Even ‘dummies’ can flip houses

In good markets or bad, real estate broker Ralph R. Robertsreveals in “Flipping Houses for Dummies” how he acquires run-downhouses, fixes them up, and then either “flips” (sells) them for aprofit or holds for long-term investment. Roberts, a highly respected realestate author, trainer and broker, shares his techniques along with advice onhow to minimize the tax bite on profits.

Every serious real estate investor who wants to earn largeprofits needs to understand the methods Roberts uses because he has perfectedflipping houses almost to a science. He thoroughly understands and explains allthe critical aspects, including locating the properties to determining if theyare suitable, negotiating a successful purchase, supervising the fix-up work,and making a profitable resale.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

As a longtime real estate broker, Roberts knows all aspectsof the home brokerage business and he doesn’t hesitate to share his insidersecrets. For example, he says, “Nothing on the MLS (multiple listingservice) is the gospel truth. Sellers and real estate agents alike often estimateroom sizes or make mistakes when entering details. Approach all prospects witha discerning eye.”

Even if you are not interested in “quick flip”real estate profits, this is a great book to study because the author shares somuch of his real estate knowledge which he gained, starting at age 19, overmore than 30 years in the real estate business.

Maybe Roberts is getting a little “salty” in hisold age, but he exposes secrets most Realtors would never share with theirclients. Examples include how to obtain a “listing history” of aproperty, how to determine what the seller paid, how long the property has beenon the market even with more than one listing, and if the property is difficultto “unload.”

This is a “fun read” book in the usual dummiesstyle, which includes features such as tips, warnings and even several sanitychecks. Along the way, Roberts shares many personal examples to illustrate thetopics, making the book extremely valuable so the readers don’t make the samemistakes he made.

Throughout the book there is heavy emphasis on what to lookfor in a potential flipper house, how to locate them, how to acquire them, andhow to finance them. Roberts provides valuable insights about the importance ofborrowing funds. “As a real estate investor, good debt gives youleverage,” he advises, meaning you control the property with little ofyour own cash.

Along the way, there are several excellent checklists suchas the “profit projector” and the “home inspectionchecklist” so no important aspect is overlooked when evaluating a possibleflipper candidate.

Especially valuable is the chapter on “The Art ofHaggling: Negotiating a Price and Terms.” Having sold thousands of homesat his real estate brokerage, Roberts is a “pro” when it comes tonegotiation and putting sales together. His negotiation strategies arepriceless. I especially enjoyed the part about “digging up pertinentinformation about the seller.” If you are a serious real estate investor,this chapter is a “must read.”

Foreclosures receive extra attention because they offerspecial flipper profit opportunities. Acquiring these properties can be tricky,but Roberts simplifies the process as much as possible without getting boggeddown in details. Of course, it helps that he has a full-time associate whospecializes in acquiring these distress properties.

Chapter topics include “Wrapping Your Brain Around theIdea of House Flipping”; “Building Your Dream Team”;”Guesstimating Your Potential Profit”; “Security in the Funds toFuel Your Flip”; “Trudging Through Some Taxing Issues”;”Hunting for Houses in Your Target Area”; “Inspecting theProperty with an Eye for Rehab”; “Prioritizing and Planning YourRenovations”; “Perking Up the Curb Appeal”; “Dazzling theCrowds with Updated Kitchens and Baths”; “Marketing Your Home”;and “Staging a Successful Showing.”

This book is designed for realty investors who want toprofit from buying below market, making cosmetic improvements to add value, andthen quickly reselling. But real estate agents and home buyers should alsostudy it because of the valuable insights offered by a longtime, verysuccessful real estate broker. On my scale of one to 10, this superb book ratesan off-the-chart 12.

“Flipping Houses for Dummies,” by Ralph R. Roberts(Wiley Publishing Co., Hoboken, NJ), 2007, $21.99, 348 pages; available instock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.Amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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