I am able to pay more because I get more for my houses. I had already participated in 25 flips in that community so people knew me and I had a buyers list built. My reputation sets me apart from the majority of the rehabbers so my holding costs are not that high because my houses sell fast, and for top dollar.
My expenses were consistent with other houses for that size house that I had restored, and I knew it was a money maker. It had what so many others didn’t. It had a garage. It was a double lot. It was a beautiful lot. The bones were great! A lot of the demo was already done and I love that! Why? Because someone else has already dealt with the hard and expensive part. Plus, you get to see what you are actually buying. You can see the studs and there are less surprises. It is so much easier to redesign a floor plan when it is bare bones. Time to market is a lot faster. Plus it is easier for the trades to do their work, which for me, reduces costs.
We closed and I was so excited! Word got out that I had started a new project and I was approached by someone on my buyers list. She asked me if I would do the home for her and her family. I refused. I was concerned that if she didn’t get the loan and I customized the home to her taste, it would be harder to sell, but more importantly hurt my reputation. I couldn’t take the chance. She said she would trust me and let me do what I wanted if I would let her family have that home. They had already lost out on three other homes I had done. She loved my work and trusted me to do another awesome job. Under contract we went!
We pulled our permits, started the work and made sure it was ready by the closing date. I will never forget when they came to town to see it. I had my whole crew there. We had staged the home and put their daughters’ name on big painted block letters in the room she had picked before we started our process. We had painted it her favorite color, so yes I did do a little, tiny custom work. How could I not, this was the most precious little angel and I wanted her to feel like she had a say in the process.
I wish I had videotaped their expressions. They all cried, which of course made me cry. We were all a crying mess! Even my big, tough, burley Contractors got emotional.
Most flippers are in this for the money and nothing else. For me, there is so much more I get out of this process besides money. It isn’t just about creating a home for a new family in the community, or raising property tax for the city, or increasing sales for the neighborhood. It wasn’t even about the amount of people we employ. It is about so much more. It is about taking what was lost, and finding it again. It was about giving others the vision and confidence to restore these homes. It takes small steps, one house at a time, to give flippers the belief they need for them to see the value in restoring homes versus tearing them down. Without someone believing in these neglected historic homes, they would be torn down or blight would happen because people would move away leaving these homes to rot. The historic charm that makes Wilmington wonderful would be lost.
If you choose to flip, just know it won’t be easy. Well, it gets easier as you get more experience and confidence under your belt. You have to start somewhere, so don’t take on the biggest, nastiest project. Start small and learn. Have realistic expectations. Pay your dues and don’t try to go for the home run when you have no experience. The amount of flippers that lose money is astounding, so don’t buy into the hype that flipping historic homes is easy, it’s not. At least not in the beginning. And let people make money. Don’t be so greedy! Remember, hogs get slaughtered!