Real Estate Flipper

Buy run-down houses, renovate them, and sell them for a quick profit.

What does a Real Estate Flipper do?

Real Estate Flippers buy homes that need renovations at below-market prices and resell them at a higher price after updating the properties. Sometimes the changes are cosmetic: You replace the shag carpet, powder blue bathroom tile and wood paneling. Sometimes the renovations are more involved: As a Real Estate Flipper, you hire Plumbers to install new pipes, Electricians to rewire the entire house and Landscapers to re-conceive an overgrown backyard.

This takes a lot of money upfront, in-depth knowledge of lending and mortgage trends, and guts, but with great risk, comes great reward. The risk: market flip flops. If you buy a house when the market is strong and it suddenly takes a tumble before you complete the upgrades, you might be out big bucks. The reward: In just two months as a Real Estate Flipper you can make more than some people do in one year.

To be a great Real Estate Flipper, you need impeccable time management skills. The longer your project takes to finish, the less money you will make. Keeping a project on budget often means prodding slow workers, firing ineffective ones and knowing which upgrades to downgrade when an unexpected fix (no one wants 2 feet of water in their basement) rears its ugly head. Depending on how extensive your plan is, you might also need the city to approve a building permit before construction even begins. You’ll need to allow time for that, too.

And who knows? Many shows on cable networks document flipping houses from beginning to end. You might just end up on the small screen, getting your 15 minutes of fame.