came to Little Rock for the real estate opportunities, but they also take part in the incredible recreational amenities Arkansas has to offer. Munguia works as a RazorFit coach and personal trainer at the Little Rock Athletic Club, sharing her California fitness career with locals eager to lean on her expertise.

“Fitness is a big part of our lives!” she says. “On the days we are not at the gym, you can find us paddleboarding, hiking or taking the dogs for a walk. The boys are also training in Jiu-Jitsu at West Side BJJ.”

Little Rock has a lot to offer young families, according to Munguia. “Our son attends Don Roberts Elementary, and we are so happy to be there,” she says.

“The people of Little Rock are so nice and truly embody the Southern hospitality you hear about in California.” She says they also convinced Chase’s grandmother and parents to move to the area.

“Little Rock is so beautiful and is full of opportunities."

Neighborhood Recommendations

Originally from: Martinez, California
Years in the metro: 3
Neighborhood: West Little Rock

Hair salon: The Standard in North Little Rock
Go-to gyms: The Athletic Club and Full Out Barre in West Little Rock
Doctors we trust: Dr. Elsner at CHI St Vincent Family Clinic (pediatrician), Dr. David Rainwater at Hawkins Rainwater Dental Group (dentist), Dr. Foster at CHI St Vincent Family Clinic (general practitioner)
Family dinner spot: Sauced in West Little Rock
Happy hour hot spot: Cache in Downtown
Fave indoor activity: Bowling at Professor Bowl in West Little Rock
Best annual event: American Heart Association Festival of Wines in North Little Rock
Guilty-pleasure stores: Athleta or Lululemon at The Promenade at Chenal in Chenal Valley
Best dog-friendly activity: Hiking or paddleboarding