Unusual strategy to profit from flipper houses

“Find it, Fix it, Flip it,” by Michael Corbett(Plume Books-Penguin Group, New York), 2006, $15, 323 pages; available in stockor by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.Amazon.com.

Many real estate books recommend buying run-down houses,fixing them up, and selling for “fast-flip” profits. But “FindIt, Fix It, Flip It!” by Michael Corbett uses a different strategy byadding profitable improvements, which change the lifestyle atmosphere of thehome while also upgrading the residence.

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“Flipping is an art,” says Corbett, host of thetelevision “Extra” program, “Mansions and Millionaires.”Perhaps that is how the author created his technique of changing a home’slifestyle from dull routine to upscale but without high renovation costs.

The book starts with a basic “profit calculatorchart,” so a beginning investor can easily see how the profit will beearned by purchasing a house “with the right things wrong,” andcorrecting those problems by adding lifestyle value.

Then, the author suggests either immediately “flipping”for fast resale profit or living in the home for at least 24 months to claim upto $250,000 tax-free principal residence sale profits (up to $500,000 for aqualified married couple).

What sets this book apart from the other quick-flip books isthe author’s approach to fixing up a run-down house by not only adding marketvalue, but also improving the lifestyle of the buyer. He says, “Thedownright ugly house is beautiful to you.” Of course, he insists it belocated in a decent safe neighborhood, which shows signs of improving.

The book includes many before and after photos of Corbett’sfix-up houses. The changes are often dramatic. Not only are the ordinary housesimproved, but they also appeal to an upscale buyer who will pay top dollarafter renovation.

Corbett says there are six levels of home improvements. The”fix-it level” includes serious but fixable problems, systemupgrades, and fix-it essentials. But the “profit level” includeslifestyle upgrades, designed-to-flip techniques, and dressed-to-sellessentials.

Many of the author’s profitable improvements areinexpensive. For example, he suggests landscaping with more mature plantsrather than the cheapest plants available. Also, he recommends installinginexpensive low-voltage outdoor lighting, which dramatically improves theafter-dark appeal of a house.

Even if you don’t plan to quick-flip a house for fastprofits, Corbett provides superb advice that any home buyer should look forwhen buying a house with profit potential.

For example, among his list of 10 questions home sellersdon’t want to hear, he includes, “Why are you selling?” “Whatdid you pay and how long have you owned the house?” “What is yourdeadline to sell?” and, “What’s the one thing you won’t miss aboutthis house?”

In the chapter about negotiating, Corbett is at his best.

“Never stop negotiating,” he advises. He explainshow smart home buyers use their professional home inspection report tonegotiate repair credits to reopen the sales price negotiations. I would hateto be a home seller negotiating with the author.

Chapter topics include: “Flipping Success”;”Flipping Economics 101″; “Your Flipping Dream Team”;”Find the House with the Right Things Wrong”; “The FinancialModel for Success”: “The Profit Calculator; Become a FlippingSleuth”; “Write a Winning Offer”; “How to Survive Escrowand Come Out a Winner”; “The Fix-It Improvement Levels”;”The Profit Improvement Levels”; “Your Fix-It Hit List: Costsand Budgets”; “Starting the Work and Getting It Done”;”Flipping the House You Live In”; and “Dressed to Sell.”

As today’s home buyers change their attitude from buying aplace to live to purchasing a residence with future profit potential, this newbook shows what to look for in a profitable home purchase, whether for personaluse or quick profits. Corbett’s approach of changing a house’s lifestyle toimprove its market value is unique. On my scale of one to 10, this superb newbook, which cannot be recommended too highly, rates an off-the-chart 12.

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

Copyright 2006 Inman News

Distributed by Inman News

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