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Saturday, February 24, 2018
Article written by Tom Dunn

Foreclosure Investing Is Dead...Or Is It?

Shows like "Flip This House" and "Flip That House" make foreclosure investing look easy. It makes you wonder if you could do it yourself, but that might not be the question you should be asking. If you’re just beginning real estate investing, the question may be, “Should you?” Read on for answers.

You've seen them, right? The young couple in Southern California who buys a single family fixer-upper foreclosure for (gasp!) $426,000, spends the next 12 weeks of their lives fixing it up, spending gobs of money on Italian marble and Travertine Tile, and re-sells the house to the very first family that calls.

The after-repair net profit? A whopping $138,000. Heck, a chimp could do that, right?

So, Foreclosure Listings in one hand, calculator in the other, off you tramp to look at your neighborhood rehab projects. You spy a good looking one from the road, vacant and overgrown, needing mostly cosmetic repairs, and listed for $120,000. You think, "Wow! Is this ever a rare find!

You make your offer, agreeing to pay the asking price because there were 3 other investors right behind you when you walked through the house, and you don’t want to miss your opportunity. The offer is accepted and you rejoice… at least until you begin the rehab job.

Once you get into the project, you realize that not only have you bitten off quite a bit more than you are prepared to chew, both in terms of time and know-how, but you have also wildly overpaid for the house. The project is going to go over budget... well over. You're budget breaks quicker than you can say, "Needs a new kitchen, too."

Cowed by defeat, you lick your wounds, take a huge loss, and throw in the real estate towel for good, happy just to go back to your 9-5. Let those other suckers lose their shirts, you’ll stick with safer investments like the stock market and pork belly futures, thank you very much.

Real estate investing is dead. or is it?

If foreclosure investing is truly dead for many people, people who have experienced similar nightmares to the one I described above, the fact is it's not truly their fault. Yes, I know that they bear the ultimate responsibility for their own mistakes, and they should have done their homework before taking the leap. But in my mind, the media is to blame, especially television and the internet.

Isn't it irresponsible to teach a philosophy of investing, and not spend a certain amount of time and effort explaining the inherent risks, and ways to avoid them? That’s exactly what the one hour “Flip” shows don’t give you. They spit out sixty minutes of fun and profit, but very little of the down-and-dirty facts of life.

Therefore, I offer a word of caution. Don't build your investing philosophy, or base your investing decisions, on what you see on television. Market conditions are wildly variable from town to town, and even neighborhood to neighborhood. The investors on television have different skills than you do, and different resources. Investing isn’t a game, it’s a business, and it can provide you a wonderful life.

If you educate yourself properly, and develop the right attitude, you will be able to succeed at a level many folks can only dream about. On top of that, foreclosure investing can be great fun, especially when it’s done right. If you're thinking about beginning real estate investing as a business, understand that it can take you to some wonderful places.

Or eat you alive.

After all, would you decide to become a doctor because you watched an hour of ER?

Now, go make more offers!
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