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 Honestly, if you end up with a seriously out-of-date floorplan, you could be better off completely rebuilding a house from scratch in some cases, so this is a definite sign you should walk away if you’re a new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
Wholesaling

The Down ‘n Dirty Of a Wholesaling via the Double-Close

To be a successful property wholesaler, you need to find a property, get control of it, and move it as quickly as possible. One of the biggest challenges a wholesaler faces is handling a buyer or seller that wants to cancel a deal when they find out what the wholesaler is making. That’s why it’s wise to be familiar with the double-close, where the seller and buyer close separate transactions and never meet.

What is a Double-Close?

Often a wholesaler puts a property under contract, as a buyer, but then assigns the contract to another buyer at a higher price. With a double close, the wholesaler actually purchases and takes legal possession of the property, then has a separate closing to sell the property to their buyer. Though the double-close does add an extra step and expense, it doesn’t necessarily delay the whole process; many closings are still completed almost simultaneously. Also, if you’re tired answering the question, “Is what you do even legal?” The double close removes any whisper of impropriety or illegality.

Benefits of Doing a Double Close

Financial Confidentiality: When assigning the purchase contract for a deal, your original seller and end buyer will eventually know your contract price, the final contract price, and can do the math to figure out what you’re making on the deal. Either one of them can feel jilted and try to force you to renegotiate, taking money out of your pocket. Theoretically, you could sue either or both for nonperformance of their contract, but that may take a while, and a judge may not look favorably on the transaction.

Using a double-close avoids all this. 

How To Perform a Double-Close

Since you, as the wholesaler, legally take ownership of the property, there are two closings, hence the name, to complete the deal. The first transaction is between you and the seller, where you are buying the property. In the second closing, you are the seller, so your buyer is purchasing the property from you. The two transactions can even occur in the same office on the same day.

Double-Close Challenges

Let’s be realistic, if it was easy, most wholesale transactions would use a double-close over a contract assignment. So, let’s look at why many wholesalers avoid using a double-close.

Purchase Funds: It’s much easier to get a property under a wholesale contract you plan to assign, then coming up with the funds to actually buy the property yourself. Lack of funds is why many investors are initially attracted to wholesaling to begin with. 

Solution: Use your network to look for sources willing to do Transaction Funding. Transaction Funding is what it says – it’s a very short-term loan to facilitate a transaction. Most of these types of loans are for less than a week. Because the lender can’t make much profit on interest for only a week, expect fees and high-interest rates. If you do the math though, you’ll find the actual cost is reasonable. 

Costs: Two closings result in two sets of closing costs – even if you’re closing on the same day. One for the transaction where you buy the property and one for when you sell it. 

Solution: There’s no way to get rid of costs like title insurance and recording fees, but if you establish a relationship with a closing company/agent, they may be willing to waive or reduce some of their specific fees.

Finding Closing Company: Years ago, the double-close got a bad reputation because wholesalers were doing closings where they used the end-buyer’s money, to fund their purchase from the seller. This is pretty much no longer allowed, hence the need for Transaction Funding. Still, many closing companies/agents won’t do a double-close (with Transaction Funding) or require a minimum amount of days between the two closings. 

Solution: Use your network to find a closing company/agent that understands the double-close and will work with you. 

Many wholesalers were trained to simply assign contracts and view the double-close as illegal, and too complicated, and so not worth the hassle. As we’ve outline though, the double-close may be something to consider. The extra steps and costs may help you close more deals, while also protecting the spread in those deals. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Categories
Wholesaling

How To Find Cash For Your Flipping Deals.

You have a found a great property for a fix-n-flip, but you don’t have the money, or it’s tied up elsewhere, perhaps another flipping project. Though those gurus on late-nite TV will rant about how you can buy a home with no money down, it’s tricky and much more complicated than they make it seem. In a more realistic scenario, you will need to come up some cash or collateral to fund your next project.  

Here are the most common ways to raise cash for your next house flipping deal:

Private Investors or Partners

Look to friends and family when preparing for your initial funding

If you have close friends, family members, or business associates, who either have the money or have the ability to access a loan, they can be a good place to start. Don’t expect them to do it for free. If you have a bit of cash, you can pay them interest on the loan and pay it back in full after the sale.

