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Book Review and Giveaway: The House Flipping Answer Book

Ever since I started watching those housing flipping shows on HGTV and TLC, I've often day dreamed about purchasing a house that needed work for a bargain basement price, fixing it up, and flipping it for profit.  It looks relatively easy on TV, so why can't I do it?  The more I thought about the idea, the more complicated it became.  The biggest hurdle is purchasing the house cheap enough so that it can be sold with enough margin to make the process worthwhile. 

It comes with great timing that publishing contacted me with a free copy of the new book The House Flipping Answer Book written by a real estate flipper/lawyer Denise L. Evans.

Who is the author?

According to the back of the book, Denise L. Evans, Attorney at Law, is a licensed commercial real estate broker with an active practice.  She is a graduate of the University of Alabama Law School and has over 20 years experience of real estate expertise.  

What the book is about? 

The book steps you through the process of what is required to flip a house for profit from start to finish.  The layout of the book is a bit unique where each chapter is separated into common questions.  It's almost like a giant FAQ for wanna be and experienced flippers alike.

The Good and The Bad 

It answers questions that all newbie flippers would have and even gives a detailed outline on how the process works.  The bad, well, not so bad for our U.S Readers, but for the Canadian readers, you may want to skip this book.  The book contains a lot of U.S tax advice which is not relevant for us Canucks.

What did I learn the most from this book?

The author explains that the key to flipping properties for profit is that you need to include your profits into your expenses when deciding on your maximum purchase price.  For example:

Market Value when fixed: $200k

  • repair materials/labor cost: -$20k
  • holding costs: -$5k
  • agent selling fee: -$10k
  • closing costs: -$1k
  • profit: -$20k
  • fudge factor: -$5k

Maximum purchase price: $139k

Seems like a large spread between $200k and $139k, but note that houses that are worth $200k in mint condition are typically listed for much less when they need extensive repairs. 

Want a free copy?

  • Simply leave a comment and you'll automatically be entered in the draw for a free copy.
  • Please only 1 comment entry / person (please enter a valid email address).
  • Only those with a North American mailing address may enter (publisher rules, sorry).
  • Contest will end Thursday 5pm EST May 8, 2008 and the winner announced shortly afterwards!

Find out how you can save an additional 4% on this book from Chapters. 

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Pat May 7, 2008, 9:26 am

    Sounds like an interesting book, flipping real estate has always intrigued me. Hope to win.
    Pat

  • Four Pillars May 7, 2008, 9:27 am

    All I can say about house flipping is don’t do it. If you’ve never done it before then you will be learning as you go and competing against other flippers who know what you are doing. Houses are VERY expensive learning experiences.

    Mike

  • Scott May 7, 2008, 9:33 am

    I have had the same thoughts and would love to nose through this book. I found your site about a month ago, and have been following regularly ever since. Thanks for the great info!

  • Maria May 7, 2008, 9:48 am

    I enjoyed your review of the book. Flipping is something I’ve thought about for a while and this book looks like a great introduction.

  • MAC May 7, 2008, 10:10 am

    me and my dad are handy, now that he is retired we were thinking of getting into this business. Hope to win.

  • James May 7, 2008, 10:23 am

    I am a self admitted addict for home renovation shows and after finishing my final project on my house, even started to look at properties to flip. Sadly, in Ottawa (Canada), it is almost impossible to find anything with the potential to show positive returns, much less wide margins. In the end, I think I will just buy a new house with new projects to satisfy my need. I’d still like to “flip” through the book and get a better understanding of some of the tax loopholes in the US.

    As for TLC and HGTV, I really hope they start showing some post-bust shows…. it always ticked me off that the dumbest-of-the-dumb flippers made money. It would be fun to see some of the carnage 2007-2008 has wrought.

  • Mike May 7, 2008, 10:28 am

    Incredibile timing! We just put in an offer last night on a house we plan to flip.

