House Flipping 101

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Home improvement television makes flipping homes look so easy anyone can do it. But the reality is much different. You can make a lot of money or lose money to problems that slow down your timetable and increase your risk.

There’s a reason why flipped homes are only a small percentage, about 6.2%, of the market. As an investor, you’re buying a property to sell quickly at a profit. You have to know the market and adhere to a strict acquisition formula to meet your estimated after repair value (ARV). The ARV informs your asking price that will both attract homebuyers and meet bank appraisals.

A hot market, with a low supply of homes and rapidly escalating home values, is ideal for flipping because buyer demand and price appreciation are “built-in.” But if homes to buy are hard to find, you may have trouble staying within your budget. 

The flippers who make the most money are full-time professionals who use cash to buy homes, do all the repair work themselves, and sell the home themselves. They know the market well enough to negotiate the right purchase price and have the skills and experience to estimate improvement costs accurately and do the improvements that appeal most to homebuyers. They know how to minimize out-of-pocket expenditures such as mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes, insurance and other costs of home ownership.

Can you do the same? If not, then buying and holding a home may be a better idea for you than flipping.

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