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How to Start Flipping Houses

How do you begin to flip a house? A project of this magnitude and with inherent high risk should be approached patiently. Of course, experimentation and failure are the best teachers out there but when you're dealing with your money and a lot of it, go slow, educate yourself and proceed with caution and humility. The end. That's it! No, not really.

Get educated. There are a lot of books about how to flip a house. You can do this with a lot of gumption and a good read. That's not how I did it, or am doing it. After daydreaming for oh, 25 years, studying the real estate market and watching almost every home improvement show out there, remodeling my own homes, I finally happened upon a class offering. Actually, I found three but one in particular spoke to me. Debbie DeBerry of the Flipstress podcast has a class by women, for women. I love being around empowered women who empower women and I love a class that creates community. Bingo. Debbie's class is the right one for me. She breaks down step by step how to flip a house. She fosters a supportive community through a private Facebook group where women feel safe to ask any questions they have from lending, to analyzing deals, to design questions to issues with contractors. I love her class.

What stumped me initially was the cost of her class. I didn't know it at that point, but other classes on how to flip houses can cost up to $10,000. That sounds unreasonable but if you consider a semester of college tuition is more and you still won't have a paying job until you complete an entire degree, it suddenly doesn't sound so bad. Still, I wouldn't have taken a class for $10,000 at the time even though now I think it would be worth it. Debbie's class is $2,000. I hesitated for half an hour before pulling the plug because I was ready. I am ready. After wanting something for over 20 years and knowing that in the coming years I will have less energy, not more, I jumped. I am so glad I did.

I live in Oregon and the real estate market here is on fire. We have very low inventory and a lot of buyers. Our housing prices are increasing rapidly. It is very difficult to get a house affordable enough to flip. We moved here just 18 months ago and were shocked to find ourselves losing bids on house after house to cash buyers or just people willing to pay more than we were. At the same time, we went through so many ugly, smelly, dysfunctional homes that were priced as if they were move in ready. It was very disheartening, even to someone who loves home improvement projects. If it's a fixer upper, it should be priced like one, right? We saw a lot of fixer uppers that were not priced accordingly so if we had purchased it, we'd have no money in the budget to complete the repairs. No thanks.

While studying for my courses, I would keep an eye out for a flipping opportunity I could afford. Each time something hit the MLS, it would have multiple offers or be sold within 48 hours. I even caught a house 17 minutes after it had been posted for the first time online and showed up two hours later to find three other people standing around while on the phone with their lenders. I began to wonder if I would ever be able to buy a house near me to flip.

One day I opened Facebook and saw a message pop up in our community Facebook group. A woman in the class who lived in Hawaii asked if anyone in Oregon wanted to buy her recently deceased Uncle's house to flip. The house was in rough shape, or perfect flipping shape, and the family did not want to deal with putting the house on the market. I basically raised my hand, was invited to see the house and meet this fellow flipping student from Hawaii the next day and had my offer accepted the day after. No competition. No stress. Even the realtor commented several times to me that I was basically gifted a home from this very sweet family. Of course, I already knew that.

While one can't hope to have a house land in their lap as easily as this one has, one can be prepared just in case. If I hadn't done the initial phases of work in Debbie's class I would not have been ready. And obviously, if I hadn't been in Debbie's class, I wouldn't have found out about the house in the first place. What seemed like a lot of money at the time ($2,000) turned out to be powerful seed money for starting my new business. So, while you can read a lot of books and find a good realtor, or become your own realtor, I highly recommend taking a class with a live instructor that will guide you throughout the process. To learn more about Debbie's class offerings, visit her website: theflipstress.com. I do not receive discounts or gifts of any kind for sharing her class.


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