Have you ever thought it might be fun AND PROFITABLE to buy a fixer-upper and then flip it?

TV Shows like “Flip This House” make it look easy and exciting for people to buy fixer-upper properties to make money.

Of course you know that TV shows often make it look easy and often leave out A LOT of the behind-the-scenes realities.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve fixed and flipped properties and I have some friends who make a lot of money continually flipping properties.

But inexperienced “fixer-upper” Buyers need to know a lot more about the process.

Not just the excitement and potential profits, but also the unknowns  that they may not fully understand or be aware of, not to mention the potential problems you must ready to deal with.

Many years I ago I got into real estate investing myself.

I knew I had a lot to learn. So I hired mentors who were super-successful in their own right to teach me.

One of my favourite mentors was Robert Shemin. He lived in Miami and was an extremely successful real estate investor & mentor all across North America.

I remember going to Florida one year with my family for vacation.

I called Robert to say that I was in town and asked him to meet for lunch.

We chatted about my hesitation as a Canadian buying a flip or fixer-upper in the U.S.

I still remember what Robert said to me.

He said, “Michael it’s really very simple. There are only 3 things that matter in the beginning:

First, how much will it cost me to buy the property?

Second, how much will it cost me to carry the property and/or fix the property?

Third & finally, how much can I get for the property when I rent it out or sell it?”

Now, there is more to it in order to answer each of those questions, but he is absolutely 100% correct.

For the first and third questions, having a knowledgeable, experienced, and honest Realtor will help you fill in those blanks.

For the second question you need your “power-team” or list of contacts who you’d call to fill in your cost breakdown.

This  also happens to be where the TV shows tend to skim over some important details.

So let’s take a closer look at some of these variables.

First you have to consider how hands-on or how much fixing up you actually want to do yourself.

Fixer-uppers fall into three categories:

1. Cosmetic: Properties that require what we refer to as lipstick and mascara.

They are in good solid condition but just need some cosmetic updates.

And most of those cosmetic updates you can do yourself or hire someone for relatively low costs.

2. Major Repair: Properties & fixer-uppers needing major renovations, major cosmetic updates and/or major repair.

3. Tear Downs & Rebuilds:
These are the ones you either have to gut right down to the studs and start with new drywall, plumbing, and electrical or even tear down & rebuild from the ground up.

One of the people who is very important for you to rely on for advising you whether a property falls under category 1, 2, or 3, is a high-skilled home inspector.

By the way, be sure to check out my blog post called “THE REAL PURPOSE OF A HOME INSPECTION”!

Once you know if a property falls under category 1, 2, or 3, you call on your designer or Contractor to fill in the individual costs of each and every repair, replacement, or upgrade you will need.

What I like to do for each property I consider buying as a fixer-upper is create a spreadsheet.

If you want a copy of my spreadsheet for free just send me an email and I’d be happy to share it.

And here’s a good tip for you. Always overestimate whatever costs you think something will cost.

And/or if you get quotes add a buffer just to be safe and also practical.

One of the biggest mistakes novices make is taking on too many renovations.

They want to turn something that looks terrible into a masterpiece. And do it with pride.

And be proud of the end result. Sometimes they do it, not just for the profit, but also for the self-fulfillment of seeing what they can accomplish and what they did.

Another tip I’ll share with you is that you should never aim to raise the value of the property to more than 10% to 15%  of the comparable properties in the neighbourhood (or building).

For Example:

  • If you the average comparable price for the same size property is $1,000,000.00.
  • And you pick up the property for $850K and put $350k into fixing it up (so cost is now $1,200,000.00.
  • And you want to make a profit so you hope to sell it for $1,350,000.00.
  • If the comparable are $1,000,000.00 people might go to $1,100,000.00 or $1,150,000.00 if the property attracts the right buyer.
  • But buyers who search for homes might not be able to afford $1,350,000.00.
  • And for experienced buyers the don’t want the most expensive house in the neighbourhood if it exceeds the next closes price by a huge margin because it will be harder for them to sell in the future.

Taking on a fixer-upper can be exciting and profitable.

But it’s not quite the same as some of the TV shows make it seem.

If you would like to have a chat and fill in a lot of the unknowns, possible hurdles, things you need to consider, and related costs, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I have vast experience with these types of flips, and even have my own power-team of people you might need during the process I’m willing to share with you.

I’m always happy to chat.  Just get in touch with me by email or phone.