Flipping Houses

9 May

My sister, Rebecca (affectionately known in our family as “Becky”) is celebrating a birthday today! Happy Birthday, Beck!

Rebecca is in a perfect house-flipping position — she used to be a professional organizer so she knows a lot about making a house look good and certainly getting rid of clutter, she’s a real estate agent so she’s got her finger on the pulse, she’s done a lot of DIY on her own house and her husband is one of the handiest people I know — basically he can do anything and fix anything from what I’ve seen.  So, why hasn’t she gotten into flipping houses?  Probably for the same reason a lot of us hasn’t — it’s not the cash cow it was a few years ago and getting seed funding is always a challenge.

I am a big fan of the British property development shows hosted by Sarah Beeny.  She’s had a ton of different shows but they all essentially center around her sage advice having developed property since she was in her early 20s.  If you’re into property development, I’d recommend checking out her shows online and also potentially buying her book.  But here are a few guidelines:

First, before you start, make sure you know the market and look for a structurally sound property at minimum 25-30% below its potential value. (And I’m sure this is where my sister would want me to say that if you don’t know the market, then hire a good real estate agent — hint, hint — who does!) The five main things that will add value to that home:
1. Replace or renew kitchen
2. Replace or renew bathrooms
3. Replace or renew electric system
4. Replace or renew heating system
5. Repair and repaint everything else including exterior to give it curb appeal.

Sarah is constantly telling newbie property developers to beware getting emotionally invested in the house — that they are NOT developing the property to their taste to live in, but instead, to a broad taste for quick sale at a profit.  It’s shocking the number of newbie developers who go over-the-top in what they put into a house because it’s what they’d want for their home versus putting in just what they would need to make it look good for sale.  I’ve had luck in the past with simply painting kitchen cabinets and adding new hardware — it doesn’t have to be a brand new kitchen to make it work.

At any rate, if you are in the market for a home to buy or rent in the Boston area, do please consider my sister:  http://tinyurl.com/5v2kqux


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