  • Bob May 7, 2008, 10:28 am

    Something I have meaning to do myself but lack the knowledge and expertise necessary. Will look into this book. Thanks for the review.

  • Vic May 7, 2008, 11:01 am

    I’m interested. A couple of buddies and myself have talked about flipping quite a bit recently.

  • Jesus May 7, 2008, 11:05 am

    Count me in

  • Mike May 7, 2008, 11:14 am

    Pick me!

  • Hank May 7, 2008, 11:28 am

    I don’t have cable/sat but when I have the opportunity, I enjoy the house flipping shows as well.

  • ryan May 7, 2008, 11:39 am

    not for the weak of heart. most people have unrealistic expectations.

  • JME May 7, 2008, 11:45 am

    I have been sitting on the fence thinking about flipping a house…. but I have been waiting and waiting for a book :-)

  • Matt V May 7, 2008, 11:48 am

    Great Blog!

  • Dividend Growth Investor May 7, 2008, 11:51 am

    Sounds like an interesting book. Sign me up!

  • Tony Jordan May 7, 2008, 12:01 pm

    Great article and very practical as well. I get pumped up when I think of the opportunities and this book looks like it will bring me one step closer to reality. If I don’t win the book I’ll be picking up several copies for customers.

    Thanks….Tony
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

  • augustabound May 7, 2008, 12:17 pm

    Count me in. I like the idea of starting with your sell price and working back with your estimates to your buy price. Interesting.

  • Ann Stewart May 7, 2008, 12:21 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book. I have done renos on properties I have for rental only but have always thought it would be neat to flip a house as well.

  • Daniel May 7, 2008, 12:33 pm

    Question… Would house flipping where one buys and flips one house per year for profit be considered as a business by the CRA?

  • Roxanne May 7, 2008, 12:44 pm

    Love the idea, not sure in this market that a profit would be easy to make. I have seen several people try to “flip” in my neighborhood (Calgary) and what a flop. The houses have been up for over 6 months with no prospective buyers in sight.

  • Blitzkrieg May 7, 2008, 12:46 pm

    The whole notion of house flipping is really romanticized by those shows on HGTV and TLC. It would be nice to get an expert’s view on the topic.

  • Terry May 7, 2008, 12:56 pm

    In.

  • Oscar May 7, 2008, 12:59 pm

    Seems a great book. Would like to read it.
    Thanks for the blog.
    Oscar

  • Rob May 7, 2008, 1:05 pm

    I helped a friend flip a house once and all I got to say is: if you don’t have any handyman skills don’t bother. Do what I did and help some others out till your comfortable with doing the repairs yourself. Things like plumbing (not the easy stuff but bringing up a pipe from the water main to put a bathroom in the basement) and electrical work should be contracted out.

    To anyone who flips for a living Bravo Zulu, for those looking to enter this market Good Luck!

    Take care,
    Rob

  • Jason Lee May 7, 2008, 1:06 pm

    This is a topic that has been of real interest to me, I have seen some of the shows and they always make it seem to be so easy. This book would be great to get the real background information on the subject!

  • Ryan Yu May 7, 2008, 1:14 pm

    Always looking for a good read. thanks!

  • Bob May 7, 2008, 1:19 pm

    The house flipping shows are very interesting, however, I’ve only seen one episode that actually laid out all the costs. This is a business like any other so expect to have at least a 3 year learning curve and have finances to keep you in business when you make financial mistakes, as are inevitable. Every business can sound easy when presented by an experienced operator

  • Jim May 7, 2008, 1:22 pm

    My experience, after extensive renovations to 3 houses, has been that you better be buying the house for a very good discounted price to market, you need to keep your renovation costs in check and you want to be in a rising market. Location, Location, Location doesn’t hurt either. In each case we’ve made a slight profit but we never knew what that profit was going to be until the house sold, as we hadn’t built a clear estimate into our initial budget. In each case our final renovation costs were double what we’ve budgeted and we were lucky that there had been a big upswing in the market from the time of purchase to the sale date. One sold in a day, one in 3 months and the other we rented for almost a year until market values had reach a point where it was profitable to sell. It can be done but it’s not for the faint of heart. Will we try again..probably not.

