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Is Your Significant Other On Board With Your Harebrained House Flipping Scheme?

by Danny Johnson on August 8, 2011 · 11 comments

  
House Flipping Scheme Diagram Should Not Be This Simple

If it weren’t for my wife’s support and willingness to take a chance, we would not be where we are today.

Flipping houses requires a certain level of risk tolerance to be able to stand the pressure involved in dealing with large amounts of money. Houses aren’t cheap, ok, maybe we’ve proved that they can be, but relative to other investments, you are most likely risking a large sum of your own or someone else’s money. Tough decisions have to be made when purchasing an investment property and through the process of getting it fixed, flipped or rented. If the wrongs decisions are made, thousands of dollars could be lost, sometimes tens of thousands or more.

Managing the risk is no easy task, but it can and must be managed and minimized. I don’t say all of this to scare you, but rather to let you know that we all deal with this fear when getting started. This fear keeps most people on the sidelines. For those of us that have worked through several deals, we must keep a level head and not get overconfident. The moment we write off the risk and assume that we can do no wrong is the moment we set ourselves up for a big fall.

People are different when it comes to how much risk tolerance they naturally have. Some can go out and sign up a contract on a house without a second thought, while others need to analyze every single thing that could possible go wrong. There is a balance and a middle ground that needs to be achieved. This difference in people’s level of risk tolerance needs to be understood and appreciated so that we can move forward to getting all concerned on board, with minimal stress.

If your significant other has trouble accepting the level of risk involved in flipping houses, there are several things that can be done to try and help them cope and develop a tolerance.

  1. Determine Your Shared Goals – This is very important. If you do not have shared goals, you need to stop everything you are doing and write down where you and your better half want to be and what you want to do. Get excited about it and really feel the energy this provides. Without a specific reason to do something, you will not likely succeed because the amount of work and risk involved will require a lot to overcome. The strength to do so comes from knowing that you will be rewarded with what you really want.

    Be specific. Don’t just say that you want to be rich. Specify an amount and how soon you want it. Do you want to travel the world? Where exactly do you want to go? Make some concrete goals, write them down, find pictures and print them out. Take all of this and periodically talk about them, think about them and keep them in mind when things seem difficult or impossible.
  2. Read House Flipping Success Stories – Have them read the real estate investing forums online at BiggerPockets.com. Find success stories, especially ones from new investors. There are tons of posts from people that have started from nothing and flip full time now. They’ve left the rat race and are living their dream.

    You should also become members of your local real estate investing associations. Meet other couples and ask them about what they’ve gone through and how they’ve coped with it.
  3. Be Prepared – I don’t just mean to study all there is to study about flipping houses. You must be prepared by having the resources to handle what you are getting into. I’ve heard of people quitting their day jobs after attending real estate investing seminars and having never done a deal. This scares the heck out of me. What were they thinking? Paydays can be few and far between in this business, of course each payday has a very real possibility of being close to what a lot of people make in an entire year.

    Build a good team that can help answer questions for you quickly and that have your best interest in mind. You can find quality attorneys, Realtors, title companies, contractors, and others by talking to other investors and getting their recommendations.

    Try to build a relationship with a successful investor. This mentor will help you to avoid mistakes that you may not have considered. They can help you the moment something pops ups. You are the one calling the shots and making the decisions, but all successful people have people that they get advice from to help them with those decisions. You don’t have to be totally alone in this.
  4. Start Small And Build From There – I don’t recommend quitting your day job until you’ve proven that you can consistently profit from flipping houses. Make some money with less risk by trying the following the methods of profiting from real estate. This way you can show your significant other that what you are proposing and doing really does work and can require little risk. It would be hard for anyone to not be on board after you show them the quick money you could end up making. :)

    Many investors start by birddogging leads to other investors. This is where you market for motivated sellers and pass the leads on to investors that have the ability to buy the houses. Usually, this is set up where they pay you if they buy one of the houses. This is typically anywhere from $500 on up to $2,000 and more. This is a great way to gain experience with little money and no risk. You will quickly learn what a motivated seller is and see which ones the investor ended up buying so that you get a good idea of which leads to spend time on.

