When choosing to invest in a flip, there are several layers of investigation involved in every purchase. Flipping is a delicate process because on one hand, you are looking for crummy houses that no one else finds to be of significant value. On the other hand, you don't want to get stuck with a bigger renovation project then you're prepared to handle. Every flipper has their depth ranging from a coat of and new appliances to full interior redesign, sometimes of buildings that weren't even homes to start with. When looking into a new property and wondering if you should invest, make the most of your tour through the home and run down a checklist of performance and structural things to look out for. If the home fails at this stage, then there's no purpose in paying for a professional inspector. If it passes, then the inspection is worth the extra investment to get a full picture of the project ahead of you.
1) Try the Doors and Windows
The state of the doors and windows in a home often can't be assessed simply by looking at them. Even if the frames look to be in good shape and fit snugly, we advise opening and closing every door and window you can find. This will tell you if there are windows that stick and can reveal dangerously hidden disrepair in terms of doors that won't open easily or windows that have been jammed shut.
2) Light in the Attic
Take a moment to climb into the attic. You don't have to go far, just enough to see how it looks during a sunny part of the day. If light is coming in through the roof, you may have to deal with some serious roof repair expenses as part of any renovation plan. If not, check for signs of dampness or soft boards which could indicate a roof leak.
3) Run the Taps
The quality of the water in a home matters a great deal to both your experience flipping it and your ability to resell. Make sure to run several of the taps. Check the color, taste, and how long it takes for the water to heat up.
4) Look Under the Sinks
Under each sink is a collection of plumbing which can reveal the actual state of repairs in a home. New mis-matched pieces shows an active if DIY handyman while old rusty parts that shake when tapped show dangerous signs of age and disrepair. Dampness may also reveal a leaking problem.
5) Check for Mold
Mold in a home can be anywhere but the walls and floors are always the most suspect. Keep an eye out for wallpaper and, in general, plan to remove any wallpaper you find. When looking for mold, trust your nose and instincts. Look for places water could pool or gather and check under carpets wherever possible.
6) Sagging Roof
A sagging roof can be seen from the outside of the house as ridges that fall lower in the middle than at the corners. This sag is a clear indication of structural decay and you may be looking at massive roof repairs or even an entirely new roof installation. However, sagging doesn't necessarily mean a leak so it may be a longer term problem and worth considering.
7) Read the Water Heater
Don't just take a look at the water heater and judge it by the grime, actually read what's written on the labels and repair notes. This will tell you the age, make, and model of the unit and depending on the practices of the last handyman, it might even print the date of the most recent repair.
8) Try the Lights and Fuse Box
Flip every lightswitch and dimmer knob you can find in the house to see what it does and if it works. While not every home will have all the light bulbs in place, this can give you an idea of the state of the wiring. Take a look at the fuse box as well to ensure it's not a dangerous mess.
9) Test the Outlets
One of the most useful if somewhat silly-looking tests you can do in a potential flip is to carry around a small lamp or device to plug into each outlet. If the lamp lights up, the outlet is good. If it doesn't, you're looking at an incomplete wiring job or something wrong behind the walls.
This is only the first half of the checklist. Stay tuned and contact us for more detailed information on how to find a great flip!
The housing market has always flowed with the whims of the current buyers and the most market-savvy flippers know which features will sell a house faster this year as opposed to last year and which features seem to be timelessly appealing to any family looking for a new home. Lately, one particular trend has caught the public's fancy. Energy efficiency. From energy star rated insulation and weatherproofing to solar panels on the roof, the more energy efficient (and obviously so), the more appealing a home becomes to the modern buyer. If you want to not only flip a home fast but for a much higher value than the structure itself might warrant, all you have to do is appealingly lower the power bill by incorporating energy efficient features into your flip design plan. Not sure where to start? Here are four desirable energy efficient additions that will work for almost any flip.
1) New Windows and Weather Stripping
The quality of windows is one of the most important factors to the energy efficiency of a home, and they're often overlooked as long as they keep the rain out. However, the window's actual capability of keeping AC or heat inside the home rather than leaking into the neighborhood can be invisibly compromised. Check the seal on the windows and if they're double-paned, look for signs that the insulating gas-seal has been broken. If the windows aren't perfectly sealed, replace them with upgraded, energy-star approved windows. New windows or not, make sure to install new weather stripping to ensure the windows seal completely when closed.
