What Does it Take to Flip a House? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

What Does it Take to Flip a House?

Posted: Updated:
NBC Right Now dug into the details on what it takes to flip a house. NBC Right Now dug into the details on what it takes to flip a house.

KENNEWICK, WA - People spend hours in front of the TV watching home improvement shows like Flip My House. In an hour or less, it seems a house can be totally revamped and sold for double or even triple what it was paid for. 

But, it's not quite that easy, especially locally.

Fixing and flipping can open the door for all kinds of opportunity. But be ready to pay a pretty penny for plumbing, electrical, appliances...

"They always need paint and carpet. But you can have heating and air. Buyers expect to have updated windows," said property investor Ira Hickman.

At minimum, you'll spend $15,000 on improvements and repairs. That's after you have bought the house you plan to flip. 

Ira Hickman has been doing this for more than a decade. He said just a few years ago, he could find hundreds of cheap homes for sale on any given day.

"Then the market changed. Now there are very few foreclosures, relatively, and the prices are much higher. There's a very small gap between what you can buy them for and what you can sell them for," said Hickman.

"I can do up to three or four houses a year if the price is right and there's room for a profit margin at the end of a sale," said another property investor, Tom Rivard.

It can take as little as six months to completely get a house and remodel it. 

Shawnna Morris is right in the middle of that process with one of the homes she's working on.

"What's next for this house is contractors will come in and give us bids to put the home back together and after, we decide which contractor to hire, they'll see this project through and then we will put the house on the market," said Morris.

She bought that house for right around $30,000, plans to dump $50,000 into it and then resell it for up to $110,000.

"The key is to find a location that is going to work. Make sure there's comparables around it that are going to sell you property. Make sure you don't put too much money into the property where you're not going to get that money back," said Rivard.

In Washington, you have to be a licensed contractor to legally flip houses.