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Flipping Houses In Florida: The (Ultimate) Guide | Real Estate Skills

Are you considering flipping houses in Florida? You've come to the right place.

In this article, we're going to cover everything you need to successfully research, purchase, renovate, and sell homes in Florida.

We'll also touch on the legalities of flip properties, the best cities to invest in, and how to finance this investment (even if you have no money or poor credit).

Florida has a robust and expansive real estate market. Ranked as the top destination for relocating Americans in 2020 and with over 300,000 new residents annually, there's plenty of opportunity for house flipping in Florida

Read on to learn more.


Why Should You Fix And Flip Houses In Florida? 

Here are seven major reasons why you should consider flipping houses in the Sunshine state. 

Flipping houses in Florida 7 reasons

To Improve Homes That Deserve A Second Chance 

Florida has a significant portion of houses that need some light repairs, touch-ups, or major renovations to be livable once again. 

You would be doing the community a favor by taking homes that need some love and making them habitable and easy to love once again. 

Some of these homes may look a little ugly, but they are structurally sound diamonds in the rough, just waiting for someone with your skills. 

To Cater To Florida's Explosive Population

In 2017 alone, over 430,000 people moved to Florida. Data analysts estimate that Florida will grow another 11% by 2023. 

This growth is remarkable and something you should strongly consider as a real estate investor

The top growing cities in Florida, according to this study by Cushman and Wakefield, are the following: 

  • Fort Myers, at a 3.6% y-o-y growth percentage. 
  • Orlando, at a 3.2% y-o-y growth percentage.
  • Palm Beach, at a 2.8% y-o-y growth percentage.
  • Indian River, at a 2.7% y-o-y growth percentage.
  • Lakeland, at a 2% y-o-y growth percentage.
  • Jacksonville, at a 1.9% y-o-y growth percentage.
  • Fort Lauderdale, at a 1.8% y-o-y growth percentage.
  • Tampa, at a 1.8% y-o-y growth percentage.
  • Miami, at a 1.4% y-o-y growth percentage.

To Benefit From Florida's Economic Stability And Growth

Florida has been making positive economic growth, despite the COVID-19 pandemic for yet another year. 

As of October 2021, it has benefitted from eighteen consecutive months of private-sector job growth. It has increased by 5.7% in one year. Just for reference, the national average rate of job growth is usually closer to 0.5% each year. 

Florida Is Home To Many Foreclosed Or Vacant Real Estate

Florida has many vacant houses that are just begging to become income-earning investment properties. Some of the top cities, including Fort Myers Beach, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Sanibel, and Marco Island, have vacancy rates ranging from 52.6% to 65.9% vacant

Of course, these figures do include second homes and empty rental properties. Regardless, there are many real estate investment opportunities awaiting skilled house flippers. 

Out of the top 100 United States cities with the most empty homes, Florida contains 33 of those. And out of those 33 cities, 10 of them sit on the west coast. 

Florida also has the second-highest number of foreclosure properties in the United States. It is only second to Illinois.

Out of 9,448,159 housing units, 2,847 went into foreclosure. That means one in every 3,319 houses is foreclosed in Florida

Here are the top five counties for foreclosures in Florida per housing unit (as of Q1 2022): 

  1. Levy County 
  2. Hamilton County
  3. Holmes County
  4. Broward County
  5. Osceola County

Flipping Homes Is Cheaper In Florida, Thanks To Low Taxes And Affordable Mortgage Rates

Flipping houses in Florida state tax

Florida ranks as the 40th most expensive state when it comes to tax rates, making it an affordable investment location. 

Florida does not have an estate or inheritance tax. Nor do people need to pay taxes to the state on intangible goods, such as investments. 

There is no state income tax and a meager 6% sales tax. Counties are allowed to charge a local tax, with a cap of 1.5%. The most sales tax you can pay anywhere in Florida is 7.5%. 

To Work In A Beautiful State With A Desirable Lifestyle 

At the end of a long day or ripping out walls and replacing electrical outlets (or, perhaps, supervising the people you hired to do these tasks), it's nice to enjoy an evening out on the town or a slow day in nature. Florida is just the place for that. 

The majority of the year is sunny, warm, and perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Florida is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. If you have time, go check out Sarasota's Siesta Public Beach, Clearwater Beach, or Pensacola Beach. 

This gorgeous state boasts great diversity. Florida is ranked as the 8th most diverse state in the US. 

Because of this melting pot, you're sure to find delectable foods and drinks across the entire state. There is a delicious Cuban influence in many of the dishes, and Florida's long growing season means a majority of the food is locally raised. 

