Making Money Fixing and Flipping Houses

By Jeanette Joy Fisher

If you're considering investing in real estate by fixing and flipping houses, you'll want to know what type of property to buy. Many real estate investors make millions turning ugly houses into dollhouses. On the other hand, some inexperienced investors lose money buying houses that don't turn a profit. Following are three tips that will help you find the perfect fixer.

1. Learn Your Real Estate Market

Your first task - exploring your market - helps you know a bargain house when you see one. Look at houses for sale in the area. Keep track of sales and how long the houses take to sell. Ask about the terms of these sales because this helps you understand how sellers market their property. For instance, if a seller paid closing costs for the buyer, did the price rise from the listed price accordingly? Or, did the seller come down on the price and pay the buyer's costs, too. Examine the sales that sell quickly. What home features and financing options prompted the fast sale?

Also, look at model homes. Buyer often chose resale homes because they can't wait for a new home to be finished. But, these buyers like the amenities found in newer homes. When you transform your fixer, you'll know what buyers desire and you'll make informed makeover choices.

2. Know What Makes a Good Real Estate "Fixer"

When you first start out in your real estate "fixer" enterprise, you'll want to look for houses needing only cosmetic work. Look for houses that just need cleaning up, painting, and new flooring. Don't be afraid of stinky houses that show horribly; look for fixers with peeling paint, holes in the wall, stained carpeting, and trash in the yard. Remember, these houses won't look good to most buyers, but investors see them as gold mines. You need to use your imagination when viewing theses homes. Try to visualize the finished product.

3. Know What Houses Don't Turn Profits

If the house is stained with cat urine, the sub-flooring or concrete foundation may need replacing. Dog urine cleans up easier. If the walls have too many cracks and bumps, you may need to hang new sheet rock or hire a professional plaster refinisher. Look for signs of plumbing problems such as water stains under sinks and loose flooring.

If you are new to real estate investing, always remember your limitations. Use caution when considering houses needing structural repairs. Some rehabbers replace walls, plumbing, structural beams, sub-flooring, and electrical systems, but they acquired those skills after years of experience or pay a professional.

If you find a house with structural problems, obtain estimates from reliable contractors to do the work. Experience teaches you how to do more over time. Until then, rely on experienced contractors to do the repairs. Take professional estimates into account before deciding whether or not to purchase an investment property.

Why would anyone want to do this? How much does the average investor make? Most real estate investors only make offers on houses in which they expect to make at least $30,000; in some markets, you can make much more than this.

Summary: You can make a fortune fixing ugly houses. Learn your market. Know when "ugly" means bad that can be good, and when stinky means pass.

Copyright (c) 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.
For more information about finding, financing, fixing and flipping houses, visit Jeanette Fisher's Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars. Learn about decorating to attract buyers. Professor Fisher teaches Design Psychology college courses and professional real estate seminars. She is the author of Home Staging, credit for buying real estate, and other books. http://www.doghousetodollhousefordollars.com

 


 
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