Flipping houses is all the rage! You see it on TV, in magazines and newspapers. All the noise around house flipping makes it seem glamorous, doable and an easy money-making opportunity. The pretty finishes, the high budgets, the flawless work; it all seems seamless and manageable! It makes you excited and eager to give it a try. There is no reason you can’t get in the game. Right? Before you dive into the flip house scene, I wanted to share 10 Tips For House Flipping that will make the process easier. We are knee-deep into our flip house, but have helped my dad flip a few homes in the past. There are so many things we have learned through helping my dad and now that we have our own flip house, the learning is continuing. These 10 Tips For House Flipping are pieces of advice we would give to anyone asking us about the process. House flipping is fun, but there are things you should know before you jump in feet first.
Don’t Judge The Process By What You See On TV:
HGTV and other networks are full of house flipping shows. They are extremely entertaining and share the process of finding a house that needs work and making it into a dream home. I love watching them, but they give an unrealistic view into what is really going on. I wish they showed more “behind the scenes” action into what is really going on. Show the crew that is working on the houses – don’t make it look like the “hosts” are doing the work. Share the budget as they go along with the process. Share more about the problems that arise throughout the flip. If you think your house flip will go as you see on TV, think again, because it will not.
Know Your House Flipping Market:
When you are looking for a house to flip, know the market. Research what houses are selling for in the area. What are people looking for in a house in the area? Don’t do projects to the house that aren’t going to pay off in the end. Don’t go into a flip without doing a little research about what the market is like at the time you buy it and what it may be like when you are ready to put it on the market.
Know The Neighborhood:
Be mindful of the neighborhood your flip house is in. Is it desirable? What kind of buyer will you attract in the area? Knowing this from the start will help plan your flip projects. It will let you know what you will need to do to make your house stand out or at least stand up with the competition in the neighborhood.
House Flipping Is Not Glamorous:
THIS IS SO TRUE! There is nothing glamorous about the work that goes into the house flipping process. If you are flipping for the first time, chances are you don’t have a huge crew. You will be doing most of the work on your own. For us, we are doing all of the work except for things like the furnace, electrical, water heater, etc. The gist of the work is on Matt and I. Our kids are earning money helping where they can and my dad and mom have also been there to lend a hand when they can. I am not getting to just walk in every day to see the progress in high heels and a skirt and then head to a store to pick out finishes and furniture. NOT AT ALL. Every day, I am covered in paint, knee-deep in tearing out disgusting carpet, bleaching dirty floors and removing peeling walls in the bathroom. It is the same for Matt. We are covered in dirt, dust, sweat and paint daily. It has been two showers a day since we got the house. If you think flipping houses is full of shopping and picking out fun things for the house, it is not. You will be shopping a lot for the house, but with paint in your hair, no lipstick and dirt under your shoes.
Know Your Budget:
This one is obvious. You have to know your budget and know it at all times. When you are searching for a flip, you have to know what you can spend on the house itself, what you have left over to fix it up and finally what you can put it on the market for. You want to make sure it is a good investment. If you plan it out right, you will find some things cost more than you thought and others that won’t cost what you budgeted so it evens out in the end.
Leave Room In Your Budget:
Even though I said that you need to “know your budget”, you need to leave room in your budget. You need a cushion. Things are going to come up that you weren’t planning for and if you cushion the budget, those things won’t throw the entire project off. We cushioned our budget an extra $5000 just in case. We really don’t want to have to spend that, but if we need to, it won’t throw us off.
Set A Timeline:
A timeline is important. Depending on how you are financing the flip, you may be paying interest on money you borrowed or you may need to pay it back by a certain time. Time is money! The less time you have the flip, the less money you are paying in interest. I think a timeline for the entire project is good, but having a shorter timeline for each project is equally important. Each week, have a plan and then break that down by each day. What do you need to get done and in what order is a question you need to ask yourself each week.
Schedule Contractors Early:
Contractors are busy. If there are projects that you need to hire out for, schedule them early. There is nothing worse than everything being on schedule and then being held up because the contractors can’t get there when you need projects done.
Make Special Orders Early:
By “special orders”, I mean things like countertops, windows, carpet, etc. that you can’t just go into the store and buy. If you have things you need to order, make sure and do it early so you aren’t waiting for products, but the products are waiting for you when you are ready to install them.
This is the biggest lesson I have learned with our first flip on our own. I set an unrealistic finish date. I was pushing it a little too hard for what we could accomplish on our own. Matt works full-time about an hour from our house and I am still blogging full-time and have kids home full-time for summer. I didn’t take into account those things when I set a finish date. I am still hoping we can check a lot of our projects off the list in the next week and have the house on the market by the end of July. When you are setting timelines, budgets, contractors, special orders, etc. – BE REALISTIC. If you aren’t, you will only make the process more stressful and a lot less fun.
Have you ever flipped a house? Would you like to give it a try?
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To see more of our house flipping journey, read this post HERE, HERE and HERE for before photos, stories we have learned and a DIY project that changed our budget and our minds about outdated paneling.