Flip Your Way to Wealth

By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine

Real Estate Flipping: Grow Rich Buying and Selling Property By Mark B. Weiss, CCIM (Adams Media Corp., 2004)

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Flipping real estate—buying a property at a low price and selling it at a higher price in a short timeframe—can be a risky endeavor. But if you’re willing to take on the risks and do your homework, flipping also can be a fun way to make a lot of money, says author Mark B. Weiss, CCIM. Weiss, a Chicago real estate broker and a director of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, shares the wisdom he’s gained flipping properties over the span of his career, with tips on how to find diamonds in the rough, line up financing, and locate the best buyers. If you’ve been thinking about flipping, this is a good primer on how to handle each step of the deal—even the ethical challenges you might encounter.

Tips From the Book:

  • Look beyond the property to determine value. When you’re considering properties to flip, look at how surrounding areas might change in coming years. Are there any big developments planned that could affect the property’s value? Are nearby roads sufficient for their traffic load? Is there ample street parking? These elements aren’t part of the property but certainly will impact the selling price down the road.
  • Know when to walk away. The biggest reason to abandon a purchase is that the price is too high. But there are other grounds for walking away—for example, if the property needs too much work or if the salesperson is too pushy (there may be problems they hope you don’t uncover in time). Trust your instincts—hold off on a purchase if something doesn’t feel right about the property or the seller.
  • Hire a tax expert who really knows real estate. As a real estate flipper, it’s essential to have a good accountant to advise you on constantly changing tax laws on local, state, and federal levels. Make sure the person you hire has experience in real estate—which you should verify by checking references and viewing client lists. A good general accountant may not cut it in the narrow field of property flipping.