March 29, 2016


Real Estate Investing ›

Is House Flipping Really that Simple?

In recent years house flipping has become incredibly popular, with countless reality TV shows all over the airwaves. It looks simple, but how much of the actual effort of flipping a house is completed off-camera, so the viewer doesn't really get a clear picture of how much work they will have to perform? Is house flipping really the money maker it appears to be on TV? The answer is yes. And no. It comes down to knowing a few specific things about house flipping, so you don't get yourself into trouble.

Finding the Right Project

In order to be successful as a house flipper, you need the right project. You can get plenty of answers to your questions through hard work and research, but if the project really doesn't meet your criteria you should let it go. Especially when you're just getting started, don't get caught up in the "oh, I can do that!" mentality. Stay in your comfort zone, and go with what you know. You can always branch out later when you have more experience. Every house flipper has to start somewhere, and you don't want to jump in with both feet until you've developed plenty of knowledge and skill.

Remember, it may only take a few weeks or months to get into a project, but it can take you years to dig out from a bad project. There are no guarantees in life, but when you're very careful about what you're getting into, know your limits, and perform your due diligence, you can protect your interests and reduce your chances of ending up with a very frustrating and expensive lesson. The single, largest lesson you must learn if you want to flip houses is discipline. It will protect you in the majority of cases if you make sure to use it and not get caught up in projects that won't be right for you.

What to Avoid

Successful house flippers know what to avoid. When you're just getting started, consider staying away from:

  • Houses with unclean title, liens, or encumbrances
  • Houses you buy without ever seeing them
  • Houses with tenants or occupants
  • Houses where the numbers don't really work, even if you want them to
  • Houses that have underground storage tanks
  • Houses located in a designated flood zone

Avoiding these common pitfalls doesn't mean you'll never make a mistake, but you'll be a lot more likely to protect your financial interests by being cautious. As you learn more about house flipping and find a good team of contractors and other helpers you can rely on, you may want to venture into higher-priced houses and more interesting situations. In the beginning, though, keep it simple to keep yourself safe.

Doing Your Homework

The biggest piece of information for you to take away is this: it’s simple enough to be a house flipper, but you have to do your homework, use honest math, and be disciplined. If you can focus on and do those things, you have a good chance of success. And you’ll have a good experience and make a reasonable level of profit, so you can get your house flipping business off the ground and turn it into something enjoyable and lucrative.

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