As it becomes more and more difficult (due to a dearth of both available and low-priced and/or distressed properties) to make a profit flipping houses, Barb Nefer with msn.com asked many professional flippers for their wisdom and advice to help other less experienced and wanna-be home flippers make money.
Successful home flippers agree that investors ought to do their very best to…
- Pick areas with rising home values rather than areas that have already reached their price potential.
- Buy at a steep discount…if at all possible.
- Renovate to today’s tastes rather than your own tastes.
Specifically, pay attention to these Flipping Rules
- Spend no more that 70% of the home’s value when repairing/renovating. Matt Woodley, founder of Mover Focus, said, “The 70% rule states that after all the costs of purchasing and fixing the home are calculated-including closing costs, replacing items with the house, the cost of the house itself and the labor needed for any repair – you should not spend more than 70% of the anticipated value of the house.”
- Get a professional inspection on the house BEFORE buying. Ideally, successful home flippers flip houses that need only cosmetic repairs. Why? According to Sacha Ferrandi, founder and principal of Texas Hard Money and Source Capital Funding, “Foundation issues, structural damage and electrical issues equal big bucks. Make it a rule that should never be broken…get a professional inspection before buying.”
- Stay neutral about the house – do NOT fall in love. Ferrandi said, “Take yourself out of the equation. You’re renovating this home to appeal to the general market, not you…break this rule and you decrease your chances of selling fast.”
- Bells and whistles can kill your budget. Craig Russell, CEO of the English Contractor and Remodeling Service, said, “Skip the appliances, wood flooring and special details that cost money…be certain the roof and foundation are sound.”
- Keep a detailed record of ALL flip-related costs. Attention to detail will keep you on budget and save you from the last minute scrambling around for necessary paperwork at tax time.
- Concentrate on the big details, not small, microscopic ones. Fresh (preferably white) paint and flooring impact buyers; toilet paper dispensers do not.
- Work in unison with the market. Agent Jennifer Okhourt said, “Base all (price) projections on the current market and properties selling near the subject’s property.” Use current comps, not crystal-balling future comps.
- Forget about finding a home to flip on Zillowor Redfin or some other website. According to Logan Allen, CPA and owner of the personal financial site Money Done Right, “…great flips aren’t going to just magically appear…you’re going to have to invest time and money to find a flip-worthy property.”
- Numbers Rule – “Know your After Repaired Value,” said Nick Disney of Sell My San Antonio Home.
- Location, location, location. “An undesirable location is the one thing you can’t repair,” said Robert Taylor of The Real Estate Solution Guy.Also look for flips having reasonably near-by public transportation.
- Have a contingency fund of at least 5-10% for all those “just-in-case” things that happen such as pipes bursting or appliances being stolen. The age-old rule of planning for the best and preparing for the worst definitely applies to house flipping.
- Best to be neutral and leave the personal touches to the buyer so they can make the house theirs, advised Brad Pauly of Pauly Presley Realty.
- Curb appeal matters. Trim overgrown trees and bushes, reshod the lawn, add a splash of color with flowers.
- Remember…house flipping is a business. Make your decisions based upon expertise. If you don’t have that expertise, get it from a professional. Keep the project marketable in terms of code requirements, functionality and design. Qualify your (sub) contractors, get accurate/multiple bids, and aim for consistent pricing from project to project.
- Be shy of one-bathroom houses…they are hard to sell.
- Bottom line…house flipping is about buying, fixing and selling. The longer the fixing and selling take, the more money you’re spending out of what could have been your profits.
Thanks to: timandjulieharris.com
A realtor.com study found that lower-tier housing markets around the country priced at or below $200,000 experienced inventory losses of -10% y/y during September 2019.
Inventory levels of mid-market homes priced between $200,000 – $750,000 were at a standstill after growing for 18 consecutive months.
George Raitu, realtor.com’s senior economist, believes these two inventory trends could be consequential for potential homebuyers into 2020. Raitu said, “Buyers looking for their next home have faced the headwinds of tight inventory and a competitive market this year. While lower mortgage rates and the arrival of fall promised a reprieve, conditions continue to tighten as demand remains strong…September inventory trends (suggest) we could be headed for even lower levels of inventory in early 2020.”
