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Is Wilmington, NC a good place to start flipping houses?

Asked by , Sun Jul 22, 2007

I am a licensed real estate agent from Pennsylvania with some flipping experience, and I'm looking for a new market. Anyone have any experience with real estate prices in the Wilmington, NC area?

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I have no specific knowledge about that market, but there is potential for flipping in most any market. I won't preach because you are an agent and obviously know this, but you make money flipping houses on the purchase. Too many local mom and pops in my market (and others) were buying the first property they could find when the market was cooking. They were barely even looking at comps. And by comps, I don't just mean comps for current condition, but for what the home could be reasonably sold for when fully blown out. Too many of the folks were betting on the come. Further, misled by some of the flipping shows out there, they assumed that every time you spent $5000 on a roof, you got $15,000 back. $4000 on windows? Well you just added $12,000 in value! That kills me. Every property has a top end, regardless of what goes into it. So here you had a whole fleet of amateurs, paying any price for a property (assuming the value would increase while they were holding it), and not even setting a budget because they just figured that every dollar spent would bring three back. This is helped contribute to our market slowdown in Scottsdale / Phoenix AZ as investor heavy industry started to pile up. Anyways, I think I just used your post as a springboard to my topic rather than providing anything especially useful, so I'll apologize and duck on out of here before the "thumbs down" start raining down on me ;)
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4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 22, 2007
I feel so strongly about this, I have to mention it again. While it may be possible to flip a house right now, it certainly is not a great time. Their are creative ways to pick up several properties, and rent them out, considering the current market. I would find homes that have fix up potential, rent them out first, then fix up and sale when the market rebounds. Flipping almost any home, in almost any city right now will be a tough business.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 1, 2008
You're all correct. I will say that Wilmington is a great place if you're looking for a long-term investment, but you will have to look very carefully for a flipping opportunity. If you have specific property types you want to look at, I can put you in touch with an agent to show you what the comps are selling for right now. Then you can work to find a fixer upper that has the potential to reach that price point profitably. Sorry for the alliteration.

Thom Prince
Century 21 Sweyer & Associates
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 6, 2008
Yes and no. There are some opportunities but the margin is much smaller than it was two years ago. Watch the market closely and get advice on specific homes from an agent who really know the area. There is a slowdown here, and many homes in need of rehab are overpriced, but there are some opportunities.

John Horton
Laney Real Estate
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007

Your comments on this post were valuable. I have read a lot of your posts and think you consistently are right on target. On a few of your posts, I would have given you 2 Thumbs Up, but the system doesn't allow it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 22, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
These days are not the time to flip houses. Long term investment with rentals is a far better idea.

John Horton
Historic Downtown Wilmington
Real Estate Specialist
Licensed NC REALTOR®
Laney Real Estate
Wilmington, NC USA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 25, 2008
well now looking at the date of your probably won't see this LOL!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2008
Donna is right about buyers being savvy with the internet. Wilmington has a website in which anybody can see the sales history on a property. I am very turned off by "flipped" houses and will not deal with the investor because they go in & make it look pretty, while sometimes ignoring major problems (like heating & air units, crumbling foundation, etc).

I especially won't deal with them when I know I could've done the paint & the floors myself and saved a lot money. I'm actually really good with that type of thing.

People that were flipping houses in the growth period in Wilmington were making a lot of money. Now I see "flipped" houses just sitting there. The Wilmington market as a whole is a flop right now, but historically we have seen a lot of growth. The growth had gotten so big before the "bubble" that we were busting at the seams and houses started being built in surrounding counties.

I added a link to a webpage of a realtor that is in the "flipping" business. I don't know him personally, but I bet if you contacted him he'd be happy to answer your questions.

Let me know if you decide to proceed. Maybe we could work together, or at least have some mutual contacts. I'm not a realtor, just an extremely well-informed buyer with a strong accounting background.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2008
Considering the current market, the question would be is flipping properties the best investment for your time right now? I heard a figure recently that said the only city in America where homes appreciated last year was Charlotte. Maybe you should try there, but don’t think this crisis won’t hit them in some way eventually, and flippers will be the first to feel it. I recently read an article that I found very interesting. It was by a former CEO for a large home builder. He left his company to form a company focused on acquiring large tracts of land at great prices. I found that to be an interesting adaptation. Building is tough right now, but when it gets better I sure would like to own a lot of land! Maybe you should buy affordable unique rentals and save them for a better sales market. Just a thought, I know it’s a fine line between adapting, and quitting what you are good at.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 17, 2008
There are a few homes that did not get gobbled up in the recent flip phase. The ones currently on the market that were the last ones purchased and fixed up are now hitting the market as the prices of homes are slipping down. Buyers are more savvy and really know that the public records show that they bought the house 8 months ago for $200,000. and now want $269,000. They changed out the floors, kitchen and painted inside and out. May not be a bad price depending on their cost, commission they will have to pay, and the capital gains they have to pay. I know as a licensed Realtor I have access to the before and after pictures but that is because I pay monthly dues to the MLS system for that priviledge so I can better represent my buyer clients. If the home was in real bad condition before, I would be able to advise my buyers that the $269,000 list price is justified based on the home improvements that they did. I showed a home in Kings Grant that had been so neglected over the years. My flipper client decided that it was too much for him to tackle. Someone bought it, fixed it up and today it will be a great home for a potential buyer that otherwise would not have been able to live there. I can justify all the work that the seller did to that house. It pays to work with a local Realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2008
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