You know the saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a house flip.”
Isn’t that how it goes?
Okay, maybe that’s not the original phrase, but the house flip frenzy is still happening for the same reason diet pills and spray tans are popular – we like things to be fast and easy.
Flipping houses is a gamble; and as in gambling, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. If the stars align and you find an underpriced house in a great neighborhood that needs a little TLC before hitting the market, you’re probably going to make some money.
But. . .
If you find that same house and then uncover the creeping mold, the cracked foundation and the sketchy electricity, you can say goodbye to your profit and your sanity.
Don’t get me wrong here – I am not against house flips. On a big, big scale it can be good for the seller, the buyer, and the neighborhood. After all, updating an eyesore and finding owners to love and cherish a property is a good thing.
Still, with television shows such as Property Brothers and Flip or Flop, with all of their fancy lighting, hunky contractors and 30-minute timeframe, it’s easy to get swept up in something that appears to be fast and easy when, in real life, it can be slow and really, really (really!) tough.
Planning on buying a ‘fix and flip?’ Here are a few tips to keep you in the money, instead of landing you in a money pit:
Rely on a Realtor and Other Professionals:
Realtors, real estate attorneys and accountants can help you navigate the dollars and sense of an investment. Could buying this house put your financial future in jeopardy? Or your other properties? Or your bank account? Before taking this step, recognize what’s at risk with you and your investments.
When it comes to the nuts and bolts of things, surround yourself with reputable, experienced professionals. Make sure all of your contractors and suppliers are licensed, insured, recommended, honest, trustworthy and competent. Also, work with people you like. You’re going to be working side-by-side on a huge project, and you want to get along with the people who are literally putting your house together.
Don’t Be a Hero:
If you have questions, ask. If you don’t agree with a suggestion from a friend, investment partner, supplier, speak up. If you don’t know how to rewire the water heater, don’t! Just don’t!
Do Your Due Diligence:
There are insurance policies for building repairs that all licensed contractors must hold in order to be in the business. There are specialty policies for buildings that are vacant or under construction. There are home warranties that can protect the appliances already in the home. Looking into insurance is just a way of looking out for yourself.
Look Under the Hood:
Hire the best inspector you can find and don’t balk on the cost. I promise that in the end this expense will actually save you money. An inspector knows what to look for, what is an easy fix and what is a nightmare. Stay away from the nightmare. Nightmares are…scary.
And Back to the Realtor:
No matter how great the house looks, if you don’t have a savvy Realtor on your side, it’s not going to sell. Look for a Realtor who has pulled comps for your neighborhood. Look for someone with experience, a solid marketing plan, a list of recommendations and a network of buyers and sellers.
This blog is a first in a series on the frenzy over fix and flips. Look for part two in the weeks ahead. In meantime, do you have a fantastic or frightening fix and flip story to share? Let’s hear it!
Live Basil Pizza is hosting Fresh Pizza Day on May 8 from 11AM – 10PM. And it’s free. Yep. Free. All five of the Live Basil Pizza locations are participating – and in lieu of payments, Live Basil is asking customers to donate to Jessie’s Homes for Families.
That’s pizza with a heart!
And pizza with some personality. Choose from one of Live Basil’s 13 signature pizzas or build your own. Ingredients are all-natural and organic. So a free pizza that is good for you and good for the community. What’s not to love?
For more information, visit livebasilpizza.com
Last year, the real estate market was, well, crazy. I mean crazy in a good way. Crazy can be good, unless it involves people behind the wheel of a car or B-list celebrities.
In 2013, homes were flying off the proverbial shelf, sometimes going under contract within three hours of being listed. The median price of homes rose and foreclosures dropped and mortgage rates were actually affordable – good, good, and more good.
So what does that mean for 2014? While 2013 was a fantastic year for real estate, it doesn’t mean 2014 won’t be great. Granted, 2013 is a tough act to follow; but predictions for this year are positive, with experts believing that home sales will remain at or near the current level and prices will hold steady or even rise a bit. There will likely be a better balance between buyers and sellers, alleviating the panic buyers, concerned with the reality of losing the house of their dreams, felt this past year.
What can you do if you are hoping to buy in 2014? Reach out to me or you personal Realtor now rather than later and provide me with your wish list. Be specific, but flexible. As Realtors, we are constantly touring homes, talking with sellers, and learning of properties that are not yet on the market but may be coming soon. By sharing your wants and needs with us now, you are one step ahead of other buyers in the marketplace.
Thinking of selling this year? Be cognizant of that fact and keep it in the forefront of your mind when making big and small decisions, including renovations, welcoming new pets into your world, and even buying non-essentials for your home. Remember that you are planning on showing your property at some point, and when that happens, you will have to de-clutter and clean to position your property in the best light.
Got a leaky faucet or a non-working fireplace? Tackle those projects now to avoid the mad dash later. And now is not the ideal time to housetrain a puppy (is there ever a good time for this job…I’ve done this more times than I can count and let me just say, wow?!) or paint your bathroom Bronco’s orange or start collecting bottle caps from around the globe. You can do all of those things in your next house – for now, keep it simple and save yourself some crazy.
As you know, I have made a career out of helping people buy and sell homes. Finding the perfect neighborhood for a growing family or a posh pad for a transplanted corporate couple offers me the chance to do what I like to do best – and it’s the perfect excuse for taking clients out for a delicious lunch to celebrate. All in all, not a bad way to make a living.
