The cost to flip a house equals the sum of the acquisition cost, repair costs, carrying costs, marketing costs, and sales costs. Costs vary based on where the home is located, property type, and the extent of the renovations needed, but the total cost to flip a house is usually around 10% of the purchase price.
Our free fix and flip costs worksheet shows easy to follow calculations on the costs of flipping a house, including rehab costs, carrying costs, and a flipping house cost breakdown.
How much it costs to flip a house will be different from project to project. That’s part of what makes flipping real estate so appealing — it’s feasible on almost any budget. While the exact dollar amount for a flip will vary widely, each fix and flip project will typically have the same four expenses.
The four main costs of flipping a house are:
1. Purchase Price of Fix & Flip Property
Property acquisition is how much it actually costs to acquire the property. These costs include the purchase price of the property and the associated closing costs. The closing costs are the fees paid at the settlement of a real estate transaction, and they generally include title insurance and fees, transfer taxes, and financing fees.
The purchase price is how much you pay for a property. The purchase price includes the property itself and the land it sits on, and if it’s a single family or multi-family home. A condo or co-op does not include the land. The purchase price doesn’t include taxes or insurance, but depending on how the deal is structured, it may include appliances, custom window treatments, and light fixtures.
Before purchasing a property, there are two main things to consider: using comparable properties to see how they measure up to the property you are interested in purchasing, and then considering the rule of thumb, where you pay 70% of the after repair value (ARV) of a property minus the rehab costs. If you are new to house flipping, purchase a property that only needs cosmetic repairs, since this will make the costs easier to figure out.
We spoke with Lucas Machado, Real Estate Investor and President of House Heroes LLC. Lucas uses this formula to ensure profitable deals and avoid money-pits:
Maximum Allowable Offer = (ARV x .70) – Repair Cost
“This creates around a 30% margin by accounting for the most significant costs: purchasing the property and making repairs. It’s a quick measure indicating if it’s a good deal for the home flipper. We use a six-month metric as the key time frame, but go further back if necessary to evaluate enough comps to reach a higher level of certainty.”
Closing Costs When Purchasing a Fix & Flip Property
When purchasing a property to flip, you’ll be responsible for some of the closing costs pertaining to the deal. These costs will include the transfer taxes, your share of property taxes, property insurance, title company fees, and title insurance. If you’re financing the purchase, the financing will have its own costs at closing, too. Your real estate agent and lender will both provide you with a breakdown of your closing costs.
A conservative rule of thumb is that a buyer’s closing costs will be 5% of the property’s purchase price. If you purchased a property for $200,000, expect to pay around 5% of $200,000, which is $10,000. So the $200,000 property has now cost you $210,000. These costs will affect the budget and your ROI, so it is imperative to remember to include them when calculating how much it costs to acquire a house to flip.
When you find a fix and flip property, contact RCN Capital for your financing needs. They’re a national, online hard money lender who offers competitive rates to prime borrowers. Recieve a loan up to $2.5MM+ in as quick as 10 days. Apply online in minutes.
2. Cost to Rehab a House
Rehab costs are the costs associated with rehabbing or renovating the property you intend to flip. These costs vary depending on the extent of the rehab, the property condition, how large the property is, and how expensive labor is in the area you purchased a property. Rehab costs include both materials and labor.
Types of rehab costs are generally:
Fix & Flip Material & Labor Costs
When calculating the cost of materials for your fix and flip property, include delivery fees and if an appliance requires a certain professional to install it. Some items will need to be special ordered, which adds days to your timeline and increases your carrying costs.
The cost of materials will vary depending on the scope of the rehab project, but generally fall into two categories:
- Building Materials: Common materials including lumber, paint, hardware, etc.
- Appliances: Typical appliances such as HVAC, stove, refrigerator, etc.
Labor is how much contractors charge for their time and effort in rehabbing your fix and flip project. They will charge you to install all of the purchased materials. Some contractors charge per hour, but the majority of them charge per project. This will be negotiated and put into a signed contract before any work begins. Depending on the extent of the rehab, different laborers will be used.
