House Flip For Profit – 7 Tips For House Flipping Success in Any Market

1. Get Prepared – Now that you have decide to start flipping houses for profit it’s time to get your goals and expectations set correctly in your mind. Figure out how much cash you have available for this investment. Make sure that you have enough money to cover a twenty percent down payment, the remodel of the home, and enough cash on hand to cover the monthly mortgage payment until the property is. I know it sounds overwhelming, but I will show you how to reduce the up-front cash and the funds for the remodel. It always make sense to write down your plan. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just has to make sense to you. You can’t possibly know where you are going without a map to navigate by.

2. Identify a good property to flip – Now that you have some idea of your direction, it’s time to consider the type of property that would make a good flip. Figure out if you want to buy a single family home that needs work, or a multi-family home where your intention could be a condo conversion. For our purposes here, we’ll discuss the single family house flip. If you don’t have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in your area, find a reputable real estate agent who could provide you with access to the MLS. It is wise to have a buyers agent because it’s doesn’t cost you any money. The buyers agent is compensated by the listing broker’s agency. Once you have access to the MLS, you can start searching for properties. I like to search by zip codes in areas that I know to have desirable neighborhoods. In a down market, such as the one we are in now, there are plenty of rundown homes that happen to be in great neighborhoods. Those are the homes that will always sell first. You should focus on bank owned, short sale and foreclosed homes that are on the market. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how much the seller is asking for the home, what matters is if the project makes sense. I typically figure out the price I will pay for a home after I figure out the amount of work that needs to be done and how much I can sell it for. Remember, the market tells you what a home will sell for, not a price tag.

3. Inspection and Property Analysis – Before you can make an educated offer, you must know two things. First you must know how much it will cost to bring the house to it’s highest and best condition. You need to appeal to the type of buyer that is most likely to purchase the home. You should have a trusted contractor meet you at the house so they can give you an idea of the costs involved. Now add 20% just to be allow for unexpected costs. Once you know your cost you should consult with your real estate agent to determine what similar homes have sold for and look at the homes you will be competing with. Now that you have a good idea of the future selling price and the cost of the construction, you can now use basic math to add the cost to the purchase price and then subtract that answer from the estimated future sales price to determine if there is a enough profit margin for this house flip to make sense for you. Tip: Don’t forget to add sales commission to your cost if you plan on using a real estate agent.

4. If the Numbers Work, Get Financed ! – Once you know that there is enough profit after your acquisition cost, remodel estimate and sales cost. You now know the most that you should pay for the home. Before you make an offer, you must get your financing in place. This is my area of expertise since I have been a mortgage broker for several years. There have been many changes in the mortgage industry since mid 2006. Money is a little tougher to get, but it is still available with a down payment and decent credit history. Guidelines are always changing, but right now at the end of 2008, a minimum of 20% down payment is required to purchase investment property and the borrower must show income and assets to qualify. If after the 20% down, remodel money and cash to cover the monthly payments, you do not have much money left, you should consider a partner for the deal. You may not be a fan of long term partnerships, but when you are flipping property, you would be looking at a 4-6 month partnership, not a lifetime. If that works out you could always buy more property to flip in the future. It also helps split the risk and the tasks. Just make sure your expectations are set properly. If going the partner route I suggest opening a joint bank and funding it with 6 months of mortgage payments including tax and insurance. If you have more questions about financing, I would be happy to answer them. I will provide my office contact information at the end of this article.

5. Remodel / Rehabilitation Phase – It’s time to get this home fixed up and back on the market as fast as possible. You should now have your contractors come in to start the construction phase. Keep in mind that cheap labor will almost always be more expensive. Make sure that the contractors are pulling the proper permits. The last thing that you want is a forced work stoppage because the required permit was not pulled. Furthermore, if these workers do not know or build to code, it will usually cost you double to correct a code issue. By now you should have a detailed list of everything that needs to be done. Break it down by major systems such as heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and any other system that needs repair or service. Then go room by room and make a list of what needs to be done in each room. Joint compound and a fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Just make sure you use modern, neutral colors that would not be offensive to anyone. Make sure you inspect the exterior of the home for repairs and touch-ups. The yard should be clean and landscaped properly. Make sure you check in on the contractors daily to make sure things are on track, don’t assume all is on schedule. Finally, take advantage of using Lowes and Home Depot credit to avoid payments and interest for six to twelve months. You should be able to buy most of the materials with that credit. Just makes sure you pay the entire balance when the interest free period ends or you will get whacked with all of the accrued interest.

