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14 min read Nov 13, 2023

Flipping Houses in Illinois: 7 Best Tips to Flip Successfully

Big TV shows and YouTube channels have glamorized home flipping in the Prairie State. The profits seem big and the process seems easy.

Unlike what you see on TV though, flipping homes in the current real estate housing market requires careful planning and budgeting. In this article, we’ll look at strategies you can leverage to flip homes for profit, even in a down market.

Key Takeaways

  • Is House Flipping Profitable in 2023? Yes! If you get the basics right, flipping homes in Illinois is easier in 2023 than flipping homes in 2021’s competitive market.
  • You Make Money When You Buy Your Flip: Stick to the home flipper’s 70% rule. Buy in a good location. And make sure to inspect the property thoroughly before purchasing.
  • Don’t Cut Corners in the Rehab: Replace that leaky roof and install a new HVAC. Pull permits and build to codes. And stay within budget.
  • Don’t Pay Full Realtor Commission When Selling: Every successful home flipper we know saves thousands on agent commissions by selling via a Flat Fee MLS service.

What Does Flipping Houses Mean?

House flipping is a strategy where an investor purchases a property to renovate it and sell it for a profit. The house to be flipped is a short-term real estate investment. The goal is to hold on to it for only as long as it takes you to rehab it. And then list it and sell it!

Home flippers will buy homes from the MLS. But they will also buy cheap homes such as distressed, off-market, and inherited properties to fix and flip.  Flippers then make repairs and resell them on the open market. These repairs can be major structural repairs or minor cosmetic repairs.

Successful home flippers in IL have two things in common:

  • They Buy Properties at a Discount: Home flippers buy properties to rehab at a significant discount, oftentimes 30% to 70% off the property’s market value.
  • They Save on Commissions When Selling: They list on MLS for a small flat fee and save thousands of dollars in real estate agent commissions.

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Is Flipping Houses Profitable in Illinois?

Yes! According to ATTOM Data Solutions, despite selling in a down market home flippers made a 26.9% profit in 2022.

Most experts are predicting a real estate market crash in 2023. A smart home flipper will see this market as an opportunity to buy homes for cheap and make a profit.

Pros and Cons of Flipping a House in Illinois

✅ Pros of Flipping Houses

  • Great Profit Margins: You can make thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars when flipping a home. Successful home flippers make more than 26.9% profit on flips.
  • Convert Sweat Equity to Real Equity: Flipping a house is a crash course in all things real estate. You’ll learn to do small to medium-sized repairs, and add value by updating flooring, colors, and tiles.
  • You Can Do it Part-Time: Contrary to popular wisdom, you can absolutely flip houses on the side. You can work on the flip on nights and weekends. If it is not a major project, you can complete it in a few months.

❌ Cons of Flipping Houses

  • Your Flip Could Turn into a Money Pit: If you don’t inspect the flip thoroughly before purchasing, you may miss major issues. Structural issues, water damage, mold, electrical problems, plumbing, HVAC, etc — cost a lot to fix.
  • Pricey Labor Costs: Repairs beyond your skill set will require you to pay other professionals to come and fix them. Electrical, plumbing, roofing, and structural jobs can be expensive.
  • Your Money is Tied Up: If you’ve purchased your flip with your own money, it’s important to sell it fast. The longer you hold the flip, the more expensive it will become. Property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and HOA (if applicable) can add up quickly. This is especially true if you have financed your flip – the additional interest payments can kill your profitability.

» Pros and Cons of Flipping Houses: If you’re smart, the benefits of flipping a house far outweigh the cons!

How to Flip a House in Illinois: 7 Tips for Flipping Houses Like a Pro

We have invested thousands of hours working with home flippers. Here are the 7 best tips for flipping houses in Illinois:

1. Location Location Location

Location is the single most important consideration when investigating a flip. A good location can boost the sale price of your renovated home. But a neighborhood with a high crime rate will discourage buyers.

Look for a property in a great neighborhood close to grocery stores, playgrounds, hospitals, schools, etc. Also, make sure that the property is close to where you live. That way, you’ll be able to easily oversee the progress at your flip.

2. Inspect Before Purchase

Hire a home inspector in Illinois to help you identify major and minor issues in the house. Houses with faulty structures will be expensive to fix and sell. Other things to inspect are plumbing, electrical, roofing, HVAC, foundation, and grading.

If the home inspection report identifies major issues, make sure to get a repair estimate. You’ll need to budget that cost in your flip accounting. If the repair estimates exceed your budget, then negotiate the sale price with the seller or find another home to flip.

» How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost in Illinois: Home inspection is absolutely critical for flippers. Learn how much it’ll cost in Illinois.

