is fix and flip dead?

December, 2014

Lately, a lot of Realtors and others have asked me if  the buying , fixing up, and then re-selling of single family homes at a profit in the Greater Denver Area is dead. They say that it’s just almost impossible to find houses in need of repair and when they do find one there are usually multiple offers the first day all at crazily high prices…….  all true.

Let me tell you something.  In another life, before I started making fix and flip hard money loans, I used to be a “fix and flipper” myself. ( That’s how I saved the money to get started in the loan business). From 1990 until 1998 when the market was very hot and  recovering from the real estate disaster in the Eighties, I bought and sold over 125 homes, NOT ONE purchased out of the MLS. The MLS in those days was just as competitive as today and it was basically impossible to buy a property you could re-sell after repairs at a profit and yet I found plenty of houses to buy.

So how did I do that? Well…. the buying of houses on the cheap is a business. It requires a full time, all consuming focus on your part. It requires that from Monday to Saturday you work at putting yourself in front of home owners in some form of trouble or very high need to sell. Just a few examples:

1) Have you ever considered driving all the older than, say, 25 year old and older, neighborhoods in the Front Range and written down all the houses that clearly look totally trashed? You know, bed sheets in front of the window. A 1976 Chrysler Cordoba on blocks leaking oil on the driveway. The grass one foot high or turned to dirt. The shingles on the roof blown off. An old washing machine on the porch. You get the picture. Have you ever considered creating a list of,say, 500 houses in such shape and have you ever considered to make it your mission in life to contact those folks one by one on a daily basis. Don’t you agree that if you actually did that for an entire month you’d end up with a killer deal making all the neighbors love you in the process?

Keeping in touch with those kind of homeowners over a period of several years will turn you into a very successful flipper. Nobody does that anymore because we have all become way too sophisticated of course and we would rather fiddle on the internet.

2) How about following death notices, seeing if those folks were home owners and then contacting the heirs in an effort to buy the usually dated old house?  Is that “ambulance chasing”. Well… yes, but aren’t you also providing a needed service and don’t fix and flippers improve neighborhoods?

3) Lately I have seen several deals bought by enterprising entrepreneurs who sought out failed or tired landlords who bought a few rentals in 2007 or 2008 at the bottom and are now tired of their crappy tenants who have trashed the house and who can afford to sell to you at a profit and still leave room for you to make a buck.

I can go on and on….. The housing stock in our area is getting older. There are all kinds of subdivisions of houses build in the Sixties and Seventies with hundreds of properties waiting for the fix and flipper’s touch. All you need is to go and get them!