Florida Has Great Incentives For First Time Homebuyers (So It's Easy To Sell Your Flip) 

There are several incentives and loan programs for first-time homebuyers in Florida. While these incentives and loans may not directly apply to you, they do make it easier to find first-time home buyers. If your investment strategy involves flipping single-family homes, you'll love all the assistance available to make your investment sell quickly. 

Some of the most helpful Florida Housing assistance programs and money loans include: 

  • Florida Housing Homebuyer Program
  • Salute Our Soldiers Military Loan Program
  • Florida Assist Second Mortgage Program
  • HFA Preferred Grants (They cover 3-5% of the home purchases)
  • Florida Homeownership Loan Program 


Is Flipping Houses In Florida Profitable?

Absolutely. Flipping homes in Florida is very profitable. As of Q1 2022, the median single-family home purchase price is $175,600, and the median single-family home resale price is $247,070.

This means that the average revenue per flip is a little over $70,000.


How To Flip Houses In Florida?

Here's the step-by-step process to get started flipping houses in Florida. 

Flipping houses in Florida how does it work

Step 1 - Plan Your Budget

You should only pay 70% of the after repair value, called the ARV, of a property, minus the necessary repairs. This is also known as the 70% rule of house flipping.

For simplicity's sake, let's say a property has a $100,000 ARV and needs about $10,000 in repairs to replace part of the flooring, reroute some simple pipes, and touch up paint. 

70% of the ARV is $70,000. After you subtract the $10k in repairs from the $70,000 ARV, you're left with $60,000. So ideally, you won't pay more than $60,000 for the investment property. 

Step 2 - Research Neighborhoods

Working with a real estate agent is strongly recommended, especially if this is your first flip project. A realtor can help you with so many little details you haven't even thought of; they have good connections and know the best, most profitable homes in the local market. They can also help you navigate changing real estate markets, which is an incredible asset to have in your back pocket. 

Even if you have a knowledgeable realtor on your side, it's okay and encouraged to perform a lot of the research yourself. 

Start by researching different areas of Florida. For example, South Florida was one of the top places to move in 2021. Thanks to the rise in popularity of working from home, South Florida is booming with new residents who want to purchase homes. 

For Florida, consider the rising coastline and generally avoid properties that are right on the water. These properties can be harder to resell and are prone to water damage from floods and hurricanes. 

Find flood zones and flood plains, and avoid them like the plague. 

Your best move would be to find a neighborhood that hasn't exploded with growth just yet but is very likely to right around the same time you're ready to resell. This is where extensive research and a bit of luck come into play. 

Step 3 - Honestly Evaluate Your Available Time, Commitment, And Skill Sets 

Be very honest with yourself here; it will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the near future. 

Do you know how to perform many of the necessary repairs? If you don't, are you willing to take the time to learn? If you make mistakes, can you afford a do-over or delay in the schedule? How patient are you? Do you have a mentor to help you? Can you afford to hire a mentor? 

How long can you commit to flipping properties? Is your timeline flexible or rigid? 

Now is the time for you to loosely lock down a timeline and decide how hands-on you want to be with the work involved. 

Step 4 - Decide And Line Up Financing For Your Flip Project

You can purchase the house for an all-cash deal. You can get a more traditional loan with 20% down, or you can even speak to a lender about a flip loan. Hard money lenders are also an option; they can get you set up for a non-conventional loan. Hard money loans are usually due in between six and twenty-four months, whereas traditional home loans last for fifteen to thirty years.

Private money lenders are one of the best ways to get involved with flipping homes. They are basically banks without all the red tape and hoops to jump through. The only downsides to private lenders are their potentially steep 6% to 14% interest rates, points, and other fees involved.

Flipping investors are another option. They can offer the financing and usually have good advice for newbie home flippers. You still need to bring a lot of value to the table, though. Being able to source deals on your own or have a high-value contact list will make you equal partners, which is critical if you want to make this partnership a success. 

You should also work on your exit strategy for your flip project. Do you want to use the BRRRR method and use the property as a rental? Or would you rather sell it after the rehab to recuperate your investment and move on to something else? Be thinking about these opportunities, and weigh your options.

Step 5 - Assemble Your Team

You will want to find a mentor, a lender, a realtor, a real estate attorney, general contractors, and laborers (if you want the help). Get these people lined up before you purchase your property so that way you can immediately dig in as soon as the keys are in your hands. This speeds up the timeline and saves you a lot of stress. 

