Flipping Houses 101 | ADHI Schools

Flipping Houses 101

Published by Kartik Subramaniam

Reading Time : 4 minutes

House flipping

At its core, house flipping is a process in which a real estate investor purchases a particular home with the express intention of soon selling it for a profit. For a house to be considered a true "flip," it needs to be purchased with the idea of selling it quickly - usually to capitalize on certain trends in the market at large.

House flipping has become incredibly popular over the last several years, particularly due to the potential return on investment if executed properly. In 2017, for example, one study indicated that just 5.7% of all home sales fell into this category. Flash forward just a few years to 2020 and that number had already climbed to 7.5%.

It's a process that is especially prominent in a "hot" real estate market and in areas where home prices are on the rise. Another study indicated that in 2017, the average gross profit on a flip was over $66,000 - and this is after any investments needed to make improvements on properties before they could be sold. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cleveland were among the most popular markets during that time. But as is true with all investments, one must proceed with a certain degree of caution in order to make sure the process goes as it should. A significant ROI is never a guarantee but by keeping a few key things in mind, you can improve your chances as much as possible.

By far, the most important thing to understand about house flipping is that you need to decide how much you can afford to spend on an investment property before you actually do so.

In other words, it's a bit like gambling - never spend more money than you can afford to lose if things don't quite go your way. Again, given the uncertainty of the market and considering that there are a lot of parts of this process that are outside your control, nothing is a guarantee. Something may seem like a sure bet, but it never is - and you don't want to leave yourself disappointed or financially stretched because of a lapse in judgement.


Along the same lines, you should always focus your investment property search on various types of distressed properties that are themselves in need of major fixes and repairs. This accomplishes a few important things at the same time. First, you can usually purchase these properties at a significantly reduced cost because they've been sitting on the market for longer periods of time. Likewise, families and people who plan on buying a home to actually live there rarely want to deal with the work required to get it to a habitable condition.

But more than that, the amount of money you do pour into the home by way of fixes and repairs will increase its value significantly - meaning that you'll be able to command a premium price once you're on the other side of this process.

For the best results, select a few properties in a particular area to analyze to decide on the most profitable opportunity for a beginner real estate investor. This step is crucial, as it gives you a "bird's eye view" of what is going on in a particular area and what the long-term potential is in that market. It also helps you gain a better understanding of the highs and lows of the process, which should allow you to gain more insight into where you should be focusing your efforts and which "opportunities" aren't nearly as lucrative as they may initially appear.

You can also start building relationships with other real estate investors in the local housing market - a good idea for a few different reasons. For starters, someone who has been involved in this process for longer than you have will almost always have insight and wisdom to provide so that you don't have to make certain mistakes "the hard way." They can give you tips and outline best practices that help you get the most out of house flipping.

Beyond that, there may also come a day when one of your contacts identifies a great opportunity that they themselves cannot take advantage of. Maybe they have too many houses on the market right now and they don't want to take the chance to stretch themselves too thin - but there's nothing stopping them from picking up the phone and informing you about what they've discovered.

In the end, it's important to follow the "70% Rule" in house flipping. Essentially, this means that you should never pay more than 70% of the "after repair" value of a property (minus the costs of the repairs necessary to renovate the home, of course). This will give you an idea of the maximum amount you should spend on a home to achieve the highest possible return on investment. By using this as a general rule of thumb, it will help ensure that you always emerge with a profit - which in and of itself has always been the biggest priority.

Overall, house flipping certainly isn't for everyone - it takes a significant amount of care and attention-to-detail to get right. But those who follow best practices like those outlined above can enjoy a great amount of success - particularly in a market like the one we're in right now. To learn more about how to become a real estate agent or to learn more about real estate success stories visit our website



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