  • Matt Houser May 7, 2008, 1:36 pm

    Would love to read this.

    …Matt

  • Kevin May 7, 2008, 1:40 pm

    It’s always a tempting idea. I’d be interested in hearing more from guys like Jim who have experience flipping houses.

  • Sebastian May 7, 2008, 1:43 pm

    TV presents flipping as easy money. However I’m sure there are a LOT of complications, and I’m sure the book touches upon these. Sounds look good reading and something I’d be interested in.

  • Sean May 7, 2008, 2:16 pm

    Look interesting.

    I really like the Canadian content of this site. Keep it up.

  • Stefan May 7, 2008, 2:28 pm

    Yep, been having thoughts of flipping for a while, but the margin is always the key thing, its kind of a tough time now to get houses cheap enough…

  • Dave P May 7, 2008, 2:44 pm

    Count me in.. thanks.

  • Finance_Addict May 7, 2008, 3:08 pm

    I never win anything.

  • Matt May 7, 2008, 3:15 pm

    I saw some similar books in the bookstore a couple days ago – I’m definitely interested in a chance to win it even if it has a bunch of advice I as a Canuck can’t use. :)

  • Sarlock May 7, 2008, 4:29 pm

    This is a dangerous market to be flipping houses in now. A few years ago, everyone knew someone who bragged about how much money they made flipping a house or condo, but those days are over, both in the US and Canada (which is seeing a lot of house market softening). If you buy a bargain house and put a few months’ work in to fixing it up, then have to wait for half a year to find a buyer only to realize that the market softened by 5% while you were waiting… it’ll prove to be a very expensive lesson.
    That said, I’d still be interested in reading the book :)

  • Brian Fox May 7, 2008, 4:39 pm

    Like you, I watch all of these shows, even setting the DVR to record all episodes. It is something I am very interested in as a post retirement pursuit. This book sounds like just what I need, a book dedicated to answer questions the common person will have.

  • yyj May 7, 2008, 4:53 pm

    Thanks for the review. Please count me in.

  • ting May 7, 2008, 4:54 pm

    My husband and I hopes to buy a house and flip it one day.

  • Mister E May 7, 2008, 5:59 pm

    I’ve seen a few of the flipping shows do “revisited” type episodes. I think all but one that I saw did manage to flip the house but without exception they all sold for WELL under the “Projected Sale Price”. The other one was an extremely high end home (pre-flip cost of >1mil) that the flipper couldn’t sell and wound up moving into themselves. The majority did say they would do it again though.

    I’m in.

  • Adeena May 7, 2008, 6:23 pm

    Count me in! Yet another fan of those ‘flipping’ shows. ;)

  • KC May 7, 2008, 6:32 pm

    Please enter me into the draw.

    Thank you!

    KC

  • guinness416 May 7, 2008, 6:42 pm

    Good review. Like landlording this seems to be one of those things that a LOT of people think they can do without screwing up, despite all the horror stories. I can’t fathom why – I spend my days putting out fires on construction jobs and the idea of doing that for fun and profit in my spare time doesn’t appeal. There was a flip house a couple of blocks from my place here in Toronto on sale for (not exaggerating here) almost 18 months. Hard to imagine that’s even possible given the rate other places around us have been selling in the last couple of years. I’d love to know what they eventually got for it.

  • FearLES May 7, 2008, 6:53 pm

    Les in for the draw.

  • Kevin May 7, 2008, 7:05 pm

    Seems like a very interesting book.
    I’d like to read it.

  • Zahid Jafry May 7, 2008, 8:23 pm

    A useful book for interested parties. Comprehensive book review…appreciate the candidness when speaking of US tax laws.

