The Ultimate Guide to Flipping Houses in South Carolina

By 

Ben Mizes

Updated 

May 20th, 2019

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Whether you’re looking to expand your portfolio or you’re investing in real estate for the first time, flipping houses can be profitable. However, it’s a risky investment that takes skill and experience. Here’s what to know if you’re going to flip houses in South Carolina.

House flipping can be simply defined as purchasing a property, preferably at a low price, making any necessary repairs, and then reselling that property for a higher price, thus making a profit. The idea is to “flip” the house in as little time as possible.

Flipping houses, whether in South Carolina or elsewhere, is a legitimate investment opportunity for those seeking to get started with real estate investing or to expand their portfolios. However, it’s also one of the riskiest types of investments you can make.

While house flipping can be a profitable venture if done correctly, it’s not exactly as easy as the TV shows would have you believe. True, it can be an enjoyable experience that increases your cash flow and puts money in your pocket. But it can also be a financial disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Making beneficial and sound decisions when flipping houses is a lot trickier than you might think. Here are just a few of the considerations you need to take into account if you’re thinking about trying your hand at house flipping.

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2019 South Carolina Housing Market Analysis

The housing market in South Carolina is promising for buyers, sellers, and investors alike. The median home value, according to Zillow, is $166,300. South Carolina has experienced a 5.9% increase in home value in the last year, and values are expected to rise another 2.7% in the next year.

The median listing price is $249,900 and the median sale price is $178,800. Most homes spend an average of 81 days on the market. Statewide, about 9.5% of homes have negative equity, which is above the national average of 8.2%, and 14.1% of homes have a price cut associated with them.

Overall, there are many reasons to buy or invest in South Carolina real estate. It’s currently very affordable for most people to buy a home here, and rental demand is steadily increasing, which is great for investors.

The overall climate in South Carolina is very business-friendly. Over 1,200 international companies have chosen South Carolina to headquarter or build branches, and large companies such as BMW and Boeing, which are two of the largest employers in the state, have attracted both talented employees and other competitors, such as Volvo.

What’s more, South Carolina is a popular destination for retirees given its mild climate and friendly culture, which means investors and home sellers in the state have a great opportunity to sell at a decent price to a relatively steady stream of interested buyers.

Finally, remodeling and renovation costs in the area are relatively tame compared to other states, such as California. According to Manta, the average home remodeling costs in the Charleston metro area average out at $40,442. In Conway, that average is $38,570 and in Spartanburg it’s $39,143, so it’s fair to say that repair costs are around $40,000 on average statewide.

However, like any real estate market, the market in South Carolina is subject to change and shift as new policies are introduced and circumstances evolve. Novice house flippers will definitely need expert guidance when determining what the market is likely to do, how to time their purchase, what repair costs will be, and what they can expect to make in potential profit.

How to Turn a Profit When Flipping a South Carolina House

The main goal for any house flipper, of course, is to make a profit. An investment that doesn’t yield a profit isn’t a very good investment, after all. While there are several things you’ll have to consider when flipping houses in South Carolina, start by building your knowledge in the following areas.

Choose a Great Location

It’s a bit of a trope to say that real estate is all about location, but it’s not wrong. There are infinite repairs you can make to a home to ensure that it appeals to your ideal buyer, but there’s not much you can do about the neighborhood.

Be sure to choose an area that’s safe. You can check registries and statistics for the area to see how much crime occurs and determine the neighborhood’s relative safety from there. It’s also important to look for indications that an area is growing and that residents are happy there.

For instance, if you notice there are way more homes for sale than there are recently sold homes, that might be an indicator that people are leaving or that the market is in decline. Positive signs would include rising home values and an increase in sales.

Evaluate the Condition and Potential Repairs

Nothing sinks your profit margin faster than hefty repairs. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the home you’re purchasing is structurally sound. If you don’t have the opportunity to get the home inspected and you’re not well-versed in external signs of major issues, bring a knowledgeable person with you or learn about what to look for.

Try to find homes that only require minor renovations you can make quickly. Avoid places with roof damage, mold issues, or electrical problems as these are costly both in time and money.

Follow the 70% Rule

Know what you can afford to invest, and what you can afford to lose, before you make any calculations regarding your potential purchase. After you have a solid handle on your fiscal situation, you can apply the 70% rule to help narrow down how much you want to spend on your investment property.

