By Mike Baird
Technically speaking, house-flipping doesn’t have to be a local endeavor. You can fix and flip houses anywhere in the country (or even anywhere in the world, if you’re feeling bold), and there are definitely a lot of really great markets around the US for flipping houses. With that in mind, I almost always prefer to keep my business close to home. I think that flipping locally is a lot more lucrative, involves less stress and gives you a way to give back to your community, too.
See What You’re Getting Into
First, if you’ve been flipping houses for any time at all, this is probably going to sound familiar. You see an amazing deal on the MLS or on another online listing. The pictures look great, and the price is way below market value. It’s just a few miles away, so you get in the car to go take a look before you make an offer…
And it’s basically a hole in the ground. In fact, the place needs so much rehab work that it would be less expensive if it were just a hole in the ground and you only had to fill it in and build a new home. I’m never one to back down from big rehab jobs, but sometimes there’s just too much damage to make a property a viable fix-and-flip.
Now, imagine if that happened across the country. There are a lot of really great-on-paper flip deals in Detroit and other hot flipping markets around the country, but if you aren’t familiar with the market and you can’t easily get there to see what you’re getting into, you could be getting into a lot of trouble. Sticking to the local flip market can help you avoid a lot of bad deals.
Less Stress During Rehabs
What happens when your general contractor runs into an unexpected structural problem? They call you, and you head over to the house to take a look. Then you hash out what it’s going to cost to fix the problem and how you’re going to fit that into your rehab budget. No big deal, right?
Well, it’s no big deal when your flip property is in your area and you can get over to it the same day that your contractor finds the issue. If you’re across the country, you’ll have no way of knowing exactly what’s going on without a lot of pictures, texts, emails and/or calls.
Want to add even more stress? If you’re flipping in a different market somewhere else in the country, there’s a good chance that you’re operating in a different time zone than the people working for you. That time difference might mean that you don’t get notified until it’s too late to handle the situation that day. This just isn’t a factor you have to worry about when you flip locally.
Better Market Familiarity
Along with avoiding some pretty stressful and potentially disastrous issues, when you flip locally you’ll already have some familiarity with the areas where you’ll be buying properties. When you see a house for sale or auction in a certain neighborhood, you’ll already have an idea of what to expect and whether or not it’s a good flipping area. Plus, you’ll know which neighborhoods are booming and which are dying, which is a huge advantage when flipping houses.
So, in general, unless you have a team on location that you trust with all of your house-flipping decisions, I really recommend keeping your fix-and-flip deals local. It’s just easier, and it’s usually more profitable.