  • Alison May 7, 2008, 9:22 pm

    Great idea. I’ve had some experience flipping houses and the last project that we flipped (after putting 8 months and almost $100 K of renovations into it) and waiting for the market to catch up, made us a profit of almost $60 K. Sadly, a house that we did nothing to, had no carrrying charges, and also sold at the same time made us a profit of $40 K. So, the reality is the fact that due to the hot housing market in our location in the last two years, if we had bought the ‘flipper’ sat on it, and then sold it, we would have made just as much money with no effort….. stick to the coat of paint!

  • Cash Instinct May 7, 2008, 9:26 pm

    In current market, one needs to use caution when flipping houses!

  • AndrewP May 7, 2008, 11:34 pm

    The price is right!

  • newinvestor May 8, 2008, 12:20 am

    Count me in. Always was interested in this type of investment/work
    cheers

  • Ryan May 8, 2008, 1:09 am

    This book looks great. I’ve purchased a few “instructional” books on flipping houses, and most lack figures and budgets. Its refreshing to know that there’s one out there that isnt afraid to publish costs, especially in this ever changing economic state the country is in.

    Ive always wanted to flip a house, but its getting harder to divert the money. Thankfully, most houses are only getting cheaper.

    GIMME [please]!

  • Steven May 8, 2008, 3:41 am

    Thanks – count me in.

  • Chris May 8, 2008, 5:11 am

    Currenty looking homes. This book would be beneficial to me!

  • cbez May 8, 2008, 8:51 am

    It is my hope to “invest” in shack-flipping soon!

  • Jen_nifer May 8, 2008, 9:02 am

    I agree with James, that it’s nearly impossible to find a home discounted enough in Ottawa to make it happen. But still curious about the whole idea. I’d be really happy to receive this book.

  • Debt_Free_in_5 May 8, 2008, 9:33 am

    Remember the mantra of real estate agents everywhere.
    Location, Location, Location.

    I got stuck carrying a house for 5 years, and took a 70% loss when I finally sold it (gave it away).

    It was an expensive lesson.

  • Cannon_fodder May 8, 2008, 9:35 am

    I ran into one gentleman just over 5 years ago and he had a different business model. He would be one of those people that would line up to buy a home in a new development. When it came time to put the fit and finishes together, he would strip out as much as he could with the interior fittings.

    Then, when the house was ‘ready’ he would move in and live there while putting in cabinets, countertops, backsplash, hardwood flooring, moulding, etc., etc. He would sell that house (with no capital gain tax since it was his residence) and make a nice tidy sum.

    Not really a viable option for anyone who isn’t single, but perhaps a less risky model with less upside, too.

  • property bulgaria May 8, 2008, 10:56 am

    My experience, after extensive renovations to 3 houses, has been that you better be buying the house for a very good discounted price to market, you need to keep your renovation costs in check and you want to be in a rising market. Location, Location, Location doesn’t hurt either. In each case we’ve made a slight profit but we never knew what that profit was going to be until the house sold, as we hadn’t built a clear estimate into our initial budget. In each case our final renovation costs were double what we’ve budgeted and we were lucky that there had been a big upswing in the market from the time of purchase to the sale date. One sold in a day, one in 3 months and the other we rented for almost a year until market values had reach a point where it was profitable to sell. It can be done but it’s not for the faint of heart. Will we try again..probably not.

  • LBanks May 8, 2008, 11:28 am

    I have never seen the TV show, as we dont have cable… looking forward to reading it

  • Al May 8, 2008, 3:41 pm

    James and Jen,

    I’m in Ottawa too, and I did see a flip down the street from me. Asking price before the flip was $260K and asking after was $350K. I’m not sure what the actual sale price was in either case. It sold after about 3 1/2 weeks and there was an open house every weekend.

    I don’t want the book.

  • Lara May 8, 2008, 4:26 pm

    I’ve been seriously tempted to try flipping, and would love to know more! Count me in…

  • Ben May 8, 2008, 5:56 pm

    Send it my way.