Make Money Flipping Real Estate – Two Ways

November 17, 2007 by

flippingOf course you can make money flipping real estate in more than two ways. But when it comes to actually repairing and improving a house, there are two different approaches that are very different. You can do do as much of the work yourself as possible. That’s one approach. The other? Manage the project while others do all the actual repairs and other work.

Some investors will say that your time should be spent finding and managing properties, not painting or hammering nails. Otherwise you’ve bought yourself a job, they will tell you, rather than an investment. Although I tend to agree with that idea, nothing is that simple and definite. You can make money flipping real estate either way, and there are reasons for both approaches.

Doing It Yourself

A question: Do you make more money or less money when you do your own work? It depends on how you look at the matter. You might make more money on a given project. If, for example, it costs $3,000 in labor for roofing, and you do it yourself, you can make $3,000 more profit – if you work as fast as the professionals would have (there are holding costs to pay if you’re slow). But if you do a lot of the work yourself, you might flip just a couple houses a year, rather than the dozen you could do if you paid others to do the work.

What you do get working on your own, is a bigger margin of safety. At least you CAN get a bigger margin of safety, but those of us that aren’t as skilled in the building trades might screw things up and have to hire a professional afterwards. On a house with a projected $20,000 profit after paying for labor, you might save $8,000 by doing much of the work on your own. More profit perhaps, but it also means that if there are unexpected expenses or you guess wrong on what the house will sell for, you’re less likely to have a loss.

You might also consider your cash situation. If you don’t want to bring in other investors, can’t borrow enough money, and don’t have much capital, you can get by with less by doing a lot of the work. You could even live in the home while you fix it up. It’s easier to get financing, and if you stay there two years before selling, you don’t have to pay taxes on the capital gain.

Flipping Real Estate As A Business

As a business, there is no doubt that you have the opportunity to make more money paying for help. An investor I know flipped fourteen houses one year, something he never could have done if he had been painting the homes or laying linoleum. He never got dirty, and he made it clear that he thought his time was better spent finding the next deal, while his crew finished the houses that he was flipping.
Your Choice

What’s the best approach? Well, there is more money to be made finding deals than hammering nails, but what if you need a safe small deal to get going? What if you’re short on cash and can’t borrow much? Finally, what if you enjoy the process of fixing up houses?

They are all good reasons to do the work yourself, or at least some parts. The bottom line is that there is no absolute right way to make money flipping real estate.Changing ways is natural too. After all, investors can investors learn a lot by getting involved with the renovation work. That kind of experience might mean that you save money and make better decisions later, when you are just finding deals and letting others do the work. In any case, the choice is yours.

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36 Responses to “Make Money Flipping Real Estate – Two Ways”

  1. Hawaii Life on November 26th, 2007 3:57 pm

    I think whether you work on your house or pay others to do it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are doing one house at a time, and you have carpentry skills, then by all means, do it yourself, you will make more money. But if you’re doing it as a business, and you have multiple properties going at one time, then of course, you will have to hire help.

  2. Madison Albright on December 3rd, 2007 6:48 am

    I might also add it is a necessity to have a firm understanding of the property value and home sales in the area you are looking to flip in. Especially over the next few months.

  3. Emily on January 28th, 2008 8:42 am

    I just sold my house by owner and saved thousands in commission. I found this great for sale by owner site (fsbo) that listed my house for free. It was really easy to use so I would pass on the info, the site is Good luck!

  4. Tego Venturi on February 16th, 2008 8:31 pm

    My theory is that if it’s a job that I like to do, I do it, otherwise I hire someone. Never forget that the most important part of an flip is the purchase. It’ got to be the right house in the right neighborhood at a great price.

  5. Steve Burns on February 29th, 2008 9:19 pm

    I wanted to make sure that you get to see this marketing system.

  6. on March 11th, 2008 8:22 pm

    Great article.. lots of international investing going on as well due to weakness in the dollar.. Great article.. good time to make money in real estate.. a niche to consider eh..

  7. Home inspector on March 19th, 2008 10:59 am

    Many of my clients have been told buying a foreclosure or distressed property is a great idea. Many have seen TV shows where people do it and make money.

    On TV I can watch a guy toss a ball 100 MPH. That does not mean if I decide I want to do that I can do it, or do it well.

    Those home buyers who do not know what they are getting into face the same fate as the person who is selling the home.

  8. Foreclosure Guy on March 24th, 2008 8:11 am

    I think long term you need to build a team, but if you need to make money to build your business then do a lot of the work yourself on the first couple of flips and you can save a few thousand in labor fees

  9. Real Estate Blogs on April 4th, 2008 6:51 am
  10. tesnopoly on April 15th, 2008 7:47 pm

    The only reason that you should do the work yourself is if you didn’t buy the property with enough equity. If there is enough profit in the deal then you cant afford to be spending your time swinging a hammer. You should let an expert do the work while you are getting your next deal. Try buying on a shotsale. I am working on 60 of them right now in my office.

  11. Wealth for Investors on September 17th, 2008 7:53 pm

    I’m all thumbs when it comes to working on things.. paying for a reno seems the best to me.. but really i rather invest for cashflow then flip

  12. Jon Christopher on October 2nd, 2008 12:01 pm

    When I first started flipping houses I did all the work myself and made much bigger profits. Of course the market was different then. I have since started using contractors for the renovations and it has become a lot easier but the profit margins are significantly smaller. I have also learned how to short sale real estate which has been going very well.

  13. MA Realtor on October 3rd, 2008 7:56 am

    If you are going to flip as your main business you most likely will want to flip a number of properties in a years time which means waiting around for a big hit is out of the question. You will need to flip some properties with a smaller margin then you would like to keep cash coming in and to do that you will need a dependable team. Personally I flip MA Real Estate only when I see a property with a huge upside and I do most of the work myself minus plumbing and electrical. But, you never know when that property will become available.

