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The Ultimate Guide to Flipping Houses in Nevada

If you’re considering investing in Nevada real estate, house flipping might be at the top of your list. Buying houses on the cheap and selling them for profit can provide a comfortable living. But there’s a lot more to it. Learn the ins and outs of flipping houses in Nevada with our guide.
If you’re considering investing in Nevada real estate, house flipping might be at the top of your list. Buying houses on the cheap and selling them for profit can provide a comfortable living. But there’s a lot more to it. Learn the ins and outs of flipping houses in Nevada with our guide.

House flipping has been a popular real estate investment trend for years and continues to thrive even in seller’s markets. The concept is simple: purchase a home, fix it up, then sell it for profit. There are thousands of investors who make their living solely by house flipping, but it’s a lot trickier than you might think.

If you’ve considered trying your hand at house flipping, here are a few considerations that will put this practice into perspective:

Section I: 2019 Nevada Housing Market Analysis

Before you start looking for Nevada properties to flip, it pays to understand the housing market at large. Right now, Nevada real estate is warm, which tends to favor the seller but isn’t hot enough to be considered a seller’s market. This usually means that the demand for homes in Nevada is slightly greater than the supply and could contribute to higher listing prices and home values.

The median home value in Nevada is $293,100, but this can vary by market. For example, the median home value in Las Vegas is below average at $275,000, while the median home value in Reno is significantly higher at $370,900.

Many factors contribute to these fluctuations, including local economies, unemployment rates, the weather, and other factors.

Would-be flippers would be smart to partner with a local, experienced real estate agent who knows a particular market inside and out. Your agent can give you insights on the market that can help you make an informed investment decision.

Section II: How to Tell if a Nevada Property is a Good Investment

Savvy investors know that some properties are better for flipping than others. It’s not always about getting the lowest selling price, but rather getting the biggest ROI for your efforts. How can you tell the difference?

One of the biggest telltale signs is finding a home priced below its market value. When you buy a home for less than it’s worth, you’re already on your way to making back your money (and then some). This is especially true if you can find a cheap home in a good neighborhood.

Also, it helps to look for features that are most attractive to Nevada home buyers. For example, one report showed that home buyers are most interested in storage, outdoor living space, hardwood floors, and exterior lighting. Homes that already have these features bring you one step closer to selling the home for profit.

Also, home size is an important consideration, particularly in an era of short-term rentals. Homes that may allow the owner to rent out a mother-in-law suite or bedroom for extra income can be more attractive to buyers, especially in tourist-heavy areas like Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. The larger you can make a home feel, the better chance you have of getting a satisfying ROI.

Before you make an offer, you’ll also want to consider the current condition of the property, the cost of repairs, closing costs, selling costs when you’re ready to sell, and how the flipped home will stack up to other similar homes in the area.

The novice house flipper will need expert guidance when assessing prospective investment properties, but even seasoned pros can benefit from the support a real estate agent offers, especially when conducting a comparative market analysis.

Section III: How to Turn a Profit When Flipping a Nevada House

Flipping a house for profit can be a risky investment, especially since market conditions can shift that could knock you out of an ROI. To mitigate your risk of losing out, there are a few things to keep in mind when investing in Nevada real estate:

Many top real estate investors recommend buying a home at 70% to 80% of its After Repair Value (e.g. what it will be worth after you flip it) minus the cost of repairs. You’ll need to have a good idea as to what the repairs will cost before you make an offer to ensure you get your money’s worth. If you’re planning on using contractors to do the work for you, it helps to work with the same ones so that you already know about what it will cost you.

Many investors follow the “$20 per square foot” rule. This means that for each square foot, it will cost roughly $20 to do a full cosmetic “rehab” on the home. Common repairs included in this estimate are new flooring, fresh paint, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and countertops, baseboards, electrical and plumbing fixtures, window treatments, and doors. You may also include a little landscaping and curb appeal if necessary.

Using this method, a 1,500 square-foot home will cost you roughly $30,000 in repairs alone. Add this to the cost of selling your home (e.g. MLS listing, real estate commissions, potential closing fees, real estate transfer tax, etc.) to determine the total cost of your flip.

Let’s put this into perspective on a Nevada home:

The median home value in Las Vegas is $275,000. The median price per square foot is $168, so we can assume the median home has a square footage of 1,637. Following the 70% and $20 per square foot rules, you would make an offer of $159,760 ($275,000 - $82,500 below value - $32,740 in repairs).

