Flipping properties can be difficult

November 20, 2011 

Dear Dave,

I live in New York, and even though I follow your advice and live on a budget, it's really hard to save up for a down payment on a house. My family in South Carolina advised me to buy cheaper property down there, fix it up and flip it to get the money I need. Does this sound like a good plan to you?

- Adrian

Dear Adrian,

I wouldn't do it. Fixing and flipping properties is a hands-on business, and trying to do it from another state could be a nightmare – especially with the weirdness in today's economy.

When you take on this kind of work you need to oversee what's happening every step of the way. You're also working out the details, and keeping an eye on the crew to make sure they're doing things right. Besides, you can't just walk up to a house, buy it, and expect to get a great deal.

Professionals who flip houses for a living often look at 100 or more properties to buy just one. It's not an easy way to make money, and it's definitely not something to consider doing from a distance.

Just keep on working the budget and save as much as you can. You might even consider getting a part-time job for a while to bring in some extra cash. But waiting and saving up is a lot smarter plan than fixing and flipping houses 900 miles away!

- Dave

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