Flipping Houses For Profit: Start With The Right House

By: Jeanette Fisher

Many real estate investors enjoy "flipping houses," or buying and selling houses quickly for profit. Not all flips are fixers; however rehabbers make millions turning ugly houses into dollhouses. On the other hand, some inexperienced investors lose money buying houses that just don't turn a profit.

If you're looking to get started investing in real estate by fixing and flipping houses, you'll want to know what type of property to buy.


Three Tips to Help You Find Perfect "Flippping Houses" Fixers

  1. Understand Your Market to flip houses

    Your first task, exploring your market, helps you know a deal when you spot it. Look at houses for sale in your area. Keep track of sales and how long the houses take to sell. Ask the selling real estate agent about the terms of these sales because this helps you understand how sellers market their property (some of this information is public record). For instance, if a seller paid closing costs for the buyer, did the price rise from the listed price accordingly? Or, did the seller come down on the price and also pay the buyer's costs? Examine the sales that sell quickly. What home features and financing options prompted the fast sale?

    Also, look at model homes. Buyers often buy resale homes because they can't wait for a new home to be finished. But these buyers like the special features new homes offer. Visit model homes and take notes on how details like a water fountain or a new state-of-the-art appliance makes a house sell itself. When you remodel your fixer, you'll know what turns buyers on and you'll make smart makeover choices.

  2. Know When "Ugly" Means "Profit" from flipping houses

    When you first start out in your real estate "flipping fixers" business, you'll want to look for houses needing only cosmetic work. Look for houses that just need cleaning up, painting, and new flooring. Use your imagination when viewing these homes. Try to visualize the finished dollhouse as you look at structural features and the surrounding homes. We like to buy the ugliest house in a decent neighborhood.

    Don't be afraid of stinky houses that show horribly; look for fixers with peeling paint, holes in the wall, stained carpeting, and trash in the yard. Remember, these houses won't look good to most buyers, but other investors see them as gold mines.

  3. Know When "Ugly" Means "Pass

    When you're new to real estate investing, always remember your limitations. Use caution when considering houses that need structural repairs. Some rehabbers replace walls, plumbing, structural beams, sub-flooring, and electrical systems, but they acquired those skills after years of experience or they have the money to pay a professional.

    If you find a house with structural problems, get estimates from reliable contractors to do the work. If the walls have too many cracks and bumps, you may need to hang new sheet rock or hire a professional plaster refinisher. Look for signs of plumbing problems such as water stains under sinks and loose flooring, and get estimates for professional repair. Take professional estimates into account before deciding whether or not to purchase an investment property. Any big expense decreases your eventual profit.

Turn Yucks into Bucks

Why would anyone want to do this hard work? How much does the average investor make? In Philadelphia, real estate investors buy houses expecting to flip for about $30,000 profit. In Southern California, many investors make $50,000 to $100,000 on flipping a house.

When you find a garbage-filled, flea-infested house in a family neighborhood, take your bug spray, hold your nose, and get ready to make a difference, in the neighborhood and in your bank account.

You can make a fortune fixing nasty houses (and then flipping houses). Learn your market. Know when "ugly" means profit in your pocket, and when to keep looking for the house with the hidden gold mine.

© 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

For more articles about finding, financing, fixing and flipping houses, visit Jeanette Fisher's Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars. Learn about decorating to attract buyers. Professor Fisher teaches Design Psychology college courses and professional real estate seminars. She also writes books and articles on home staging, credit for buying real estate, and other topics. http://www.doghousetodollhousefordollars.com/.

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