If you’re confident that you can make it work, prepare a business plan and a contract that outlines the details including purchase price, rehab costs, ARV, and how the proceeds are going to be divided in the end. Both of you need to have realistic expectations of what kind of profit is available to each of you.

Full disclosure: if you haven’t done so before, know that doing business with family and friends can be a delicate situation and put pressure on your existing relationship. If the investments run into problems or fails, it can cause a rift or worse yet, you’ll fall entirely out of contact.

Another option is to find an investor that will allow you to work off your end with sweat equity. If you have the knowledge and skills to do some or all of the work on a property flip, you may find an investor willing to trade you for your portion of the labor. After the sale, you’ll split the money according to your agreement. You won’t make as much money as doing it all yourself, but it’s a good place to start. This strategy will provide you with the means to save up some cash to eventually, fund your own deals.

Hard Money Lenders

If you feel more comfortable keeping it impersonal, you can contact a hard money lender. They are real estate investors willing to provide you with a short-term loan. Because these lenders are familiar with the industry, there are some advantages:

  • Will provide approval for distressed, investment-grade properties that require work
  • Credit rating and other loan requirements are more lenient than a bank
  • Loan approval is quicker, allowing you to bid on deals and compete with other buyers
  • National companies make loans all over the country

Real Estate Investment Associations & Groups (REIA)

Most cities have real estate investment associations or groups, so join several in your area and start regularly attending meetings. REIAs bring together people with expertise that you can benefit from, including not only investors but lawyers, accountants, and contractors. Free advice is worth its weight in gold. These like-minded folks may be willing to fund your rehab, or at least be able to recommend someone.  

Raising money and structuring your next rehab isn’t horribly difficult, but it may take some creativity. It may mean combining strategies to get the deal done. After flipping your first property, you’ll be able to roll-over any profits to fund your next deal. In time, you’ll be able to finance your own deals, and perhaps, greenhorn investors will start coming to you when raising cash for the next flip.

Categories
Wholesaling

5 Reasons To Start Wholesaling

Get your feet wet as a real estate investor by wholesaling houses

You want to get into real estate investing, but you don’t know how to start because you’re short on cash, nor do you have access to borrow funds.

If real estate is really what you want to do, then you have to find a way to do your first deal. One way is to start packing away money for a down payment – but, who knows how long that’ll take. Another option is to get started wholesaling properties. 

We’re not going to get into explaining what wholesaling is here, you can Google that or read our previous posts. So, let’s cover why you should consider Wholesaling.

There’s no reason why you can’t start wholesaling right away, but there is a lot that goes into it. Before you start searching for a house to put under contract, you’ll want to study up or find yourself a mentor, as there is a bit of a learning curve. By the way, the best place to find a local mentor that knows the market you’ll be working in is by attending REIA meetings!

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of starting your real estate career in wholesaling.

1) It doesn’t take a lot of money. There aren’t many businesses that can offer you a low-cost barrier to entry accompanied by low overhead. Since that was keeping you from buying your first property, wholesaling allows you to kick-off a new business venture with very little of your own cash. You’re not purchasing the property, only getting it under contract, so you don’t need a large lump of cash to put down.

2) A low credit rating won’t hold you back. Since you’re not actually taking possession of the property, you need very little cash on hand. Your buyer is the one who would need to apply for a loan or pay cash for the property. 

3) There are always distressed sellers to target. No matter the area or economy, people are always looking to get rid of properties. You aren’t concerned with the condition of the property because you’re not paying to fix it up. Eager sellers provide the leverage you need to find money-making opportunities.

4) The potential for quick profits is high. Since you’re not waiting to find tenants nor for renovations to be completed, the faster you find a buyer, the sooner you cash your check. This is where having the proper contacts and a reliable buyer’s list comes in. 

5) It’s a free real estate education. Wholesaling allows you to learn the real estate business from the ground up. By not being “cursed” with having a lot of money, you’re forced to learn the complex aspects of real estate investing using other people’s money. You’ll learn to vet properties, instead of buying them blindly hoping to turn a profit until your bank account runs dry. By starting at the bottom, you’ll also acquire a gift for spotting new opportunities.

Wholesaling requires motivation and an ability to network with people. Many wholesalers use it as a stepping stone to flipping or landlording, but many successful wholesalers choose to just stick to wholesaling.