Flipping houses is a hot topic these days. Here are 10 tips to help you find the perfect flip from HGTV’s The Big Flip renovator’s John Stassen and Randy Mackay.
1.Find properties that are diamonds in the rough - homes that are rundown in comparison to those around them - as these often have a low list price.
2.Are the surrounding properties well maintained? This can add value and clinch a sale when your house goes back on the market.
3.Scrutinize previous renovations. Poor quality workmanship can mean you have paid a premium for finishes that you will have to repair or replace yourself.
4.Can you add bathrooms, storage or enlarge a small kitchen to meet the needs of today’s average family? If you can't, walk away, as these features often make or break a sale.
5.Ensure you do a thorough home inspection before purchasing properties – this could save thousands of dollars in the long run.
6.Identify your potential buyers (i.e. young professionals or families) and design the house with their needs in mind.
7.Find a real estate agent who understands the market. There are thousands of real estate agents; get one who is experienced and understands the business of flipping houses!
8.Do your research and find areas that are up and coming. Neighbourhoods that are in the early stages of being gentrified often contain homes that offer large returns on their investment.
9.Be realistic with your budget and always leave room for hidden costs. Early budget optimism can mean cost cutting later on, which means sacrificing quality – and profits – in the final sale.
10.Keep your eye out for properties with good layouts that can be easily updated with new paint and trim. You may get lucky and find a home that’s a good price and only needs finishing touches, adding tens of thousands of dollars with minimal investment.
JEREMY TOROBIN, OTTAWA - Globe and Mail
The drought in small-business lending appears to be easing.
It’s not yet a funding flood, but by the end of last year banks were making it easier and cheaper for small businesses to get financing, according to a Bank of Canada survey of senior loan officers at major financial institutions released on Monday.
At the same time, the central bank’s Business Outlook Survey, also released Monday, found companies in the fourth quarter were slightly less bullish about sales prospects for the coming year, but confident enough in the recovery that they plan to ramp up hiring and investment.
Both surveys appear to point to economic improvements that could erase the last vestiges of the downturn.
Looser financing terms for small business loans in the fourth quarter followed several months of improvement in credit access, mainly for larger firms. The central bank’s survey found that “heightened competition among lenders” and a “more favourable” economic outlook helped fuel easier-to-get loans for companies.
That extended to smaller firms, which often have a harder time accessing credit at the best of times. Lending to small businesses plunged during the economic downturn, forcing them to slash operations, hoard cash or find other sources of financing.
Overall, the central bank’s survey found that the so-called balance of opinion measuring the difference between those who saw conditions tightening and those who saw them easing (with anything less than zero showing easier lending) was negative 36.4 percentage points in the period. That reading was the lowest since central bank records began in 1999, although the survey doesn’t show how much conditions have actually eased.
“It does seem like things are getting back to normal in a meaningful way,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto. “We saw quite a marked loosening of credit standards, especially on the pricing side, which suggests the credit crisis is truly over.”
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