Insights from a House Flipper

HGTV is my go to channel for a bit of escapist TV viewing.  I often end up watching some sort of house- flipping show and wondering what it’s like to live the life of Chip and Joanna Gaines. With the topic of house-flipping growing in popularity, I decided to interview a house-flipper and get some insight into this unique profession.

The house-flipper I interviewed owns Buck Properties, LLC in Hickory, NC. He started flipping houses himself in April of 2019, but worked on properties with his dad throughout high school and college. He is currently finishing up a full renovation of a house in Hickory that he bought in a foreclosure sale back in October.

Q: What made you want to be a house-flipper?

A: Mainly financial freedom. I also appreciate having a flexible schedule, and I enjoy working hands-on.

Q: What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

A: I’m the type of person that will work non-stop all day. Get up at 6am. Depending on the phase of the project, it can mean working until 8 or 9pm. You’re just doing whatever needs to be done that day, and you know in advance that you’re going to work hard at it to get it done as fast as possible.

Q: What has been the most challenging thing you’ve had to overcome as a newbie in the house-flipping arena?

A: Getting funding. You really have to dig sometimes for funding options, but it’s all about networking and doing all the research you can until you exhaust your options or find the right source.

Q: What goes into deciding which properties are worth flipping?

A: The comparable sales in the area. This plays directly into the projected profit of the project. If you can get a house for $70,000 and put $50,000 in it, and you have a good chance of being able sell it for $150,000 based on recent sales in the area, it’s worth it. You really have to think about it from all angles though. You have to make sure the house is structurally sound and in a good area. You have to look at everything and see how much money is involved.

Q: Since normally you go into a project without a specific buyer lined up, how do you approach the design of the house? More specifically, how do you make it generic enough to appeal to a large audience and yet personalize it enough to help potential buyers see themselves in the house?

A: You find what’s modern and what’s selling. Go to Lowe’s and ask what’s the number one paint seller or number one cabinet seller. Google it. Get ideas from social media – especially Instagram.

Q: What are some of the biggest misconceptions, you think people have about house-flipping as a profession/side-gig?

A: That you have to have to have all of the money up front and pay out of your own pocket for a property. Ideally, you get to that point eventually, but when you’re first getting into it, you have to explore a lot of different options for funding, whether it’s a loan from the bank or other investors.

Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see other house-flippers make?

A: Subbing out too much work. Learning to do a lot of work yourself will save you in the long run. Another thing is work done that’s not high quality. You also have to be careful about buying in the wrong areas and expecting too much for property that was cheaply renovated or in a less-than-appealing area.

What resources do you use to determine whether a house is in an ideal area?

A:  Zillow, Geographic Information Systems, or really any real estate website.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of the job so far?

A: A happy buyer. It’s a good feeling when your buyer is excited about the house after all the work you put into it.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue house flipping?

A: The main thing is to do your research – find investors, call 100 people and get different people to invest with you. And if you do have to sub out, call another 100 people to make sure you’re getting the best price for quality work.


— Hannah Bartlett


Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse Buck Properties, LLC