The secrets to successful house flipping



Buying, renovating and selling homes is what Tom Hall does for a living. In the past 10 years he has flipped five houses and made an enviable profit.

His most recent project was a four-bedroom house in Melbourne’s bayside Hampton, which he purchased for $1.25 million in 2013. Hall made major improvements to the house, including a revamped al fresco dining area and new kitchen, at a total cost of $230,000.

He’s hoping to recoup these expenses and turn a sizeable profit when the house goes on the market for more than $2 million this spring.

… to this. Photo: Supplied

Hall, an electrician and former real estate agent, says successful house flipping takes hard work, perseverance and a handful of simple rules.

Start small

Amateur renovators shouldn’t bite off more than they can chew. Select a small property as your first project with a view to buying a bigger one for your second.

He turned summertime sadness … Photo: Supplied

“If you start with something small there’s less risk,” Hall says.

“I started with a one bedroom apartment in Carnegie. I had to earn my own deposit, bought it, sold it and doubled my money in three years so it was a good start.”

Buy at the right price

… into a poolside retreat. Photo: Supplied

Research the property market to find a place that offers good potential capital growth. Familiarise yourself with sales data so you know a good deal when you see one.

Thorough research could see you bag a bargain, which means reaping a bigger reward once the renovations are complete.

“One of the most important things is buying at the right price, that’s one of the main things I look for,” he says.

And while this Queen Anne may indeed look fit for a queen … Photo: Supplied

Negotiate a long settlement period

A 90-day settlement will give you time to draft designs and organize trades well in advance of your start date.

“If you have a 30-day settlement, you haven’t got as much time,” Hall says.

… it wasn’t always the case. Photo: Supplied

Tailor to a target market

Some renovators make the mistake of customizing their improvements for their own purposes. But Hall recommends keeping a specific demographic in mind. A couple without children was the prime market for a one-bedroom property in Windsor, which he purchased for $475,000. Adding a loft-style bedroom for guests or to use as a study helped fetch a sale price of $850,000.


Every little bit counts when it comes to shaving down costs. Always ask for a trade discount when you’re buying supplies, keep an eye out for sales and make the most of the connections who can offer you wholesale prices.

by Kate Jones

Monday 21 Sep 2015

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