Categories
Flipping

5 Easy Ways Flippers Can Spruce Up the Lawn Before Sale

Source: Curbed

Are you getting ready to flip a house? If so, it’s important to make sure the outside looks as good as the inside.

After all, no one wants it to look like a neglected eyesore or it will scare away any potential buyers. And yet, you have to strike a perfect balance because you don’t want to spend too much time or money on it either.

In the house flipping industry, time is money—the longer you spend remodeling the property, the less profit you earn. Landscaping tends to eat up a ton of time and effort, which means that if you’re investing in long-term lawn care, you’re not flipping fast enough.

On average, flippers spend between 5 and 10% of their budget on landscaping. This may not seem like much but you’d be surprised at how much value this brings. In fact, studies have shown that sprucing up the lawn can increase the home’s value by as much as 20%.

That’s a lot of additional profit for each flip. But this isn’t the only reason why you should invest in landscaping. Keep in mind that construction work to renovate other parts of the property will likely mess up the yard, so much so that you might need to redo the entire lawn.

So, let’s take a closer look at how you can effectively spruce up the lawn without going over budget.

How to Spruce Up the Lawn Without Breaking the Bank

No flipper wants to dedicate a huge swath of their budget to landscaping. So, here are a few cost-effective tips for you to improve the lawn without going over budget. The goal is to ensure that the home will attract potential buyers—notably, the target market that you want to reach.

1. Remember Your Audience

Before going crazy with your landscaping to-do list… first, consider what your target buyers will want. For example, if you’re hoping to sell to an older group of people, then perhaps it would be better to not have a lawn at all since they may not want to regularly maintain it. Young professionals, however, would likely opt for a patio or outdoor deck to entertain their friends, rather than a high-maintenance yard.

But if you’re targeting families, then feel free to go level up the landscaping. Chances are, these buyers are prioritizing wide open spaces for their kids and pets to play in. In fact, not having a poorly-maintained lawn may turn them off from seriously considering your property.

Apart from your target buyers, also consider what real estate class the neighborhood, tenant pool, and property belong to. For instance, it won’t make sense to create a beautifully-landscaped lawn for a Class C home since an expensive feature to maintain would be the last thing its tenants want.

2. Make the Grass Greener

A well-manicured lawn and tidy garden can go a long way in boosting your property’s curb appeal. The grass, in particular, has the most visual impact on guests when they first see the house.

Simply adding either fertilizer or grass seeds can go a long way. In fact, do this the minute you start on the flipping project. That way, the grass will already be fuller, healthier, and much greener by the time you’re finished and ready to sell.

As tempting as it is to constantly mow the lawn, it actually puts stress on the grass, especially if you trim off more than 20% at once. So check the cutting height of your lawn mower before turning it on and going to town with it, and ensure that you’re not mowing the grass too often.

This shouldn’t stop you from regularly pulling out the weeds, though. After all, who wants to see an overgrown lawn?

3. Edge the Lawn

If you want the lawn to appear tidier to potential home buyers, use an edger to trim the grass along its perimeter. Doing this creates a crisp and neat border that will make your property look cleaner and more professional, undoubtedly increasing its curb value.

Edging can also highlight landscaping design elements, which is important if you want to draw a buyer’s attention to a particular area of the lawn. It also prevents weeds and turf grass from growing into flower beds, so you no longer have to worry about the aesthetic appeal of your blooms.

4. Don’t Forget the Grass Clippings

For many, grass clippings are sent straight to the garbage can. But for flippers, they’re heaven-sent. Rather than bagging them after mowing the lawn, leave them where they are. Since they’re small and comprised of mostly water, it won’t take them long to break down and fertilize your garden.

However, make sure to clean up the grass clippings from your driveway, the sidewalk, and the other hard surfaces surrounding your lawn.

5. Invest in Lawn Repair Mix

You can easily fix bare patches on the lawn with a lawn repair mix, which typically consists of compost, fertilizer, and grass seedlings.

For better results, remove the dead grass and loosen the soil until at least three inches below the ground. This will give the lawn repair mix enough space to grow. Take care not to overwater this spot to prevent the seeds from scattering.

Sprucing Up the Lawn Won’t Break Your Budget

As always, the goal is to create a lawn that fits the criteria for selling that particular property to a particular target market. You don’t want to spend too much time, effort, and energy on a project that won’t pay off. In all flips, the faster you sell it, the more money you’ll get to keep, so make sure that your remodeled lawn will help you earn the profits you want.

In this article, we proved that landscaping projects aren’t as scary, expensive, or as time-consuming as you think they might be. With just a few easy fixes, you can increase your flipping profits without spending too much time and effort beautifying someone else’s lawn.

For more house-flipping tips, reach out to our team of experts at Logical Property Management. We’ve been serving the Metro Detroit real estate market for more than two decades now, and have everything you need to succeed in the area.

Categories
Flipping

Does House Flipping Qualify as QBI Deduction?

Man repairing a house
Source: GO Banking Rates

Over the years, the IRS has been cracking down on taxpayers taking advantage of the qualified business income (QBI) deduction. Because of that, some house flippers are wondering whether flipping houses can still qualify as a business.

So, let’s dive in and see what you need to know.

QBI Deduction: What Is It and Who Can Claim It?

QBI deduction is a tax break that allows business owners, freelancers, and independent contractors to write off up to 20% of their total taxable income. This effectively decreases the income tax they owe to the IRS. However, not everybody is eligible for it.

For instance, only business owners with pass-through income may take advantage of the QBI deduction. This includes the following:

  • Sole Proprietors: An individual, such as a freelancer or independent contractor, who runs an unincorporated business
  • Partnership Members: Two or more people who made a formal agreement to oversee a business together, sharing in its profits and liabilities
  • S-Corporation Shareholders: People who own shares in an S-Corporation and include its income and/or losses on their personal tax returns

In short, you’ll have to double-check if you qualify for the tax deduction to take advantage of it, as there are some income limits and business types that may affect your eligibility.

What Does Not Count as QBI?

