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Old 12-01-2013, 03:14 PM   #21
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Geesh, I can't believe all the negative responses. I thought this was an Early Retirement Forum. Well my husband and I retired early at age 50 and have lived happily for 12 years off of the profit of our house flips. I just thought I would tell others how we did it. it is not for everybody but it is very doable.

I have a lot of ideas about early retirement since I have lived it but I am not going to waste my time on a Forum that is so negative. Goodbye.

Jo Ann
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:39 PM   #22
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Geesh, I can't believe all the negative responses. I thought this was an Early Retirement Forum. Well my husband and I retired early at age 50 and have lived happily for 12 years off of the profit of our house flips. I just thought I would tell others how we did it. it is not for everybody but it is very doable.

I have a lot of ideas about early retirement since I have lived it but I am not going to waste my time on a Forum that is so negative. Goodbye.

Jo Ann
Sorry to see you go! I for one would like to hear your other ideas. Many people here are just into stock and bond funds, but I like hearing about investments I can control. I can't control the stock market.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:40 PM   #23
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Why are so many people being so critical? I completely get what she is trying to say. Since she lived for such a short period in each house and made such a huge return on her purchase, for her it was equivalent to living free. She got all her money back plus a large return. I have done something similar and can say that I lived free since I recovered everything I put into my primary homes including repairs, utility and improvements. Even if I account for the time value of money, I still lived free. I suspect the same is true in the OP's case even if she takes into account opportunity cost.
+1 While I think many of us would agree that this form of ER is not for everyone, but if you are handy enough to do some of your own work and pick good contractors and are willing to live with the chaos of part of the house being a perpetual construction zone, it seems like a viable ER alternative to me. You have a lot of flexibility on when to "work" since you're your own boss.

It probably isn't living "free" because even if you own outright with no debt, you're still paying property taxes and insurance, etc. but my guess it is much less than paying rent.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:40 PM   #24
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Joann, don't leave. There are some really nice and helpful people on this forum but I've had my experience with very sensitive curmudgeons. It's a great forum but like in life, you have to have a thick skin. I think most people can't relate to what you're saying so they choose to attack it. I can because my entire out of pocket cost mortgage, property taxes, improvement etc for the past 15 years was about $350K and I made much more than that flipping so believe me I get it.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:16 PM   #25
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:25 PM   #26
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Geesh, I can't believe all the negative responses. . . . I am not going to waste my time on a Forum that is so negative. Goodbye.

Jo Ann
I don't know, Jo Ann. The responses so far seemed like a mixed bag to me - some supportive, some skeptical and some inquisitive. I wouldn't expect everyone on the board to agree with anything I have done or plan to do; it is the variety of opinions that makes this a useful forum. If the skeptics really bother you, the forum allows you to put them on "ignore", so you won't have to read their posts.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:37 PM   #27
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Most people could not begin to flip houses (okay, maybe just DH and me); with no skills or the personality traits that successful flippers have, we would end up with dilapidated pieces of property that people like the OP would swoop in and buy from us at a big loss to us. Even if we could get cheap labor to do all the work, the stress of acting as the general contractor would still weigh on us.

I am impressed at the OP's successful history. Did you ever do more than one at a time? Do you ever get tired of moving?
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:38 PM   #28
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I think it's a mix bag so far. We all have a different point of view with respect to how we live ER. Some view ER as doing nothing but hobbies, some may say watching your AA/investments and rebalancing as needed as a part time job.

I for one agree it's a benefit to flip primary residences, but I have young kids (still in grade school) so relocation every few years would not be ideal nor would the ongoing construction. After I ER, I will probably just manage a few rentals that I have, but even that at times becomes a PITA.

Enjoy your next flip. It's about the journey more than anything.
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Old 12-01-2013, 04:57 PM   #29
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I can relate to the OP's situation because DW and I have restored and sold many houses. We did it because we enjoyed bringing old houses back to life (restoration vs. remodeling) and made money along the way. We did the most work when we were younger and it helped get us on the road to FI.

Living on a construction zone wasn't always fun but the satisfaction of a job well done and money made was very rewarding. It was also a great way to pay for my tool collection! It was definitely not for everyone, but it was great for us.

I've told this story before, but I had a coworker once comment about how I'm lucky to live in the house I did. I suggested he come over that night as I was finishing the last bathroom remodel and see how I got so "lucky".

Was it free? Well sort of once you deducted rehab costs and all of the other incidentals (insurance, taxes, etc). As was said before, you have to live somewhere.

OP - I also hope you don't leave. Like any group, it's a mixed bag. Overall there are great, helpful people on this board. If you stay you'll learn that although there are occasional spats and a few members that are annoyed by how ignorant the rest of us are (just like real life), you will learn a lot and may teach a few along the way.

I made quite a bit of money doing the same thing you did. There are many ways to make money and none is inherently better than any other. Enjoy your FI and welcome.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:11 PM   #30
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I did not see anything as negative as I have on other posts....


