Flipping Houses

Think Flipping’s as Easy as it Looks on TV? My Story Will Change Your Mind!

Expertise: Real Estate Wholesaling, Real Estate Marketing, Business Management, Personal Development, Flipping Houses
63 Articles Written
house_flipping_disaster

I bought this flip, and it started out so well. It was a 3/1 in very good side of town. We bought it for $127k, and our renovation budget was $90k, giving us an ARV of $325k conservatively. That $90k renovation budget was going to add a master suite, an open floor plan kitchen and an additional 750 square feet to the already existing 1,006 square feet.

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The hard money lender came out, evaluated the deal, and said, "You know what? I don't really like the location, but I like you guys. I will do the loan." He then stated, "I want 10% down. I'll do a $100k rehab, with 13% interest and 5 points." (Note: a “point” is a fee added by the lender. One point = 1% of the loan amount, so 5 points = 5% of the total loan amount.)

We stomped our feet like 4-year-old children about the down payment. My partner hates down payments. I am new to rehabbing — especially doing it the right way that puts you in a position to make money. I figured down payments are not that bad. It's only once you get multiple projects going on that you look at your account and realize down payments are the devil. We decided to go through him to get the loan. We closed the deal. It took about 3 months to get started due to acquiring plans, going back and forth with the city, and just dealing with life.

Related: Flipping Houses: 101 Awesome Quick Tips for Success

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Flipping Show

Before we were able to get started, a TV network posted an ad on their Facebook page stating they were looking for Charlotte house flippers. I thought, why not apply and see what happens? I applied and went back and forth with the producer. At the time they needed a house to film a pilot because they wanted their popular TV show host to have her own flipping show.

I agreed, and they paid me $250 for the day to use this property for filming. I think it was a reality shock to the directors and producers to see real house flippers flip a house because, of course, like the cheapskates we are, we did not have electricity, water or a decent place for them to use the bathroom.

The director told me to stand by because he might need me for a scene or two for shooting. I was like, “Of course. I’m about to get an Oscar for this performance.” As the morning went on, the TV host played the realtor/flipping adviser. And as for the flippers, they were paid actors. Yes — the people who claimed to flip the houses were paid actors.

The director was yelling at them because they kept asking me questions about how to get started in flipping. The director needed them not to break character and continue to act. Who would have guessed it that TV is fake. After the morning taping, they went to lunch, and I advised the director to just lock up when he was done. I got tired of sitting on the bench hoping they would put me in the game like my name was Rudy…

The Rehab Project

Well, as you previously read, that taping did not go too well at all. At this point, rehab started. We got the plans in and started the extension to house. After we laid the foundation, framing was up, and then we realized there was a support beam in the middle of the kitchen.

Related: 7 Signs You’re Entering Into a House Flipping Disaster

My partner tells me that is against code to have a support beam in the middle of the kitchen. So we had to get plans redone to move the kitchen. The contractor then tells us he's come across things he did not expect in the initial quote. We are now $20k over budget. Oh yeah, guess what? The HM lender agreed to $100k. So now we must cover that last $20k in work.

brick in window

Then, on top of that, I get a call from my contractor about a note on the door — as you will see in the photo above this paragraph. Apparently, someone used a brick out of our front yard to break in to his house and steal a laptop. The guy had the nerve to blame it on us. I should blame the $20k over budget on him because he did his house so nicely that now we have to get ours done nicely too. 🙂

What’s the biggest fail you’ve experienced while flipping houses? What annoys you most about those “house flipping” TV shows?

Don’t forget to leave a comment below!

Nasar El-arabi has been involved in real estate for 12 years. During those 12 years, Nasar has wholesaled houses, rehabbed properties, built new properties, created a buy and hold portfolio, and flipped land. Nasar identified early in life he wanted to have his own business. Fortunately, because of parents who instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in him, he was able to build a seven-figure business after being terminated from his job in September of 2012. Nasar has gone on to become a successful real estate investor in Charlotte, N.C. Nasar has over 100 videos on YouTube and runs a blog at RealEstateDoru.com.

