10 Tips for Flipping Houses

By: Jeremy Biberdorf

February 22, 2017

10 Tips for Flipping Houses

If you want to be successful at buying a house to flip, you need to get as many house flipping tips as you can. Flipping houses can be a profitable enterprise, if you learn from other house flippers and pay attention to the advice and information that is available. Real estate investors who intend to flip the properties they buy need to take the things that they learn and put them into practice, carefully and methodically. In other words, anyone who is about to take on their first flip needs to be prepared to learn from the process and from the advice of others who are more experienced.

House flipping is not something that you can hope to be successful at if you are not willing to invest time and effort as well as money; it’s not a quick win when it comes to financial gain although profits can be made. Right from the first time you invest in the real estate market, you need to be dedicated. It’s not as easy to make money as those property investment TV shows would have you believe. Here are 10 tips that can assist in getting your research started and help you find out how to get into flipping houses.

Learn as many house flipping tips as you can

To start with, you can never have too many house flipping tips, as long as they are good ones. These tips come from people who have knowledge about what it takes to complete a successful flip. You can learn about real estate investing and the amount of time that investing and house flipping takes, by reading books on flipping houses, or by conducting research online. One of the best ways to make a successful real estate investment is to put the maximum amount of effort into this research and into using it to your advantage.

Do not buy a total remodel

There is a difference between buying an investment property that is a fixer upper and one which requires a total remodel. Remember that you always need to have your profit margin in mind when deciding which properties to buy. If you buy a property and spend a fortune on a remodel, you could end up investing a total amount that is more than the remodeled property will sell for. If this happens, you end up making a loss. You always need to pay careful attention to the after repair value (arv) when you are choosing a property to invest in.

Look for an undervalued building in a good area that needs mostly minor refurbishment, like expansions, a coat of paint, landscaping, and other small repairs inside the building. This way you can add curb appeal with minor home improvements while saving time and money.

Know your budget

This is one of the most important house flipping tips you can get. If you do not plan your budget effectively, it’s unlikely that you will be successful in your house flipping ventures as you will end up spending too much money. Work out what finances you have in place, including how much you will need to borrow. Ideally, borrowing as little as possible is the best idea with using your own private money being preferable. In any event, you should always try to secure the best interest rates if you do need to take out a loan as you do not know for definite how long you will be in possession of the property.

When you have a budget in place, you need to stick to it. This means that you need to check properties you are interested in for affordability. When you are doing this you should always consider all relevant costs.

You should always be aware that the purchase cost is not the only consideration when flipping homes. You need to compare the budget you have with all of the costs that will be involved. These costs include the purchase price, closing costs, repair costs and ongoing utility bills until the property is sold.

It’s easy to visualize a property as an exceptional investment proposition based solely on the purchase price and the potential resale value. Then, you begin to factor in all of the additional costs and the overall picture begins to look very different.

Study the neighborhood

It’s important that you look for properties which are in good areas. This makes it easier for you to sell property on. Look out for:

  • Good schools in the area.
  • Low crime rates.
  • Local shopping facilities.
  • Good transport links.
  • No sign of trouble with neighbors.

Check to see what the housing market is like in the area. This helps you to see what selling price you can expect to achieve and how long you can expect the property to be on the market. This is important because the longer a property remains on the market, the more money you have to invest in maintaining it. This starts to dissolve your profits if the property takes a lengthy period of time to sell.

Always carry out an inspection

It’s never a good idea to buy a property without inspecting it first. Going to the property helps you to get a better idea of the amount of work that needs to be done and whether this can be completed and the property still remain within your overall price range. This is a vital aspect of the research that is necessary when you flip houses as the cost of repairs can be high.

You can also take a look at the local area first hand. This visit may reveal issues that online research does not. You may even want to knock on a few doors while you are there, as this can help you to uncover any unresolved neighborhood problems that may make selling the property on more complicated than you had originally envisaged. It’s better to take time to visit the property than to have buyers remorse when you buy without inspecting, and there are unexpected issues.

