Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Flipping houses for "fun" and profit

It's still January.

Not much blog fodder around here in January.

I put my daughter and grandson on a plane this morning. Kris flew back to Europe too. Having the big kids gone sucks a lot of excitement out of the daily grind. about we climb back into the old Time Machine and I'll tell you another story from

Our Family: In The Beginning...

This was our first home. It was located in the fabulous metropolis of Flint, Michigan. Yes, the Flint, Michigan made famous by unemployment lines, vacant GM buildings and Michael Somebody.

Living in an economically depressed area does have its advantages. My husband bought this two story, three bedroom, one bath house while we were engaged. He payed $2500 cash for it.

What? No. That is not a typo. I did not leave a zero off that number. He payed two thousand, five hundred dollars for the title to that house. It was downtown on a dead end "street" behind a credit union parking lot and right next to the place where he worked.

The house had been lived in for twenty years by an older lady who didn't do much to keep it up. Mr. Dirtywrench had to spend several months repairing, painting and carpeting the entire place. I won't write here about how I was not consulted at all on the colors or changes to this house. It was his house and he did it all. Really, it was sweet in an old-fashioned kind of way. Kind of like a nineteenth century prairie homesteader getting his cabin built before going into town to find himself a wife to milk the cow and cook up the vittles. We got married and I moved into a mostly finished house. I eventually got used to the blue walls and carpets, the bright yellow kitchen cabinets and orange dining room carpeting.

Hey! It was paid for! No mortgage. I'm not complaining. But guess who picks the paint colors now.

We lived in that house for four years and two babies. Just around the time it became evident that we needed to get out of the city, the credit union that was our neighbor decided they wanted to expand their parking lot. Long story short is that we bought the identical house next door for $5000 and then sold both houses to the credit union for $10,000. Still sounds kind of like the nineteenth century doesn't it? This was 1985.

The credit union then destroyed both houses and expanded their parking lot. We were able to first remove whatever we wanted to salvage like bath tubs and light fixtures and such. What a deal, right?

That $10,000 was then used as the down payment on a house in the country.

We know how to wheel and deal with the best of them donchaknow.

This twelve room farmhouse had a mother-in-law apartment and a price tag of $25,000. All the porches were falling off, the well was dry, the plumbing no good and someone stole the solid oak, beveled glass front door before we could move in, but it also had hard wood floors, lots of room to grow and space for a large garden. It took years of remodeling and work but these starter homes got our family's feet on the ground.

It's a hard thing for young families to do these days but with our U.S. economy swirling the bowl and so many foreclosures on the market, maybe there are some opportunities out there. Provided, of course, that people are employed and can pay the oppressive taxes imposed on us.

Sorry...sore subject.


  1. Good story. I had no idea you and pops were such entrepreneurs. Nice work. Two houses for 7500 sold for 10 grand. Good luck making that happen these days.

  2. Great story! That was a lot of work! And I inadvertently stole your title (kind of) for my post today. I hadn't even seen your post yet when I titled it. We must be on the same brain wave today...

  3. Kris- don't forget there was lots of money invested in the renovations also.

    Val- that's funny!

  4. Wow. I can't believe those prices. And the amount of work you must have put into the houses to get them livable! Great job.

  5. I wanted this post to be longer.

  6. Wow, i enjoyed your post. I am looking into buying a house and flipping for a profit. I am a new homeowner in my 1st house... which we got for a steal and flipped spending about $10,000 and making about $30,000 total...but wanting to make a business out of it for future homes. I heard you can buy a house for $500 in Detroit. You might need a bullet proof vest to get into it, but none the less, it's a steal...litereally?
    I wanted to mention a book that got my attention called, The Best Real Estate Investing Method…Ever! It's written by N. Xavier Arnold and is pretty well put together. I thought I would leave a little note to anyone else looking to flip.
    I would love a deal like you got, and congrats on the house you have. It's beautiful.
    I look forward to many more posts :)


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