    Ayodeji Kuponiyi investor from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I would like to see a house flipping show that actually shows the day by day, step by step, beginning to end(in detail) of how someone goes about buying, renovating and selling a property. Most shows do this but in a 30 minutes to an hour time frame. I would rather watch an entire season if it’s detailed as oppose to 30minutes to an hour. It would make it much more real and show the good, bad, and ugly side of the business.
    Cheryl Vargas flipper_rehabber from Rohnert Park, CA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I have always thought that same thing about those flipping shows. I want to see more in depth than just 1/2 hour for an entire house flip project! A whole season would be perfect for one flip!
    David DuCille from Tampa, Florida
    Replied over 4 years ago
    And nobody would watch it lol
    Brian Jones-Chance from Ypsilanti, Michigan
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Rehab addict is great. You see super long timelines, roadblocks, and you even see her run out if money and scramble for investors a few times.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Man, That probably wont be good for TV. lol TV have to follow a certain format to appeal to there viewers. The closing you will get to real flippers on a screen will probably be Youtube and as anything you can not trust all the folks on youtube either.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Man, That probably wont be good for TV. lol TV have to follow a certain format to appeal to there viewers. The closing you will get to real flippers on a screen will probably be Youtube and as anything you can not trust all the folks on youtube either. Reply Report comment
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Man, That probably wont be good for TV. lol TV have to follow a certain format to appeal to there viewers. The closing you will get to real flippers on a screen will probably be Youtube and as anything you can not trust all the folks on youtube either. Reply Report comment
    James Hiddle from Altus, Oklahoma
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I’d like to see a flip show actually show real net profit numbers at the end. I think Flipping Boston might come close to this not sure but other flip shows usually post gross profit I believe.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    James, funny you said that because after I told these people my numbers on my flip. They turn right around and inflated them for TV.. lol
    Matt
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Nasar, I have four houses on the market right now that I am into for over 2 million and a total of $90K over budget. 2 have fallen in and out of contract twice, 2 are sitting stagnant. A short sale I was supposed to close on this week had 4 liens placed on it over the last few days because the owner owes everyone money and they caught wind of him selling one of his houses. The escrow officer for another short sale I have under contract completely slacked on her job and because of this the short sale timeline may expire. I have flipped over 30 homes and to this point have never lost money and have done very well. Welcome to Real Estate and House flipping. Needless to say its been a tough week. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you for sharing, I am learning as anything else nothing usually goes right.. lol and as everything else we will make it through.
    Andrew Syrios from Kansas City, Missouri
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I certainly hope no one thinks it’s as easy as the shows. They always made me laugh. They would completely gut a 2000 sq. ft. home and then show the final rehab cost as like $12,000. A complete joke.
    Rod
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Nothing is easy until you get used to it I think. I have done over 20 Flips and I have a Cookie Cutter system. Get the house at a very good price, give the keys to the house to my contractor who has done all 20 for me, see him in 3 weeks and put it back on the market. I do the same thing in every house, Granite, Vessel Sinks, new floors, etc. Of course it took the first 4 to 5 houses to get my contractor to know what I wanted. It’s been working out well so far. Good luck with the current flip.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Rod, Thanks for sharing that. Eventually my setup will be that smooth as well..
    Brett Lee from Portland, Oregon
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I get calls from people wanting to get into flipping all the time and they think they can put a little paint on a house and be rich. These shows have made it hard for our industry. People are unrealistic and don’t believe me when I tell them how much things really cost. It’s a shame. Thank you for this. I will send it to people thinking about flipping.
    David DuCille from Tampa, Florida
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I disagree, I think that it’s not as hard as people make it out to be tv shows what is possible and gives me good ideas for certain things. Costs are always going to vary by the area. I’m buying and holding, not flipping, but am currently cash out refinancing properties to buy others so that refi appraisal is like selling it. You gotta know your market or have people you trust with your life that know the market. Then it becomes a whole lot of simple math.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    @David Ducille,TV gets alot of people hurt financially. TV edits this whole process to 30 minutes sometimes a hour. That fact alone gave me the idea that Flipping would be an easy task. I got off easy losing 7k. It has been folks out here who have lost alot more than that because they watched a flipping program. Knowing your marker and having Trust worthy people is not enough to get you through a flip.. There are plenty of experience guys who still break even or take losses on a houses.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    @David Ducille,TV gets alot of people hurt financially. TV edits this whole process to 30 minutes sometimes a hour. That fact alone gave me the idea that Flipping would be an easy task. I got off easy losing 7k. It has been folks out here who have lost alot more than that because they watched a flipping program. Knowing your marker and having Trust worthy people is not enough to get you through a flip.. There are plenty of experience guys who still break even or take losses on a houses. Reply Report comment