Now, not all income types qualify for QBI. In fact, there are nearly 20 different income types that the IRS does not consider as QBI. Here are a few of them:

  • Income from out-of-country businesses
  • Investment items (e.g., capital gains and dividends)
  • Interest income not related to a business or trade
  • Annuities received from something unrelated to a business or trade

Of course, as a house flipper, your only concern is if income from flipping is included on the IRS list. Well, it’s not specifically mentioned by the IRS. So, are you eligible for the 20% tax write-off?

Does House Flipping Qualify as QBI Deduction?

The law says that the QBI deduction will only apply to taxpayers who are sole proprietors of a business or trade, a member of a partnership, or a shareholder in an S-Corporation. So those in the fix-and-flip business will be eligible if your operations are conducted within one of these entity structures.

However, there are still rules dictating how much you can deduct from your total taxable income:

  • If you’re single or unmarried and your total taxable income is less than $164,900, then you can deduct 20% of your qualified business income.
  • If you are married and filing jointly with your spouse and your total taxable income is less than $329,800—then you can deduct 20% of your qualified business income.

Because of W-2 wage limitations, things become more complicated when your total taxable income exceeds these thresholds. If this is your situation, then it would be better to call an accountant for advice.

Confused? Don’t sweat it—here’s a quick example to help you understand QBI deductions better:

Let’s pretend that you’re a single-house flipper whose net operating income is $100,000 and W-2 wages are $50,000. Since you fall below the $164,900 threshold, you can deduct 20% from your net operating income, amounting to $20,000.

Assuming that you belong to the 24% tax bracket, this QBI deduction will save $4,800 on your tax bill.

Yes, House Flipping Qualifies as QBI Deduction

The QBI deduction has undoubtedly benefited a lot of industries, particularly real estate, where house flippers are now seeing more profits earned from every sale they close. But if you are still confused about the calculations, then we recommend working with a certified public accountant (CPA).

Calculating your QBI deductions is a huge headache and as a busy house flipper, you simply do not have the time for that. That is why you should consider joining the Real Estate Investors Association of Oakland County—our members have access to tons of resources that help them take their house-flipping business to new levels of success.

From landing sales on your fix-and-flip projects to help you determine your tax write-off, REIA has everything you need. Interested? Check out our website to see what your next steps should b

Calculating your QBI deductions is a huge headache—which you may not have the time for. Consider reaching out to REIA and our team of experts to help you with everything. Subscribe to our newsletter as well and join as a REIA member to attend our upcoming meeting!

Categories
Flipping

Build Your Flipping Empire: Step-by-Step House Flipping Business Plan (Part 3)

The white chess player uses his bishop to take the black chess player’s knight
Source: Mesh on Unsplash

As the popular saying goes—” before you sell anything, you first have to sell yourself.” This statement holds true even In the house-flipping business.

Although flipping mainly deals with selling properties, don’t forget that you also have to deal with flippers, real estate agents, buyers, sellers, and other counterparts in the real estate industry. Because of this, in order to do good business and close flipping sales, you’ll first have to market yourself to establish business relations.

Why Market Yourself?

Apart from wondering how to market yourself using the SWOT analysis, you might be wondering why marketing yourself is even necessary.

To help you answer this question, we’ll ask you another question—as an investor, would you put money in an investment you’re not convinced will grow? You probably answered no. The same goes for lenders, investors, and other business prospects in the real estate industry. Before they shell out any money and do work with you, they first need to convince you’re worth the investment.

And how do you market yourself? By showing what you can bring to the table as a house flipper and why your house-flipping empire will be a success. And that is exactly what your SWOT analysis can do.

What is a SWOT Analysis?

The acronym SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The information in its subsections shows your capabilities and how you work as a house flipper in relation to competitors and your place of business.

Through your SWOT analysis, you can be accurately assessed. In effect, this will help lenders, investors, and other prospective business associates determine whether they want to work with you.

Take a look at this generic SWOT analysis to help you form an idea of how it works:

Source: ProjectCubicle.com

Chances are this is the first you’re hearing of a SWOT analysis since it’s not often used in real estate businesses like house flipping. However, its lack of commonplace use shouldn’t diminish its value.

Remember that house flipping is a business and the SWOT analysis plays an integral role in any business plan.

To help you grasp how you can leverage a SWOT analysis, here are three things you need to take into account: you or your company, your competition, and external factors. Think of you and your competition as the players, the external factors and the place as the stage, and house flipping as the game.

The more knowledge you have of the game, the better you can play it.

If you’re here from previous installments of the house-flipping business plan series, we’re happy to have you back for our third and final installment. If you missed the first two, be sure to check it out so you’re up to speed. In previous installations, we discuss the importance of a house flipping business plan[1]  and the step-by-step process of making one[2] .

Here’s a chart that shows a SWOT analysis tailored for a house-flipping business plan:

Now that you have a general idea of the SWOT analysis’ role in a house flipping business plan, let’s dive in deeper and go through each subsection in detail. As we break down the 4 subsections, we’ll also tackle how you can leverage these to market yourself and your company.

Your Flipping Strengths

What advantage do you have going into the house-flipping business? Are you starting off with capital or partnering up with someone who already has experience? List down what you and those you work with can leverage and explain why these are valuable.

Here’s a list of questions to get started:

  • What is your competitive advantage (against other flippers in the area)?
  • What resources do you have that you can take advantage of?
  • What part of your flipping business is performing well above average?

For instance, starting out with capital means you don’t have to worry about securing loans or partnering with investors. Having your own finances to pull from lets you move more independently without relying on third parties for funding.

Showing your strengths is the most persuasive point of a SWOT analysis and is the main determiner of whether people want what you can provide. Your strengths also set what’s expected of you as a house flipper, so be careful not to under or over-sell yourself and highlight your strengths honestly.

Your Flipping Weaknesses

Where do you fall short in the house-flipping business? As important as it is to acknowledge your strengths, it’s equally important to acknowledge your weaknesses. If you’re partnering up or working under someone, this is where they’ll form accurate expectations of you.

For instance, if your network consists of young individuals, your flips will likely be within the city near office buildings. In this situation, you’re likely more familiar with flipping small houses for one or two people. A weakness here can be having no properties outside of the city or a lack of experience dealing with larger houses.

