When my dad finally retired from the military and decided he wanted to call one place home, he surprised us all by coming to Portland. We all assumed he’d end up in a small desert town somewhere that seemed custom-made for retirees, not back in the big northwestern city that had only gotten bigger since he left decades ago. But, with us kids and even some of his siblings, a return to his old stomping grounds was probably inevitable.
Not surprisingly, he immediately started looking into small business ideas for veterans when he moved back. He said he just wanted to keep himself busy in retirement. But, I knew the truth: he wanted to dedicate his time and energy to something bigger than himself and, if possible, make some money doing it. So, I suggested he start flipping houses here in Portland, Oregon, like me. He’d already have a leg up growing his business by having me around for pointers. And, with his work ethic, I had no doubt that once he learned how to start, it would just be a matter of when.
Why Flipping Houses in Portland Oregon is Good for Business
Most people, I find, don’t think of Portland as a place you retire to. They think of it more as a place you move to so you can build a career as an upstart out of college or find more work-life balance that larger cities, like Los Angeles, don’t typically offer. Since Portland attracts people from all walks and stages of life, however, this city is unique. It’s also part of what makes building a good business out of flipping houses possible.
After all, in order to make money flipping houses, it helps to have a market in which there are homebuyers eager to get in. That’s Portland. The city’s population rose through international migration over the last year or two and, domestically, more people moved in than moved out, too. As long as families continue to get priced out of cities like L.A., the number of new Portland residents is expected to keep growing.
Living where unemployment is significantly lower than the national average and the minimum wage more than double the federal standard is a big draw, too. It also helps to have corporate giants like Nike and Columbia Sportswear headquartered—and hiring—nearby. All this adds up to a thriving economic outlook—and a potentially robust housing market—for you to invest in.
Already, more than half of Portland’s residents are homeowners and still more are clamoring to get in—especially in neighborhood hot spots such as the Pearl District downtown, Sellwood, and Lents. That’s kept the median home sales price throughout the city on the rise and the average number of days on the market, reasonable. Once you find investment properties to flip, if you can keep your purchase price and rehab costs low, realizing potentially decent returns when you sell should be no problem in this market at all.
How to Find Portland Property to Flip on a Regular Basis
The key to finding homes that you can buy, renovate, then sell is knowing where to look as well as how to generate the best motivated home seller leads. Typically, it’s up-and-coming neighborhoods that hold the most investment promise since demand for housing is on the rise and the cost to enter the market may still be low. The following communities, in particular, are seeing an uptick in popularity that’s reflected in their respective local housing market’s numbers. According to Realtor.com, the data is looking pretty good for these neighborhoods:
Neighborhood Y-O-Y List Price Change Sale-to-List Price
|Hazelwood||⇪ over 7%||💯+|
|Brentwood-Darlington||⇪ almost 7%||💯|
|Montavilla||⇪ over 6%||💯|
|Powellhurst-Gilbert||⇪ over 6%||💯|
|Centennial||⇪ almost 4.5%||💯|
To find the best real estate deals in any Portland neighborhood, your best bet is always going to be to connect with distressed homeowners. Foreclosure starts are usually a good indication that some homeowners are struggling. A high number of homes being auctioned or repossessed by the bank are other tell-tale signs. And, though foreclosure starts are down overall in the U.S., they’re up by 16% here in Rip City. Additionally, home auctions spiked late last year and bank repossessions soared during this time, too.
This may appear to fly in the face of an otherwise thriving local economy, but the fact is not every homeowner can handle all of their expenses. High medical bills, the death of a spouse, and even divorce stretch some homeowners so thin that they can’t financially recover unless they sell the house. Oregon has the third-highest property tax rate, too. And, tax bills can put retirees on a fixed income in the red.
To find and buy properties that homeowners are at risk of losing, most investors use at least one of these methods for generating leads:
- Customized lead lists that target struggling homeowners, such as those who’ve been served with a Notice of Default or have filed for divorce from a spouse.
