We get it. It’s scary to get into real estate investing, especially if it’s to flip a home.
Countless shows have “proved” flipping to be easy, but the reality is much more challenging. As a house flipper, how much money should you spend on the renovation? How fast do you have to complete it?
And, most importantly, how can you flip a house legally?
Well, you must know eight legal risks when doing house flips. You may be in trouble if these aren’t handled properly, so we’ve outlined the most crucial house-flipping legal risks below.
Risk #1: FHA Re-Selling Restrictions
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is the largest mortgage insurer worldwide and gives mortgage insurance for loans made by approved lenders. Unfortunately, the FHA also places several restrictions on its mortgages, which limit how often a home can be bought or resold.
For example, known as the “anti-flipping rule,” you must wait at least 90 days before selling or flipping an FHA-financed home. Moreover, any resale between 91 and 180 days where the new property price exceeds its previous price by more than 100% will need more documentation for the FHA.
Risk #2: Building Codes and Zoning Regulations
Ensure that the property you buy complies with all local building codes and zoning regulations. Failure to do so can result in costly fines for both the buyer and the seller. So, take your time researching local laws to stay updated with any changes in any area before flipping a house.
Risk #3: Right of Rescission Rules
Be aware of any “right of rescission” rules that may apply in your jurisdiction when transferring property from one party to another. These legalities can vary by state, but they provide rights and protections if a homeowner wishes to back out of an agreement within three days of signing the contract.
Risk #4: Real Estate Contracts and Disclosure Statements
It goes without saying (rather, we wish it could) that you should understand the contract that you’re signing when purchasing a property. Read through the entire thing carefully and ask questions if there are any items that aren’t clear.
What novice flippers might miss, however, are the disclosure statements that must be included in real estate transactions, like lead-based paint disclosures or radon gas disclosures. Not complying with these regulations can result in fines and lawsuits against your flipping business, so always double-check.
Risk #5: Financing Fraud
Document everything thoroughly when financing a flip project. You’ll want to do this because lenders are tightening up, most notably regarding mortgage fraud and loan misrepresentation.
Refrain from misleading them about your financial situation to secure financing for a property, as failure to disclose all necessary information can lead to serious legal repercussions. And once again, fully understand the terms and conditions of any loan you take out.
Risk #6: Fair Housing Laws
Fair housing laws protect buyers from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or nationality. As a flipper, you must abide by these laws and never discriminate against potential buyers when marketing your flipped home. If found in violation of this law, you risk heavy fines and even jail time.
Violations include, for example, sending out a direct mail advertisement for a home featuring only families with young children and not mentioning any other age groups or demographics—it’s considered discrimination.
Risk #7: Mortgage Loan Fraud
Chances are, you don’t have enough cash on hand to purchase your property. So, you’ll likely involve banks and lenders to finance your project.
Lending can become a cycle: you take out a mortgage to purchase the home, the next buyer acquires their own mortgage to buy the home from you, and so on. That cycle becomes ripe for mortgage loan fraud, where the buyer misrepresents their financial situation to get a larger loan.
To avoid fraud, request proof of income and other documents when dealing with buyers. You can also use third-party services that review potential buyers’ credit scores and verify their employment history before they purchase the home from you. These practices will help protect you from any fraudulent activities.
Risk #8: Issues With the Property Title
You may notice a lot of affordable properties in the market to flip for a significant profit. But between lenders, borrowers, real estate agents, and more, it can be challenging to know who owns the property you’re looking to flip—who can legally sell it to you.
So, before you acquire any property, ensure that you have title insurance to verify the title’s status on your behalf, and do your due diligence before making any major decisions. As much as possible, you should avoid dealing with fraudulent titles or legal disputes that could arise from a previous owner.
House Flipping With No Legal Repercussions
House flipping can be an incredibly lucrative business venture. By understanding these legal risks upfront, you’ll be in a much better position to have a large profit margin when entering this endeavor.