The thing is, there are so many individuals in Denver that may never have a home to call their own; and to say that is disheartening is an understatement. These frigid days only compound the fact that there are men, women, and – the worst – children, out on the street every single night. And while I can’t change the world like I thought I could in my youth (aahh, youth!); I realize that any small gesture can make a big difference. Everything counts.
Last year I started a new tradition and spent my Christmas morning in Civic Center Park handing out socks, hand warmers and food to Denver’s homeless. It was not like any other Christmas morning I’ve had in my 50-something years because…well…it was way better. Colder, but still better.
I realized, once again, that doing something good for someone else makes me feel good. I like that feeling. A lot.
So I plan to spend December 25th at Civic Center Park again, as I am officially addicted to this effort. Obviously, not all of you can pack up your families and head downtown, but if you’d like to support this cause, I will be collecting items for my “Christmas Care Kits.” Yes, I’ve given MY packages an official name (this is where being Type A really comes in handy). “Socks and Hand Warmers” were sooooo last year.
I’m going BIG this year! See the list below and if you’d like to participate by donating or volunteering, please email me at email@example.com or visit me on Facebook. I can pick up items from you or you are welcome to drop items at Coldwell Banker Devonshire (200 Fillmore Ste. Suite 300 in Cherry Creek).
In the meantime, Merry Christmas to all and to ALL a warm(er) night.
Items Needed for Christmas Care Kits*
- Reusable water bottles
- Fruit snacks or individual apple sauce with pull tabs
- Small cans of tuna or tuna kits with pull tabs and crackers
- Crackers with peanut butter and cheese
- Fast food gift certificates
- Pre-paid calling cards
- Socks and gloves
- Hand wipes
- Nail clippers
- Band aids
- Feminine products
- Small packages of facial tissue
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Mints, cough drops, gum
- Lip balm
- Small comb or brush
- Heat packs
- Winter hat
- Brief note of encouragement or well-wishing
*All items should fit inside a gallon size zip top bag; please refrain from items such as hand sanitizer or mouthwash as they often contain alcohol.
I’m a huge fan of Halloween – always have been, always will be. Halloween got me hooked on the idea of being a Realtor. Seeing all of those lovely houses combined with an obscene amount of chocolate and I was a goner.
Remember how you always knew the neighbors who were giving out full size candy bars!? I used to circle back for those houses and skip the houses handing out pennies. The worst!
Halloween, like everything else in America, has gotten bigger and – some would argue – even better over the years. But if shock-worthy haunted houses aren’t your speed, several family-friendly Halloween events are available should you prefer to keep your little (or big) ghosts and goblins off the streets.
If you’ve never been to a community event like the ones listed below, I, for one, am a fan. These outings offer something for all ages and a chance to step inside several of Denver’s favorite haunts without wearing a parka over your costume. And depending on where you go, you can have candy and bats and hay rides and tea…not in that order, but you get the picture.
HALLOWEEN IN DENVER
Halloween Kids Fest
Games, crafts and more make the Downtown Aquarium even more fun than usual. Guess the weight of a giant pumpkin, take a train ride, and meet up with Sharkey and the gang.
Bug A Boo
The Butterfly Pavilion
Come meet the Butterfly Pavilion’s creepiest crawliest friends while your kids scream around this safe, educational trick-or-treat street. This event, including games, costumes and candy, will have you bug out just in time for Halloween.
Colorado Railroad Museum
Ride the rails back in time through Railroad Halloween Town. Catch a ride behind the historic locomotive in vintage passenger cars hosted by conductors and engineers in full costume.
Children’s Museum of Denver
Kids parade from one Treat House to the next collecting goodies and creating crafts.
Boo At The Zoo
More than 25 trick-or-treat stations, creepy crawly animal demonstrations and exciting family-friendly entertainment make this event a sweet treat for everyone.
Aspen Grove Trick-or-Treat Street
Aspen Grove Shopping Center
Costumed kids can trick-or-treat for free along the outdoor shopping center of Aspen Grove. Leashed dogs (in costume or not) are welcome as well.
Hilltop Halloween Parade
Cranmer Park (between E. 1st and E. 3rd Ave. on Cherry St.)
The free parade for children and adults in Halloween costumes starts at the sundial at Cranmer Park at 11 a.m. and travels to Robinson Park by 1 p.m. Fun for the whole family.
Old South Gaylord Halloween Safe Street
South Gaylord St. between Mississippi and Tennessee
From 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., kids in costume can trick-or-treat along one of Denver’s most beautiful streets, which will be closed to traffic during the festivities.
Mills Monster Mash
Colorado Mills Mall
The Kidgits Mills Monster Mash promises to be a blast for little ones. To add to the fun, Twentieth Century Fox is also celebrating the Blu-Ray and DVD release of The Croods, Monster vs Aliens: Cloning Around, Dragons Riders of Berk (Part 1 and Part 2) and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.
Halloween at the Museum
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Specifically for teens, Halloween at the Museum offers an evening full of fright and fun. Rob Mies, of the Organization for Bat Conservation, will introduce you to some of the rarest bats in the world, including a gigantic flying fox bat from Malaysia with a nearly six-foot wingspan. Costumes welcome!
Victorian Horrors & All Hallows Eve Full Tea
Molly Brown House Museum
Visitors enjoy tea and treats at this spooky Halloween activity. While this event is not terribly scary, it is not recommended for small children, but the candlelight ghost stories and prizes for best costume are perfect for the tween set.
Whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to go this Halloween season, remember to be safe and enjoy because life is sweet – literally – at this time of year! If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, call me at 303-478-1201 or send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to help you!