How Much Do House Flippers Make?

Ever wondered what it looks like to make it full time as a fix & flipper? We’ve got you covered.

How much do house flippers make? That is a fairly common question, with a variety of answers. Seriously, there are many ways to answer that, and you will find that often the answer has much more to do with the motives of the person or organization providing the answer than anything else. What is the saying? “lies, damn lies and statistics” (that has been most often attributed to Mark Twain, but he attributed it to Benjamin Disraeli. So much for quotes you see on the internet…))

Let’s quickly review some of the factors that might affect how that question is answered. How do you define “house flipper”? How do you define “profit?” Understanding how those questions are being answered will help you keep any information in perspective and evaluate it objectively.

Reported Averages

This chart provides an idea of what average incomes are for those who use flippers as their primary source of income according to this site.

StateAverage Reported Yearly Salary (2020)
Alabama$108,490
Alaska$123,581
Arizona$115,155
Arkansas$109,217
California$121,843
Colorado$116,437
Connecticut$124,755
Delaware$116,593
Florida$104,704
Georgia$111,089
Hawaii$129,328
Idaho$113,912
Illinois$108,623
Indiana$114,417
Iowa$112,197
Kansas$114,658
Kentucky$118,860
Louisiana$113,364
Maine$113,827
Maryland$124,794
Massachusetts$134,657
Michigan$109,298
Minnesota$116,892
Mississippi$107,392
Missouri$107,140
Montana$116,352
Nebraska$122,912
Nevada$122,611
New Hampshire$131,717
New Jersey$118,323
New Mexico$109,576
New York$135,942
North Carolina$99,700
North Dakota$122,147
Ohio$115,671
Oklahoma$114,236
Oregon$116,609
Pennsylvania$117,608
Rhode Island$123,741
South Carolina$116,999
South Dakota$118,580
Tennessee$116,511
Texas$109,814
Utah$114,607
Vermont$123,068
Virginia$121,301
Washington$133,717
West Virginia$118,179
Wisconsin$115,395
Wyoming$122,041

Now, before you start quitting your day job you should realize these are from experienced real estate investors who have multiple properties and are well-known in their areas. Also, we can’t see what the difference is between their gross income and net income (or which one they’re really reporting). There are business costs, rehab costs, loan costs, holding costs, selling costs, and more. All of those things impact an investor’s bottom line.

How Are Profits Calculated?

Costs that have an impact on how much house flippers make usually fall into these categories

Business Costs

These are not costs incurred for one specific deal, but those related to keeping the REI business going, finding prospective deals, advertising, networking, banking, and the like.

Rehab Costs

These costs are the ones most people, whether they are house flippers or not, recognize as having an effect on the profits that flippers realize. These are things like the building materials and contractor’s labor fees that the flipper needs to plan on paying in order to get the home ready for the actual flip.

Loan Costs

When house flipping profit figures are discussed these costs may or may not be disclosed, so it is important to look closely at the source data referenced. Certainly, when people think about flipping houses they realize that any money borrowed carries a cost. Those unfamiliar with the process might become confused about the expense incurred and how it ultimately determines profit. It is much more complicated than just what the interest rate and points are. For one thing, the length of the loan can make an initial lower interest rate more costly, particularly if the loan has penalties for early payment. It is always important to evaluate how long the money is needed when calculating costs. There are also other fees that need to be considered, and these may vary depending on the lender.

Buying/Selling/Holding Costs

Those unfamiliar with house flipping may not realize that at the base of the transaction is, in fact, the purchase of a home. So there are costs associated with that. Inspections, taxes, utilities, and municipal fees. And because there is a real estate transaction taking place there are agent commissions for buying and selling as well as title fees and legal costs. Again, this is where a review of the source data for the profit figures can help. In the case of situations like profit claims on a television show or an individual deal, you may have to dig for the information a bit.

What About Do Hard Money’s Borrowers?

Do Hard Money house flipping profit statistics For 2018 are as follows:

The average profit realized by our borrowers completing house flips was $33,578! That sounds like less than the figures Attom Data reported, right?

But wait, we told you to consider the figures and expenses the source data included to get to those figures. Here is DHM’s earnings disclaimer.

The average profit per property for paid-off loans during 2018 was $33,573. This excludes loans for properties previously owned by the borrower & refinanced with DHM loan, and DHM loan payoffs by refinancing with another lender. This also excludes REO properties. Where available, profit was calculated using proceeds to seller acquired from borrower resale HUDs. Where borrower resale HUDs were not available, profit was calculated using sale price from public records and estimated closing costs of 7% of resale price. All calculations include estimated valuation and inspection costs of $800 and estimated holding costs of 0.08% of the resale price per month the property was held. Profit calculations are AFTER paying borrowers back their cash-to-close and earnest money deposit.

We disclose as much as we can without violating our individual borrower’s privacy. You will notice that when we post a funded deal on our site that we include the HUD statement when we have it. Some of the deals we post will just be recently funded deals, where the rehab has yet to be completed. Others are on properties that the borrower has rehabbed and sold and we have a  more complete figure for them. As a hard money lender, it is valuable for us to provide evidence that we do fund house flipping loans, so we post both types of deals. Many times individual borrowers do not have all of their information with us when they sell, as you can see from above. And as far as testimonial videos go, these are expensive to produce and not all of our borrowers are comfortable being on camera, so there is no way we can have one of those for every single deal!

Do Hard Money’s house flipping borrowers also had great numbers when it comes to cash to close. Remember, one of the things you want to consider when reviewing a loan option for a house flip is how much money you need to bring to the closing table. And consideration should also be given to whether or not you would be tying up your own capital or obtaining a loan for that cash to close.

So what was the cash to close figures for DHM’s loans?

The median cash to close was less than $12,000

26.42% (about 1 in 4) borrowers needed to bring $2,000 or less to the closing table

18.87% (about 1 in 5) were required to bring less than $500 cash at closing.

What Can you Expect On Your House Flip?

If you have never flipped a house before it can be easy to get stars in your eyes and focus only on the profit. Here are a few tips to help you keep your focus and have realistic expectations.

1- When looking for prospective deals you should look for all of the ways/reasons that it might NOT be profitable. This way you will have a good idea of the risks to your deal and whether or not to even pursue it. Of course, you cannot expect to remove all the risk, because the risk is what makes the profit possible. But looking at it without rose-colored glasses is something many novice investors fall prey to.

2- Markets vary. Some areas have far more of the deeply discounted properties required to make house flipping work than others. You may need to expand your search area or expect lower margins than in other parts of the country.

3- Consider wholesaling before actually completing a house flip. That way you can get comfortable with the first part of the transaction, finding and evaluating the property, before you take on the whole fix and flip project.

Final Thoughts

While there’s no perfect way to answer this question, hopefully, this post gave you a few ideas on what you can make and what you need to consider to generate profit. Have any questions? Leave a comment and let me know!

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