Some common laborers include:
- General contractor (GC)
- Day laborers or handymen
The extent of the property rehab is a major factor in determining how much it costs to flip a house. As a beginner, it is ideal to choose a property that needs cosmetic repairs in order to keep your rehab costs down and project manageable. Once you have experience, it is fine to choose a property that needs moderate or extensive repairs.
Cost of Cosmetic Home Repairs for a Fix & Flip
Cosmetic home repairs are minor improvements and repairs needed to enhance the property. When completed correctly, they add value to the property. These repairs are done on a shorter timeline, which reduces carrying costs. Your material and labor costs are also lower, but your acquisition costs are higher since the property is already in better condition than one that needs a full rehab.
Larry Friedman, Real Estate Investor and Co-Founder of SDF Capital, says that:
“In terms of estimating repairs, generally to refresh a property, we budget approximately $30/ft. A refresh would entail purely cosmetic fixes, such as new paint, carpet, minor repairs, new lights, refinish floors, new toilet bowls, new vanities, and new faucets (no extensive plumbing, electrical, or foundation work). I would advise first-time rehabbers to stick to cosmetic rehabs initially, as they are easier and less risky.”
Cosmetic repairs include:
- Interior painting and patching walls
- Replacing carpet and/or refinishing hardwood floors
- Replacing cabinet hardware and painting cabinets to update the look of the cabinets without replacing them
- Basic landscaping, including cutting the grass, planting flowers, and tidying up the entranceway
Here is an example of how much it costs to flip a house can affect your ROI:
You purchase a home for $100,000 and spend $5,000 on cosmetic repairs. The home is now worth $115,000 (this doesn’t account for closing costs or carrying costs). This means your ROI for this one project is: $10,000 / $105,000 x 100 = 9.5%.
For more information on fix and flip repairs and renovations that have a high ROI, check out our article on 25 fix and flip projects with high ROIs.
Cost of Moderate Home Repairs
Moderate home repairs are substantial repairs to upgrade a property and increase its value. Since they are larger projects, a licensed contractor will be needed to complete them, which will add to your labor and material costs. Your acquisition cost will be lower, but your timeline will increase, which increases your carrying costs.
Moderate home repairs include:
- Renovating the kitchen to include stone countertops, new light fixtures, appliances, and new flooring
- Updating bathrooms with modern, matching plumbing fixtures, new toilets, and new, neutral-colored tiles
- Adding exterior landscaping such as pavers and shrubs to increase curb appeal
- Painting the exterior of the property to give a great first impression
Here is an example of how moderate home repairs affect your ROI:
You purchase a home for $100,000 and spend $15,000 on cosmetic repairs. The home is now worth $135,000 (this doesn’t account for closing costs or carrying costs). This means your ROI for this project is: $20,000 / $115,000 x 100 = 17.4%.
Cost of Extensive Home Repairs
Extensive home repairs are needed when a house is either structurally unsound or in need of a full renovation to bring it up to date. These repairs lower acquisition costs but increase your material and labor budget. Since they will need contractors and permits, they will increase your timeline, which also increases your carrying costs.
Extensive home repairs include:
- Fixing a structural issue such as a crack in the foundation
- Adding on a room to increase square footage
- Adding another bathroom to increase the property value
- Adding a garage if it is an expected feature in the neighborhood
Here is an example of how extensive home repairs affect your ROI:
You purchase a home for $100,000 and spend $25,000 on cosmetic repairs. The home is now worth $155,000 (this doesn’t account for closing costs or carrying costs). This means your ROI for this project is: $30,000 / $125,000 x 100 = 24%.
If you need to fund your fix and flip’s total costs including cosmetic repairs, check out RCN Capital. RCN Capital is a national, online hard money lender who offers loans up to 75% ARV with competitive rates for prime borrowers. Apply online now and get funded in as little as 10 business days.
3. Carrying Costs to Flip a House
Carrying costs are the recurring costs you spend from the time you purchase a property until the time you flip it. These costs are generally paid monthly during the time that you own the property. The most significant carrying cost is generally financing, but also included are property taxes, insurance, and utilities.