2) Install Solar Panels - Credit or Net-Zero
Everyone is going crazy for solar panels for a variety of reasons. Whether they're prepper-inclined or just want to save money on the power bill. Solar panels are a lot easier and less expensive to install than the big home installation companies want you to think they are. All you need to budget for are a few solar panels, an inverter, charge controller, and a grid-tie or battery bank. Most states offer a solar credit system that gives power bill discounts for grid-tied solar generation.
If, on the other hand, you're renovating a small home (or have a big solar budget and a lot of roof space) you can also use batteries and a little creative electrician work to make the home self-supporting, able to generate as much power as it needs with enough batteries to last overnight and through rainy days.
3) Energy Efficient Appliances
If the appliances that came with the house are old, they're probably also inefficient. For only a few thousand of your renovation budget, you can significantly upgrade the quality of life in the home, as well as the look and feel of the kitchen and utility areas, simply by purchasing new energy-efficient appliances. These will not only spruce up the place and de-emphasize the age of the building, it will also lower every single future power bill, including your own while you renovate.
4) Extra Insulation
Never assume the quality of a home's insulation until you've inspected it. In some cases, there might be room for insulation but the builders never put it in, or some previous tenant removed it, or there is insulation but it's decayed badly since the home was built. However, the quality and quantity of insulation between the walls and in the attic significantly determine the quality of life in a home, preventing the unwanted transferrence of both heat and sound through the walls. Be prepared to completely replace or simply bolster the insulation with modern, efficient, and remarkably inexpensive materials.
Energy efficiency is the new hot trend that most home buyers are looking for and everyone will be happy to have. Tackle a new flipping project with insulation, weather stripping, and efficient appliances in mind. But most of all, consider solar panels. Not only are they an attractive addition to any roof and highly popular, they are also a permanent increase to the value of the home and can reduce or eliminate power bills for decades. For more helpful flipping tips, contact us today!
Foundational issues are either a good sign or a bad sign, depending on what you're interested in as a property investment. If you know how to fix foundational damage on a budget, then getting a private loan for a home most major lenders wouldn't trust can be a gold mine. If you prefer a solid foundation for your investment properties, knowing the signs can help you walk away from a bad deal. Either way, it's better to know the signs before you sign.
Signs of a Shifting Foundation
Knowing exactly what you're buying is important in real estate investing, and not noticing a foundation problem can be a costly mistake. But if you're in the business of finding homes with foundation problems you can solve but other investors and banks won't touch, private lending is the perfect solution. Go to Center Street Lending here to get started.
The vast majority of flipping projects focus on the single-family home. Whether you're starting with a cute little ranch house, an abandoned gem in the suburbs or an old barn you're renovating into a spacious home, these are all stand-alone buildings meant to house one family or group of people living together. However, with the housing market this tight, finding a good single family home to flip may be more trouble than it's worth, especially if you've already looked at or flipped most of the prospects in your region. But what about condos and apartments?
Single-family flats that exist in larger multi-unit buildings may be predominantly rented, but they are also bought and sold individually on the housing market all the time, especially in high-demand areas like downtown anywhere. Renovating these often aging units can be an incredibly rewarding venture, but like any new type of project, flipping a flat requires a few special considerations to remember.
1) How Deep is the Deed?
This is the first and most important thing to find out about any apartment or condo that you're considering buying to flip. Because owning a flat only directly relates to the interior of the unit and possibly the patio/balcony, there are varying 'depths' at which you're able to make changes, and you'll want a property that can accommodate your renovation plans. The most restrictive deeds allow you to make no structural changes, even to emplacements like the kitchen island or interior walls. The least restrictive deeds let you do whatever you want as long as you don't punch through into another property. Just make sure you know what the rules are before you start.
2) Age and Health of the Property
When it comes to flats, the most tempting flips may also be too risky. If the building is ancient and crumbling, if the pipes are weak, or the deed too restrictive to safely replace decaying materials, the location may not be worth your trouble. There's also the risk in delicate properties that your work will damage someone else's flat, massively increasing the costs of your project. Just as you would for a single-family home, make sure to get a full inspection of the health of the building as well as the unit you're looking into and determine if it's safe to do your thing.
