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Do You Have Time to Start House Flipping?

May 14, 2020 by Tara Mastroeni

There's no question that flipping a house requires a large investment of both time and money. In fact, many new investors wonder if they even have the time it requires to start house flipping. If you're wondering the same, read on below. We've broken down the house-flipping process to help you get a better sense of how much time you need to devote to a flip.

How long does it take to flip a house?

Before you can get into deciding whether or not you have enough time to flip a house, it's important to have a firm idea of how long it takes to flip a house from start to finish. According to a 2018 study by Attom Data Solutions, it takes an average of 180 days -- or about six months -- to flip a home. In this case, the flipping process includes buying the home, making the renovations, and selling it to its next owner.

However, keep in mind that figure was an average. There are a lot of variables in the house-flipping process that could throw off your timeline. For instance, it could take you a while to find a property that fits your renovation specifications and your budget or a delivery could get delayed and throw off your whole renovation schedule. You should be prepared for the process to take longer if need be. Likewise, if it happens in a shorter timeframe, consider it a benefit.

Breaking down the house-flipping process

Based on the above number, here is a sample timeline for how the process of flipping a house could break down:

1. Buying the house (1-2 months)

Buying a house is the first step to flipping. At this point in the process, you can probably get away with spending just a few hours a week on this project. Your main tasks will be checking your email for news of new listings that hit the market and going to any relevant showings.

That said, you do want to be prepared to make a move quickly if the right property comes up. The most sensible properties for a flip (fixer-uppers in a hot location) don’t stay on the market long, so ideally, you'll want to have the flexibility in your schedule to get out to see any promising listings ASAP.

2. Renovating the house (2-3 months)

Remodeling the house is where the majority of the hard work comes in. Here, the amount of time you'll have to devote to working on this part of the project will depend largely on how much of the work you plan on doing on your own. Obviously, the more sweat equity you're planning on putting into the home, the more time you’ll need.

If you intend to do most of the work on your own, you should honestly plan to spend a few hours a day at the property, something like four to five days a week. On the other hand, if you have a team of contractors who are handling the renovation, you can drop that number down to two to three days a week.

3. Selling the house (1-2 months)

Once the renovations on the property are complete, you can move into the selling phase. Again, the amount of time you'll need to devote to your flip will depend on how much work you plan on handling personally.

If you're hiring a real estate agent, your time commitment will be relatively minimal. You'll only need to devote a few hours at a time to go over any offers that come in and to go to settlement. However, if you're selling your home on your own, you'll need to leave time for tasks like creating any relevant marketing materials, going over any offers, and gathering the necessary paperwork.

The bottom line

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not you have enough time to start flipping houses is a personal one. Before taking the leap and purchasing an investment property, you need to take stock of your other commitments and how much free time you have in your schedule. That said, use the information above to give you an idea of what kind of time commitment you can expect to make.

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