Financing Costs for Flipping a House
Financing costs are the costs that are associated with borrowing money to purchase and renovate a property. For example, a flipper may use a private money loan to purchase the property and float the renovation costs on a credit card. These costs will include any points, interest, and prepayment penalty charged by the lender.
Typical fix and flip lenders offer high interest rates and short-term loan products. A mortgage calculator is a handy tool to do some preliminary calculations yourself. There are a number of good fix and flip lenders, and it’s great to be able to compare the lenders and determine the best terms for your fix and flip project.
Hard money lenders and homestyle renovation loans both charge financing fees in one form or another. Financing costs may be in the form of points, fees at closing, or interest payments.
Here is an example where we isolate the cost of financing a fix and flip project and compare three financing methods. These numbers do not represent the total cost of the project (such as other carrying costs, etc.).
Example of Financing Costs for a Fix & Flip Project
|Financing Related Closing Costs|
|Out of Pocket Rehab Costs|
|Total Costs for First 30 Days|
As you can see from the example, a lender may charge points and a higher-than-market interest rate to finance a flip. But financing allows you to buy a property that you may not have had enough cash to purchase. Additionally, financing can enable you to have multiple flip projects going on at once after you get the hang of fixing and flipping properties.
For a more in-depth look at how to flip houses and everything involved, check out our guide to starting a house flipping business.
Hard Money Loan for a Fix & Flip
A hard money lender is a lending source that primarily lends money to real estate investors. This is an asset-based loan, where the property serves as collateral for the loan. Hard money loans are typically issued by private companies for short-term financing solutions.
Some costs associated with a hard money loan include loan origination fees and points paid at closing. The borrower will also be charged an appraisal fee. This fee is for a licensed expert to complete a written estimate of the property’s market value. Each lender has their own requirements.
Homestyle Renovation Loan for a Fix & Flip
A homestyle renovation loan incorporates the costs of the rehab and the purchase price of the property into a single loan. This loan enables borrowers to purchase a property that needs repairs. It is a Fannie Mae, government-backed loan product.
A property is eligible for a Homestyle Renovation Loan if the repairs being done are permanently fixed to the property and add value to the property. Fifteen-year and 30-year fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages are offered. The lender must approve the contractors who are doing the work. Renovation costs are limited to 50% of the ARV of the property.
All Cash Financing for a Fix & Flip
An alternative to financing a property is using all cash. This saves you money in the short term because you don’t have any lending fees, interest, or points. However, purchasing a property will use up cash that you could have used for something else, and you won’t have the leverage to purchase multiple properties.
When using all cash, you will need the cash required to purchase the property and the cash to rehab the property. In addition to this, you will need to have cash available for unexpected expenses. The other out-of-pocket expense will be the carrying costs, including utility, insurance, and property tax payments.
If you’re looking for a hard money loan to provide cash liquidity, check out RCN Capital, a national online hard money lender. They offer competitive rates to prime borrowers and can get you funded in as little as 10 business days. Apply online now.
Property Tax Cost to Flip a House
Property taxes affect the cost to flip a house in two ways. Firstly, at settlement, you may be required to prepay the remaining taxes for the rest of the year. Secondly, there may be monthly property taxes due that will become part of your carrying costs.
Property tax rates are wide-ranging throughout the U.S. That is because states and municipalities set their own property taxes. Even properties within the same state, sometimes even within a few blocks from one another, can have drastically different property taxes.
Property taxes that are too high can be a deterrent for home buyers. This should be considered during a fix and flip since you want your renovated property to attract as many qualified buyers as possible. The faster your property sells, the less your carrying costs are and the higher your ROI is.
Property insurance is a policy that provides financial reimbursement to the homeowner for the property structure and its contents if damage or a loss occurs. Insurance is also important to protect you, the property owner, from potential litigation. Some types of property insurance include fire, hazard, and flood. A fix and flipper will generally need vacant or unoccupied property insurance, which is different than a homeowners policy.
It covers the property during the flip, if it’s vandalized, broken into, or suffers damage from a storm. Generally, you can pay the policy upfront, at or before settlement, or monthly. Vacant and unoccupied insurance costs vary based on the property location, expected length of vacancy, and property value. However, the average vacant or unoccupied insurance policy is $1,842 or more.