These are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Where in your flipping business can you improve?
  • What part of your business is underperforming?
  • Where are you lacking in resources?

Identifying your weaknesses also lets you identify areas of improvement so you can actively work on becoming a better house flipper. Although weaknesses show your limitations, this can also work in your favor when doing business with others.

As strengths set what they can expect from you, weaknesses show what they can’t. By considering both your strengths and weaknesses you can be more accurately assessed as a house flipper.

Your Flipping Opportunities

These are external factors that work in your favor. Ask yourself: Which market can you tap into? What are people looking for? Which factors can help me close more deals?

When you identify the opportunities available in your area of business, you can gauge which house flip projects can turn a profit and increase the chances of a return on your investment.

For example, here are the following statistics:

Given these statistics, there is an opportunity for flipping houses that cater to young, new families, which is where your business is focused on.

If you’re still not sure where your opportunities are, here are some questions to get the ball rolling:

  • What new markets can your business explore?
  • What other investment routes can your business potentially consider?
  • What technology can you use to improve your operations?
  • How else can you expand your core operations?

By narrowing in on house flips with more profitability, you also increase the confidence of prospective business partners, lenders, and investors to work with you.

Your Flipping Threats

On the other hand, threats are external factors that set limits to your house flips. These external factors are often beyond your control, such as the local weather or building policies.

For example, Michigan experiences winters with temperatures as low as 18°F, so you might run into homes that require more winter-proofing, like replacing HVAC systems or adding more insulation. Threats like these can be laborious, requiring you to assess properties with more care.

These are the questions you’d want to ask yourself:

  • What local and state regulations threaten your operations?
  • In what ways are your competitors doing better than you?
  • What are the market shifts and trends that threaten your business?

Moreover, identifying your threats is essentially stating the factors that you can’t be held accountable for, so you can be assessed fairly.

For instance, if you’re being assessed based on a past project that experienced weather-related delays, that shouldn’t reflect badly on your work ethic as a house flipper. You can also think of your flipping threats as a kind of disclaimer.

Is the SWOT Analysis Worth it?

Challenges and growing pains are inevitable when you’re starting a house-flipping business. But remember that you have the power to make the journey easier with a SWOT analysis.

The insight you’ll get from conducting the analysis then becomes your handy cheat sheet. You can now enter the house flipping game with substantial knowledge, fully knowing how other players are doing on the stage, and exactly how you’ll give your business a leg up.

As always, remember to take your time conducting a SWOT analysis with careful consideration. It plays a major role in your house-flipping business plan, so let’s not get too hasty with it.

Be a House Flipper Worth Working With

A house-flipping business plan that comprehensively addresses all possible queries will leave no room for doubt that you will succeed as a house flipper.

This is your chance to lay down the foundation you need to build your house-flipping empire. Use the SWOT analysis as a marketing tool to show others that you’re prepared, knowledgeable, and set up for success—perfect for doing business in the long run.

This is the final installment of our 3-part house flipping business plan series. If you haven’t checked out the two previous installments, you can find these on the links above.

What other real estate business plans do you want us to discuss? Let us know in the comments below! And should you have more concerns, get in touch with us today.

Categories
Flipping

Build Your Flipping Empire: Step-by-Step House Flipping Business Plan (Part 2)

If you only want to buy a single house to fix and flip as they do on TV shows, do you really need a full-blown business plan? Well, yes! You certainly need one if you want to succeed in the game.

Even if you’re just flipping one house, going in unprepared and without a plan is setting yourself up for trouble. You can go over budget, waste time due to lack of scheduling, and sabotage your house flip.

Instead, go through this Build Your Flipping Empire series to learn how to make a flipping business plan before you jump in with both feet. Doing so, you’ll complete your investment on time and on budget, making a hefty profit that you can roll over into your next project.

In other words, you’ll carve out a path that’ll lead you to long-term success in house flipping.

We’ve already covered the importance of having a house flipping business plan[1]. Now, let’s take a look into what you actually need to put into it—one part at a time.

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a synopsis of your entire business plan and serves as the first impression. Remember that potential lenders, financiers, and other business prospects will often only read the executive summary, so ensure that it provides a concise and comprehensive overview of your plan.

You should also include your mission statement here to show your goals and values as a house flipper. For example, if you value family-friendly, move-in-ready house flip projects, your mission statement can say, “Our mission is to grow our house flipping empire one property at a time by turning distressed properties into profitable ones for aspiring young families.”

2. Management Team

A good business plan also has your contacts in place and responsibilities assigned. From the contractors to the real estate agent, list all of them down with detailed roles, qualifications, and experience in house flipping projects.

Here’s an example of what this section will look like:

My team is composed of professionals equipped with the necessary skill sets and work experience to get the job done with quality and efficiency.

  • General Contractor: John Smith

For over 20 years, Smith and his team of subcontractors (plumbers, electricians, painters, roofers, etc.) have fixed homes all around the City of Detroit. Regarded for his quick and skillful work, Smith has earned the trust of two generations of Detroit residents.

  • Real Estate Agent: Jane Doe

Doe is an exceptional licensed real estate agent specializing in wholesale and house flipping deals. In her 17 years in the industry, she closes a whopping 4-6 deals per quarter, averaging 20 per year.

  • Bookkeeper: Jody Miller

Alumni of the University of Michigan, Miller graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Her financial skills can effectively expense accounted for and within budget, helping our team generate the highest flipping profits.

If you’re new to house flipping and don’t have a lot of connections yet,  then take this as an opportunity to build your team. You don’t want to waste time gathering people once a flipping project starts, as having the best people around will contribute to the stability of your operations.

3. Goals & Objectives

Think about what your ultimate goal is for the house-flipping business. Do you just want to flip 1 house a year? Or do you want to build a nationwide flipping empire to quit your day job? Remember to make your goals actionable, measurable, and realistic based on your available resources.

Here’s an example:

Our goal is to be one of the leading house-flipping empires in Michigan. Starting from the City of Detroit, we’ll grow our portfolio by expanding to neighboring cities until we have projects all around the state.