    The next step would be to start wholesaling houses. There are several ways to do this but the most common, and least risky, is to get a contract to buy a house at a very deep discount and then sell the contract to an investor that will close on it. You can typically make much more money wholesaling contracts than birddogging leads. You will start to figure out what your investors are willing to pay for different houses and you negotiate your wholesale fee into the purchase price with the seller.
  5. Include Them – Include the other person in the business. Have them help you drive for dollars or keep the books. Determine what strengths they have and what they would enjoy doing to help the business succeed. They need to be a part of it. My wife has been absolutely amazing and has helped me every step of the way in this business. She helps with all planning and handles our property management, collections for our owner financed notes, selling our houses (with the help of our Realtor) and keeping the books. It really is exciting to be able to talk about the business and our goals and to both be working on something together.

Most of us were taught to do well in school, go to college and get a good steady job to provide security for our families. Going into business on your own with nobody to get orders from and nobody to make decisions for you, can be a very scary thing. You have to be able to handle this fear and then be able to help your significant other overcome or at least cope with it as well. Don’t ever dismiss their concerns, help them to see the possibilities so that they can in turn encourage you and not want to quit as soon as the going gets tough.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Benjamin August 8, 2011 at 6:42 am

I give a lot of credit to the husband and wife house flipping teams out there that have actually been successful. I know a few flippers myself and like you, I’m pretty sure they couldn’t have done it without at least some support from their spouse.

As you duly note, flipping real estate is a very risky venture to get into and it wouldn’t be fair if one half of the relationship was educated in the risks (and potential rewards) of what the other is undertaking.

Another benefit of including your spouse in such deals is getting another person’s vested interest in what actually needs to be done (or should be done) to the property to make it more appealing to potential buyers. One of you might have a good “financial understading”, while the other might have a more creative “decorating or asthetics understanding”. Combine these two strengths and you really have a good shot at being profitable (with a little additional luck).

Nice article and it was a pleasure coming across your blog!

Ben @ Trees Full of Money

Reply

Danny Johnson August 8, 2011 at 7:42 am

Benjamin,

You are absolutely right about the help with creative aspects of the business, including the decorating decisions. I’d hate to see what these houses would look like if I did not have the input that my wife gives. I almost never make decisions about what we do to the houses without her advice.

“Why wouldn’t hanging a disco ball in the living room be cool?”

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Bilgefisher August 8, 2011 at 7:30 am

Danny,

Good stuff. I have found including and educating my wife on what I am doing is huge. You fear what you don’t know. While she still has her foot on the brakes(not an entirely bad thing), we are moving forward. Every day she gets more and more interested.

Jason

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Danny Johnson August 8, 2011 at 7:51 am

Jason,

Glad to hear it.

I’m with you on it being good that they are a little more cautious. My wife has certainly kept us out of some bad deals. I sometimes get bogged down in the numbers and tend to miss some of the other factors that she quickly points out. There have been many times that I’ve completely ignored the fact that the neighbor’s house is junkie and she has made a big deal out of it. I’m glad she does.

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Marty Boardman August 9, 2011 at 11:12 am

Many real estate investors I meet have a “Home Depot” mentality. That is, they want to do everything themselves. At no point do they stop and ask for help, until they’re losing money of course! The best advice I read here was finding an experienced investor to work with. This is how I got my start and I advise anyone that wants to get into the business to seek out successful investors and help them in any way possible. That’s the best way to learn.

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Danny Johnson August 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

Right on, Marty!

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David Mitzan August 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Great topic Danny. Very imformative. I always say , If you Fail to Plan, You plan to Fail.

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Danny Johnson August 14, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Very true, David! Thanks!

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Jason Brooks May 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Danny,

Another great post! My wife is certainly a very cautious soul when it comes to investing. I am consistently pleading the case of her strengths complimenting my business (soon our business). She is very organized and analytical, and has great decorating ability. I am creative and entrepreneurial minded, a get-it-done type and I’ve done the research, training, and immersed myself in the world of Real Estate for the past 5 years. I also made her open up because I mentioned leaving a legacy for our children. I want to teach each one the business and help them build their own or join the family business (I’m not above having a house full of kids painting or doing other minor jobs). That struck a nerve with her. I also know that every house or apartment we have ever moved into, we have spent a minimum of two to three weeks cleaning, renovating and upgrading before she will even allow me to move furniture in (she’s got the OCD, an obvious benefit in this business).

All in all, her strengths compliment my weaknesses, and vice versa. Thanks again Danny, great information!

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Danny Johnson June 3, 2013 at 6:45 am

“(she’s got the OCD, an obvious benefit in this business)”

Yes it is!

Spending the time with my wife and working toward the same goals has been awesome. I couldn’t imagine having done all of this without her.

I’m glad to see you are going into this with your family in mind.

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