House Flipping 101

Whether you’re looking for a new career or just a way to make money on the side, flipping houses can be profitable and rewarding if done right. In 2019 approximately 245,864 homes were flipped in the United States. The median gross flipping profit on home flips in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $62,500. Sounds like a great way to make money, right? You’ve seen it on tv shows, but there is more to learn and understand.

What exactly is house flipping? 

Flipping houses is when an investor purchases a property with the intention of fixing it up and quickly reselling it. Most homebuyers want a move-in ready home, so flippers often buy properties that most buyers aren’t able or willing to renovate. The key is finding the right property and flipping it fast.

It can also refer to purchasing and reselling properties in a market where home values are on the rise. In this case, a real estate investor may spot a foreclosure or low-priced home, purchase it and wait a few months until home prices increase. They will then re-list it at a higher price and sell it for a profit.

Ready to get started? Read on to learn about the important steps to take when starting out.

1. Research a range of markets.

How much money will you have to work with? $20,000 will not help you invest in areas with an average sales price of $800,000. Your budget will help you narrow your options. If your hometown is outrageously expensive, consider investing in areas further away, especially ones with rising home prices and strong demand.

2. Set a budget and a business plan.

Every good entrepreneur needs a plan. What amount are you comfortable investing? How big of a renovation project are you up for? All of these things need to be considered when making your plan.

3. Line up your financing BEFORE you need it.

The best deals out there will be snatched up quickly. Make sure you are already pre-approved and have a lender lined up who can finance your deal before you look at properties. You don’t want to miss out on a hot property with huge profit potential. Investor Loan Source can help you with a fix and flip loan. Visit us online to learn more or better yet, apply online today!

4. Build your network of contractors.

It is important to have a team of contractors that you can depend on. You will likely need general contractors, electricians, roofers, plumbers, painters, HVAC experts and well-rounded handymen at some point while flipping houses. Begin building your network ahead of time to avoid stress and delays – time is money in this business.

5. Find a house to flip.

One of the most important aspects of flipping houses is being able to find good deals. It is important to find homes that are not only priced below value, but with wide enough margins to cover your many expenses. For help finding on-market deals you can work with a realtor. For help finding off-market deals you may want to consider working with wholesalers or beginning a direct mail campaign. Patience is often key when finding houses to flip.

6. Buy the house.

As soon as your contract is accepted, you will want to hire a home inspector to ensure the home is structurally sound and the mechanical systems are in good working order. A thorough home inspection will likely take several hours and is critical in ensuring the home will not come with expensive surprises. After the inspection, walk the home with your chosen contractors so you can properly prepare for the next important step.

7. Renovate the property.

Every month that goes by comes with interest and carrying costs – utilities, taxes, insurance and other expenses. The faster you can complete renovations, the faster you can sell it! Be sure to make repairs and upgrades to the home that will add value to the property. Don’t overdo it. Adding high-end, expensive countertops to an $80,000 property is probably not necessary and could eat away your profits. Stick to your budget and timeline.

8. Sell it!

This step is often the easiest if you’ve made the right renovations and priced the home correctly. It’s also the funnest as it entails reaping the profits of your hard work and planning!

Learning how to flip houses can be overwhelming. Lean on experts – your lender, contractors, home inspectors and realtors. Network with other house flippers. Most experienced house flippers have learned from their mistakes and will be happy to share tips on what to do and what to avoid when investing in homes in need of repairs. Building a strong network and planning ahead will help you set yourself up for success.

Need a fix and flip loan for your investment property? Contact Investor Loan Source at 409-735-6267 or visit our website and get pre-approved today!

A Letter from Our CEO, Tom Berry

As I write this letter, I can’t help but think that this will probably be the craziest, most unpredictable experience of my lifetime. First, I hope you and your family members are well and are in good spirits and optimistic about the future. I read in a “good book” one time that “without vision, the people will parish”. I think it is important to always look to the future with vision and wisdom. Fear is crippling and debilitating. It is born of uncertainty and a lack of understanding. Today is certainly ripe for that, isn’t it? So much is unknown right now that I wanted to focus on what we do know and share with you what we at Investor Loan Source have done and what we continue to do, to ensure that we remain strong and secure for our families, investors, lenders and partners.

We have always taken what we have considered a conservative approach to lending and investing. We have never swung for the fences. We keep our pricing at reasonable, sustainable levels, and we have limited exposure as much as possible. When our competitors slashed their margins and raised their LTV maximums, we didn’t chase them. We let borrowers go to them and we focused on diversifying our product lines, so we didn’t have to compete with craziness. It turns out that our strategy worked out well, as many of those competitors are now unable to lend or have closed their doors all together. As a result, we have had record numbers of loan applications in the last 30 days. With this THREE-FOLD increase in applications, we have been able to make changes that will only serve to make us and our loans even stronger.

  1. We raised the credit score requirements of borrowers to get into our A&B loan programs. This results in higher percentage rates on most of our loans without us really raising rates.
  2. We lowered LTV maximums on certain loans. This means they need to bring more of their own money to close.
  3. We have lowered the maximum loan amount for residential fix and flip loans. Now we will generally lend only up to $250,000 in most of our markets, as we believe that the higher priced houses may take a value hit in the next 12 months. As an investor over the last 13 years, I know that the blue collar “affordable housing” is always in short supply and demand increases during rough financial times. This leads to smaller price drops as a percentage on lower priced homes compared to higher priced homes. It creates more work for us since we get paid based on the loan amount and a $500,000 loan takes the same amount of time as a $50,000 loan, while paying only one tenth as much. At this time, we are fine with that to keep the integrity of our loan portfolio as high as possible.
  4. We have diversified into commercial bridge loans that have higher loan amounts in asset classes not effected as greatly by the downturn (if it hits real estate). This has given us the ability to diversify geographically, by asset class and by industry. Our approach is to not have huge exposure in any one place.

While we have taken a cautious attitude through all this turmoil, we are very optimistic about the future. Our borrower payment rates have been outstanding. We have not seen much of a difference, if any, from our normal collection rate. Our Private Equity Funds have been posting phenomenal returns and I expect that to get a little higher, given our ability to charge more interest in the current market. With less competitors, we are able to cherry pick the best loans out there and let the rest lay. While the future is uncertain, with the wisdom of the past and steady patience, opportunities will abound. I will remain diligent and seek to bring in the very best business I can. Donald and I look forward to many more years of our families working with you and your families.

Best Regards,

Tom Berry Signature
Tom Berry