Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Cost of house flipping

Life Lessons: Cost of house flipping

With interest rates still low, and with so many people moving back to urban areas, house flipping has become a popular and profitable way for smart women to make a good income and still have time to be mom.

Real estate investor Jody Johansen is exploring the Dallas housing market, looking for a good property to renovate and flip for a profit.

"This real estate market is pretty incredible," says Johansen. "It's a hot market, everybody is moving here, and staying here."

She can buy a house for $159,000, put $70,000 in renovations, and sell it for $299,000.

A profit of $70,000 sounds good, but the house is not for her.

"This will be a study area for the kids," Johansen says.

House flippers reaped a 30 percent gross return on their investment during the first quarter of this year, according to, a national database used to find homes for sale.

Amy Bloom's company, NetWorth Realty, works with investors, especially the growing number of women who want to juggle business with motherhood.

"Renovating houses has worked for me as a mom," says Bloom. "I can spend time in the evenings looking at furnishings and finishes and doing some research on the MLS of what sales prices are."

Bloom says inexperienced house flippers often underestimate the amount of work needed to renovate a house.

They also underestimate the amount of cash needed for the job, she says.

Another mistake is they hire unreliable contractors and pay them before the job is completed. They overbuild for the neighborhood and they set prices too high.

"My advice is be prepared and have enough money in the bank that if something happens, that it's not [going to] bankrupt you," Bloom explains.

For potential house flippers, developing a team you can trust can be the key to success.

Last year, 21 percent of all the houses that were flipped were purchased out of foreclosure.

However, that number is dropping, so investors are looking at other ways to buy discounted properties to flip.

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