- Foreclosure auctions held by the city’s Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services as well as the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, both located in Portland.
- Advertising in papers, like the Portland Tribune, or on social media.
- Knocking on the doors of older, smaller, out-of-date homes or those that have deferred maintenance or have obvious damage.
- Direct mailers such as fliers, postcards, and brochures.
Unfortunately, none of these methods on their own is enough to keep a real estate investment business going strong, even if you initially find a house or two to flip. And, for flipping houses to be a profitable venture, you’ve got to find below-market deals on a regular basis—whether the area is up-and-coming or stable and long-established. That’s why many real estate investors end up stringing together several of the above strategies. It’s an exhaustive process that, ultimately, yields few satisfactory results.
The best strategy for finding homes to buy, renovate, and sell consistently is to devise a marketing plan that drives distressed homeowners to you.
Growing Your Network to Support Your Efforts
In addition to getting your hands on enough good leads to build and scale your business, it’s critical that you grow your network of support, too. Depending on where you take classes on flipping houses, there may be a few fellow students who become both friends and trusted career colleagues. A skilled teacher who’s also an active investor may be willing to stay in touch or even mentor you as well.
But, even good programs that offer comprehensive training for real estate investors won’t get you connected with an experienced network as quickly as you might need. Former classmates will have roughly the same skill set as you and teachers may only have the time, or the interest, to advise on so much—unless you’re willing to pay through the nose. And, you’ll still need referrals for experts such as electricians in addition to recommendations on how to handle stressful market fluctuations.
Since both obstacles and opportunities will never cease coming your way, you need to surround yourself with Portland investors who’ve already been through it all. They’ve got to be available and interested in your success, too. Of course, building a strong, dedicated network typically takes a lot of time. But, there are avenues you can take to speed up the process. For example:
- Start by ensuring that your house flipping training is taught by one of the best programs in the city and that your education comes with access to past regional alumni.
- Attend real estate investing courses and seminars in the evenings or on weekends—whenever you can. Your goal: meet as many Portland investors as possible.
- Join clubs and associations, but not just for real estate investors. Industry trade groups, like Associated Builders and Contractors of the Pacific Northwest, may let you join, too.
In looking over these suggestions, if it seems like building a reliable network might still take a lot of effort—and some trial-and-error—you’re not too far off the mark. But, doing something is always going to be better than nothing when you’re starting a career flipping houses and need access to support.
Of course, just as the city itself has something for everyone, there is a team that has almost everything you need to get going in your new investing career. And, better than starting a real estate investing company from scratch, is joining a team that gives you access to leads and built-in support, in addition to a solid investing education, so that you can get to flipping homes faster.
The Business Model That Can Get You Started Today
I knew when I finished school at the University of Portland that I was headed into a real estate career. The truth is, I knew a year or two before I finished. But, I continued going through the academic motions to mostly make my dad proud. I also flipped a few houses in my spare time. It helped me pay my way through school and taught me the value of hard work. When the time came to graduate, there was no looking back.
If I had not become an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, however, my limited experience and lack of resources might have landed me in debt. But, because I received comprehensive training on a tried-and-true business model that has helped franchisees buy more than 100,000 homes across 47 states, flipping houses in Portland, Oregon quickly became second nature. Of course, moving from part-time investing to full-time house flipping also meant I needed more qualified leads, one-on-one mentoring, and a bigger network of support. With HomeVestors, I got all that, too.
Joining the HomeVestors team that has given me some of the best tools and resources I needed to start investing built into the business model HomeVestors’ nationally-recognized “We Buy Ugly Houses®” ad campaign continues to regularly drive distressed homeowners my way. My Development Agent still stands at the ready to advise me when it’s time to take my business to the next level. The network of experienced regional franchisees that’s been supporting me from day one is also there, too.
It was one of the best business decisions I ever made. My dad agrees; he’s already well on his way to his second fulfilling career as a professional real estate investor.
Franchise opportunities with HomeVestors are limited, so request more information about becoming a Portland franchisee to start flipping houses today!