Utility Costs to Flip a House
Utility costs relevant to a property flipper include water, electric, gas, and oil. These expenses need to be factored into your monthly carrying costs. Some utility companies also require upfront deposits, especially if you own an apartment building or the previous owner had high monthly bills.
Utility bills vary based on usage, size, and condition of the property. You can contact the previous owner for an estimate of monthly costs. When you purchase a property, it may take a week or more for utility providers to turn on the services, so schedule them right away. Contractors can’t work without water and electricity. If they get stalled, it will cost you more money and increase your timeline.
4. Fix & Flip Marketing & Sales Costs
When using a real estate agent, most of the costs of marketing and selling a property are not out-of-pocket expenses, but come from the settlement proceeds. However, if you sell the property yourself and choose not to use a real estate agent, you’ll have to pay for all your marketing expenses upfront.
These marketing and sale costs include real estate agent fees (unless acting as your own real estate agent), marketing costs, and closing costs.
Three fix and flip marketing and sales costs generally include:
1. Real Estate Agent Fees When Flipping a House
Real estate agent fees are usually paid by the seller. These fees will cover the commission of both real estate agents if two real estate agents are used. Generally, one real estate agent represents the seller and one represents the buyer. The standard real estate agent fees are 6%, but they can be any amount agreed upon by the seller and the real estate agent.
Real estate agent fees are included in the marketing and sale costs. They represent the highest percentage of the closing costs that the seller is responsible for. If the subject property sells for $200,000, then the real estate agent fees will be $12,000. They are not an out-of-pocket expense but are deducted from the sales price of the house at settlement.
2. Marketing Costs to Flip a House
Marketing costs are minimal if you use a real estate agent to sell your fix and flip property. If you sell the property yourself, these costs will increase and will need to be paid out of pocket. Marketing costs include for-sale signs, flyers, online postings, and open house expenses.
These costs are often overlooked when calculating carrying costs. However, they are an important factor in getting positive exposure for the house. The property will be advertised to more potential buyers and the likelihood of one of those buyers purchasing the house is high. This will decrease your carrying costs.
“The marketing costs to flip a house vary depending on buying strategy and skill set of the investor. As a hard money lender, our clients do everything from invest in franchises like Homevestors, which spends hundreds of thousands monthly (radio, TV, billboards, and mailers) to almost zero dollars working as an investor doing cold calls and door knocking. Each investor finds a niche and owns it.”
– Aaron Norris, MBA, APR, CSPG, The Norris Group
3. House Flipping Selling Closing Costs
Closing costs are the fees paid at the closing, or settlement, during a real estate transaction. This occurs when the title of the property is conveyed to the buyer. They are not paid upfront but subtracted from the sales price of the property. The majority of the seller’s closing costs come from the real estate agent fees.
The other closing costs that the seller is responsible for include any outstanding property taxes and utilities, any credits the seller gives the buyer, and transfer taxes in most states. Typically, closing costs equate to about 2% to 5% of the sales price of the house.
Determining How Much Does it Cost to Flip a House
Start with potential ARV and work backward to keep all four of your major costs in line. If you know how much the property will be worth before you purchase it, you will know how much to acquire it for, the budget for rehab costs, and your budget for carrying costs, marketing, and sales.
You can determine the cost to fix a flip based on the following:
ARV of Flipping a House
After repair value (ARV) is an estimate of what a property will be worth after all the proposed renovations are completed. You can estimate the ARV for your property by using comparable properties that have recently sold, within the last 90 days, in the same neighborhood as the subject property. The comparables should be properties in similar condition to what the finished (rehabbed) property will be in.
ARV is such an important tool because it will guide you in the right direction when making an offer on a house. It accounts for carrying costs and rehab costs, and if you carefully calculate the numbers during each transaction, you won’t overpay for a property. ARV affects your ROI — the less you pay for a property, the more potential profit you will make.
Budget to Flip a House
A budget is an itemized summary of estimated expenses recorded over a given time period. When flipping a house, it will include your property acquisition costs, your rehab costs, and your carrying costs.