One by one, we will purchase distressed properties, and flip them into quality homes, all the while turning a profit to fund future projects as we continually grow our house-flipping empire. Our ultimate objective is to flip unloved properties into family homes.

Pro tip: Break down long-term goals into short-term ones so they’re easier to achieve and clearly mark the journey towards achieving the overall business objective.

4. Market Analysis

Knowing the real estate market in detail can help you make informed decisions moving forward. The market analysis provides insights to assess whether your business plans are likely to succeed or need some tweaking, all in relation to the competition.

Additionally, your market analysis will show prospective lenders, investors, and business partners your market knowledge and how you plan to use that for your financial plans and gain.

Here’s a list of questions to guide your market analysis:

  • Is the neighborhood gaining real estate popularity?
  • Is the property type you’re flipping in demand?
  • Is there a large pool of potential buyers?
  • What are the local crime rates?
  • How far is my prospective property from the necessary facilities?
  • What are my weaknesses against the competition?
  • What are my strengths against the competition?

Let’s use some data from 2021 to have a quick look at how a market analysis can go:

Recent statistics show a rise in flipping activity in Michigan. For example, in two Wayne County zip codes alone, 25% of all real estate sales were house flips, and Redford saw a 99.9% increase in house flipping in the first quarter of 2021—doubling the rates of the previous quarter.

Given the statistics, you can see these parts of Michigan are highly saturated and competitive. We can infer that pricing gets more competitive, with margins between buying distressed property and selling a flipped house getting smaller.

As for the whole state of Michigan, the online newsletter Michigan Chronicle reported in 2021 that house flipping is experiencing a huge resurgence providing “a lot of opportunities”. Michigan Chronicle used statistics by ATTOM data solutions and found that average Michigan flippers pocket minimum 20% of sales profits.

Although some cities in Michigan are highly competitive with advanced house flippers, there is still an abundance of opportunities state-wide for novices. Strategically, we can start in less competitive areas until we progress to more advanced markets.

The market is always shifting, however, so ensure that you constantly update your plan. After all, a great business plan is one that remains relevant and can guide you even in the later stages of your empire.

A market analysis is an opportunity for you to learn more about the house-flipping business. Another focal point of this section is getting to know the competition—how competitive is the market? What makes them competitive? Are there certain competitors to look out for?

Take note that getting into the flipping business without learning about it is one of the novice mistakes you want to avoid, so take your time with this section.

5. SWOT Analysis

“SWOT” stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Your SWOT analysis lets you gauge how you compare to the competition, identifying your relative performance in the market.

Let’s break down each letter and see what you should put within each section:

Referring to the infographic above, the guide questions show you what’s being asked for under each section. After the guide questions, the bullet points show sample information of what you input.

The SWOT analysis examines 3 factors: you, your competition, and the external factors of the area you plan to do business in. By having comprehensive knowledge of these factors, you can work smarter, and in turn, maximize your profits.

We’ve only scratched the surface of what goes in this section of a house-flipping business plan. If you want to take a deeper dive into the SWOT analysis, we’ll go into this in part 3 of the series!

6. Lead Generation & Marketing Strategies

Next, determine the best ways you can generate leads and market your business. We understand that this can be a challenge in the house flipping business, but try out these methods to get started:

  • Leverage Networking: Helping other real estate investors is a great way to keep your deals flowing. Pooling together resources can help you establish mutually beneficial relationships with other flippers and other real estate investors. Even if you have to split the profits, networking gives you consistent work while building your empire.
  • Drive for Dollars: There are many leads out there that can offer you profitable deals, and it’s just a matter of driving around and finding signs like “for rent” or “for sale.” These signs often have contact details of the assigned real estate agent or seller listed, where you can make direct calls to ask about possible deals. It’s also a great opportunity for you to build your network of agents.
  • Real Estate Agents: If you’re looking for a helping hand that has substantial knowledge of the real estate market, a real estate agent is your best bet. They can help you find leads, teach you the tricks of the trade, and get word of your house flips out in the market. Since these relationships are mutually beneficial, they can even become a long-term business partner.

These are just some lead generation and marketing strategies we found will be the most helpful for your house flipping projects, but you can use a mix of different strategies for more results. Remember to list down and define which ones you plan on using in your house-flipping business plan.

7. Finance Plans & Projections

You can’t do any business if your finances aren’t in order. So, will you be financing your house flip projects out of your own pocket or will you seek the aid of a lender? Because if you need funding, then it’s paramount that you earn their trust.

So, here’s what you need to include in this section:

  • Documents: Prepare all the necessary documents that show you’re financially able and responsible. You can include income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets.
  • Earnings: Tackle how much you expect to earn and how you will allocate your earnings. If you expect to earn $50,000 per deal? $75,000? Will you allocate 80% for future project funds? Will you keep 20% or less for yourself?
  • Budgeting: Although each project will come with its own set of repairs and touch-ups, it’s always good to have a standard budget as a guideline. You can list them out as percentages, so you show how you’ll stick to a budget and avoid over-improving properties to protect your profits.
  • Projections: Go over your business projections. Where do you see yourself months from now? What about 3 years after? Your projection should cover the next 2-5 years to give a clear picture.

Remember: One of the main reasons for making a business plan is to use it for getting approval on loans. So make it awfully clear how financially viable your flipping business is to earn others’ confidence.

8. Growth Strategy

We understand that it’s hard to think far into the future when you’re still getting your business off the ground. However, setting goals can keep you in line while showing future lenders, investors, and potential business partners that you are dedicated to building your house-flipping empire.

Here are a few examples:

  • Invest in Single-Family Homes: Single-family homes are a commodity that most types of buyers consider, so the pool of prospective buyers is larger. Opting for these kinds of properties increases your chances of closing a deal while lessening the effort you put out to gather leads and market the property.
  • Diversify your Real Estate Portfolio: Although house flipping is the main priority in building a house flipping empire, that doesn’t mean you can’t add other real estate ventures to your portfolio like wholesaling real estate, as it also starts with distressed properties.

Plus, if a flip looks like it’s going to flop, an exit strategy and an alternate venture you can consider are property rentals. In a nutshell, it’s all about diversifying the investments in your portfolio to secure growth.

