Walnut Street Finance Blog

Is Your Spouse a Good Fix and Flip Partner?

Posted by Bobby Montagne on Jul 21, 2017 10:34:45 AM

Sometimes working alongside your spouse can be a challenge. There are couples who pull it off magnificently, see Chip and Joanna Gaines, while there are others who encounter serious problems. But it doesn't have to be the end of the world if you do come to a disagreement - you just need to be patient, learn to communicate and plan. Here are some tips to help you and your spouse work together to buy, fix and flip a house without undue drama.

iStock-121162008.jpgWrite down your plan: Miscommunication and assumptions can sabotage a partnership. The best precaution is to write down your plan. You don’t need to be formal -- just a bulleted list specifying what you’re going to do and who is taking the lead on each task. That means you should work out in advance who has the final say on any given task, and that the other one of you accepts decisions gracefully. The plan should identify future decisions that must be made in collaboration, such as choice of materials, finishes, colors, and so forth. Specify early tasks in some detail, leave the later tasks somewhat undefined until you get closer to them.

Trust your spouse: Proceed from a position of trust. When problems develop, you don’t want to assume that your spouse is trying to show you up. Rather, work with the understanding that you both might make mistakes, but the mistakes are honest. You are on the same team. Don’t confuse fatigue or occasional rudeness for contempt. Talk out your differences and then move on. A little respect goes a long way, and that means you shouldn’t disparage your spouse in front of others.

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Be sensitive to your spouse’s interests: Your passion may be for refinishing hardwood floors, but your spouse might despise it. That doesn't preclude a partnership. Identify each other's strengths and use it to your advantage. For example, suppose your spouse is good at marketing and social media – great for publicizing your property, working with the lender, dealing with the public. A spouse might be a spreadsheet expert in charge of the budget. Adapt the project to your and your spouse’s interests.

iStock-693209350.jpgPick interesting properties: It can be boring to flip a property that doesn’t excite you in some way (other than profits). Don’t underestimate the value of enthusiasm, especially when you encounter the inevitable setbacks. You and your spouse might love a particular style of architecture, or perhaps you prefer run-down properties that need a lot of TLC. Your project must meet your financial requirements, but hopefully you can also identify properties that you both can enjoy.

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Schedule fun time: You don’t want to work too many hours on your house flip, iStock-629721354.jpgbecause eventually you’ll exhaust yourself. You might start the day with breakfast at a local restaurant or spend one afternoon per week enjoying a round of tennis or golf. Make sure to celebrate milestones and try to observe the rule of no business at the dinner table.

Outside help: You and your spouse don't have to do it all alone. If there's a task you and your spouse are not good at, or both dislike doing make room in your budget to hire a pro and save yourselves the tedium. It's easy to notice all your spouse's faults when you're working on a job you dislike, so identify distasteful tasks in advance and budget for them.

Don’t make your lender choose: It’s important to pick a lender that is experienced in both development and lending. That said, remember that your lender is not a marriage counselor, and that you shouldn’t make your lender an arbiter of your disagreements. By all means, depend on your lender for useful guidance, but do so as a team, not as squabbling individuals. 

It is no easy task to fix and flip a house, but it can be a fun and engaging experience. With patient, communication, trust, and the right attitude, you and your spouse can flip a house without jeopardizing your relationship. Remember you chose to marry each other, you are a team and teammates must work together!

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Topics: Home Renovation & Design Tips

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