Thinking of "Flipping" Your House

Flipping is a pretty exciting process, but there are serious (and really expensive) pitfalls.

You can’t watch cable TV these days without noticing the popularity of shows like HGTV’s Flip or Flop, which chronicles the adventures of a husband and wife couple as they buy distressed properties, fix them up, and sell them for a profit. This trend hit a high in the late 2000s, declined slightly, but now appears to be on the upswing again. In the third quarter of 2015, more than 43,000 single-family homes were flipped, representing five percent of total single-family sales.

The magic of television makes this activity seem like a great way to make loads of cash fast. The truth is that when it comes to whether a property will be “flip or flop” for you, in the real world, a lot depends on your level of experience in the real estate industry, how much of the work you can do yourself, and what your local market conditions are like. It can be done, it’s just not as simple as it appears on TV.

Flipping is generally not recommended for beginners, or for the average homeowner. It’s an involved, time-consuming process that requires a high level of knowledge in a wide variety of areas, as well as connections with reliable, efficient, and fast contractors. It’s not a business for the faint of heart, but for the right people it can be a lucrative and viable way to make some extra money. On the flip side (pun intended!), for those who need to sell their home quickly, selling to a flipper can be a great solution.

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