You've likely caught onto how many times I mention stress; I do this because while house flipping is a rewarding and profitable real estate business, it is also stressful. Do everything that you can to mitigate the stress when possible. 

If you're able, have your general contractor look at the potential property prior to purchasing it. This allows you to better plan for the necessary repairs and to get in touch with the right professionals right away.

Step 6 - Choose And Purchase The Investment Property 

Distressed, short sale, foreclosed, and fixer-upper investment properties generally have the highest return of investment. They also usually require more sweat equity or cash to fully rehab, too. Speak to your mentor, real estate agent, and contractor for each property you consider and run the numbers together. The time to flip the property can be just as crucial as the money needed. 

Step 7 - Start Building That Sweat Equity

If you're new to house flipping or have more time than money, sweat equity is an incredible tool. 

Even if you aren't comfortable or capable of doing every manual labor task that the property requires, you can do some of the work. Painting walls, scrubbing floors, cleaning and restaining cabinetry, resealing bathtubs, or even laying down new floors are tasks that most beginners can do. 

While an electrician updates the wiring or fuse box, you can regrout floors, powerwash sidewalks, or clean the pool in the back. 

You can also take on the burden of the mental labor necessary, especially if you have an investment partner involved. Menial but necessary mental work is part of the process too. 

Step 8 - Rent Or Resell The Home

Renting out a flipped home will provide you with a residual income that will pay you every month that you own the property. 

Selling a flipped home gets you a quick, immediate one-time lump sum of cash for you to do as you please. 

If you choose to rent the property, look into hiring a property manager. A property manager makes your rental income truly passive and can shield you from rental laws and regulations you may not be familiar with, especially if you aren't local to the area. 

If you choose to sell the property, make sure you work with a real estate agent at every opportunity possible. They know local home values, local home prices, comparable home sales, how to prep your house to command a higher price, when to put it on the market, list it on the Multiple Listing Service (also known as "the MLS"), how to market it, and how to make it appeal to the new homeowners. 


How Much Money Do You Need To Flip A House In Florida? 

Flipping a home means that they are more costs involved than just the initial sale price of the home. 

You'll need to factor in the renovation too. 

Here are major expenses that you'll need to prepare for during your real estate flipping process: 

  • The down payment (this can be anywhere from 3% to 100% of the home)
  • Closing costs
  • Rehab costs (contractors, labor, supplies, etc.) 
  • Homeowner's insurance (talk to an agent to get an appropriate rate that covers properties that you're not living in)
  • Property taxes
  • Utility costs (check to see if the previous homeowners were behind on these bills)
  • Marketing costs (it also pays to hire a professional photographer, videographer, and sometimes a drone pilot)
  • Real estate attorney fees 
  • Mentor costs (if you decide to hire one)
  • Listing agent / real estate agent fees

Keep in mind that Florida's median price for home purchasing is $175,600. The median resale price is $247,070. 


Do You Need A License To Flip Houses In Florida? 

Flipping Houses In Florida License

You do not need a license to flip houses in Florida. You do not need a contractor's license to flip houses, nor do you need a real estate license to buy or sell the house. 

Your contractor that you hire, if you decide to hire one, does not have to be licensed, though this is generally a good idea. You'll also need access to a licensed real estate agent to buy and sell the home. 

With that said, having these licenses are handy, especially if you plan to make real estate flipping a regular part of your investment strategy. Getting your own contractor license allows you to save money on labor, work when you want, get a higher return for your investment via greater sweat equity, and also network with fellow contractors, locally and globally.


10 Rules For Flipping Houses In Florida

These are good general rules to follow when flipping homes in Florida. You don't have to follow them, but they will likely save you time, money, and stress. 