The 70% rule states that you shouldn’t pay more for a house you intend to flip than 70% of its after repair value (ARV) less repair costs. In other words, the formula should look like this.

(ARV x 0.70) - Repairs = Maximum Investment

For instance, the median home value in South Carolina is $166,300. Let’s assume that’s your after repair value for a home you’re looking to purchase and flip. We can also assume a renovation cost of $40,000.

($166,300 x 0.70) - $40,000 = $78,410

So, in this scenario you wouldn’t want to spend more than $78,410 on the property you intend to flip.

Learn to Negotiate

Poor negotiations can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and missed opportunities. Negotiation skills are crucial in order to obtain the best deal and maximize your profits.

If you aren’t a practiced negotiator, you could risk losing a great deal of money. So, it’s beneficial to either learn how to negotiate or, more preferably, work with a real estate agent who’s good at negotiating.

Know How to Determine Market Value

You have to be able to know when you’re getting a good deal and when you’re not. If you don’t, you’ll have a hard time obtaining a profitable outcome. That’s where knowing how to determine market value comes in handy.

It’s equally important to know what to expect when you go to sell the property you’re flipping, and market value comes in handy there, too.

Your real estate agent can help you determine market value and provide specific valuations that can help you make strategic decisions, so if you’re not well-versed in market value, be sure to work with your realtor.

Paying Cash vs Taking Out a Loan

There are various ways to finance your initial purchase when looking to flip a house. The three most common methods include a home equity line of credit (HELOC), a home equity loan (HEL), and cash.

HELOCs and HELs both require you to use the home you currently own as collateral in order to obtain the funding you’ll use to purchase your investment property. This makes an already risky situation even riskier.

In a HELOC, you’re borrowing against the equity in your home. You receive a line of credit that you can use and pay back fairly fluidly, but the line of credit is directly attached to your home equity.

Similarly, a home equity loan is also attached to your home equity, but it’s a fixed amount that you borrow against it.

Either way, you’re substantially increasing the risk associated with flipping houses by using your own home equity as collateral. If you can, consider using cash to fund your initial purchase. It’s far safer in the long run.

Best Cities in South Carolina for House Flipping

While there are many great areas to purchase an investment home, having a place to start your search can help you narrow down your options. Here are five of the most promising cities for investors in South Carolina.

Summerville

Summerville is an up-and-coming city with a median home value of $219,800. Property values here have risen 5.7% in the last year and are expected to rise another 3.1% in the next year. Values have risen over $59,000 in the last five years. The average home spends 64 days on the market.

Columbia

Columbia has a median home value of $134,000 with values that have risen 4.8% in the last year and are expected to climb another 2.5% in the coming year. The median list price is $189,900 and the median sale price is $140,800.

About 14.6% of homes have negative equity, which is much higher than the national average. For investors, this means there’s a likelihood that a good number of foreclosures will soon be on the market.

Rock Hill

Rock Hill has a median home value of $172,000, an increase of 7.6% in the last year. Home values in this city are expected to rise another 4.8% in the coming year. The median list price is $235,000 and the median sale price is $181,400. The average home spends about 56 days on the market, and there are usually a fair amount of foreclosures to choose from.

Tega Cay

The median home value in Tega Cay is $341,800. Home values have risen 5.8% in the last year and are expected to rise another 3.1% in the coming year. The median list price is $374,950 and the median sale price is $358,500.

There aren’t a lot of foreclosures in this area, but there are far more recently sold properties than there are properties for sale, which is a good indication that people enjoy living here and that more people are looking to settle here.

Hanahan

Hanahan’s median home value is $237,500. Home values here have risen by 4.7% in the last year and are expected to rise another 1.4% in the coming year. The median list price is $289,000, the median sale price is $212,700, and the average home spends about 61 days on the market. While there’s a significant lack of foreclosures in this area, the fact that 23.9% of homes have a discount associated with them means you can still find some great deals.

Next Steps

It’s easy to see just how complicated the process of house flipping can be. While it’s important to be well-versed on the basics of house flipping, it’s just as important to work closely with a local, experienced real estate agent in your area who can help guide you through the process.

Clever can help. Clever Partner Agents are full-service agents that work for a fraction of the typical commission rate. This means you can obtain expert guidance during the purchasing and selling processes while maximizing your profit, earning a great price for your flip, and enjoying a relatively smooth process.

Get in touch with Clever today to get your house flipping adventure started.

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