Just after stepping out of Nutter Hardware and Rental the other day, an old college friend from years back called to ask me about getting hard money loans for investing in real estate. He’d recently decided to become an investor like me and needed some guidance on how to start buying and rehabbing houses to resell. After we hung up, a young guy named Steve approached me outside the store to ask if I was flipping houses here in Columbus, Ohio. Having overheard my phone conversation, he was hoping I’d be able to give him some pointers on how to get started, too—assuming the city’s real estate market was still hot enough to make it worth him leaving his corporate job to start a business as an investor.
What You Need to Know to Start Flipping Houses in Columbus, Ohio
Deciding to become a real estate investor anywhere in the U.S. tends to raise all sorts of questions about market volatility, but it seems to me that Columbus, in particular, has recently taken the hot seat. By April of 2018, for example, our city was listed among the country’s top ten hottest real estate markets by Realtor.com based on how quickly homes were flying off the shelf. Just a few months later, the Columbus edition of The Business Journal reported that new data compiled by the same agency showed the city had moved into second position—above the historically hot markets of Boston and San Francisco. And, with homes in the region only sitting on the market for an average of 23 days, it doesn’t look like Columbus is set to cool off anytime soon. People want to buy homes here, which makes would-be investors, like Steve, think about investing here—and, also pause to wonder if the best entry point has passed them by.
It can appear, sometimes, that the worst time to try to make a good business out of flipping houses is when a market seems to be peaking. When homes are selling as fast as they are in Columbus, for example, inventory can get squeezed and, in turn, propel median home sales prices to new heights. And, median home sales prices here have more than doubled in the last two years. So, if you started buying houses to renovate and resell even just a year ago, and have the right tools on hand to correctly calculate the numbers, it’s possible you’ve been able to make a great living flipping homes, as I have. But, it’s actually when the market is riding high, like it is now, that you may be able to see some of the best returns possible—if you have a way to find distressed homes in an increasingly competitive city, like Columbus.
Some of the best areas you’ll want to try to find fixer-upper homes for sale are in the city’s high-demand suburbs. With highly-rated schools and a low incidence of crime, Upper Arlington and Bexley are perfect examples. But, neighborhoods from North to South Columbus are gaining in popularity, too. The reasoning has as much to do with the growing appeal of these communities specifically as it does with the rising standard of living for most of the city’s residents generally. Unemployment is low at only 3.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, providing individuals and families throughout the metropolitan Columbus area with the means, and the desire, to take on a mortgage. And, since the cost of living is lower in Columbus than nearby cities like Chicago, money can go a lot further here—especially on a home. So, it won’t likely be long before most of metro Columbus is on potential homebuyers’ shortlists.
But, to have a long investing career, no matter when you enter the market, you have to have an effective strategy for generating leads on real estate owned by homeowners in distress. That’s what makes it possible to find off-market properties that you can buy for below-market prices in any neighborhood. People need to offload their homes and free up their finances for a variety of reasons, like rising medical costs, even in hotspots like Columbus. And, when you can help them by providing a “solutions to ugly situations®,” it’s possible to also help yourself to a healthy ROI—especially as median home sales prices continue to rise.
So, though it’s important to understand the local real estate market and how it may or may not affect your investing opportunities, there’s more to successfully flipping houses in Columbus than market volatility alone. In fact, if you don’t have the right tools and resources to support your business, even in the most favorable of markets, your returns—and, your livelihood—could fall apart. But, I’ll tell you what I tell every new investor, including my new friend Steve. The place where you can get everything you need to give your real estate investing company a real leg to stand on is the same place that’ll train you how to invest almost anywhere.
All You Need to Get You On Your Investing Way
Originally from Columbus, I started my investing career here long before it was cool to do so. But, because I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee right out of the gate, I did alright even before things got hot. Thanks to my training and some of the best tools and resources that I gained immediate access to, I also survived market shifts where other investors didn’t. The nationally-known and trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaign alone has generated enough distressed homeowner leads to keep me busy during good times and bad. So, I’ve had all that I needed to help me work hard at successfully flip houses from the moment I entered the market.
Whether you’re an old hat like me and simply need better leads, or just starting your career as a professional real estate investor, like Steve, HomeVestors can help get you on your way. And, if you bring your work ethic along and a will to succeed, you might find it’s a great time to flip houses here or anywhere. Contact HomeVestors for more information about becoming a independently owned and operated HomeVestors franchisee today.
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