  1. Don't spend more than 70% of the ARV. Doing so will impact your profit margins and increase your chance of turning your flip into a flop.
  2. Always get a home inspection. Unless you're very experienced with real estate and know what to look for, get help. Surprises are almost never pleasant when it comes to flipping real estate. 
  3. Don't bite off more than you can chew. If you don't have the time or finances for an extensive renovation that requires you to basically gut the entire house and start over, then don't get a giant project of a fixer-upper. Instead, choose a house that could use a little light paint and cleaning, and call it a day. 
  4. Don't fall in love with the investment property, and keep your feelings in check. Stay neutral, and make the home appealing to the general public. If you want to paint a home crazy eclectic colors, save that for your personal home. Also, weigh the added investments with your predicted sale value. It doesn't make sense to add $20,000 countertops to the home if that isn't going to add at least $20,000 to the resale value. 
  5. Don't Micromanage Your Crew. If you have hired experts to help you, trust their expertise or fire them for someone new (or do it yourself). Don't waste your time or energy micromanaging their tasks. Sure, you can check in to make sure they're on track for the deadline, but don't nitpick their work. You will burn bridges, fall behind, and gain a bad reputation. 
  6. Skip Houses in Undesirable Locations or Homes with Ridiculous Floor Plans. Also, you should usually avoid houses that smell bad. You cannot change the location, and you likely cannot create a new layout for the home without wildly going over budget. Avoid flood plains. Houses with one bathroom are generally a bad idea. If you want to appeal to the masses, choose a place with at least two bathrooms and three bedrooms. Homes of that size appeal to families, landlords, and friend groups. Houses with bad pet or smoke odors are difficult and expensive to clean too. Be prepared to do a lot of work to get them smelling fresh, or skip that type of home entirely. Be reasonable and logical. 
  7. Always plan for the flip to cost 20% more than you expect. You never know when you'll find issues with the house that the inspector missed or imperfections that previous owners carefully hid away. Hiccups happen; it's your job to accommodate and work around them. 
  8. Use an interior designer. Unless you have a professional background in interior design, just hire someone. Doing it yourself is usually the more cost-effective option until it comes to styling the home for a resale. Designers are relatively cheap and will almost always earn you back more money than what you spent on them. And don't forget the landscaping! Neutrally landscape the exterior of the home yourself, or hire someone. Curb appeal is so important when it comes to selling houses. 
  9. Don't hold the property for too long. The longer you keep a property, the more time and money you've sunk into it. Get in, do a good job of fixing it quickly, and then get out. This maximizes your profits, which you need as a home flipper. 
  10. Pay attention to the market and listen to your real estate agent, real estate attorney, and mentor. If they are telling you that now is a bad time or place to invest, you should heed their advice, especially if you're a newbie. 


How To Start Flipping Houses In Florida With No Money?

Yes, you can flip houses in Florida without using your own cash or credit. Several of the top methods include:

  1. Wholesaling Real Estate
  2. Private Money Lenders
  3. Subject To Mortgages
  4. Seller Financing
  5. Lease Options

You can wholesale properties, get an investor involved, find a partner to finance the deal, buy properties through auctions, foreclosure, or use a subject to deal to get the property with little to no cash and no credit check.

Related: Is Wholesaling Real Estate Legal In Florida?


Best Places To Flip Houses In Florida

Flipping Houses In Florida Best Places

Do your research according to your desires and needs in a flipped property. Now with that said, here are some helpful pieces of criteria to help you determine some of the more desirable areas to invest in.

The Safest Cities in Florida (with their safety score): 

  1. Weston, 91.42 
  2. North Port, 85.53
  3. Port St. Lucie, 85.33
  4. Margate, 83.55
  5. Cape Coral, 83.5

The Best Areas with Highly Rated Public School Education: 

  1. Palm Bay
  2. Gainesville
  3. Tallahassee
  4. Cape Coral
  5. Tampa

The Fastest Growing Cities in Florida: 

  1. Fruitland Park, with a population of 7,848
  2. Clermont, with a population of 35,209
  3. Ocoee, with a population of 46,305
  4. Fort Lauderdale, with a population of 180,000
  5. St. Cloud, with a population of 51,158

Our Personal Preferences for Cities to Flip Houses In: 

  1. St. Petersburg
  2. Tampa
  3. Miami
  4. Orlando
  5. Jacksonville


Is It Easy To Flip Houses In Florida? 

Florida is one of the easiest states to flip houses in.

There is an abundance of vacant, foreclosed, or for-sale houses. The market is booming, the population is growing, and the economy is strong. 

Diversity is also good, and the state appeals to many individuals. It has a nice balance of nature, nightlife, city, and country living. 


Is The Current Housing Market Good For Flipping Florida Houses? 

Yes, as of January 2022, the market is ideal for flipping homes in Florida. 

The economy is strong, there is a high demand for high-quality homes in a large range of price values, interest rates are low, and the economy is doing very well. 


Final Thoughts

Florida is a fine place to live or flip real estate. 

The economy is strong, the population growth is some of the best in the country, and the location is generally good with a desirable lifestyle, many opportunities, and the potential to make a healthy profit.

Regardless of if you want to rent or resell your flipped property, you are sure to learn a lot, make good money, and make lots of helpful connections along the way. 

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