"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius (maybe)
We’ve taken you on a journey through the first 5 steps it takes to flip a house: Find, Finance, Fix, Fill, and Flip. We’ve walked you through sourcing a new property, buying it, sprucing it up, finding tenants, and exiting the investment, hopefully at a profit. But in this final piece, we’ll walk through how build a real estate brand through your flips–and how to have fun while doing it. Because no one wants to do a job they hate. Let’s begin!
Building a brand in real estate
Scaling your flipping business entails more than just flipping more houses per year. A strong house flipping business should also feature a strong brand, just like any other business or corporation. Building a real estate brand will help you stand out and leave your mark on a neighborhood, as well as add to the value of your business. The more people know who you are, what you do, and what you stand for, the more likely it is that you’ll earn referrals and get access to deals before they hit the market.
What do you want your rehabbed properties to be known for? One LendingHome flipper always installed granite countertops and finished his homes with a red door. Certain colors, styles, and design themes can distinguish your properties from others in the neighborhood, and from other flippers in the area.
A brand is more than just aesthetic, too. If you commit to a high standard of work, such as all your properties having great electrical work, plumbing, HVAC, etc., that red door will also mean that your property is top-of-the-line in every way. And this will help increase sale price and in turn, make you more money!
Embrace the network and learn
There’s a strong nationwide community of real estate investors who talk, network, and share knowledge both online and in person. Engaging with these communities is a fun way to learn industry tips and tricks, find people to work with (recommended contractor teams, title and insurance companies, etc.), and generally become a more well-rounded house flipper. Many of our flippers have told us that these networking events and online forums were the most valuable resources they had access to when starting out.
BiggerPockets is probably the most extensive online real estate community. You’ll find forums where you can post questions and read discussions about flipping, and an education section where you can watch webinars, listen to podcasts, and gain access to valuable resources. Connected Investors is another online community which you can use to network and expand your business. You’ll be connected with financing resources, property management tools, profit calculators, rental cash flow calculators, and more.
"Educate yourself on the industry, on how to actually purchase, renovate, and resell properties. There are a lot of resources online, both specific to real estate and, more general, on business and self-empowerment." - Cathy Gould, LendingHome customer
As far as in-person events to help boost your real estate branding, many are organized online through Meetup.com and Eventbrite. Search for “real estate investing” on those two sites to find events near you. You’ll meet fellow flippers, wholesalers, potential buyers, and many other players in the industry, depending on the event.
"It’s important to surround yourself with the right people, who know and do more than you do. I don’t want to be the person in the room who knows the most." - Bill Allen, LendingHome customer
Occasionally, you stumble upon a project which could not only make you money, but can impact someone’s life in a positive way. We heard a great example of this from Bill Allen, a LendingHome Preferred Member. One of the first properties he flipped was being sold by a woman in her 70s, whose daughter had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was very particular about who would move into the home, was worried about her antiques, and was in a big hurry to sell.
Bill bought the home, helped her pack all her things, helped her buy a condo (including putting down the deposit himself), and move to Tampa where her daughter was located. He even checked in on her a week later to make sure she was settled.
"This story has stuck close to me, because I was so involved in the project, felt the pain of the house owner, and saw how happy she was to sell the house and get the exact amount she needed to buy a condo in Tampa and move closer to her daughter. We resold the house and made about $8,000. But, to me, it was more about doing the right thing." (Read Bill’s story here)
We won’t deny that real estate investing, at the end of the day, is about making money. But real estate specifically is an asset class that touches families and communities. Rehabilitating real estate can improve neighborhoods that haven’t gotten the attention they deserve, and raise the value of not just your property, but the ones around it as well.
Take the story of Eduardo Axtle, an East Oakland native. Eduardo is an experienced property investor with a deep knowledge of the city. A few years ago, he stumbled upon the property pictured below in West Oakland. At the time, it was owned by a family trust and had fallen into disrepair, making it completely unlivable. The frame had been burned at the center and the interior had been trashed.
Eduardo saw potential in the home, and bought it with plans to rehabilitate the property and sell it. And over two years, he did just that. After removing 7 truckloads of trash, completing a full reframing job (which extended the life of the home by another 100 years), installing a new kitchen flooring, and several other renovations, the house now looks like this:
It’s gone from an eyesore to a gorgeous home with an even more gorgeous family living inside of it.
There are many more stories like this one, of investors turning dilapidated properties—which lower the value of the surrounding neighborhood—into beautiful homes where families can live and raise their children. Beyond the bottom line of profit, flippers can help make communities safe and more beautiful through their work by taking the time to develop their real estate branding, getting to know their team, and really putting heart into home rehabilitations.
And that concludes Flipping Houses 101. We hope you learned a lot during our journey through the 6 Fs. Happy flipping!