EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Experts say the national housing market is on the rebound and local real estate investors say if you've been dreaming of fixing up a home and selling it for a profit, now may be the time to do it.
Investors and the owner of Progressive Housing say that's especially true for a market like the Chippewa Valley where the average price for a home has remained fairly consistent at around $140,000.
The idea is similar to the A&E reality series Flip that House. You buy a fixer-upper, you make some changes to improve it and sell it while hopefully earning a decent return on the investment.
Dan and Judi Malone of Progressive Housing say they’ve flipped around 15 homes in the last year. Homes they choose to invest in all come with a story of its own.
“Sometimes they're in a financial distress, with sheriff's sales and things of that nature, foreclosure. So we'll take the home and we'll really develop it, both financially and physically, and put it back on the open market all fixed up and ready for move in for a new family,” said Dan.
Dan said it was three years ago the foreclosure epidemic took over and now with plenty of houses in inventory, it's time to get them back on the market.
“You can go in and flip a house for $10,000 and make a huge difference in the house that it looks like you put $30,000 into it,” said Judi. “I think for the average rehabber, I think this is a good time to get into the market.”
Dan and Judi say they’re working with beginning rehabbers. They’re the ones who are starting to become professional home flippers. The real estate couple will help fund their deals, mentor them, give them flip tips and ultimately move houses out of the market back into the market and into the community. In fact, they have funding in place and are looking right now to invest in real estate investors with non-owner occupied homes.
“My general rule of thumb is, I’m not going to purchase a home that I have to put more than I paid for into the home,” said Judi.
For the Malone’s, the houses they flip date back as far as the 1850s and range all the way up to the 2000s.
“When they walk through the home after it’s been remodeled, they're just like, we had no idea that it had this kind of potential and it could shine like this,” said Judi.
She said simple things like paint, cabinets, new counters, revitalizing the original wooden floors and lighting fixtures can make a difference in changing buyer’s minds about a home.
The Malone’s say the Chippewa Valley has been a good place for them to invest.
“It's not like Chicago or Los Angeles or even the Twin Cities, where the market varies so dramatically from one of town to the next,” said Dan. “So there’s a lot of homogenous nature in the market place so it’s fairly easy for us to buy and sell in the market and have belief that we're going to get that accomplished.”
The local economy has also helped them to continue to invest in home flipping. Dan said the impact the local economy had during the recession wasn’t as bearing as it was for bigger cities like Phoenix or Las Vegas.
The Malone’s said they flipped around 15 homes in the last year and many of these homes sold within 30 days of getting on the market.
“One of the things we enjoy about the business is taking the home and adding value back into the community, especially if it’s in a nice neighborhood, we want to bring that up consistent with the standards rest of the neighborhood,” said Dan.
Experts say home flipping is a niche and not for everyone and there can be significant financial risk involved.
The Malone’s say they've been able to buy a home, fix it up, sell it and make a profit of 15 to 20 percent.
But they say that may not be the case for an average homeowner who may not have any experience flipping homes.
To contact Dan and Judi Malone, call 715-834-4601.