Reality TV real estate shows make it look easy: Investors buy a rundown home, fix it up, and flip it for a handsome profit in a relatively short amount of time. In real life, it’s not that cut and dry. Not every fixer-upper will lead to riches, and determining which homes are worth the investment takes much more careful consideration. If your clients are considering house-flipping as an investment, you can help them ensure the properties they choose are more fab than a flop.

Mitzie Phillips of Century 21 Patriot in Fayetteville, North Carolina, offered four things a buyer should be aware of when deciding which home would be a solid first investment in the article “What Makes a Good ‘Flip’?” on

  1. Price vs. value: The range between the price of the home and the value of the home needs to be enough to cover repairs, loan costs, and commissions and still provide a profit, Phillips wrote.
  2. Desirable location: The home doesn’t have to be in the best school district in town, Phillip noted, but it should be in an area with steady sales.
  3. Fair to good condition: Phillips recommended getting the home inspected by a licensed home inspector because there may be issues that you don’t notice.
  4. Kitchens and baths: Kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms, so  “when purchasing a house to flip, be sure that the kitchen is of a design that the majority of buyers would like, and if it’s not, plan on renovating it to make it work,” Phillips wrote.

In the article “House flipping gone awry: 7 warning signs that a flip is a flop” on, author Jay MacDonald consulted with Reuben Saltzman, a home inspector with Structure Tech near Minneapolis; Tyler Karu, an interior designer/flipper and founder of Landing/design in Portland, Maine; and Justin Pierce, a flipper and president of Snow Goose Homes in Woodbridge, Virginia, who offered their top seven warnings signs of a failed flip.

  1. Flooring may mask bigger flaws: Saltzman said in the article that poor flooring often is a preview of more serious problems with technical changes involving plumbing and electrical work.
  2. Kitchen: Pretty – or pretty messed up? Even a nice-looking kitchen can have hidden problems, such as gaps between backsplash and countertops or new doors poorly installed on old cabinets, according to the article.
  3. Shocking electrical work: “Although it can run over $10,000 to rewire a home, that’s one area where corners should never be cut,” Karu said in the article.
  4. Jammed doorjambs: Pierce suggested investors bring along a level to the home to see if door jambs and frames square up.
  5. Mismatched metals: “A lot of times, what you see in a flip is, people were able to get hardware on sale and lighting on sale and plumbing fixtures on sale, and none of it matches,” Karu said in the article.
  6. HVAC horror stories: Saltzman warned in the article a house-flipping team that turns a home into a construction zone for weeks or months can inflict collateral damage on the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning with drywall sawdust and other airborne debris.
  7. Safety features that aren’t: According to Karu, house flippers have a moral and financial obligation to make their flip safe.