Raitu commented, “The mid-tier of housing represents nearly 60% of houses for sale on the market, making it a solid indicator of how tight inventory levels are in the US…If…or when inventory in this (mid-tier) segment begins to take a downturn, the vast majority of homebuyers are going to feel it effects as their options rapidly dwindle.” With favorably low interest rates, Raitu intimated, these homebuyers may feel they have no choice but to go up in price.
Thanks to Realtor.com and timandjulieharris.com
Amenities many people look for in a neighborhood before they purchase a home.
- Parks and green spaces near the chosen house are huge pluses.
- Dog parks are nearly as important as people’s/children’s parks.
- A neighborhood must-have is a grocery store nearby.
- Local coffee shops, cafes and restaurants (not just pizza places) are great to have in a neighborhood.
- Mature trees, shade and nature in older neighborhoods; in younger and/or new developments, make sure trees were planted and part of the community panning.
- A library nearby.
- A community pool is a great draw for many, but not for all.
- Coffee shops nearby. The higher quality the better.
- Farmer’s markets can be a plus.
- Walking score. How far things are away and what kind of sidewalks or paths get you there.
- Make a list of the things that are of importance to you and see what’s there. All things mentioned might not be near the home. What are the must haves, the things you can do without and things that disqualify the area?
- A little advance planning and scouting an area can save you a lot of time to help pinpoint the specific areas to consider
- Parts of this list come from timandjulieharris.com, Realtor.com and my own experience as a Realtor for many years.
Record Average High FICO Scores
FICO scores derived from the Fair Isaac Corporation’s credit-risk model with a score are now coming in with an average of 706. According to Ethan Dornhelm, FICO’s vice president of scores and predictive analytics, this average score of 706 exceeds all others including 686 at the end of the Great Recession in 2009 and 690 at the height of the housing bubble in 2006.
Dornhelm sees the two drivers of record high FICO scores as being
– 1.) the US economic expansion that has propelled job growth and
– 2.) increased consumer education about the importance of protecting and improving credit scores.
Dorhelm is crystal clear in his beliefs that record high FICO scores are due to consumer improvement, not score inflation.
Dornheim also thinks the saying that “time heals all wounds” comes to play here as well. “Consumers who suffered from financial misfortune during the Great Recession have over the past few years had the associated missed payment from that time period purged from their credit file, in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”
The two biggest improvements in what I call “credit behavior” between April 2009 and April 2019, according to Dornhelm, have been the timeliness of mortgage payments and the timeliness of paying credit card debt. A decade ago, 7.2% of the population took 90 or more days on a late mortgage payment and in April 2019, only 2.8% of the population took that long to make a late mortgage payment. Likewise, a decade ago, 13% of the population took 90 or more days to pay off a “past due” credit card debt and in April 2019, 8.6% took that long to pay off a “past due” credit card debt.
Dornhelm concluded his remarks to HousingWire’s Kathleen Howley by saying, “Significant improvement in the overall population’s credit profile has been the key driver of the 20-point increase in the national average FICO score over the past decade. These improvements are reflective of improving consumer financial health, as would be expected during a time of economic expansion.”
Does Dornhelm anticipate changes for average FICO scores in the future? “Trade talks with China, the possibility of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ and Federal Reserve interest rate decisions loom large as concerns of a recession persist.”
Thanks to HousingWire’s Kathleen Howley for source data.
RealPage, an American multinational company that provides property management software for all rental-housing industries, recently published data indicating that apartment or multi-family housing occupancy hit the highest its highest levels in August 2019 since the tech boom in 2000. Additionally, August 2019 was the seventh consecutive month that apartment occupancy has risen.
Occupancy rates around the country averaged 96.3% in August 2019, up from 96.2% in July 2019. All four regions in the country shared in this occupancy rise:
- Northeast occupancy rate – 97.1%
- West occupancy rate – 96.6%
- Midwest occupancy rate – 96.5%
- South occupancy rate – 95.7%
Eight of the 50 largest multi-family or apartment rental markets was weaker occupancy rates in August 2019 than in July and only three of those markets saw occupancy rates below 95%. Nine of the 50 largest markets saw occupancy rates surge beyond 97% in August 2019.
Annual rent growth also continued its rise of 3% or more for the twelve consecutive month in August 2019. (The last time such annual rent growth consistently rose on an upward trajectory was in 2016.)
