I’ve been flipping houses for almost a decade. I’m an accidental house flipper that fell in love with the lifestyle! Even though I needed a flipping sabbatical to avoid burn out, I still love the house flipping life. The financial possibilities. The process of turning trash into treasure. Even tackling the hurdles and challenges can be fun. And after almost ten years of house flipping, I’ve heard so many misconceptions and myths about house flipping. The myths usually follow “I’d love to flip houses but…” And I have a pretty adamant answer: there is no but. Anybody can flip houses and getting started doesn’t have to be difficult! If a very broke single girl can flip houses to pay off $70,000 in student loan debt, you can flip houses too. However, there are four myths about house flipping that you need to know aren’t true.
Four Myths About House Flipping
Myth #1: You have to be rich
As a reminder, I started house flipping heavily in debt and grossing (not net!) $24,000/year. I was as far from rich as one could probably get. Through creative lending, side jobs, and even partnerships, funding a flip doesn’t have to require cash in hand. Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, the best way to get started flipping is through live-in flips. There are so many more opportunities available to owner-occupants, and it’s one of the easiest ways to affordably get your foot in the door of real estate investing.
Other financing options:
- Partnerships with other investors
- In-house bank loans
- Equity line of credit
- BRRRR method of refinancing
Myth #2: You have to like the design
House flipping and renovating is not about you or your style. Many of the flips I’ve done aren’t my style. Instead, it’s important to consider what the mass public likes. Shiplap? Nope, I don’t want it in my home. In a flip? Absolutely! People just eat up shiplap in a home, and since it’s so budget friendly, I try to always give them shiplap! More than anything else, budget should dictate your design- not your own taste. The more you put yourself in a flip, the more you are limiting your audience. There is a reason flippers like me tend to do gray paint, neutral floors, and builder-grade finishes. It is because it’s easy on the budget, appeals to the masses, but still improves the space.
Tips for keeping the design neutral:
- Ask your paint/big box/tool/contractor store for their “builder-grade” finishes. Often these are at a cheaper price point.
- Buy the same neutral paint in bulk- saves money and creates consistency throughout the home (PS- this is my pick)
- Tour remodeled comps in your area (or at least scout online). Try to stay similar in upgrades & style
Myth #3: You have to demo everything
Here’s a secret: I don’t like watching house flipping shows like Fixer Upper that love the big “demo day” of busting out cabinets and walls. It literally hurts my heart- and not just because I love preserving, but because that is just not the best model to follow. Yes, sometimes a house has to be gutted, but nine times out of ten, I’m able to salvage and restore cabinets or floors. The more you demo, the more you have to replace. For me (and my budget!), I try to work the design around what I can salvage & restore. And for the items, like cabinets, that can’t be used in the design, don’t take a sledgehammer to them! Non-profits like Habitat Restore can use them, so please consider donating them!
Tips for salvaging items:
- Always paint! Paint is the easiest way to restore even the roughest, beat-up cabinets!
- By keeping the original cabinets and refacing them, you can dramatically change the look of a kitchen without dramatically hurting your bank account
- Rather than gut the entire kitchen, detach upper cabinets and opt for open-shelving or reconfigure the existing cabinets to create a different layout (like I did here!)
Myth #4: You have to know how to be a contractor
When I purchased Flip 1, I did not own a saw, a hammer, or even a screwdriver. I certainly didn’t know the difference between LVP and laminate floors, and I had never heard the initials GFCI. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And while what you don’t know can screw you over, it’s important to learn as you go and surround yourself with those that do know. During my initial flips, I would watch everything my contractors or Dad did, and then I’d try it myself. Sometimes I failed. Sometimes I succeeded. I always learned. And the more I learned, the more I could do myself & reduce my overall costs! Now I do know the difference between LVP and laminate (always pick LVP!), I understand what GFCI stands for and understand now why code requires it, and I own more tools than the average man. I’m still not a contractor, but I have grown my skills & knowledge over the years!
Tips for gaining knowledge as you go:
- Ask your contractor to teach you! I did that when I started (and still do!). I ask them why they are doing it that way, can they show me how that method works, or how to use the tool they’re working with. For the most part, most are pretty open to sharing their knowledge and skills.
- Youtube! Seriously- what did we do before Youtube? Need to replace a toilet? There’s a video for that. Need to hang a ceiling fan? There’s a video for that. Just about any task you will need to tackle has a tutorial video floating around on Youtube.
House flipping can be a monumental life changer- it was for me! And while there is quite the learning curve and mistakes to make, don’t fall for the myths about house flipping. Instead, educate yourself, surround yourself with those that make you a better house flipper! Best of luck in your house flipping journeys friends!