Flipping houses — buying a property cheap, renovating it and selling it for a profit — can be a fun hobby if you have a keen eye for design and a head for figures. Television programmes like Grand Designs and TV personalities such as Sarah Beeny have turned many of us into wannabe property gurus.

But how do you turn a successful hobby flipping houses into a bona fide property development business? Can you establish a secure-enough income to ditch the day job? The following tips will help you transition from side hustle to career developer. 

If you’ve watched any television shows following amateur housebuilders as they create their dream homes, you’ll know there are many pitfalls in property flipping. And as a result, sticking to a tight budget is often easier said than done. Successful flipping relies on the numbers adding up. Let costs spiral, and a profitable project could quickly become a money pit.

If you’re serious about turning your hobby into a full-time career, grab every opportunity to learn all there is to know about property development. Join online communities, read books, subscribe to relevant magazines, follow bloggers who write about house flipping, check out Linkedin articles on topics that are trending in the industry, speak to experienced flippers and consider finding a mentor to guide you through your next few projects. 

The more knowledge and experience you have, the less likely you’ll succumb to the pitfalls that mean the downfall of many beginner property flippers.

  • Explore Ways to Stand Out from the Competition

There are thousands of house flippers in the UK, all vying for the best bargains, and many dreaming of turning a hobby into a career, just like you. If you want to take a part-time passion and turn it into a professional career as a property developer, you need to think big and start carving out a unique selling point (USP) for your business. Why should someone buy a property from you and not another developer? How will you convert your one-at-a-time, small-scale flipping hobby into a business that can manage multiple projects simultaneously? Perhaps your ambitions run beyond flipping houses to large-scale property developments?

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Research what competitors — big and small — offer would-be buyers and find a way to stand out. Perhaps you’ll develop a niche, such as eco-homes? Or maybe you’ll offer exceptional service that makes buying from you a dream, for example, partnering with a house part-exchange specialist? 

Decide what kind of projects you want to focus on, and then figure out how to make your developments stand out. Begin establishing a brand reputation from day one.

  • Surround Yourself with Skilled People

One major difference between flipping houses as a hobby and developing properties as a full-time business is the size of the operation. A developer needs to manage their finances, assess opportunities, renovate buildings, market the completed properties and much more. It’s highly unlikely that one person will have all the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to juggle all of these tasks on their own. Even if you think that you know everything there is to know about doing up and selling real estate for a profit, there’s no way one person can manage all of the work involved in running a property development business on their own.

The most successful developers surround themselves with people who plug the gaps in their skills and knowledge, who are reliable and who you can trust to get the job done. You will need to build a team of contractors, suppliers and funders who can help you to keep your development plans on track. Without a strong team of professionals to support you, running a profitable business will be nigh on impossible.

  • Write a Comprehensive Business Plan

A solid business plan is the foundation of every successful venture, regardless of the sector. You can no longer “wing it”, bouncing from one doer-upper to the next. You need a strategy, business goals, a financial plan, and a lot more.

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Your business plan should detail your business, your target market and how you plan to attract them, and projected expenses and income. If you’ve no idea where to start, download a free business template from the government website. It might also be a good idea to hire a financial advisor to help you put together a document that will guide your business for the short, medium and long term.

If you’re passionate about flipping houses and already have some experience, that’s a great start. To take your hobby to the next level and turn it into a full-time career requires careful planning, knowledgeable support and a USP that makes your developments stand out from the competition. Developing properties can be an exciting and lucrative career if you take the time to build a strong foundation for your business.


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