Saturday, March 31, 2012

What To Know About Flipping Houses

For many investors there has never been a better time to acquire new properties. Interest rates are at an all-time low and many houses are coming on the market well below market value. Although there are also risks involved in flipping houses, with the right strategy money can be made.

Setting a budget and timeline is an essential first step. The budget should include the cost of repairs, updates, carrying costs, and other essentials. The timeline will also impact the budget as there are generally unexpected costs and delays in any renovation project and for each extra day the cost increases.

There are a couple of ways to find the right property. Foreclosed homes and short sales are currently abundant in this unstable market. Gaining in popularity, however, are local auctions. The one disadvantage of the latter choice is that rarely are buyers allowed to view the property in advance and there is no inspection conducted prior to purchase. Since many frailties in buildings are hidden within walls, the attic and basement, and floor spaces, a buyer rarely knows what they will encounter until they actually enter the building.

The best options have structurally sound foundations and frames as well as steadfast roofs, plumbing, and electric. These are the most costly repairs and can quickly eat away a budget. Some investors have expertise in one or more of these fields. Unlike most investors, they can pick up properties that are less expensive, but require more work. The majority of people pursuing this type of investment, however, must utilize sub-contractors.

The use of sub-contractors can be tricky. They need to be honest, reliable, and provide a bid that fits within the budget. Many times they will write open-ended contracts that allow what are called "add-ons." Although workers need flexibility should hidden problems be found, investors also need control of expenditures so they may complete projects within the proposed timeline and budget. This can be controlled by requesting that any additional charges be preapproved.

Real estate agents will attest to the fact that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes better than any other rooms in a home. Today's buyers expect plenty of storage, space, and updated features in these rooms. However, this is not to say that other spaces should be ignored. In fact, for many buyers powerful selling points include neutral colors, a pristine appearance, and an eye for detail.

Flipping houses can be personally and financially rewarding. There are no restrictions as to individuals that can participate in this potentially lucrative venture and, for many investors today, it has become a way-of-life. For those interested in entering this field, thorough research should be conducted prior to making a commitment.

MB McLane has been flipping houses for more than 5 years. She also dares to enter the lion's (writer's) den every now and then at

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