Flipping an Older House

8 Replies

I have the opportunity to buy a 3/1 in an older neighborhood that is becoming a high demand area.  The house will easily convert to a 3/2 and I don't see any structural issues.  The property meets the 70% rule as I can buy it for $90-100k, I think it needs 30k in work, so lets assume $40k, and the comps suggest that it is worth about $205k.

I'm still concerned about buying a home built in the 1940's for my first major project.  I don't have a ton of experience but I have bought and fixed up foreclosures for my last two primary residences and turned a profit on both after living in them a few years.  What pitfalls should I look for with a house this old?  As a relative novice should I stay away from a house like this until I have more experience?

Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems may need to be upgraded if the property has never been remodeled. asbestos could be a problem in the house around that era, once again if it hasn't been remodeled.  In addition some of the paint could possibly have lead in it.  If it is raised foundation make sure the house has no foundation issues. 

@Jonathan Wilks  is right. Those would all need to be checked out. 

Whenever I am nervous about purchasing an older property, I always get a contractor to come take a look at it. They will be able to get a better idea of things that may need to be brought up to code. Before purchasing, I would strongly suggest getting someone to assess the situation. Those problems could bring your profit margin down below what you may feel is worth your time. From the numbers you provided, it appears you currently have some wiggle room, but I would not risk it. 

In the northeast, 1940s is a younger house! I'd do your due diligence and have extra cushion in your budget for things like electrical problems that might pop up as you open walls. But I wouldn't shy away from it unless significant budget busters appear upon further inspection.

@Matt J.  mentioned, you'll likely have to update all or most of the major systems if they haven't been previously done. Foundation issues can be a big problem too. I think it will cost a bit more than you've figured but it depends. It definitely sounds like it has potential.  Good luck!

How big is the house? Is it single level?
Your $40k seems reasonable since you mentioned it was structurally sound and if you are going to be your own GC.

Thanks for all the great advice so far! The house is about 2400 sq ft. That $40k repair estimate doesn't assume any full system replacements but accounts for a few plumbing/electrical issues and a lot of Sheetrock, rotten wood, flooring, fixtures, ect...

The seller has verbally accepted my offer but I need some help moving forward. Where can I get a good generic purchase contract that has an inspection clause? What other considerations do I have buying a home without a realtor? This is my third time to buy a house but first without a realtor and off the MLS.

Hello just a simple suggestion look around in your area for a lawyer that deals with realestate. If this is your first time with out an agent this is a great way to move forward and be legal. My first house purchased this way was smooth and turned into an owner financed property. And now it is complete and paid for 100% No bank used. The seller did have an agent. I am working on another home now and this time No Bank and No Agents on either side same lawyer though. My cost are very minimal. For me its the only way to go.  

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