From dive to desirable: all you need to know about flipping houses (without going crazy or broke).

Turning a Hovel into a Home

Many people desire to be homeowners one day, with a backyard and white picket fence all their own. It is part of what cultural anthropologists align with “The American Dream,” which has since spread to other parts of the world, free or otherwise. It is supposed to be accessible to everyone, whether you come from a family of forklift dealers, bakers, or clowns. In fact, relying on quality forklift dealers can make remodeling your home all the easier.

Simply put, everyone wants their own slice of domestic heaven where they make the rules and can use time and items as they see fit. Usually owning your own property is the best way to accomplish that, hence property ownership as a goal in many people’s lives.

But many people, after owning a property for some time, begin to wonder if this is all its cracked up to be. Whether they are longer satisfied with the area, state, weather or local taco stand, they begin to wonder how to either exit the property without incurring a loss or if they can buy cheaper properties to renovate and make a profit. Whatever your motive, the concept is the same: you’ve just discovered house flipping. If you’ve never engaged in the house flipping process, then sit tight and get ready to be informed.

The House Flipping Process is Nothing to be Ashamed Of

In many people’s minds, “house flipping” is a dirty word that brings up images of the newly rich who have too much money and are bored of regular life. Instead of improving they world, they seek to buy properties on the cheap, barely renovate them and then sell them back on the open marketplace at an enormous profit.

While this does occasionally happen, the majority of people involved in the house flipping process are regular Joes and Janes just like you. Whether they’re bored of the area or are creatively trying to make money, the system is no different: they are hiring air conditioning repair people, home heating services, and more to make the house better than it was so that a new owner (or family) can flourish in it.

If you’re doubting whether improving your property is a niche activity or something only squares consider, think again. At some point during ownership, 90% of American homeowners plan for a significant investment for home remodeling, whether that means building a new kitchen or something smaller, like investing in those home heating services mentioned above. It’s safe to say that when it comes to your castle, acting like a king or queen during the house flipping process and getting your way (as long as you can afford it) is not outside of the norm. Just because you’re interested in making the yard prettier doesn’t mean you have to spring for luxury Demolition Shear Attachments. If the axe was good enough for George Washington to chop down that cherry tree, it’s good enough for you (or a suitable outdoor contractor at a fair price).

How Do I Afford This?

It’s understandable that the first question you might ask when you have a desire to improve your home (flipping or otherwise) is “how the heck can I afford this when I’m just a humble person?” You’re not wrong to ask such a pertinent question, and money can bring up tremendous amounts of anxiety if not dealt with correctly. Nobody likes going into debt, begging family for an early inheritance or being embarrassed as their inquiry for a second mortgage is publicly denied at their local bank. Luckily nowadays you don’t have to, as there are multiple ways to fund the house flipping process (or improvements) that fit any budget under the sun.

If your budget is limited and your means beyond humble (peanut butter and jelly sandwich humble), don’t fret or worry. Even you can still afford the things you want if you just stay humble, creative, and hungry. Remember that as long as you’re paying the mortgage on your home, you are the owner and by putting equity into it and there are many ways to draw that out. From using it as collateral, selling aspects of it (such as allowing people to take pictures of it for stock photo websites) or hosting events on your own private property, you can find ways to generate income simply from the home itself. This generated income can then be creatively used to further projects that either increase the home’s value (to eventually sell in the house flipping process) or simply increase your own enjoyment of it day by day.

Many people would rather not invite dancing clowns and niche nonprofit societies into their backyard to make some extra bucks, and that’s understandable. They’d rather get a loan, use a credit card or draw on savings to start making incremental changes that bit by bit increase the overall value of the property. Luckily, in the modern era of money and banking, you are no longer limited by going to a physical institution to get a briefcase full of cash with which to pay your kitchen remodeling contractors. In fact, you can apply for loans online or over the phone from non-physical banking institutions in as little as 10 minutes. The bonus of dealing with non-physical banking institutions throughout the house flipping process is that because of their low overhead costs they can offer substantially better interest rates, customer service and digital bonuses that physical locations simply are priced out from providing.

If you think that you wouldn’t qualify for an institutional loan (or have already been denied), then don’t despair. Personal credit cards, savings and peer to peer loans can all be used in the same way at differing rates. By using a personal credit card or savings, you can pay-as-you-go for small jobs that eventually complete your basement, garage or garden. By investigating peer to peer loans, you can sync up individually with a lender who gets to know your story and has enough trust in you to loan you the money. Whichever you use, have confidence in yourself that if you can dream it, you can do it. Set up schedules and timetables to make sure that the money is going where it needs to go and is set up to be paid on schedule. When you’re organized, money ceases to be an emotional concern and is just numbers on a chart.