6. Sell your House Fast – Now that your home is complete and ready to go on the market. You should already have an idea of how much you will list this property for, but you must once again verify the value. The best way to do this is to have an appraiser or a real estate agent do a comparable market analysis. If you don’t know an appraiser, call your mortgage broker and ask him or her to use their appraiser to help figure out a range for you. I do it for my mortgage clients as free value added service, it’s just good business practice. You may want to sell your home yourself and that is fine, but you must have the time to show it and also be able to list the property on your local multiple listing service. If you are trying to avoid paying a full real estate commission, a local real estate agent will usually do an “entry only” listing for a nominal fee. If you do not have the time or do not want to deal with the hassle of listing the home yourself, hire a real estate agent to list your home. You should have already added in the sales commission fee into your figures before hand. When figuring value make sure that you also look not only at similar homes that have sold, you should also look at your competition. Your home needs to be a great deal when the average buyer looks at it against others in the same price range. Finally, if you are not getting sufficient showings after a week or so the home may be priced to high, don’t be afraid to lower the price. Sometimes a little profit is better than no profit. That is why you must purchase the property that you want to flip as low as possible and estimate the remodel as accurately as possible.

7. Make Plans for your Profit – If you priced your newly remodeled house correctly, it will go under agreement and you will soon close. If you have planned correctly, you should have some profit coming to you. It would be wise to have a solid plan with regards to your profit. Here are some options; You could simply take the profit as well as your initial investment and place it in your bank. In that case, you just created a taxable event or in other words, a long or short term capital gain depending on how long you held the property. That option is better if the profit gain was minimal. If you made a significant profit and were planning on flipping another property, you can defer your taxes through a 1031 exchange. Basically a 1031 exchange is a tax code that allows you to defer capital gain tax to a later date buy reinvesting your profit into another investment property within a certain time frame. There are rules that must be followed in order to make the exchange valid but considering the benefit, it could be well worth it. The advantages of doing a 1031 exchange includes having more money available now and more buying power. It means not being taxed while your are building your real estate investment business. You can flip your profit, just like you flip a house. Here is an idea, why not flip homes until you have enough down payment funds to exchange into a 30 unit apartment building. Then you can turn your money into a cash flow. You could defer paying any taxes until after you sell the last property and actually take the money. It is always wise to speak with an accountant when making tax decisions, so always consult a professional CPA when dealing with tax laws, that is money well spent.

I will leave you with one last thought; Use professionals from start to finish. Licensed professionals may appear to cost more, but they will save you money by getting the job done on time and correctly.

Interior Decorating Ideas – Where Do I Begin Deciding on Window Coverings?

Do you have windows that need some type of window covering and do not even know how to get started on the project? You are not alone! Many home owners and apartment dwellers are in the same dilemma. Hear what a professional interior designer that has heard this story many times has to say about the steps that need to be taken to begin a window treatment process.

Window treatments are actually fun. They are not something to be afraid of. They can be costly if you want everything under the sun, but people should be encouraged to use window coverings to accent a room or a view or even use them if you have something that you want to hide. Window treatments can even be used over the closet doors. Panels can hide the closet and it makes it look like another window or another door to make the room look a little bigger.

Window treatments run the gamut in price. So sit down, figure out what your budget is and then decide how much you want to spend. You also need to consider how important window treatments are to your room. Remember that window coverings change your view and they change lives one view at a time!

There are so many aspects to decorating windows that time and effort spent up front is time well spent. You will find ideas by going through model homes, looking at decorating magazines or searching online. It is a good idea to look at fabrics before meeting with a designer which will make the entire decision-making process go more smoothly.

Pre-planning makes it a little easier when a person does hire someone to create custom window treatments for them because they will have somewhat of an idea of what they want. The important part is that it takes some of the guesswork out of the process and you are not spending all your moneymaking the designer guess what you want.

Be open to new ideas. There is so much creativity in window decorating today. Popular trends in window treatments include organic materials that bring nature indoors, luxe fabrics, velvet and grosgrain trim, green design which are both economically and environmentally safe treatments, bold prints, and tech savvy homes where window blinds can be controlled with a remote.

