On TV, flipping houses looks like the ultimate dream job. It's creative, it's fast-paced, there's big money-making potential, and you can work for yourself.
But is now, in the midst of a global pandemic, a good time to get into the house flipping business? Austin-based renovation duo Lincoln Edwards and Lauren Ahrens, hosts of Austin Flipsters on SHG Living, say the answer is yes.
“Given the current uncertainty of employment at the moment, flipping is a powerful way to become your own boss or earn supplemental income for people looking for financial independence,” says Edwards.
Want to know more? Here, we talk to Edwards and Ahrens about why they think now can still be a good time to start a house flipping business, and their top tips for first-timers.
For more on renovating houses, check out our ultimate guide to remodeling a home.
There’s still a strong demand for remodeled houses
Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Edwards says the housing market remains strong. “The market, at least in Austin, has been incredibly robust through the COVID-19 pandemic, much more than we expected,” he says. “Prices have remained steady even though overall transaction volume has declined. Basically, fewer sellers have been listing their properties at the moment which means there is still plenty of demand for properties on the market.”
In May, the pair set a record for how quickly they sold a flip. The total time on the market? Two hours. “And it went over asking price,” says Edwards.
Contractors are still working
Though many states restricted construction activity during social distancing measures, most still allowed a limited number of contractors on a job site at a time, and the industry is now largely up-and-running again. “Managing contractors is largely unchanged for us,” says Ahrens. “We try to coordinate so that only one subcontractor is on a job site at a given time to limit the interactions on site. The permitting process has slowed somewhat, though, as the city has moved to remote work, which has understandably caused some delays.”
House flipping might be the stress relief you need
While no one would argue that flipping a house is a stress-free experience, it does come with some potential mental-health boosting benefits. “Flipping offers a creative outlet and there’s a ton of personal satisfaction from bringing dilapidated properties back to life,” says Ahrens. Both creativity and having a sense of purpose have been linked to reduced stress levels, and improved mental health and resiliency. Who couldn't use that right now?
Thinking about trying your hand at house flipping?
If you are thinking about getting into the house-flipping business, it’s important to make sure you do it with a clear picture of your financial resources, project timeline, and the housing market in your area.
“My advice to first time flippers would be to do your homework before jumping into your first flip and to take the time to educate yourself as much as possible about flipping,” says Ahrens. “There’s so much more work and effort that goes into a successful flip than what TV shows convey, even ours, since they’re just about entertainment. Much of the hard work is done before the project, in simply finding the right property to flip at the right price. I would suggest new flippers take their time and wait to find the perfect project with lots of room for error.”
Want more from the Austin Flipsters? Stream their show for free on SHG Living.