Between the purchase price and repairs, you’ll be paying $192,500 out of pocket. You’ll also need to factor in real estate commission fees (usually 6% of the home’s final selling price), real estate transfer fees ($1.95 per $500 in most counties), and potential closing costs.

If you want to resell the home for $275,000, your real estate agent commissions would be $16,500 and your transfer tax would be $1,072.50. Closing costs average around 3% of the home’s selling price and are usually paid by the buyer. However, many buyers may request the seller to pay some or all of the closing costs to secure the deal. Worst case scenario, you’ll be paying roughly $8,250 in closing costs.

This brings your estimated profit to $56,677.50.

Keep in mind this amount doesn’t take into account how long it takes your home to sell. In hot markets, you may have no trouble selling it as soon as it’s ready for viewing. But in cool markets like Reno, it may take a little longer to sell.

Section IV: Paying Cash vs. Taking Out a Loan

One of the biggest mistakes new house flippers make is not having enough cash on hand to do the job right. Some investors will take shortcuts or opt for the cheapest materials just to avoid getting a loan, but this isn’t always the best idea.

House flipping can be expensive, so how can you invest in real estate without money? In some cases, you may need to take out a loan to make the flip worthwhile.

However, taking out a loan can be just as risky as the flip itself. When you involve a lender, you’re betting on your ability to make a profit — and as you know, profits are never guaranteed when flipping homes. This means that even if you lose money on the deal, you still have to find a way to repay your lender. At least when you’re paying in cash, the only person affected is yourself.

Also, getting a loan means having to pay interest on that loan until it’s paid off. This can quickly eat into your profits. Using our above example, let’s say you get a loan for the $192,500 out-of-pocket costs and it takes you eight months to repair and sell the home. That’s eight months’ worth of interest, and at the current rate of about 4.5% for a 30-year mortgage, you’ll be giving roughly $5,732 back to the bank. That’s a sizeable chunk of your earnings!

Flippers don’t just have to rely on traditional mortgages from banks. HELOCs and HELs can be used to finance flips, as well as hard money loans or loans from family members or friends. Once you start making money from your flips, you may be able to rely solely on cash deals and skip lenders completely.

The best thing you can do is to explore every option available to you. Do your due diligence to learn the total cost of your financing to ensure you don’t end up with a negative ROI or loan balance that you’re unable to pay.

Section V: 5 Best Cities in Nevada for House Flippers in 2019

Flippers interested in the Nevada market may find the most success in the following markets:

Elko

Elko’s median list price has been declining in recent months and now sits at $255,000. Investors may want to wait a little longer to see if prices will continue to drop in the area in order to score the best deal.

Las Vegas

Given its role in Nevada tourism, housing in Las Vegas will always be in demand, particularly for investors looking for short-term rentals. Home values have risen 10.9% in the past year and are expected to rise another 6.2% this year. Demand has cooled slightly, so there’s less competition for investors looking for their next opportunity.

Carson City

Another symbol of Nevada tourism, Carson City’s housing market is booming. Home values have increased an impressive 16.7% in the past year alone and are expected to rise 9.9% within the coming year. However, homes tend to list for well more than their value, so investors should be on the watch for a savvy deal.

Battle Mountain

Battle Mountain’s delinquent mortgage rate is 2.0%, which is nearly double the national average. Investors will want to keep an eye on foreclosures that could be highly profitable flips for minimal work.

Spring Valley

Spring Valley homes have been on the up and up, rising nearly 10% in the past year with a projected 6.3% increase in the coming year. The market is neutral right now, giving investors a little more room for flexibility than other markets in Nevada.

Section VI: Next Steps for Nevada House Flippers

Nevada house flippers can be more successful when they work with an experienced agent, and Clever can help connect you with one in your area. Clever Partner Agents are top-rated and offer the same services as traditional agents, but work for reduced commission for sellers and provide a home buyer rebate for buyers.

Our reduced commission structure helps you get the highest possible margin on your flip and brings their expertise to the process for an optimal outcome.

Connect with Clever today for a no-obligation consultation!

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Luke Babich

Luke Babich is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save money on commission. He's an active real estate investor and licensed agent in St. Louis, with 22 units currently. Luke graduated from Stanford University and subsequently ran a historic data-driven campaign for University City City Council. Luke's writing has been featured in Homeland Security Today, Mashvisor, Payments Journal, and Bigger Pockets.

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