The key to the whole project is to talk to the person that is designing your window treatments and be open and honest with them because that is what they want and over time is going to help build a good relationship with them.

Modular Homes Lead Industry Green Building Efforts

Modular homes and custom modular homebuilders are quickly reinventing the homebuilding industry. Because of the focus on energy efficiency, architectural and

design communities worldwide are coming together to create innovative designs for homes of all shapes, sizes and tastes. Not only are modular homes providing

affordable housing solutions because they are constructed more quickly and at a lower cost than traditional site built homes, modular home builders are also

leading the way in sustainable new home construction and environmental preservation through green building.

Modular homes are constructed in pieces in controlled factory environments. Factory production means fewer accidents and mistakes and a more predictable product and time frame. The pieces are then shipped to the site where they are assembled. Because the pieces need to be shipped, they are built much stronger than traditional site built home structures and components, using ten to fifteen percent more construction materials than are normally used. Modular homes also offer a much higher quality control standard, with so many third-party inspectors, engineers and architects involved.

Since modular home builders provide 80 to 85 percent of the home, the buyer avoids the risk of giving money to a builder and not having the home built to their specifications, or of having their price inflated by numerous change orders. Additionally, unlike modular homes, site-built homes are exposed to unfavorable weather conditions during the construction process, making the home vulnerable to water or weather damage, and increasing the costs of the project by adding additional materials and replacement components. All of these cost savings are passed on to the consumer, giving them more home for their money, but also giving builders more leeway to incorporate energy saving building best practices and products and services into their construction processes.

For builders, most green building benefits come from then flexibility inherent in the design and engineering of modular home systems. Modular homes are built stronger that traditional homes. They produce less waste because of reduced construction time, and less time needed on a site means less damage to the home site and surrounding environment. In addition, the design flexibility and innovation combined with the use of non-traditional building materials enable homebuilders and designers to build around existing trees and wildlife, creating new homes that are less intrusive to their environments.

Modular, or systems built, components are pre-treated before they are shipped to the site. This pretreatment reduces the amount of chemical vapors that enter the home upon construction, resulting in better air quality from the beginning. In addition, the internal structure of the home is protected from mold or water damage by the tightly controlled environments within the factories. Because construction can be completed in a fraction of the time necessary for traditional homes, there is less site waste, less threat of internal air quality deterioration and reduced chance of structure damage.

Wood for home components is delivered to factories at pre-cut lengths to further reduce waste, and many modular homes factories and materials suppliers employ extensive recycling programs to reduce excess or return materials to the environment. Additionally, many builders take site selection into account to maximize natural lighting, heating and cooling capabilities, as well as other water efficiency, day lighting, ecopower, improved erosion control and environmentally friendly building materials considerations. Other green building practices include increasing slab insulation, using solvent-free foundation sealants, increasing fly-ash content in concrete, improving foundation drainage, providing ventilation for radon and other tactics.

The speed of construction reduces the cost of modular homes, making them an ideal solution both to current affordable housing needs worldwide and also to homeowners seeking relief from recent hikes in utility costs. The reduced construction loan costs and interest amounts combined with lower pricing per square foot as compared to traditional site built homes enables home buyers and builders to focus their home construction dollars on energy efficient water and power systems. These can be as simple as energy efficient water heaters and appliances, or as complex as solar panels or gray water systems.

Many modular homes today are being constructed in such a way as to maximize daylight and reduce or, in some cases, completely eliminate the need for electrical lighting during the day. For example, the Venice, California MCube, designed by Mdesigns, utilizes a Japanese shoji inspired construction with translucent light emitting walls that let in natural light without heat radiation. The house also boasts solar radiant-heated floors, solar heated water and photovoltaic roof panels. This is just one example of the innovative designs emerging from architects and engineers worldwide. Pictures of the house are available at inhabitat.com.

Custom modular homebuilders, such as Grant Smereczynsky, CEO of Building Systems Network, a custom modular homebuilder based in Atlanta, GA, are encouraging consumers who are not yet familiar with the options available in modular homes to educate themselves about the benefits of these advancements in engineering, architectural design and systems-based construction.

Serenoa Golf Club and Homes for Sale in the Residential Community

Breeze through a Realtor’s list of highly recommended Sarasota real estate offerings and it’s highly likely that homes in the Serenoa Golf Club would be among the listed. A hawk-eyed real estate broker surely won’t miss out on the factors that favor Serenoa homes for sale over any other golf community property in the Sarasota area.