Would I do as the OP did.... not a chance.... have I heard others who have done it.... yes.... one of my sisters has a friend who does the same thing.... even though her DH works.... she just loves fixing up houses and when she runs out of projects moves on to the next....
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:12 PM   #31
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I am not criticizing flipping houses as away of making money. I just don't think it is 'free'. Maybe I took to many economics classes in college. ;-). If I have offended I apologize.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:17 AM   #32
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We already know that forum members have a high probability of being introverted and sometimes judgmental. Those of us who are INTJ tend to look at the facts and to say what we think. The OP's reaction to this appears to be quite defensive. Too bad.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:24 AM   #33
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Houses are a hobby of mine and I will be doing this in retirement. It would not be a j*b to me, it would be a creative outlet. 2/3 of my net worth has come through real estate, so yes I think I know what I am doing.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:46 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by golftrek View Post
Geesh, I can't believe all the negative responses. I thought this was an Early Retirement Forum. Well my husband and I retired early at age 50 and have lived happily for 12 years off of the profit of our house flips. I just thought I would tell others how we did it. it is not for everybody but it is very doable.

I have a lot of ideas about early retirement since I have lived it but I am not going to waste my time on a Forum that is so negative. Goodbye.

Jo Ann
Sorry if I came off as negative. I was just pointing out to others that a $100k profit in flipping may be harder to come by given current housing market conditions (I'm a Realtor).

Plenty of people might consider my 10 rental properties to be WAY to much work in retirement. Everyone has their own perspective on what works for their situation. Just like you, I have seen using real estate to build wealth is a good long term strategy.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:55 AM   #35
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You did good, congratulations!
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:00 AM   #36
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What has been your best source for identifying your next purchase? Have you tried the online auctions (perfect for cash purchases)?

Keep living the dream! You're a saint for living in a rehab (DW would NEVER do it. )
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:28 AM   #37
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I would like to find a downsized house that doesn't need major work - just one that hasn't been staged, cleaned or painted lately. We came across a short sale like this awhile back when we weren't ready to move. A couple leaving the open house was commenting and calling the house a nightmare. We just looked at each other and saw dollar signs. The house was close to new, was deeply discounted and really only needed cosmetic work. It had a bunch of junk left in it from the previous owners that could easily be removed.

I hope we can find something like that again when we are in a position to buy.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:28 AM   #38
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Original poster here,

I will just ignore the negative responses and I appreciate the positive responses. My only purpose is to give people interested in early retirement an idea about how my husband and I have done it. I am too busy living life to spend a lot of time on the internet.

To answer some questions:

We only do one house at a time. Under the tax rules, the house has to be your primary residence and you can do one every 2 years to avoid capital gains tax.

As to how we find the houses, we use a variety of methods. We are always on the look out. We have used real estate agents, we get on Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow and even Craigslist. We tell all our friends what we are looking for. We look at the foreclosure auctions.

Probably the best method we have found is to drive through neighborhoods where we would like to live and look for run down and empty houses. Even if the house does not have a for sale sign, we can sometimes locate the owner using tax records and see if they are interested in selling. Location, location, location is the most important thing, everything else can be fixed.

Our last house sold so fast (2 weeks) we did not have time to look for our next house so we are renting while we look around. We are not in a hurry.

We are glad not too many people are interested in doing this so we don't have too much competition.

Jo Ann
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:40 AM   #39
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OP here again,

About the question regarding moving every couple of years, actually we like to move. We have lived in several interesting areas and met a lot of nice people. We even did a flip in a resort area. Now we are in a college town.

We do not have any clutter and keep our furnishings simple so it is easy to pack and move. A decluttered house sells much easier. We paint the walls "relocation beige".

Three of the houses we have sold we also sold with most all the furniture to the buyers of the house so we had very little to move. When we needed to buy furniture for the next houses we went to consignment stores and estate sales. We actually had made profits on the furniture we sold too.

We like the freedom that moving gives us. if there are neighbors we do not like or something about the house we do not like, we can ignore it because we know we will move in a couple of years.

If we had the perfect house or neighborhood we might be tempted to stay there and not move but it has not happened yet. We like the adventure of a new place.

Jo Ann
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:44 AM   #40
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Original poster here,

I will just ignore the negative responses and I appreciate the positive responses. My only purpose is to give people interested in early retirement an idea about how my husband and I have done it. I am too busy living life to spend a lot of time on the internet.

To answer some questions:

We only do one house at a time. Under the tax rules, the house has to be your primary residence and you can do one every 2 years to avoid capital gains tax.

As to how we find the houses, we use a variety of methods. We are always on the look out. We have used real estate agents, we get on Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow and even Craigslist. We tell all our friends what we are looking for. We look at the foreclosure auctions.

Probably the best method we have found is to drive through neighborhoods where we would like to live and look for run down and empty houses. Even if the house does not have a for sale sign, we can sometimes locate the owner using tax records and see if they are interested in selling. Location, location, location is the most important thing, everything else can be fixed.

Our last house sold so fast (2 weeks) we did not have time to look for our next house so we are renting while we look around. We are not in a hurry.

We are glad not too many people are interested in doing this so we don't have too much competition.

Jo Ann
Hi Jo Ann. Thanks for sharing your experiences & advice. I actually recently stumbled across a fixer upper---FSBO found by going to an open house and there it stood across the street. Put an offer on it and bought my first house.

Needs a lot of work from insulation to new floors throughout so I'm trying to figure out where to stop budget wise and what that will allow me to do.

What do you all focus on with your remodels? I've always read/heard people say kitchen and baths but kitchens can get real expensive, especially if cabinets are involved. Do you just try to draw attention away from areas you don't spend as much money on?
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