3. Stick to the Home Flipper’s 70% Rule

When purchasing a home to flip, do not pay more than 70% of the property’s After Repair Value (ARV). Ensure to exclude the rehab costs during purchase.

    ✍️ The Home Flipper’s 70% Rule

    Professional flippers swear by the 70% Rule. The rule states that you should only pay 70% of the After Repair Value of the home, minus the rehab costs.

    70% Rule Formula: Your Purchase Price = After Repair Value x 0.70 – Rehab Costs

    Let’s take an example. Let’s assume the rehab cost estimate is $30,000. So, how much should you pay for a home that you expect to sell for $500,000?

    Your Purchase Price = $500,000 x 0.70 – $30,000 = $320,000

4. Fund Your Flip

The average expense to fix a house is between $17,900 – $78,560. It is vital to ensure you are funding the flip fully. If you don’t have your own funds, finalize a source of funding to ensure you don’t have to stop mid-way.

Did you know you can flip a home with no money? Hard money lenders and private investors will fund your flip if you find a great deal. Some small business lenders also help fund flips. If you are unsure whom to ask for help, then mortgage brokers in Illinois can help you identify the right lender.

5. Buy a House to Flip

After you secure funds, buy a house in Illinois to repair and sell. Your profits at the end of the flip greatly depend on the price you pay to buy the home. You may suffer a significant loss if you purchase a cheap house in a bad locality. But a house in a desirable location or neighborhood will maximize your flipping profits.

Look for investment properties that are accessible to you, or find homes listed on the MLS in your area. You can also try online marketplaces like HouseCashin and Roofstock who specifically sell properties to investors. Be patient and explore to find the best property that fits your budget and expectations.

6. Do High-Quality Repairs

Make sure you put in the time and effort to rehab your flip the right way. If you are building any additions, be sure to pull permits. Also pull permits for electrical, plumbing, and HVAC jobs.

The fundamentals of your flip have to be sound but don’t just stop there. Elevate the aesthetic appeal of the house. Many buyers judge a house on its curb appeal. So, mow the grass, landscape the lawn, and apply a fresh coat of paint on the house.

7. Save Thousands When You Sell Your Flip

After repairs, selling a house in Illinois is the most crucial step in house flipping. If you are unsure how to sell the house, then these 4 points will help you:

  • List on the MLS: Homes listed on the MLS sold faster and for 17% more than homes not on the MLS, according to a recent Bright MLS study. MLS is the most powerful tool for home flippers. To sell your home fast in Illinois, list it on the MLS.
  • Learn to Promote the Flip: Unless you know a potential buyer, it will be difficult to find a buyer quickly. Use the internet and social media platforms to promote your flip online. Try other creative ways to sell a house fast by getting a yard sign, calling a staging company in Illinois, or hosting an open house.
  • Save With Full-Sevice Agents: Some of the real estate brokers in Illinois have years of experience in the real estate industry and can guide you during the flip. They can negotiate the best offer for your renovated property during the sale.
  • Use Flat Fee MLS Services: House flippers can choose a flat rate MLS listing service to list without a Realtor.

» Flat Fee MLS Illinois: Check out our rankings for the best Flat Fee MLS companies who can help you list your flip.

How Much Does It Cost to Flip a House?

House flipping is not cheap. It not only requires funds for the flip but also your time and efforts. Let’s have a look at the overall expenses when it comes to flipping houses:

💸 Your Money

Home acquisition is the major expense while house flipping in Illinois. Another significant expense is the renovation costs which can go up to $48,241. But you cannot skip repairs during a house flip in Illinois, so this cost is unavoidable.

Sweat equity is one way to maximize your profits if you do repair work yourself. But If you hire contractors, plumbers, or electricians, you must pay for their service. The standard charge for labor is $20 to $150 per hour.

Other costs include:

  • Holding Costs: Holding costs are expenses you pay as you hold onto the property. They include property taxes, property management fees, HOA, utility bills, and regular maintenance items like lawn mowing.
  • Rehab Costs: These include the costs to inspect the home, labor, material, and permits.
  • Home Selling Costs: These are typically 5% to 8% of your sale price. Selling costs include Realtor commissions, title fees, recordation fees, etc.
  • Marketing Costs: These include the costs to list on the MLS, flyers, yard signs, etc.

Your Time

Flipping a house in Illinois will take months from purchase to sale, on average. This turnaround time will determine whether your home is a success or a flop.

If you find a big issue during the rehab, it can delay your flip by a month, sometimes more. Problem is, the longer you hold on to the property, the more money you will pay in holding costs. The flip should not empty your pockets. It needs to be worth your time and effort.