The golf club, for one, is conveniently located near I-75 and Clark Road at the eastern part of the highway. With this location, transit to and from the development comes as very practical and expedient. In no time at all, the business, arts and entertainment districts in Sarasota and its suburban metropolitan centers are within easy reach by the community’s residents.

Moreover, this wonderful fusion of a residential subdivision and a semi-private golf course is well-maintained throughout its over two decades of existence. In fact, Serenoa has undergone a recent facelift which, among other things, further enhanced its clubhouse facilities.

A full bar is in place at its popular casual restaurant serving breakfast and lunch daily. This clubhouse has a pleasant lakefront view, making it a great place for special events. Its indoor banquet is roomy enough to accommodate up to 150 guests, and its roofed deck can also handle a gatherings or celebrations with about 50 guests.

Golf access at the Serenoa Golf Club is offered at reasonable daily rates, and during the summer, a special promo package of $22 includes unlimited golf, free meal, and a drink. The regular daily fees range from $30 to $65 depending on tee times. Membership packages are even more alluring for their superb benefits such as unlimited golf and clubhouse charging. Exclusive of tax, the membership costs run as follows: Single-$2,800; Family-$3,500; Single Gold-$4,500, and Family Gold-$5,800.

The Serenoa golf course is an elegant design by M. David Allen, a master course builder. The layout has a set of four tee-boxes for variable approaches that can suit golfers’ skill levels. From the tips, it measures 6,270 yards and exposes players to a course rating of 70.7 and a slope rating of 128. The golf club also provides a pro shop, golf classes, and practice areas for putting, driving, and chipping.

The homes in Serenoa luxuriate amid the idyllic woodlands and serene lakes that contribute greatly to the old Florida feel sought by many northern home buyers. Real estate agents will often cite the generous space surrounding each of the homes in Serenoa. Built on lots ranging from one-half to one acre, the price points can go from the mid-$400s to over the $700s level, with floor plans at between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet.

The Deadly Secret That Lurks in the Early Toyota Motor Homes

To most people a Toyota motor home built in the 1980s looks like a cute and charming recreational vehicle. And for the most part this is exactly what they are. But there was a fatal flaw built into these early 1980 motor homes was that caused heartbreak and disaster for hundreds of people.

As the motor home size was expanded past 18 feet, the original Toyota pickup chassis which was only rated at 1/2 ton capacity, was simply not up to the job. Specifically the rear axle began to fail. When this happened bad things occurred to good people.

Completely empty, these little campers have a marginal carrying capacity for people and possessions. This meant that the typical motor home left the driveway in probably an overloaded condition. This was normally not a problem because the performance of the camper insured that slow speeds would be maintained on the trip. The hundred horsepower four-cylinder engine would not move three tuns of house in a very fast pace.

As the size of the camper increased it wasn’t long until the rear axles began to fail. The camper manufacturers compensated by adding a second set of wheels on the axle. This created a dual set of tires on each side. However this did not correct the problem. The problem lie in the fact that the bearings and the axle itself were just not heavy-duty enough to carry the load.

Excessive load caused the bearings to overheat, fail, and then disintegrate with disastrous consequences. Victims of this problem reported that the wheels would actually leave the truck. This was such a serious problem that the national highway safety administration became involved and issued a recall of certain Toyota motor home models.

There was no way to predict when the axle would fail. Some units failed almost immediately, some units went thousands and thousands of miles, and some units have not failed yet. However any Toyota motor home without the heavy-duty axle should be considered as a suspect vehicle.

There is an easy way to tell if your Toyota RV has a safe axle. First of all, all models of Toyota RV built after 1987 were built with the upgraded safe axle. All models of Toyota motor home built in 1984 and before are required to have the upgraded axle due to the safety recall. In 1985 and 1986 some models were built with the upgraded safe axle and some were not. So it is up to you to be careful when inspecting the axle on any Toyota motor home you are considering to buy.

A simple inspection of the axle itself will tell you if it is safe or needs to be replaced. The safe axle will have six lug nuts, the unsafe axles were built with five lug nuts. The safe axle will also have a protruding center hub that has a ring of nuts around the outer edge.

If the axles on the Toyota motor home you are considering only have five lug nuts and the center does not stick out and have a ring of bolts on the center hub, keep looking for another camper to purchase.