The budget is so important when figuring out the cost to flip a house. It will keep you on track with your contractors and material costs. It will also be a helpful tool to keep track of what money is being spent where and if too much is being spent in one place. By staying on budget, your expected ROI will be met and your fix and flip should be a profitable project.
Fix & Flip Timeline
A timeline is how much time you expect the fix and flip process to take. It will be set at the beginning of the project, along with the budget. The timeline starts when you purchase the property and ends when you sell the property.
For example, your timeline might be 60 days from the time you purchase the property to when you expect to sell it. The timeline needs to take into consideration:
- The scope of the rehab work
- The size of the property
- Your schedule and availability
- Contractors’ availability
- Marketing and selling the property
The timeline is just as important as the budget. The shorter the timeline, the less expensive your carrying costs are. This means that your expected ROI will be on target and your profit will be greater. The opposite is also true. If the timeline goes over the goal, then your carrying costs will increase and your ROI will decrease.
“The number one common mistake when calculating costs is not realizing the time value of money. This one hits close to home but if you are flipping and you let it drag on, you could still ‘turn a profit,’ but you could wreck your entire year’s goals by losing focus.”
– Michael Perna, Investor & Owner, The Perna Team.
Expected Return on Investment
The expected return on investment (ROI) is how much you expect to gain when flipping a house. The higher your ROI, the higher your profit, which is the goal after spending time and money on a project. The lower your ROI, the lower your profit. The ARV, budget, and timeline all affect your ROI. The formula for calculating ROI is:
ROI = Net Profit / Total Investment x 100
For example, if your net profit is $40,000 and your total investment is $200,000, then your ROI = 20%.
We spoke with Dr. Alex Roher, a real estate investor who has flipped 16 homes in the past four years. He prefers to think about ROI on an annualized basis, rather than project by project.
“My formula takes into account time to renovate so I can pay more for easier flips (paint and carpet) since turnaround time is quicker. I target a 50% annual return on total capital invested. I take into account all costs — holding costs, rehab costs, closing costs, selling costs, etc. If I can make 17% on capital invested on Flip A, and buy, renovate, and sell it in four months, I’m good. That would allow for a 51% annual return since I can do three similar project per year.”
Cost to Flip a House Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below we will answer some frequently asked questions on how much it costs to flip a house.
What Is the Average Return on Investment When You Flip a House?
The average return on investment for a fix and flipper is generally 10% to 20%. Your ROI depends on your house flipping cost, which includes the cost to rehab a house, your timeline, acquisition cost, and sales costs. Generally, the shorter your timeline, the higher your ROI. Keep in mind that every decision you make during the house flipping process affects your ROI, so remember to stick to your budget and keep your costs as low as possible.
How Long Does It Take to Flip a House?
The time it takes to flip a house depends on a few key things, including the experience of the flipper, the type of financing used, the extent of rehab needed, the size of the property, and the local real estate market. Typically, experienced fix and flippers can purchase, rehab, and flip a house within 90 days. Keep in mind that larger properties and ones that need extensive rehabs may take longer to flip.
How Much Does It Cost to Rehab a House?
The answer to how much it costs to rehab a house depends on the acquisition price of the house, amount of renovations needed, location, size of the house, and timeline. If the property is located in an area where building supplies and labor are more expensive, then it will cost more to rehab a house.
Generally, a rehab costs about 10% of the purchase price of the house. For example, if you purchase a fix and flip property for $500,000, you should expect to spend about $50,000 to rehab the house.
To find out more specific house flipping costs, be sure to download our Free Fix and Flip Costs Worksheet.
Understanding how much does it cost to flip a house varies depending on a variety of factors, including the property acquisition costs, rehab costs, carrying costs, and financing costs. The average cost to flip a house is about 10% of the purchase price. By accounting for each of these factors, you should be well on your way to knowing how much money you need to flip a property.
Contact RCN Capital to finance your fix and flip. RCN Capital is a national hard money lender that offers competitive rates to prime borrowers You can apply online and get financing up to 75% of the ARV in as little as 10 business days.