I decided to write about something that I don't normally write about, my house-flipping experiences in the Tampa Bay area. It all started back about 5 years ago, I was trying to get to the top in the real estate game as I had suffered a set back and was starting over from scratch. I had a few thousand bucks left to spend so I spent it on some advertising and got a call from a guy that told me he was having trouble getting rid of one of his houses. He said he had a Realtor but his agent was not performing. I was hungry and explained to my client, Dave, that I would do what I needed to do to sell his house. The home was really nice and I was surprised the Realtor was not able to sell it. Yes, the market was down, but if you market something right and price it right it will sell. So I took the listing from the other agent and used my photography skills to make the house look amazing and paired it with a nice video tour. I sold the house in a couple of weeks and my client was so impressed that he gave me 12 other listings! The interior of all the houses looked the same.... I mean they had different floor plans but for the most part it was the same tile, cabinets, granite and appliances. I then learned that he was indeed a real estate investor/house flipper.
I worked for Dave for about 2 years and sold about 20 of his houses. I learned what to do and what not to do from Dave (don't buy a house on a main road for example). After a while, I saw a listing that looked an awful lot like Dave's work and he had it with another agent....I was being replaced but it was not because the agent was better, it was because Dave was running out of money and this Realtor had his own money to invest, so he was in and I was out.
What to do, what to do....I had money saved up so I could just carry on as a Realtor, however I liked the house flipping so much that I decided to get back in it somehow. I had to find an investor that could loan me money or partner up with me. I found a high school buddy named Jim that had some money and he did not really know how to invest it. After a presentation showing him the houses that I had worked on with Dave, he agreed to fund me for a 50% share of the profit. We did several houses and made money on every single one. The first one we made $17,000 a piece even after a contractor stole $2,000 from me and disappeared. It was then that I realized how important it is to have a good contractor and started working with a local General Contractor. I now have my own Contractors license and have my own crew of guys working on my flips. I have also found that my wife, who is also a Realtor, happens to be an amazing kitchen and bath designer. She designs all of our houses and my business partner Jeremy and I make it happen. Yes, it is much easier for me now that I have a contractor's license, however I did it without one for a while and some of the houses we buy are not even on the MLS.
We have had so much success that many of our regular real estate clients are now asking us to help them invest in flipping houses. We offer a sort of unique service since we can find the property, renovate it for you or just help you do it right so you don't get yourself in trouble with the building department (believe me...it's not fun and yes, I have been there). We are based out of Palm Harbor, FL but would be more than happy to help you find a house to flip or if you already have a house you own and would like to maximize your returns on the investment, then we can help you do the renovations that are going to add value and skip the ones that don't. We will then stage it and sell it for you at a discount over the average Realtor rate of 6% now that is value!
Eric Chavarria P.A.
Realtor/ Residential Contractor