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How to make $1 million ‘flipping’ houses

Alicia and Tom Hall are professional
Alicia and Tom Hall are professional "flippers". Picture: Supplied

HIS last property sale earned him a tidy million-dollar profit, so it's safe to say when it comes to "flipping", Tom Hall knows his stuff.

The Melbourne man has been flipping property for 16 years, and has 10 successful "flips" under his toolbelt.

The Brighton property before flipping. Picture: Supplied
The Brighton property before flipping. Picture: Supplied

For the uninitiated, flipping refers to profiting from real estate, either by "buying low and selling high" or buying a run-down home and renovating it for profit.

Mr Hall, a former electrician and real estate agent, ventured into the world of flipping when he bought his first property at 24 for $124,000, renovating it before and after work and on weekends.

He more than doubled that investment when he sold it a couple of years later for $265,000 after shelling out just $14,000 in renovations - and his love affair with flipping began.

Knowing he was onto a winning formula, Mr Hall went on to purchase bigger, more expensive properties each time, culminating in the most recent sale of a Brighton property which he bought for $1.35 million, and sold for $2.35 million 18 months later.

Mr Hall transformed the four-bedroom home. Picture: Supplied
Mr Hall transformed the four-bedroom home. Picture: Supplied

In the early days, Mr Hall and his wife Alicia used to brave the "dust and dirt" and live in each property during the renovations.

With two young boys, that's no longer possible, but today Mr Hall runs his own renovation business, Overhall Your Property, alongside his flipping passion.

"I'm a visual person and to see the property go from nothing to something amazing gives me a thrill," he said.

"It can be a bit stressful - it never stops and it's very consuming.

"But I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't want to do anything else."

Mr Hall said a successful flip came down to meticulous market research and the ability to do most projects yourself.

When he bought it, the bungalow was looking a little run-down. Picture: Supplied
When he bought it, the bungalow was looking a little run-down. Picture: Supplied

But is flipping always a sure-fire cash-cow?

New analysis from CoreLogic revealed 90 per cent of flipped properties sold last year made a profit - but as house prices ease in Melbourne and Sydney this year, a rise in loss-making flipped properties is expected.

"Although the proportion of flips at a loss has declined from recent highs in 2009 and again in 2012, there has been a clear increase in loss-making flips recently," CoreLogic's Property Flipping Report stated.

After flipping, it was transformed. Picture: Supplied
After flipping, it was transformed. Picture: Supplied

Nevertheless, while Mr Hall agreed property prices had already cooled slightly, he said there were still plenty of opportunities to make decent money flipping.

He said lower house prices could even help flippers enter the competitive housing market.

"If you put the right product to the market and keep the purchaser in mind you'll have no problems selling property," he said.

"The whole idea of owning your own home and renovating it is a big Australian dream - everyone wants to own property.

"There's definitely still a future in it."

The house was in need of a makeover. Picture: Supplied
The house was in need of a makeover. Picture: Supplied

So how do you make it in the flipping business? Mr Hall shared his top tips for flipping success.

 

DO YOUR RESEARCH

"If you're looking to buy, educate yourself on the market - entry price is the most important thing. If you pay too much getting in, you won't make dollars and cents at the end. I read heaps of books, and really annoy real estate agents on trends and what's going on in the market. I always hassle them because they're pretty much three months ahead of the market - they see what's going on in the market before it hits the papers," Mr Hall said.

"The main thing for me is getting in at the right price. Keep an ear to the ground in your market and don't look at 10 different suburbs, look at two, otherwise you'll just confuse yourself.

It’s now a stylish residence. Picture: Supplied
It’s now a stylish residence. Picture: Supplied

"On my way home I always drive a different way so I can see what boards are up and what's going on. I'm a bit nosy, but you have to be if you want to do this seriously."

 

START SMALL

"I have flipped 10 different projects varying from smaller properties and apartments to bigger houses. I really built my way up from something small into property worth millions now, and the way to get into it is to start small and learn from there - I'm self-taught."

 

DO IT YOURSELF

"Hiring tradies can really chop into your budget. If you can always build on your skills and learn you will save yourself a hell of a lot of money, so the more you can do yourself the better off you'll be at the end. Always use a licensed plumber and electrician, but for example if you have someone doing rendering, hang around and learn about a trade if you're not experienced in it, so next time you can give it a go yourself and save big money."

Nearly nine out of 10 ‘flipped’ properties sold last year made a profit. Picture: Supplied
Nearly nine out of 10 ‘flipped’ properties sold last year made a profit. Picture: Supplied

INVEST IN A GOOD FOOTPRINT

"My strategy is always renovating what is there - I'm not a new-build man, I'm an add-value man. I try to utilise the home's footprint to add value. You've got to have a bit of forward thinking in terms of what you can do with spaces."

 

KNOW YOUR BUYER

"Have a target market in mind. Whether it's a family with children or a young couple, you need to do your research and tailor your design towards the purchaser. That's the end game - it's not necessarily for you, it's about getting a sale from the right purchaser who will pay the highest price."

CoreLogic predicts a rise in loss-making flipped property this year. Picture: Supplied
CoreLogic predicts a rise in loss-making flipped property this year. Picture: Supplied

 

alexis.carey@news.com.au

Topics:  editors picks home renovation making money money real estate



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