  • Growing Your Capital Faster: Another way of looking at “growth” is looking for opportunities that can grow your financial capital quicker. By choosing and making the right investments early on, you’re on the fast lane to having more financial freedom, and in turn, the liberty to take on higher risks and higher reward projects.

There are more ways to ensure that your flipping empire grows. You can conduct more research to see what else you can do (and include in your business plan) so your vision is both short- and long-term.

9. Exit Strategy

Considering that your house flip project can flop when you’re just starting out can be discouraging, but having an exit strategy can be a lifeline to saving your investment. Rather than looking at it as a backup plan for failure, see your exit strategy as a “Plan B” for you to turn a profit—whatever happens.

So, identify alternative ways where you can get a return on your investment. Here are some you can consider for your house flipping business plan:

  • Slash Your Price: Lower your price if you’re pressed for time. If your flip seems like it’s going to flop, lowering your price can effectively heat up the market again. Even if it’s not as high as you expected, you can still walk away with some financial gain.
  • Tap a Different Market: If your house flip isn’t picking up in the buyers’ market, tapping into a different market can be a viable option. Long-term rental can present itself as another business venture and a form of passive income.
  • Rent It Out: With a property flipped and ready for residency, an alternative to closing a sale can be renting it out. Apart from being an alternative way of getting a return on your investment, you can add rental properties to your portfolio. Having different avenues of income also helps with gaining the financial stability you need to grow your house flipping empire.

Your exit strategy should be the next most financially sound option that aligns with your circumstances, so evaluate your situation carefully before taking any action.

A Foolproof Plan for Flipping Success

Learning more about the business, strategizing growth plans, and planning exit strategies can provide you with the direction you need to move forward with your goals.

Apart from serving as your guide, your house-flipping business plan will also provide comprehensive information on all areas of your business for new investors, lenders, potential business partners, and other people might do business with.

Business plans aren’t just for you, but also for those who will work with you.

With all your bases covered, you are clear and confident in what you want to achieve and how you plan on achieving it. You’ll be well on your way towards creating a house-flipping business that won’t turn into an expensive, capital-depleting flop.

This is the second installment of our series on house-flipping businesses, so stay tuned for our last installment! And if you have any questions or specific topics you want to learn, let us know by dropping a comment below or getting directly in touch with our team.

Categories
DIY

6 Fixes Novice Flippers Should Avoid DIY-ing

When it comes to DIY, “Why pay someone to do it when you can do it yourself?” is what most new flippers would say… at least until they realize how underprepared and underskilled they are for extensive repairs!

Some renovation projects are tough to do as well as a professional would, even with the best of YouTube tutorials. If you’re not qualified to replace roofs, repair electrical systems, fix the plumbing situation, or install new gutters, doing them yourself could lead to costly and dangerous consequences. 

Faulty work leads to spending more time and money trying to fix your mistakes, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Lots of seasoned flippers can do nearly any project themselves, but many more newcomers to the industry try their hand at things above their pay grade and end up regretting it later on.

So if you’re new to the world of DIY, here are six fixes that should be left to the professionals—even if you think you can do it yourself.

Roof Replacement

The fact that we refer to homes as a “roof over our heads” shows how important good roofing is for a home. Nobody wants to buy or live in a house with a damaged roof!

The roof is such a vital part of the infrastructure—you will want to make sure that it’s installed right to not cause any problems in the future. And while many people may think replacing a roof is easy, it really isn’t.

Here are just a few of the complexities you can encounter:

  • The height & pitch of the roof can require special safety equipment.
  • The underlayment is critical, but often done incorrectly.
  • Do you know what drip edge is for?
  • How do you prevent ice dams from causing roof leaks?
  • Unless installed by a licensed professional, most shingle warranties are voided.

Instead, you should hire a professional whose whole job is to replace roofing. Not only will they assess the roof before replacement, but they will also have all the suitable materials and tools for the job, as well as the much-needed experience in construction-related safety issues. A professional roofing company would also have warranties that can save you money in case something goes wrong.

Electrical Repairs

Repairing the electrical system of a home is another dangerous task to DIY.

In your house flipping journey, you might run into older homes with outdated or broken electrical systems. When that happens, you’ll want to spend extra on hiring a professional who has the training and experience to work with electrical currents—especially because they can be deadly when mishandled.

Feel free to install new light bulbs in the home, or to change light fixtures, plugs and switches if you’re a handy person, but anything more complicated than that should be handled by a licensed electrician. Here are the common issues often found in older homes that signal it’s time to call an electrician:

  • Replace electrical panels
  • Replace an exterior riser or the main feed from meter to panel
  • Messing with meters
  • Run underground electrical lines
  • Install a new circuit to an electrical panel

Plumbing Fixes

While improperly installed plumbing fixes aren’t as dangerous as electrical systems, they can seriously set your budget back and eat into your flipping profit. DIY-ing a simple leak might save you a couple of bucks, but if it escalates into a flood, that’s thousands of dollars instantly added to your expenditures. 

Beyond fixing a slightly clogged drain or replacing a new faucet, extensive plumbing repairs and maintenance are best left to the professionals. Here are some plumbing fixes that a professional plumber should do:

  • Replacing underground sewer or water lines
  • Replacing corroded stack or main supply lines
  • Replacing or repairing water heaters, sump pumps, and worn down or burst pipes
  • Running new drain lines, unless you know the exact pitch required by code

Drywall Mudding 

Drywall mudding is more artistic than people think, so it’s tough for non-professionals to do well. You can hang drywall yourself, because unless you totally butcher it it’s fairly uncomplicated to hang, but doing the taping and mudding takes an artistic touch.

Plus, even if you do manage to do your own mudding, it definitely will not be as seamless or aesthetically pleasing as work by a professional company. Ugly drywall is a serious eyesore which could turn buyers off from an otherwise beautiful house, so leave it to the pros.

Structural Repairs

We’ve all seen that part on the DIY home improvement show when the clueless flipper bashes through a load-bearing wall and almost caves the whole house in. 