    rod
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I agree with Brett. Those shows have made it much more difficult for us. I also think those Real Estate Seminars make it hard too. They roll through the town for a week to get people to join for at least a 3 day class. Next thing there are new bandit signs everywhere “WE BUY HOUSES. FAST CASH” and they drive up prices because they don’t consider all the expenses with a flip. Then they lose money but also the deal is lost because the new Flipper way overpaid for the house.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Bret lol its funny you say that people call me with the same thing. I try to explain its not that easy at all.. Thanks for commenting
    Cydni Anderson real_estate_agent from Long Beach, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks for sharing this. Certainly a realistic look at our world!
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    thanks for reading!
    Paul M. from Medford, Massachusetts
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Would like to know a little more about that support beam in the kitchen, how that came to be, some photos.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I will be sure to post before and after pictures..
    Johnathon Griggs from Salt Lake City, UT
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Just because it’s called “Re Think Flipping's Easy as it Looks on TV? 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My Story Will Change Your Mind! Blog Categories Home Starting Out Landlording Flipping Wholesaling Management Finance Commercial Real Estate News Real Estate Marketing Mortgages Investor Stories Podcast Get the Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing Download a free PDF when you join BiggerPockets.com Start reading now
    Johnathon Griggs from Salt Lake City, UT
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Just because it’s called “Reality TV” means absolutely nothing. What’s reality when film crews and camera’s are involved? Maybe nature documentaries? Just like anything else, the responsible thing to do is research, research, research… and of course understand all that information. 🙂 Real Estate investment involves huge amounts of everything: time, patience, money, skills, etc… of course, anyone on BP probably knows this.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I totally understand this now
    John Thedford from Naples, Florida
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Wow. You had me laughing and cringing at the same time. I hope you make money or at least break even on the deal. Education can cost a lot of money whether it be college or through experience.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you I am hoping we make money as well
    Rachel
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great story! Interesting to hear about your experience with the TV show. Pretty wild to hear about the paid actors and their surprise with the lack of electricity and plumbing to use the restroom! Very common to uncover things in the rehab process. Good thing your partner knew the building code! Real estate investing can definitely have its ups and downs sometimes. I enjoyed the post, thanks for sharing!
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    @rachel thank so much for reading
    Andrew Cordle from Alpharetta, Georgia
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thank you for sharing! Thats quite an experience.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    @andrew thanks for reading
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    @andrew thanks for reading
    Gordon Stinson from Fayetteville, North Carolina
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Nasar thanks for sharing. You confirmed something I have been suspicious of for some time… I think the most unrealistic one of the lot is Flipping Vegas….I watch it as comic relief to be honest….but on the other hand I am a pessimist at heart and that is how I’m dealing with my first potential flip.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    lol and thanks for reading!
    Rod
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I agree with Gordon. Flipping Vegas is very unrealistic. Flip a house in a week and no matter what unexpected expenses they have, they always make money!! Now they are on the real estate seminar circuit. Go figure.
    Michael Askew wholesaler from Charlotte, North Carolina
    Replied over 4 years ago
    This was a great read Nasar! So many people feel as if they have to only take one path in life which is school and corporate America. This article is proof that success is different for everybody and we owe it to ourselves to leave no stone unturned concerning finding our purpose and definition of success.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks for reading man.. Now lets make money together.. #teamwealth
    Tony G. from Natick, Massachusetts
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Notice how none of the TV shows tell how much the government gets from each flip? And related, the property brothers are the biggest phonies on TV. I laugh at the beginning of the show when one brother talks the potential owners into buying with a rehab cost of $X. The rehab cost always goes over because the brother always forgets simple things like pipes and wires in walls he states can be removed to “open up the space”.
    Nasar Elarabi
    Replied over 4 years ago
    lol yes and thanks for reading
    rod
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Here is another aspect that makes flipping extra hard. How about the Lenders that at the last minute say they cannot do the loan for the Buyer for your Flip? There goes the whole deal! Of course it’s always 3 to 4 days before the deal is supposed to close! All of a sudden your profit is pulled from under your feet and it’s back to the drawing board. On top of this, FHA has the 90 Day Flip Rule as of January 1st. Flipping houses is a real pain in the ass because of the Lenders who are way too strict now, the Low Ball FHA Appraisals even though you’re in contract for $10,000 more, the FHA 90 Flip Rule and that Buyers have to walk on water now to get a loan!! If you find a Conventional Buyer before the 90 days you will need 2 Appraisals. Overall, sick and tired of Lenders who hand out Pre-approval like it’s candy but change their mind later.