Wannabe Flipper’s First House Remains Elusive in Seller’s Market

Dear Fliposaurus:

I am a regular reader of your blog and want to get into the house flipping business. I have saved a little over $30,000 for my first project. However, I am having a miserable time finding a good flip house. The prices seem way too high and I’m worried that I don’t have much profit margin.

Can you give me some advice on how to find a good house?

Kevin C.

Columbus, Ohio

Dear Kevin:

First of all, it’s not your imagination. You live in Columbus, Ohio, and right now Central Ohio is in the midst of a huge seller’s market. Prices have gone through the roof because demand is outpacing availability. Just this morning a real estate agent told me of a two-bedroom ranch that is listing for $50,000 more today than it did five years ago, when it was a buyer’s market.

The good news is, once you find and finish that flip, you’re going to be in a great market to sell your house.

The rest of the good news is that there are good flips out there, you just haven’t found one yet.

First of all, don’t panic. Your instincts have been correct. Don’t make a bad purchase. Be patient. You’ll find your house.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you locate that elusive house.

1) Remind all your friends and family that you are looking for a house. Someone might know someone who knows someone looking to unload a house. Our most recent purchase was from another investor who is going through a divorce and needed the cash. Utilize all your contacts.

2) Check your local auctioneers. Auctions are still a great place to find a bargain. I have never had a lot of luck at sheriff’s sales, but they’re still worth checking out. Remember that you’ll most likely be bidding against the bank, and they are going to protect their investment.

3) Call real estate agents you know and remind them that you’re looking. Virtually every time we call an agent, they find a prospect. Too often, agents get caught up in the day-to- day grind and forget that you’re out there working. Also, call agents you don’t know. They make money by selling houses, so it behooves them to pay attention to you.

4) Cruise neighborhoods where there are good schools and look for abandoned houses. If you find one, talk to the neighbors. I’ll guarantee they will know the back story behind every vacant house.

Good luck and keep looking. Your house is out there waiting for you.

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