Don’t be that guy. Structural repairs are one of those things which even pro flippers hire contractors for, because the cost of making a mistake is so high. Stay away from all structural work as a new flipper, including:

  • Bowing walls
  • Cracked floor joists
  • Bowed roof or ceiling
  • Removing walls for an open floor plan (are they load-bearing?)

Fixing or Replacing Heating Systems

Installing the wrong efficiency furnace or replacing with one that’s mismatched with the exhaust system could be fatal, literally.  For an 80% efficiency furnace, you use a particular exhaust, but if it’s 90%+, it’s a totally different exhaust system, which is not compatible with 80%-efficient systems. If someone gets poisoned with carbon monoxide in a home where you worked on the furnace, you’re liable.

The same applies with duct work. There are equations which experts use to calculate the type of ducting required, based on the size of the house, furnace type, distance from furnace, etc. Get it wrong and this could lead to a house that’s not heated well and puts more strain on the furnace, so it wears out faster.

Conclusion

Know your limitations, and you will save thousands of dollars – not to mention headaches! Even if you’re a crafty person who loves to learn new things, there are certain cost-cutting measures you want to avoid when it comes to flipping a home.

So, the next time you want to replace the roof, repair the electric system, fix the plumbing, or install new gutters in the home you’re flipping—grab your phone instead to protect your flipping profit as much as possible.

Image Courtesy of Suntorn Somtong

Categories
Flipping

5 Signs You Better Walk Away from a Flip

Finding houses that are suitable for flipping is difficult – but that doesn’t mean you should jump on every opportunity that comes around.

Every good flipper knows how to choose properties—and when to walk away from an inevitable flop.

You don’t want to be a rookie who overlooks the basics and ends up with a smaller margin than your time and effort is worth.

So here are five signs to know when a distressed house is better left alone:

1. The location isn’t good.

The most important factor that decides the value of your flip is the location of the house.

  • What kind of city and neighborhood is it in?
  • What kind of residents are in the area? What do they want in a home?
  • How much do similar houses sell for in the immediate area? What features do they have?
  • What are its positive factors (e.g., good schools, shopping centers, etc.)?
  • What are its negative factors (e.g., highways, airports, factories, etc.)?

You need to understand the property in the context of where it’s located to estimate its value, and how fast it’s likely to sell (based on the level of buyer demand in the area). 

Do the same research that your buyers would do, and you’ll see if the location is going to appeal to them.

2. The house is too unique.

While every property will be somewhat different from another, you want to flip a house that’s fundamentally conforming to or better than the standard of the local competition. In other words, they have to be similar to the houses around them, but better somehow.

For example, if the neighborhood is full of single-family homes with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, you might have a hard time selling a house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. You will, however, easily sell a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with an attic that can convert to an office area.

Generally, people like lots that are higher than the average size in the neighborhood, so a large lawn is always a good distinguishing feature. Likewise, you might have to be prepared for price adjustments if your lot is smaller than the average locally.

The biggest thing to look out for is a strange floorplan. Awkward layouts will seriously turn off buyers, even if you finish a home to a high standard throughout, and some layouts can’t be changed easily (if at all). Honestly, if you end up with a seriously out-of-date floorplan, you could be better off completely rebuilding a house from scratch in some cases, so this is a definite sign you should walk away if you’re a new flipper.

3. You don’t have enough skills or knowledge.

Unlike professional builders and professionals who’ve been honing their skills for years, you might not have the necessary knowledge to DIY fixes for a higher profit.

  • Do you know your way around basic construction tools?
  • Can you lay carpet, hang drywall, roof a house, and other common but important fixes?

There is money in sweat equity. If you lack knowledge and have to constantly outsource professionals to do the renovations, you’ll deplete the profit you could’ve gotten from your investment. If you lack the skills and still try to fix everything yourself, you might end up making rookie mistakes that’ll be expensive to salvage.

Furthermore, if you don’t have enough knowledge, you could run the risk of hiring a contractor and getting ripped off.

Instead, be realistic and account for your lack of skills when budgeting your flip. If the costs are properly accounted for, you’ll increase your chances of exiting with a good flipping profit.

4. You don’t have enough money.

All real estate investments are expensive.

You need to research your financing options to find which mortgage type will work best for you, and if there’s a lender that can offer you lower interest rates. Cash is possible, however there’s still property holding costs and opportunity costs that you need to consider.

More importantly, there’s the renovation costs. How much will you get after acquiring, holding, and fixing up the house? Novice flippers often underestimate the costs, resulting in net loss instead of gross profit.

To see if your budget is enough to flip-and-sell a house, you need to:

  • Identify how much you need to acquire the property
  • Scan the competition and see how much you can realistically sell and still make a profit
  • Determine how long the renovations will take and budget accordingly
  • Remember to take into account the loan you’ve taken out, taxes, utilities, insurance, and more
  • Be aware of the seasonality that can sometimes affect home prices and the number of days on market (e.g., higher sale prices in late spring compared to winter)

5. You don’t have enough time.

Flipping and selling a house takes a lot of time and dedication—often requiring you to give up a large chunk of your time for a couple of months. 

Not sure if the hours dedicated to flipping will be worth it? Answer these questions:

  • Are you maintaining a separate full-time job? Are you willing to give up weekends and evenings?
  • Do you have the budget to pay someone else to do the work?
  • Will you be available to oversee demolitions, constructions, inspections, and other procedures?
  • How much time will you spend marketing your property? Can you show it to prospective buyers yourself, or do you have the budget to pay for a real estate agent’s commission?

For most people, the time all of this takes isn’t worth it. They’d rather stick to their day job to have a guaranteed income, without the headache of flipping houses, so think carefully about whether or not this commitment is right for you before buying your own investment property. 

Summary

To be a successful flipper, you need to understand the risks involved and how to mitigate them.

Evaluate your house flipping opportunities by doing the following:

  • Check the location of the house in relation to the neighborhood.
  • Determine if the house is competitive enough versus other properties in the area.
  • Budget property and never underestimate the possibility of expensive, underlying problems.
  • Calculate the time it’ll take for you to enter and exit the flip profitably.
  • Be realistic with what you can repair and what you’ll need to outsource.