Have different options available

Obviously, if you are looking to flip a property, you are hoping not to own it long term. However, one of the best tips for flipping houses you will get is that things do not always go to plan. For instance, if you struggle to sell the house for a decent price, because the market is slow, should you sell at that point?

You need to consider your options before you buy a property. This includes working out what the potential holding costs will be and looking into the possibility of renting out the property should selling put you at a loss. This can often be the most financially viable solution should selling not be as straightforward as you imagined and you should certainly not rule it out as an option.

Know your market

When you are looking at house flipping tips, one of the most important is to know your market. You need to understand who your potential buyers are and the potential market value of a property. This helps you to know what you need to do to the property to make sure you profit from the flip by paying the right price. You can concentrate your efforts on making the right changes, making sure that you spend your time and money wisely.

For instance, you may recognize that there are many potential home buyers with young children looking for properties in the area where you are investing. If this is the case, and the property only has one bathroom, you may want to invest money in creating a second. Making choices like this, based on the market, is one of the best ways of optimizing profits when flipping homes.

Have a good team in place

You cannot hope to succeed at house flipping entirely on your own. You need to have people you can call on to help with your projects. Seek out reliable experts, such as plumbers and electricians, to complete the work that you are not qualified to do. Working with the same people helps you to build a good relationship, leading to good results that will enhance your reputation with potential buyers. It’s also a good idea to build a relationship with a local real estate agent, to help make the sale process easier.

Know which improvements to make

One of the best house flipping tips that there is, is that you should never invest money on improvements just for the sake of it. Do not forget that you are not going to be living in the property, so you do not need to make the changes that you would like. Think about the prices that you can expect to sell the property for and make sure that changes can be achieved without impacting profits.

You also need to consider whether the changes are going to add to the value of the property and/or whether they are essential.

As Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan of the Forbes Real Estate Council said;

“Make sure the structure is sound and your basics are covered. Focus less on over-the-top bells and whistles.”

In all circumstances, it’s important to be ruthless and realistic; are additions such as a new HVAC system and top quality countertops worth the investment? If you believe that they can greatly enhance the chances of you making a significant profit than proceed with them. If not, you should steer clear.

Do not cut corners

While you should be careful when considering which improvements to make, you should never be tempted to cut corners. At the end of the day, you want to get a good reputation for your flipped homes. Doing so helps you to continue being successful in the future.

If you try to cut corners when completing work on a property, in order to save spending a lot of money, you could find that your reputation suffers. It’s simply not worth trying to save a few dollars. Remember that there is a big difference between going over the top with expenditure on irrelevant improvements and spending wisely on creating a safe and comfortable property. Make sure that any work is done to a good standard, so that the purchasers can have no complaints.

Price your property correctly

If it’s a sellers market in the area where you are flipping property, it can be tempting to try to take advantage of the situation by raising the selling price. This is not a good idea if the price is above what can be expected in the area. The price is likely to put perspective buyers off and you could end up having to keep hold of the property for longer than expected.

This means that you will have to meet the cost of maintaining the property for longer. You need to find the right balance between selling at a price that will guarantee you a reasonable profit and being so greedy that you price yourself out of potential sales.

House flipping tips in summary

These house flipping tips are aimed at making your projects more successful. This means that you are likely to find it easier to make profits from your house flipping ventures. Remember that you should not expect to make a huge profit, especially when you are investing in your first house to flip. Be reasonable and realistic with your expectations as doing so will help you to remain motivated throughout the project.

At all times, you should have your budget at the forefront of your thoughts and consider all relevant costs when weighing potential investment opportunities up against your budget. When it comes to a real estate rehab, you should always ensure that you do not overspend on non-essential improvements as doing so can have an adverse effect on the profitability of a project. On the flip side, you should never be tempted to save money by cutting corners as you will soon gain a bad reputation by doing so.

When it comes to placing a property on the market, always ensure that the sale price is calculated correctly and is not so high as to deter potential buyers. Although there is no absolute guarantee of success when flipping property, paying attention to all of this advice can put you ahead of the game and give you the best chance of making a significant profit.

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. After working many years in the website marketing industry, he decided to take on blogging full time and also get his finances headed in the right direction. Also check out his contributions to Equities.com and Benzinga.

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