Just remember: consult with a local attorney if you have questions or concerns prior to doing any real estate transaction. Ensure that everything is done in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations to truly (and surely) build your house-flipping empire .
Do you need more help in house flipping? Join as a member, subscribe to our newsletter, and attend our upcoming meeting to stay updated with the market. You’re only as strong as those around you!
House flipping is a popular real estate investment strategy in which investors purchase properties, usually at a significant discount, fix them up and then resell them for a profit.
While the practice has been around for decades, it only gained popularity recently, particularly in the wake of the housing market crash of 2008, when many homeowners lost their homes to foreclosures—leading lenders to sell for cheap, and investors to buy rundown homes to rehabilitate and sell at profit.
Still, interestingly, house flipping is not just for professional real estate investors. Anyone can be a house flipper with the right knowledge and drive. In fact, many first-time investors have found success in this niche market—we’ve seen it happen.
If you’re thinking about getting into house flipping, there are a few things you need to know about the tax implications of this type of investment. Check them out below.
1. Document Every Expense!
As with any other investment, you must keep good records when flipping houses.
This will help you in two ways:
Doing so will make it easier to calculate your profits (and taxes owed) when you sell a property.
It will give you the documentation you need if the IRS audits you. As you can imagine, flipping houses can generate a lot of documentation, so it’s essential to have a sound system for organizing and storing your records.
2. Expenses to Deduct During Tax Time
If you’re flipping houses, there are a ton of expenses you can deduct when it comes to tax time.
There are two main types:
First, just about everything you spend buying, fixing up and selling the property.
Secondly, your business expenses, like auto payments, gas, for your auto, computer stuff, marketing the property, even snacks you buy for the contractors!
Say you spend $10,000 repairing and renovating a house that you sell for $50,000. In this case, you can deduct the $10,000 in expenses from your profits, leaving you with a taxable gain of $40,000.
3. You’ll need to pay capital gains tax on your profits.
When you sell an investment property, you must pay capital gains tax on any profits you earn. Capital gains tax is simply a tax on the profit you realize from the sale of an asset. In the case of house flipping, your asset is the property itself.
The good news is that there are ways to minimize your capital gains tax liability.
For example, if you hold the property for more than one year before selling it, you will be eligible for the long-term capital gains tax rate which is generally lower than the rate for short-term gains. Additionally, you can take advantage of certain deductions, such as the costs of improvements made to the property.
4. You may be subject to self-employment tax.
Another issue you can face is if you’re flipping houses as a business venture—then you may be required to pay self-employment tax on your profits. Self-employment tax is essentially Social Security and Medicare tax for the self-employed. The current rate is 15.3% which includes the employer and employee portion of the tax.
However, there are circumstances under which you may not be required to pay self-employment tax.
For example, you may not be subject to this tax if you’re flipping houses as an individual investor (rather than through a business entity). And if your total income (including your flipping profits) is below the self-employment tax threshold ($400 for 2019), you will also be exempt from paying this tax.
Of course, nobody is going to flip a home for a mere $400. But you get the point.
5. You can avoid capital gains tax via a 1031 Exchange.
Let’s suppose you’re looking to reinvest your profits from a house flip into another property. In that case, you can do so without paying any capital gains tax by taking advantage of the 1031 exchange provision. This provision allows investors to defer their taxes by rolling their profits into a new investment property.
For example, if you sell a house for a $50,000 profit, then you can use that money to purchase a new investment property without paying any capital gains tax on the sale.
The negative of doing a 1031 Exchange is that you can’t use any of the funds from the sale to live off of.
6. Other taxes depend on your location.
In addition to federal taxes, you may be subject to state and local taxes on your house flipping profits.
These taxes will vary depending on your location, so it’s important to check with your state and local tax authorities to determine what you’ll owe. For example, in some areas, you may be required to pay transfer taxes when you sell a property.
7. You may be required to pay estimated taxes.
Next up, if you’re flipping houses as a business, you may be required to pay estimated taxes on your profits. Estimated taxes are periodic payments made to the IRS throughout the year, based on your expected tax liability for the year. They’re due yearly on April 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and January 15th.