  14. shashindra on October 6th, 2008 4:09 am

    My theory is that if it’s a job that I like to do, I do it, otherwise I hire someone. Never forget that the most important part of an flip is the purchase.

  15. st. martin real estate on December 11th, 2008 7:13 pm

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  16. John Beck Real Estate on December 25th, 2008 9:31 pm

    This blog Is very informative , I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog . It helped me with ocean of knowledge so I really belive you will do much better in the future . Good job web master .

  17. phillippines property on April 7th, 2009 8:44 pm

    I am more fond on the second approach.. When i make money flipping real estate, i can’t do all the work that has to be done that is why i need someone else’s help for the work..


  18. hayward on April 13th, 2009 7:11 am
  19. Buy Los Angeles Condo on June 9th, 2009 10:39 pm

    What person has not heard of someone burning the candles at both ends only to look up and bemoan that after putting in their time they will promptly retire and buy a condo in the southern climates to rest alongside an azure sea for the rest of their days?

  20. Imobiliare Ploiesti on July 5th, 2009 12:10 pm

    A 20% margin is ok in this year .Flip before final contract

  21. Staten Island Real Estate Agent on August 11th, 2009 5:52 am

    There are so many ways to flip homes. If you have the knowledge of home repair and construction there is very little holding you back from making alot of money.

  22. Cherrie Diaz on September 15th, 2009 9:41 am

    You’re right, if you have passion for real estate you can go places…


  23. Atlanta Real Estate on September 20th, 2009 9:12 am

    There are lots better ways to make money than flipping properties.


  24. Bob Sumpter on September 22nd, 2009 10:23 pm

    Flipping real-estate is dangerous in a falling market like we have today.

    Two things I recommend.

    1. Have some construction experience
    2. Have a Good estimator or appraiser

    Bozeman Montana

  25. Colorado Rentals Site on May 24th, 2010 2:04 am

    House flipping is fun but can be very risky!

  26. dzoyce on November 23rd, 2010 10:49 pm

    that’s a pretty good idea… I also want a foreclosure in fact i have here my source of cheap foreclosure just CLICK HERE for info.
    It’s free to join and they actually own their homes and not just a broker.

  27. New York Properties for Sale on January 11th, 2011 12:45 am

    While one is trying to flip the real estates, I would say one must visit the professional so that one can get a better valuation of the properties. Thanks for the post. It is really worth to consider the importance of professional while dealing with real estates.

  28. kinyati on September 6th, 2011 11:37 pm

    Somewhere in between total luck and absolute sell-out hours chasing deals is where you should be in finding truly motivated sellers, or rather having them finding you. It’s a weird coincidence that the smarter I work, the luckier I get finding great deals.

  29. mwan on September 6th, 2011 11:40 pm

    I’m asking what types of properties and real estate opportunities are you seeking? The more narrow your focus and marketing efforts can become to a target group, the greater success you will experience. If you are seeking wholesale opportunities, then you will not gain very much success putting out “I Buy House/Lease Option” bandit signs next to established neighborhoods.

  30. Jack Rimmer on November 5th, 2011 7:49 pm

    For someone with the flipping skills, resources and knowledge, this can really be a good investment and business deal. Flipping properties might not be suitable for everyone as you have to know more about home style, design and renovation to be able to be more successful in this kind of endevor.

    Windermere Homes for Sale

  31. Abby Gould on November 5th, 2011 8:12 pm

    Yeah, aside from flipping properties, investing in foreclosures appears to also be a rewarding endeavor.You just need to make sure that the property does not have any major defect that can be a disappointing deal-breaker.

    Westminster Homes for Sale

  32. Stephanie Pankhurst on November 5th, 2011 8:17 pm

    to handle an FSBO property might be difficult for an owner without enough knowledge in home selling and real estate business. but yeah, with the appropriate help from other people and website like that, it will sure be a lot easier for them to sell their home.

    Please visit: Clarksville Homes for Sale

  33. Gabriele G. Dean on November 5th, 2011 8:57 pm

    Yeah, if you can do it on your own, then, it is good for you. Less people you need to hire, less money you need to put out from your pocket. But if flipping is a serious business, then hiring quality contractors is very necessary. Do not skimp out with the people you hire.

    website: Lawrence Homes for Sale

  34. mwas on November 28th, 2011 12:43 am

    According to housing experts, the primary worry among buyers is that they will not get a clear title if they purchased a foreclosed home because there is a big chance that documents used in processing them were not properly filed or were not legal. However, most analysts believe that the controversy actually made foreclosed dwellings better investments than they were before because the issue made the deals safer.

  35. colburns on December 1st, 2011 11:49 pm

    Home improvement includes rebuilding your attic, basement, bathroom, decks and patios, doors, drywall, kitchen and roofing. It is a total makeover for your home. Remolding kitchen is an important part of house renovation .Kitchen is the centerpiece of the home. Remodeling a kitchen can be great fun. It offers the opportunity to create a more energy-efficient kitchen and to create a space where the family can relax.

  36. Tim on December 5th, 2011 1:59 pm

    I’ve said this on other sites and I’ll say it here. Find a great Realtor that will work for less. I found mine on Sundaybell and I and he haven’t been happier. He made 15k in commissions last year, and I saved 15k as well….and he negotiated another 50+ off my buying prices of which I appreciate…well worth their cost…if you call it that, he really just made me money. To some others, get your head out of the sand and check your ego at the door. These guys are the pro’s, find a really good one and they’ll pay themselves off with their negotiation strategies…and you wouldn’t stand a chance if you came across my agent.

    To forward some appreciation, I found my realtor at this service called Sundaybell. you can find them here:



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