It All Starts on the Inside (Where the Living Happens)

It’s called “the living room” for a reason, right? That’s where the living happens and all your cool gadgets such as TV, Xbox and personalized popcorn machine are. When we’re talking about the inside of the home we are commonly referred to the most used rooms such as the master bedroom, kitchen, bathrooms, and more. Since these are where you (and any future homeowners) will spend the majority of your time, it’s worth putting your eyeballs onto the major areas where it counts as you navigate the house flipping process.

First, make sure that any carpeted areas are clean and don’t need to be replaced. This is a relatively quick fix that also leave open the opportunity for you to put in hardwood floors, tile or spruce up an otherwise dull room. Next, move onto the wallpaper (easy to replace, change or paint over) and walls themselves. Check to make sure that you don’t need to call an electrician to fix any haphazard plugs or loose wires. If you know of any water pipes that are specially going through a certain room, consider getting a plumber over to reassure you that you’ll never anticipate a pipe bursting in the winter or blowing steam in the summer while you’re watching a movie.

Last, but not least, get an indoor lighting fixture expert to give you their take on whether the inside of the home is adequately lit for any activities that someone might want to engage in. It seems silly, but a dark house without appropriate windows, lighting fixtures or luminary engagement comes off as a foreboding place and will quite literally scare away potential buyers. Unless you’re going to auction it off as a Halloween scare shack, find the right light bulbs and fixtures that not only satisfy you, but any potential future owner as well.

Don’t Neglect the Outdoors (Nobody Likes a Leaky Roof)

Home renovations and improvements in the house flipping process tend to focus on the indoors, and rightfully so. That’s where the living happens (and living room is), or so we’re told. But what about the outdoor areas of the house, like the roof, garden, walls, and everything else? Isn’t that just as important? Actually, it might even be more important than you think. Lots of damage can occur outside of a house that slowly, methodically (and expensively) creeps its way inside…wrecking not only a good time and your property, but your wallet as well.

Nobody wants to wake up in the middle of the night, in their gorgeous new house, to a dripping of water onto their delicate nose. Because the only way that water droplets get from the sky to someone’s nose in a modern home is one way: a darn old leaky roof. Unfortunately, 3 AM is not the opportune time to call a roofing services company and get that hole patched so that the rainstorm outside doesn’t continually batter your face. The time to do that was a week ago, and so you’ll have to suffer in silence while wondering if the leak is going anywhere else and ruining the inside of the property.

In a similar vein to roof leaks, who has the time (or energy) to deal with outside leaks from a garden house, pond or incoming water lines? When you’re trying to enjoy a cool glass of iced tea on your couch, you don’t want to suddenly be in a puddle wondering where the mud came from. Make sure to do outdoor inspections of your property routinely for damage, especially water damage. It’s easily seen by the common green mold or stain on the outside of the property and will more than likely have a funky smell. You may be able to ask advice from the contractor providing your mulch service if they know anyone who is well versed in water issues outside the home.

It’s the Little Things That Count (and Drive the Price Up)

So far in this article we’ve been talking about the things that are the foundation of a house in more ways than one. The items that are vital in the house flipping process to actually make the sale and not be embarrassed for trying to pass off a slum as a kingdom. These are the items that literally make up the walls, outside and, inside functioning of a dwelling fit to sell on the open market. But it’s worth remembering that after these are taken care of, consumers overwhelmingly love little additions that make a house go from “ordinary” to “extraordinary and creative.” Far from being the content of reality shows, it is simply a fact of life in the free marketplace.

From the mulch service that you hire to tend the garden into bright bulbs to the basement contractor that reassures you that there is indeed no killer black mold, without these jobs taken care of the house would be a fraction of its actual utilitarian value. But what about the little things that can drive the value sky high while also contributing to a luxurious feeling in the homeowner? Like heated seats or cigarette lighters in cars, homes also have “add ons” that don’t cost an incredible amount to install, but can fetch high prices on the open market. In fact, many consumers prefer them already installed so that they don’t have to go through the hassle of making the purchases themselves.

Remember that basement contractor who checked for the killer black mold? It might be worth placing another call to inquire about the process of building a wine cellar in the back corner of an unfinished basement. What may cost you hundreds of dollars in construction can easily add thousands of dollars in value to the home and make it stand out uniquely from other properties. It seems silly, but sometimes people look for property solely by the extra amenities that it offers. A wine cellar, sauna, or pool can make an otherwise standard property extraordinary to the right customer while netting you a tidy profit and making your property the talk of the real estate office.

When Sweat Equity Turns to Gold

As soon as the ink is dry on your contract and the money is release from escrow, breathe easy. You did it! You actually dove into what most property owners won’t dare to touch: a property that needs work, investment, and love. But instead of freaking out, losing your mind, and tossing up your hands in resignation to the real estate gods you put the sweat equity in and proved your worth. You turned know-how and good business decisions into someone’s dream. You succeeded in mastering the house flipping process and emerged a champion, all without flipping your lid.

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