If you fail to make your estimated tax payments, you may be subject to penalties and interest. Therefore, staying on top of your estimated taxes is crucial if you’re flipping houses as a business.
Uncomplicated Tax, Uncomplicated Profits
We hope this quick overview gave you a better understanding of the tax implications of house flipping.
As with any type of investment, it’s important to do your homework and consult with a tax professional before getting started. But if you’re looking for a lucrative investment opportunity, house flipping may be just what you’re looking for.
Maximize your flipping profits today! Join as a REIA member, attend our upcoming meetings, and sign up for our informative newsletter. We can help you take care of all the details, from repairs and renovations to accounting and taxes.
Most house flippers don’t have the cash themselves to purchase a property & renovate it outright, so many have to learn how to acquire loans. But if you’re new to house flipping, securing financing may seem daunting.
So the question is—where do you start?
We’re here to help guide you through the process of financing your first flip. Here are the 4 steps to getting a loan for house flipping, so you know how to get one yourself.
1. Determine How Much to Borrow
The figure differs for every individual and investment. Generally, it’ll depend on your current purchasing power, the property’s purchase price, and estimated repair costs (ERC). If you’re new to house flipping, we recommend you work with a trusted and experienced inspector to have accurate numbers.
Once you know the total amount necessary, decide on what type of loan to get.
2. Decide on the Loan Type
Now, different types of loans are commonly used for financing a flip. However, if you want to play it safe, the most common loans are conventional, hard, and private money loans. Here’s the low down on a few different loan types:
Conventional loans are usually the best option if you have good credit and can qualify for a traditional mortgage. The interest rates on conventional loans also tend to be lower than other types of loans, making them more affordable in the long run. The only negative is that the property must be in livable condition, which doesn’t lead to the best deals.
Hard Money Loans
Hard money loans are typically easier to qualify for than conventional mortgages, but they come with higher interest rates. Hard money lenders will also often require that you have some skin in the game by putting down a higher down payment or using your own personal funds for the renovation.
Private Money Loans
Private money loans are given by private individuals or investors instead of banks or other financial institutions. Because of that, they usually have more flexible lending criteria than traditional lenders, making them a good option for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. However, they take higher interest rates and fees.
3. Shop Around for Lenders
Once you’ve decided which type of loan is best for your financial situation, it’s time to look for lenders. You can find lenders online, through a local chamber of commerce, or by talking to other flippers in your area.
When you’re comparing different lenders, pay attention to the interest rate and fees associated with each loan. You’ll also want to ensure that you’re comfortable with the repayment terms. Some loans may have prepayment penalties which means you’ll owe a fee if you pay off your loan early.
4. Apply for the Loan
Finally, you’ve found a few lenders that you’re interested in working with; it’s time to start the application process. The first step is to fill out a loan application. You’ll need to provide information about your financial history, as well as the details of the property you’re planning to flip.
After you’ve submitted your loan application, the lender will review your information and decide whether to approve your loan. If your loan is approved, you’ll be given a loan estimate that outlines the terms of your loan, including the interest rate, monthly payment, and repayment schedule.
Take your time reviewing all options, sift through the best ones, and accept the one that gives you the best terms. Don’t accept loans haphazardly, or you’ll dig a financial hole before you even start flipping.
Expand Your Purchasing Power with Flipping Loans
You’re now ready to shop around for the best deal on financing your next flip!
As you can see, using a loan is much better than using cash, as it increases your flipping power. Even if you’re a seasoned flipper and have a ton of cash on hand, you still want to increase your deal flow as much as possible to flip more properties. Loans allow you to work on bigger and better projects—even multiple projects at once—without tying your own cash in them.
And if you need more help, don’t hesitate to join as a member of REIA today and attend our upcoming meeting. You can also sign up for our newsletter so you never miss any important tips to become a successful house flipper.
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 as20%.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
On average, Americans start a family in their mid to late 20s.
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.
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.
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.
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?
“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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.