- Average rent of $1,418/month in August 2019, up from $1,414/month in July 2019
- Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale the top market for rent growth in August 2019 with a +8.2% increase from the month before
- Louis MO saw quickest acceleration in rent-growth in August 2019 with its own 18-year high
- 33 of largest rental markets saw annual rent growth increase from its 2018 levels
- Only Florida and California experienced slowing rent growth in /august 2019.
Thanks to HousingWire’s Julie Falcon for source data.
You’ve all “noticed” that housing supplies nationwide are at historic lows. One of the several factors impacting those low inventories is that Baby Boomers are not selling their homes. They want to continue living in the same homes they’ve been living in for years rather than making the expected and historical transition to smaller, more maintenance-free housing or apartment living.
Published by TimandJulieHarris.com 9/15/2019
The most important thing for you to initially prioritize is your finances. Keep in mind that your mortgage and its costs are not the only expenses you should be expecting. There will be other costs associated, such as repairs or maintenance. When it comes to these, there is a 1% rule of thumb that you should typically follow. This means that you should expect to set aside 1% of your homes original purchase price annually. This should cover any maintenance that comes up, though it’s likely you won’t always reach that. Maintenance costs will be in addition to the down payment and closing costs, so be sure you are prepared Thanks to Portia Noel, Premier Mortgage Group, Boulder, CO
The causes of unaffordability, of course, are multiple…historically low levels of new construction, soaring land and material costs, labor shortages, restrictive regulations. The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank indicates that during the last ten years of economic expansion, the annual rate of single-family home starts is -25% below 1990’s level of housing starts and that the current rate of construction relative to the number of households is at its lowest level since the 1950’s. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy indicates that the cost of land has increased more than 76% from the year 2000. Big, productive and progressive cities are hampering housing supplies with deliberate, restrictive regulatory choices.
According to Schuetz, local governments have no incentive to change but without change, “…high housing costs (are)…fundamentally damaging…and hurting the vitality of our most productive regions.. Additionally…(high housing costs) are seeping into and damaging the lives of more and more individuals and families.”
Three of the nation’s fastest growing cities, Charlotte NC, Salt Lake City and Columbus Ohio, (certainly not coastal cities) have become too expensive for more potential owners/renters than they already have. Charlotte is short some 34,000 affordable housing units as its booming job market has attracted 100,000 new households since 2000. Salt Lake City is currently short some 54,000 units at a time when it has been a leader in home building. Its housing costs are higher than both Phoenix and Las Vegas. And the Columbus housing market, now cooling slightly, has simply exhausted its too-many buyers with ever-higher home prices.
According to a report by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, the median price of a single-family home outgrew increases in median household incomes by 390% between 1986 – 2017. The Center for American Progress has reported that the creeping cost of housing is pinching a middle class already struggling with flat wages, rising child-care costs and skyrocketing price tags for 4-year higher education.
Berkadia, a Berkshire Hathaway company, has reported that the lower-middle income bracket ($35,000-$49,999) has been hit hard with 6%-8% rent growth in the last seven years. Cities like Tulsa and Omaha are showing that more than 40% of their respective families are identifying as rent-burdened.
New research by both the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Program and the National Low Income Housing Coalition tells us that the nation’s affordability crisis is beginning to metastasize and impact the middle class.
The NLIHC indicates that 8M renters pay +50% of their income for rent and that the nation as a whole is short some 7.2M housing units.
Jenny Schuetz, a housing policy fellow with the Brookings Institute, found that severe affordability issues are affecting both lower and middle class. These issues are forcing both homeowners and renters to make “traditional trade-offs, sacrificing a combination of cost, commute time and home size for any proximity to big city job markets. Everyone everywhere, not just in California but in Cleveland, is having to spend more than they have in order to have a place to live.”
Three of the nation’s fastest growing cities, Charlotte NC, Salt Lake City and Columbus Ohio, have become too expensive for more potential owners/renters than they already have. Charlotte is short some 34,000 affordable housing units as its booming job market has attracted 100,000 new households since 2000. Salt Lake City is currently short some 54,000 units at a time when it has been a leader in home building. Its housing costs are higher than both Phoenix and Las Vegas. Columbus housing market, now cooling slightly, has simply exhausted its too-many buyers with ever-higher home prices. timandjulieharris.com