Television programming and infomercials of all styles will have you believe that flipping houses is a fun and fascinating way to turn a serious profit in real estate. It is just that, though it is also so much more. There is a lot of money that can be made by flipping houses (buying homes in various states of neglect or disrepair, making the repairs, and then selling for a sizeable profit) by the right professionals. However, there is a massive amount of work that is actually involved in the process of making that money.
The sheer volume of work, the time consumption, the sleepless nights and days, and the sometimes disgusting chores that must be done in order to get a run down property in sellable conditions is often glossed over on these television shows for various reasons—most of all the reason that the average Joe sitting at home wants to believe that he too can do this kind of work for quick profits and these images are not conducive to that illusion. In other words, this is a tough racket no matter how easy they attempt to make it seem.
Poor planning is the bane of a property flipper’s existence. In order to have a successful flip (and by that I mean maximum profit—minimum investment not any profit at all) you must carefully create a plan of action and implement that plan as quickly and cost effectively as possible. You must also realize that there are likely to be rain delays, hiccups, and disasters along the way. Proper planning can eliminate some of the disasters that may occur but it will not eliminate every conceivable possibility that will come along. More importantly than anything else however, proper planning can limit these occurrences as well as their severity to the overall time schedule and budget.
Another important thing, which falls under proper planning, is having a proper inspection done. The importance of this step cannot be stressed enough. Knowing the problems and potential problems that exist in a property can help you create a workable timetable and budget for the property flip. This also notifies you of potential problems you may encounter along the way. The television shows that deal with this week in and out often leave out this oh so important step and many would be investors find themselves investing in a money pit rather than a home that has potential to turn the quick profits they are hoping for.
You should make every effort to insure that your first flip is a simple cosmetic flip (this is something that a good inspector can assist with). In fact, this should be the case for your first few flips and then you can move on to more substantial flips that involve more work. The reason is simple—while the profits will be somewhat smaller on these cosmetic flips it gives you, as the investor, the opportunity to learn to budget, set timetables, and live within those budgets and timetables. This is where most investors go astray when taking on projects that are above their means. A house flip is no small endeavor and there is a lot of money to be lost along the way when this particular real estate investment doesn’t pan out. Start small and ignore the dollar signs in your eyes, then work up to more extensive projects.
Attorney William ("Bill") Bronchick, the host of Legalwiz.com, has authored six best-selling books and is sought nationwide for his 30+ years of real estate and legal knowledge. He has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, such as CNBC, TIME Magazine, USA Today, Investor Business Daily, Forbes, and the LA Times, to name a few. William Bronchick is the co-founder and past President of the Colorado Association of Real Estate Investors and the President of the Colorado Landlords Association. Click on the "About" link above for more information on William Bronchick.