3) Temporarily Joining the Owner's Association
Condo owner's associations are a lot like the HOA's you're familiar with, except that rather than simply having to be aware of redecoration rules, you're now (at least temporarily) a part-owner of the entire building. Be very careful. There are often dues and if the owner's association happens to levy money to pay for shared area (spa, gym, grounds, building exterior) maintenance and improvements, you'll be on the hook just like all the other owners. You may also be called on to vote on issues you know and care nothing about. It may be in your best interest to get on their good side during the buying process and stay aware of current goings-on rather than just minding your own business as usual.
4) Keeping the Noise Down
In a normal home, you usually have at least a little bit of buffer space between your renovation efforts and the neighbors trying to handle a normal school and job lifestyle. Throughout the project, you'll be subject to apartment courtesy rules because the walls, floors, and ceiling may or may not be shared with other tenants and even non-thumping sounds carry better through shared surfaces. Keep your loud activities to acceptable daylight hours and, if you like working at night, find quieter things to do like repainting, organizing, or laying things out for the morning when everyone else goes to work.
5) Parking and Material Delivery
Finally, not all flats have convenient parking and delivery options. In fact, many are notorious for limited parking, narrow staircases, and other limitations to getting your renovation materials into the unit in the first place, much less clearing out when you're done. While most flippers live by the code of 'Where there's a Will, there's a Way", it's worth considering exactly how much will it'll take to get your materials into and out of the flat.
There are a lot of aging condo and apartment buildings out there with individual units for sale that could use a little professional TLC. If you're looking for a new profitable flipping opportunity, don't forget to check out the flats for sale in your region. For more helpful flip tips, contact us today!
Flipping a house is a game of budgeting, relatability, and intuition. To know if a property is worth flipping, you have to be able to see its potential, but structurally and domestically. One of those elusive qualifiers sour out by home buyers is 'charm'. What makes a building charming and whether or not charm can be added during renovations is up to you to determine. If you have successfully tried your hand at flipping older homes and enjoyed the challenge of updating the utilities while maintaining that delightful ambiance of the past, you may find even better luck renovating unique old buildings that were not originally homes. People love to live somewhere that has a history, and unique spaces are incredibly appealing to younger, trendy new home buyers.
Majestic Old Barns
While the primary housing trend is leading people toward the major city centers, many people are feeling overcrowded and are seeking more remote abodes. Old barns are an incredibly popular target for residential renovations and provide a massive amount of space to work with. Decide when you check out the property whether or not you want to separate the floors or create open, dynamic loft space instead. Barns have been transformed into everything from glass and steel retreats to cozy country estates and your imagination is the only limitation. With a beautiful renovation, a historic barn might be the perfect flipping project for the upper price range.
Red Brick Fire Stations
There are hundreds of sturdy old municipal buildings that provide unique curbside appeal. When you choose to renovate an old fire station, post office, or police station, your buyers will never have to wonder which house is theirs. These charming brick buildings are often already fairly well insulated, indestructible, and already hooked up with power and water. All you need to do is partition the inside into appealing living spaces and update the fixtures. With your flare for interior design, buyers looking for something special will flock to the undeniably unusual listing.
Cozy Historic Chapels
One of the primary benefits of renovating an old church is that most chapels were already built to be beautiful. The familiar lofted ceilings and decorative windows will create an enchanting backdrop to your final decor. Like the fire stations, churches are already built with habitation in mind, and some will have kitchens, living quarters and even showers integrated into their design. There have been many successful and incredibly attractive examples in the past that can serve as inspiration. If you have a flare for either the cozy or dramatic, flipping an old church could be a fantastic project.
The possibilities for creative flipping are nearly limitless. All you need are properties already reasonably insulated and hooked up with water and power to get started. There have been all sorts of neat examples of flipped structures that were definitely not initially intended as residences including missile silos, water towers, and old factories. Each has been intuitively re-purposed into unforgettable addresses. When choosing an unusual structure, your best prospects will be those with sturdy bones, dynamic architecture, and accessible fixtures. The less you need to replace the more of profit you can make on these distinct properties.
Home buyers are constantly looking for a change from the cookie-cutter housing developments. Flipping any property involves enhancing what is special about it to enchant potential new owners. When you start with a unique property, its special nature is inherent and your biggest challenge is preserving the original charm while updating the structure to modern residential standards. There's no need to limit your property search to already residential structures. For more information and news on flipping properties, contact us today!