With the popularity of “house flipping” cable television programs, many people are drawn to the prospect of making a business out of restoring distressed homes for resale. And it can be a money-making venture, but only if you’re going into it clear-eyed and prepared. The old saying that goes, if anything can go wrong, it probably will, is never so true as when it comes to house-flipping. Things will invariably go wrong and often—ever see the 1986 Tom Hanks movie The Money Pit? But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, it just means, however much you think it will cost, it’s going to cost more.
But oh my goodness, can it be satisfying? Taking a home that was once loved and lovely and making it that way again after neglect and disrepair can be the most fulfilling job you can undertake. And it isn’t only the restored home that you lift, it’s the street, the neighborhood, and the community that benefits as well.
Susan Tierney and Kathy Karagin of Home Girls Properties know what it takes to restore and renovate homes, they’ve been involved with a few themselves. And they know what it takes to buy and sell a home too, especially if there are difficulties that must be overcome. With their combined experience in real estate, mortgage financing, and investments, they’re more than prepared to help you with all your real estate needs. Here, they offer some advice to you, future house-flipper.
Before you spend the first dollar on a home you plan to flip, you need to consider the costs involved and how you’ll pay for it. If you’re retired and downsizing, then perhaps you’re selling a home you’ve lived in for decades and will have that cash to use. That’s the best option since loan costs won’t eat into your profits.
In order to sell your house quickly, and for the maximum amount of profit, do some sprucing up first. A fresh coat of paint inside and out is an inexpensive way to make your home look newer. Try adding details to catch the eye of prospective buyers, like interesting and unique wallpaper that you can customize. You can apply it yourself with peel-and-stick paper that can also be easily removed without leaving any residue. Replace any outdated appliances and light fixtures too.
If you plan to make home renovations for your business, you’ll want to consider structuring that business as an LLC. That type of business structure protects your personal assets from your business financials. You can do this yourself online in only a few minutes, saving you attorney fees, too. Rules vary from state to state, so check with your local officials before you set it up.
Contract with a real estate agent who is familiar enough with the area you’re looking in to know if the market is expected to move up or down. They can steer you toward homes that they feel will give you the biggest bang for your buck. They can also find deals you aren’t privy to, know who the best local contractors and subcontractors are, and can negotiate with sellers for you.
Don’t try to flip a house with structural damage like a weak foundation, or plumbing and electrical that need to be replaced. Go for the type of restorations that include things like paint, new appliances, landscaping, and flooring. A lot of those tasks are things you can do yourself, like installing cabinets and countertops if you have the skills and tools necessary.
Have a plan for marketing your property when it’s ready. The Facebook marketplace has one billion active users, so you’ll definitely want to take advantage of that. You can create your own ads using a Facebook ads maker that you can customize to include your own brand, image, colors, and designs.
House flipping can be a great post-retirement business if you don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. Don’t let a super low price lure you into a Money Pit situation. Instead, go for what you know you can handle, even if the expected profit may be less grand. Frequent smaller renovations will make for far fewer headaches than trying to tackle the bigger ones.
If you want to sell your house quickly, no matter the condition, contact Susan and Kathy at Home Girls, they’re known for having the highest standards and the happiest clients.