Making profit from flipping houses isn’t as easy as some other real estate investment methods, but it’s definitely possible with the right knowledge, planning, and courage to walk away from bad opportunities. Keep looking and doing your due diligence, and the right one will eventually come along. 

Trust us, it’s worth the wait.

Categories
Flipping

Flippers: The Best and Worst Renovations

Never over-renovate your flip!

You’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you end up spending too much on repairs or upgrades to the property. 

Your goal is to make money from buying a distressed house under market value, fixing it up to a marketable condition, and selling it at a price higher than the acquisition and renovation cost. So, it’s crucial that you hit the sweet spot of renovating the house just enough to achieve maximum ROI. 

But how will you know what to fix, and what to leave for the future buyer? Which renovations will add value, and which will only hurt your chances of making a higher flip profit? 

Here’s our guide to help you decide:

Know the Best Renovations

  • Competitive Scan

First and foremost, scan the other houses in the area where your flip is located. Research what else has sold and what factors they have in common. Figure out what the market gravitates towards and prioritize the same things in your renovations. 

  • First Impressions

First impressions are important for potential buyers. Anything that will add to your flip’s curb appeal will help attract attention, making buyers curious to see what’s inside. To achieve this: 

  • Have the front door stand out with a contrasting color
  • Maintain the landscaping (if there is any) with fresh flowers and plants
  • Power wash anything that looks dirty or faded
  • Repaint all trim work for a polished look 
  • Replace any old exterior hardware (e.g., doorknobs, mailbox, outdoor lighting, window frames)
  • Add shutters or blinds to avoid the house looking empty/unlived in
  • Kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most important features when it comes to buyers deciding on a house. They’re also much more expensive to overhaul, so many buyers don’t want to have to renovate kitchens or bathrooms themselves. 

But kitchen improvements can help recoup your investment by as much as 66%, so this is one area where you definitely want to spend. 

On the other hand, anything you spend on bathroom improvements can yield an ROI of up to 67.2%, so they’re also a good investment when planning the budget for your flip. 

  • Attics and basements

Attics have come a long way from being a horror movie location to, now, a great expansion and additional space in the house. It’s possible to get back as much as 73% of your investment when the property’s attic is converted into a bedroom or some kind of usable room for potential buyers. 

This is an expensive renovation though, so make sure you do the math properly to make sure it’s worth it for your flip.

Know the Worst Renovations

  • Competitive scan

When you check out other houses in the area, also pay attention to what won’t sell. Each area will have their own preference. Make sure you avoid having similar features as houses that have sat in the market the longest.

  • Extreme tastes

Focusing on renovating the property with elements that will appeal to the largest buying audience. Instead of decorating and renovating based on your own taste, fix it up with the general public in mind. Don’t put any design or functional feature that’s too specific and only caters to niche markets, like crazy, bold colors or wooden countertops. 

  • Home Offices

Even though work-from-home set ups are increasingly becoming popular since the pandemic, most people still don’t need a full-blown office at home. At the maximum, you can recoup around 43% of your investment by adding one to your flip.

If you see that home offices are actually popular in the property’s area, in particular, you can just have a home office that can easily be converted into a bedroom, should the future owner chooses to. An extra bedroom adds more value, too.

Profit is what you want out of your flip at the end of the day. 

To do this, you have to renovate objectively, with your ROI in mind, and not think about trying to turn your flip into a house you’d want to live in yourself. 

Begin with a solid renovation plan, and a carefully calculated budget, and make sure you don’t spend too much money in the pursuit of the “wow” factor.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Categories
Flipping

Tips for Selling Your Flip Fast

Do you want to sell your flip as fast as possible?

Flipping has always been a popular investment strategy for those looking to earn some quick-and-dirty profit. You see a property that has great potential to be sold at a much higher price–after some improvements and renovations–so you quickly buy it, flip it, and sell it! And of course, the more properties you flip, the steadier your income becomes.

But how can you ensure that your flip will sell quickly? Each day that passes costs you money–there’s mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, and other expenses that you’d need to pay while the property is in your possession. How can you sell as fast as possible, to minimize the amount of time your capital is at risk?

Here are some tips to help you sell your flips fast:

1. Know Who’ll Buy Your Flip

Before anything else, you should first consider who your potential customers will be. Always keep this ideal buyer in mind, because all your efforts–from renovation to marketing–should be focused on appealing to this buyer. All their demographic details should be considered to rehab and market your flip effectively. What life stage are they at? What do they expect from a property? How can you evoke an emotional response to encourage the sale?

2. Make Your Flip Their Dream Home

Now that you’ve identified your target buyer, rehab the property according to their expectations. When they see the property, they should be impressed and immediately think, “This is it! This is what we’ve been looking for.” For example, people usually like significant upgrades in the kitchen, but be careful not to make your fixes too niche or “trendy”–buyers might not share your taste or style. They want to see their home, and not somebody else’s. So think about what your target market would want in their dream home, and deliver that.

3. Partner with an Expert Agent

This might just be the most important tip on this list. You need an expert real estate agent to ensure you sell your flip fast. They should have proven experience, especially in the specific area you’re selling in. A good agent can help you determine how to tailor a property to the needs of local buyers, and should be great at evoking an emotional response during property viewings. Once you’ve built the dream house, it’s your RE agent who will make that dream come alive in the mind of the buyer, so they form a crucial component of sealing the deal. 

4. Price It Competitively

Just like in most industries–pricing is everything. So make sure you price your flipped home at a competitive level, if you’re looking for a quick sale. Your agent should help you figure out the perfect price, though you can already get a good idea from researching the neighborhood yourself. How much did other flips sell for? How long did the property stay on the market?

5. Stage it–Show it Off!

It’s important to stage your flip in the most impressive way you can to help buyers visualize themselves living in the property. Even now, with virtual showings becoming more popular in the era of the new normal, it’s still just as important to stage the property well. But this doesn’t mean you should over-decorate the whole house. Instead, focus on bringing out the best features of the main rooms: the living room, master bedroom, dining room, and kitchen. Set the scene so that your target buyer can imagine their family in the space, making sure that the dream you’re selling is consistent with your audience’s needs and wants.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to generate a lot of interest in your properties amongst local buyers, allowing you not only to sell your flip fast, but put yourself in the best position to receive multiple competing offers, as well. And that’s exactly what every flipper wants to maximize profits and quickly move on to their next project.

