Fix and Flip TV Shows: What They Get Right (and What They Don't)

Posted by Walnut Street Finance Team on Apr 26, 2018

There’s no denying that fix and flip TV shows are entertaining to watch. Programs like Flip or Flop, First Time Flippers, and Fixer Upper draw in viewers with big margins, beautiful homes, and rapid renovations. 

fix and flip tv shows

These shows get one thing right - the potential for profit when flipping is done correctly. The problem is, the reality of flipping homes is a far cry from what we see on TV, where creative editing hides some of the less glamorous details of flipping. Here’s what these shows don’t get right.

Fix and Flip Shows Don’t Have Realistic Timelines

The biggest issue with fix and flip TV shows is their total disregard for a realistic timeline. Since everything is shot and edited for a one-hour timeline, viewers are often left with the impression that flipping is fast and easy.

The truth is, while flipping can be done as a side-gig, more often than not it’s a full-time job. Success requires investors that are willing to do the homework, research potential neighborhoods and homes, carefully pick out an experienced team, and when the time comes, execute with confidence and precision.

Selling a Home is Harder Than it Looks

Fix and flip TV shows can be deceiving in that flippers always seem to have a long list of prospective buyers lined up as soon as the house is done - it seems like they barely even hit the market before getting scooped up. Sadly, selling a home is not this easy.

If you’re considering investing in a fix and flip, it’s important to recognize that selling a home can require a significant investment of time and a highly strategic approach. You either need to know how to sell a home yourself or be willing to hire a real estate agent with experience and a track record of success in the area. Either way, it won’t be free and it won’t necessarily be quick.

Fix and Flip Shows Don’t Tell the Whole Story When It Comes to Costs

If you’ve watched a fix and flip TV show, you might have noticed that flippers often walk away with insane margins. Unfortunately, these shows don’t usually tell the whole story, and often neglect costs that would otherwise eat into a normal flippers profit. 

There are a number of costs that flippers often forget about when calculating the total cost of a fix and flip. The first is fees - these include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Permits: Getting the right permits for a fix and flip is one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for success, but they come with their own associated costs - time and money.
  • Fees on the Sale: The seller of the property will have to pay fees for both the listing agent and buying agent, both of which are typically around 2-3% each.
  • Operating Costs: Property taxes, utilities, and insurance are just three costs you’ll need to be ready to stomach for as long as you hold the property - time is money!

The Bottom Line

Fix and flip TV shows are fun, but they’re right where they belong: on the television screen. As a viewer, it’s important to acknowledge that these shows are made to provide entertainment - they’re a fun escape from the real world, but don’t quite paint the full picture of what flipping houses entails.

If you’re thinking about investing in your first fix and flip and want to learn a little more about how it all works, check out our free ebook, Essential Math for the Fix and Flipper.

Essential Math For the Fix and Flipper

Walnut Street Finance Team