Remember to be cautious of the time it takes to rehab the home. You cannot afford to lose time, since you have to sell the house in this down market.

Can I Flip Houses With No Money?

Yes, you can start flipping houses with no money.

In 2022, 64.8% of the investment properties were purchased with the help of external funding. There are numerous mortgage lenders in Illinois who provide loans for real estate investing.

If you wish to fund your first flip without money then you may consider these options:

  1. Private Money Lenders: People who loan money to individuals or businesses on interest. The rate of interest ranges from 8% – 10% depending on the risk of the investment.
  2. Hard Money Lenders: These lenders provide loans for a short period and charge 10% – 12% interest while holding collateral. Many lenders prefer experienced flippers over beginners, but companies like Lima One Capital allow first-time flippers to apply for a loan too.
  3. Wholesaling Real Estate: It is a quick transaction where you help a motivated home seller find a buyer to purchase their home. According to Investopedia, you can earn 5% – 10% of your home price from the transaction to help fund your flip.

» Wholesale Real Estate in Illinois: Learn to fund your flip by wholesaling properties in Illinois.

How Long Does it Take to Flip a House?

The average time to flip a house is 164 days.

The home’s location, housing market conditions, and marketing efforts will influence how long it takes for you to complete a flip. 

But, you can sell your house quickly if you list it on MLS through Flat Fee MLS companies. Other advantages of listing on the MLS with a Flat Fee MLS listing company include:

  • Your flip gets the max exposure.
  • You save thousands on the seller’s agent commission by paying a small amount.
  • You can negotiate the sale price to ensure you earn a profit.

House Flipping Mistakes to Avoid

  • Not Planning Thoroughly: A flip cannot be successful if you don’t plan and execute it well. A first-time house flipper can fail to anticipate risks due to a lack of experience.
  • Not Having Enough Money: During the fix and flip process, there are bound to be more expenses than you predicted. It is necessary to have funds in times of such crisis.
  • Not Assessing the House Before Purchase: A distressed property with severe issues will burn a hole in your wallet and extend the flip. A house needs a thorough inspection before the purchase to avoid delays during the flip. Remember, a distressed property is an asset only if there are fewer repairs.
  • Not Investing in a Good Team: Suppose, your team members do not have much experience. Then, their inexperience will delay your fix and flip. Invest in a team of professionals who can speed up the process and work with you in the future.

Best Cities to Flip Houses in Illinois

Is Flipping Houses Worth It?

Yes! 10% of all homes sold in 2022 were flipped.

Flipping houses in Illinois can be an exciting venture. You’re hunting for deals, doing financial analysis, rescuing homes in disrepair, and selling them to excited and grateful home buyers. And you’ll pick up several useful skills along the road.

Home flipping obviously has risks, but with proper preparation and a good flipping strategy, you can mitigate these risks. You’ll do well even in the current Illinois real estate market.

When buying and flipping houses, you need to save on commissions when selling the house. Oh, and in between purchasing and selling, you have to do a great job in rehabbing the flip.

Your flip is someone’s American dream. You have to do justice to it!

Is 2023 a Good Market for Investors?

Redfin’s new report sheds light on the future of housing and investment market.

Houzeo is the Most Popular Selling Platform for Home Flippers

Wanna save thousands when selling your flip in Illinois? We’ve got you covered. See how for sale by owner list on MLS in Illinois works and why it is one of the best For Sale By Owner websites used by home flippers across Illinois!

» NEED MORE CLARITY? Read these exclusive Houzeo reviews and learn why it is one of the best FSBO sites in Illinois.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to flip houses with no money in Illinois?

An individual need not invest their own money in the flipping business. You can flip without money through other sources such as hard money lenders, private investors, wholesalers, flipping investors, home equity, and crowdfunding.

2. What type of loan is best for flipping a house in Illinois?

Since house flipping is a short-term project, it is recommended not to apply for long-term loans. Some forms of short-term loans include private lenders, cash-out refinances, and home equity lines of credit.

3. What is the 70% rule in house flipping?

The 70% rule is for home flippers to determine the maximum price they should pay for a property. The purpose of the rule is that they should spend no more than 70% of the home's after-repair value minus the costs of repairing the property.

4. Do you need a license to flip houses in Illinois?

No, you do not require a license to fix and flip houses in Illinois. If you are independently choosing to re-do a house and then use a real estate agent to make the sale, but if you want to sell it yourself you will need a real estate agent license.

5. How much does it cost to start flipping houses in Illinois?

To start flipping houses in Illinois you'll need approximately $228,698 to purchase a house to flip. Repairs, labor costs, are other costs to flip a house. 

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