Any other tips you’d like to share with your fellow flippers?

Flipping has always been a popular investment strategy for those looking to earn some quick-and-dirty profit. You see a property that has great potential to be sold at a much higher price–after some improvements and renovations–so you quickly buy it, flip it, and sell it! And of course, the more properties you flip, the steadier your income becomes.

But how can you ensure that your flip will sell quickly? Each day that passes costs you money–there’s mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, and other expenses that you’d need to pay while the property is in your possession. How can you sell as fast as possible, to minimize the amount of time your capital is at risk?

Here are some tips to help you sell your flips fast:

1. Know Who’ll Buy Your Flip

Before anything else, you should first consider who your potential customers will be. Always keep this ideal buyer in mind, because all your efforts–from renovation to marketing–should be focused on appealing to this buyer. All their demographic details should be considered to rehab and market your flip effectively. What life stage are they at? What do they expect from a property? How can you evoke an emotional response to encourage the sale?

2. Make Your Flip Their Dream Home

Now that you’ve identified your target buyer, rehab the property according to their expectations. When they see the property, they should be impressed and immediately think, “This is it! This is what we’ve been looking for.” For example, people usually like significant upgrades in the kitchen, but be careful not to make your fixes too niche or “trendy”–buyers might not share your taste or style. They want to see their home, and not somebody else’s. So think about what your target market would want in their dream home, and deliver that.

3. Partner with an Expert Agent

This might just be the most important tip on this list. You need an expert real estate agent to ensure you sell your flip fast. They should have proven experience, especially in the specific area you’re selling in. A good agent can help you determine how to tailor a property to the needs of local buyers, and should be great at evoking an emotional response during property viewings. Once you’ve built the dream house, it’s your RE agent who will make that dream come alive in the mind of the buyer, so they form a crucial component of sealing the deal. 

4. Price It Competitively

Just like in most industries–pricing is everything. So make sure you price your flipped home at a competitive level, if you’re looking for a quick sale. Your agent should help you figure out the perfect price, though you can already get a good idea from researching the neighborhood yourself. How much did other flips sell for? How long did the property stay on the market?

5. Stage it–Show it Off!

It’s important to stage your flip in the most impressive way you can to help buyers visualize themselves living in the property. Even now, with virtual showings becoming more popular in the era of the new normal, it’s still just as important to stage the property well. But this doesn’t mean you should over-decorate the whole house. Instead, focus on bringing out the best features of the main rooms: the living room, master bedroom, dining room, and kitchen. Set the scene so that your target buyer can imagine their family in the space, making sure that the dream you’re selling is consistent with your audience’s needs and wants.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to generate a lot of interest in your properties amongst local buyers, allowing you not only to sell your flip fast, but put yourself in the best position to receive multiple competing offers, as well. And that’s exactly what every flipper wants to maximize profits and quickly move on to their next project.

Any other tips you’d like to share with your fellow flippers?

Categories
DIY

How Much Should You Pay Yourself vs. Reinvest in Your Next Flip?

A common question flippers have is: “How much should I reinvest in my next flip out of what I make in profit?”

The usual answer? “However much it takes!”

Instead, let’s try reframing this question in a different way: “How much should you pay yourself from each flip?” Answering this might be a better way to gauge if you need to take out just enough to cover living expenses, or if you need to be giving yourself some kind of salary.

Here are some things to consider, if your goal is to maximize your profits and flip more houses:

For New Flippers:

Flippers usually aim to make about 20-30% ROI for every house flipped, although this figure is dependent on costs and how long it takes for each sale to go through. But here are some guidelines to follow when deciding how much profit you want to reinvest in your business vs. keep for personal use:

What are Your Revenue Streams?

Do you have a full-time job that can cover your daily living expenses? If so, then consider reinvesting all the profits back into your next flip – this is the way to achieve the fastest growth in your portfolio.

If you’re flipping full-time, you could choose to keep 10-30% of the profits for yourself, which is how some flippers choose to operate. Alternatively, you could work out what your living expenses are, just keep that amount back, and reinvest the rest, but keep in mind that this will slow down your growth rate.Imagine you paid yourself 30% of the $60k in profit from the example above – that would leave you with just $42,000 to reinvest. Is this enough to help you move up the property ladder with your next flip?

Consider a Live-In Flip

Alternatively, you could consider live-in house flips as another way to “pay yourself,” by negating your own housing costs and writing off expenses, such as tax deductions and double  mortgages.

Experienced Flippers:

If you have a partnership structure, there are more complex issues to think about, like how to divide profits and disperse them in a way that makes sense, tax-wise .

Work Out a Profit-Sharing Agreement

Some calculate profit sharing depending on the number of hours they put in, while others go for an even split (like 50-50, for two partners), regardless of the division of labor. There’s no “one size fits all” formula to this, so you should set clear targets ahead of time for  how much you’d be willing to pay someone else for the skills and/or resources they bring to the partnership.

Know the Tax Implications

Find a knowledgeable CPA to work with and discuss your partnership agreement with them, before you decide how to disburse profits. If you pay yourself a salary, any earned income could be subject to self-employment tax at a rate of 15.3%. That being the case, it might make more financial sense if the profits come to you as dividends, instead.

Know Your Value

The terms of your partnership agreement will determine how much you yourself get paid vs. your co-investors or flipping partners. So, when working out this arrangement (whether you go for a limited partnership or an LLC), make sure you’re being valued appropriately, relative to what you bring to the partnership. Again, it’s always best to seek out an attorney and a tax specialist for guidance here.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. But one good model is to flip 4 properties, then keep the 5th as a rental for steady income. This approach lets you diversify between long- and short-term revenue streams, giving you small amounts of income in steady increments (in the form of rents), as well as larger amounts of income in more irregular intervals (from the sale of flipped homes). Having a balance like this can help you to achieve financial stability in the long run – and this is the same way many traditional businesses structure their revenue streams, too.

Image Courtesy of Rodolfo Quiros

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