Houses That Sell

There are different types of houses that sell, just as there are differing reasons as to what motivates people to buy a home in the first place.

Obviously, home buyers will go for what they can reasonably afford within their budget.

People looking for starter homes, as well as medium-priced housing, represent a significant sector of potential buyers.

Throughout the United States you will find that a large segment of homes that were built within the last 40 – 50 years (50’s through the 70’s) are attractive to many people mainly because they’re affordable, and in established neighborhoods near schools, shopping, entertainment, etc.

House sold

But most people, especially young families, do not want to purchase a fixer-upper – of any kind – if they can avoid it. They want a move-in-ready house, one that they can grow with. And, as the family gets bigger, eventually move up to bigger and better housing.

The good part for house flippers is that many of these houses throughout the country need a lot of upgrades and general renovation. This is something many people simply don’t want, nor have the time to do.

Enter the house flipper, the guy or gal who wants to take something old and in disrepair, and make new again. The common denominator in any successful house flip, is the age factor. It’s the houses that are affordable for you to fix up, and sell on your own.

What Makes ‘Houses That Sell’ So Attractive

With the following list, we break down a few of the ‘proven’ houses that sell – and why. This list certainly doesn’t represent the only houses that are attractive to prospective home buyers, but rather in general terms.

These types of homes are common to cities, large, small, across the country. And, again, as with any investment property, there are risks involved.

Starter Homes
Usually houses that see in this range tend to be anywhere from 850 sq ft. to 1250 sq. ft. in size. Typically, they have 2 – 3 bedrooms and one bathroom surrounding a small-to-average size kitchen and family room. The house is usually a ranch style that sits on a slab (concrete), or a crawl space (concrete block). There usually is no original garage present. However, more people over the years have added small (1 – car), or medium sized (1 1/2 – car) garages.

You will find that many of these types of homes were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s as a result of the post war baby boom. Huge single-family sub divisions sprang up all over the United States to accommodate the rapidly expanding first-time home buyers.

As you research different houses that sell and search for viable flipping opportunities, take notice of the older, more established neighborhoods in your hometown, and see if you can find a house that’s ripe for renovation.

It is within this housing segment that I started many years ago (and continue to do so) with flipping houses. I was certainly pleased with the results, and am sure you will be too, when you find a nice fixer-upper within this “houses that sell” segment.

The reason why these types of houses are so attractive for flipping, is the relative ease with which you can purchase and renovate without feeling like you’re mortgaging your whole future down the drain.

Medium-Priced Older Homes
These particular houses that sell are usually found in well-established neighborhoods closer to the city. The neighborhoods themselves were built usually anywhere from the late 1940’s on up through the early 1960’s. The house design primarily consists of two-storey with 3 – 4 bedrooms, 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 bathrooms, living room, family room, and basement. Also, a front porch and 1 – 2 car garage generally round out the basic living space. The size of the house can be from 1300 sq ft to 2000 sq ft.

As stated earlier, these homes are very desirable because they are generally located within firmly established, popular parts of town, usually within a short (walking) distance of nearby schools, shopping malls, grocery stores, churches, doctors offices, parks, etc.

The central location makes great neighborhoods to raise kids – yet another very important trait to consider. A major issue is that these types of properties are almost always way more expensive to purchase and renovate (than starter homes) even if not in great shape. They are, however, also very attractive to potential buyers and will proportionately sell higher as well.

Old Neighborhood Homes
When I refer to “old” neighborhood here, I’m talking about the much older, well-established areas of town where houses that sell at a premium are considered a ‘destination address’.

You know, the stately 2 to 3 storey brick and clapboard homes that sit on wide, tree-lined avenues (‘parkways’) with huge sidewalks. These house were generally built around the turn of the century (1900’s) and tend to be in parts of the city or town that is considered upscale and trendy.

Whatever you want to refer the area as, the average (certainly first-time) house flipper should have no business flipping a house in this zip code. Much too pricey and unpredictable, sometimes even for the experienced contractors. This segment is usually left to the pros who do this sort of thing for a living on a much larger scale.

A person can make great money on this type of flip, if you’ve got the resources and expertise available to you. And if you’ve got the money to buy investment property such as this, but don’t necessarily have the expertise to pull it off, look at hiring a qualified contractor to renovate the property for you.

Just do your homework before buying, and be aware that it could be very expensive. If you come across a piece of property in a neighborhood that’s just too good to pass up, by all means investigate it. Talk to a contractor you feel comfortable with, and get an expert’s opinion to see if it’s worth looking into.

Again, as with any investment property decision, anytime you buy a house to fix up and resell, you’re taking a risk. But by staying within only what you can definitely afford and having a good understanding of the types of houses that sell, we think you can come out on top every time.

Eliminating ‘Pretenders’

Whenever I go on a casual search around town looking for flip opportunities, I go through a mental checklist to see if the chosen houses even fall under any of the criteria I’ve set forth when deciding to move forward or not. Simple, but effective for determining the types of houses that sell.

After doing this process on several houses, you’ll get to the point where you’ll be able to assess the worthiness of a project in a matter of minutes.

As a result of on-going searches, you’ll probably want to develop your own house flip checklist with specific aspects that you’re comfortable with.

Is prospective property in a desirable location?

  • Are there schools, grocery stores, churches, doctor offices, parks, etc. nearby?
  • Easily accessible to (from) other locations?

Is the house in good, not-so-good, or poor condition?

The condition of the house is a crucial factor that will directly determine what you’ll ultimately realize in profit.

The more you are able to reasonably renovate and upgrade, the more attractive you can make a house that will sell for a nice price. You should, however, be cautious and wise with how you spend your money when renovating. It can be very tempting to spend a lot more than is necessary to make a house attractive to prospective owners.

Am I able to purchase the property for a reasonable price?

  • As a rule of thumb, the better condition a piece of property is in, the more you’ll pay for it, and the less you’ll ultimately make on the back end (sale). Conversely, the more a house is in disrepair, the more room you have to perform valuable upgrades.

Does the location lend itself to a reasonably quick sale?

  • Is it a popular neighborhood?
  • Is it a “destination” neighborhood, or an area populated with starter homes.

You can certainly make money with any house in any type of neighborhood, but by knowing your market ahead of time will help you define your search to specific areas with houses that sell.

All of which leads to a good question regarding any house you look at … Is it worth flipping?

As we stated earlier, once you get comfortable with the preliminary points to consider when looking at houses, you’ll become very adept at what will make a house candidate attractive or not to flip.

If you’re not comfortable with making such a decision, talk to a few real estate agents or general contractors, and get some feedback on what they think the possibilities hold for any house you think might be a good flipping choice.

With a solid opinion regarding renovation, a contractor’s expert knowledge can help you avoid a potential money pit as well as knowing all the tricks of the trade that can help you with your flip.