How to Rehab or Flip a House

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Rehabbing or flipping a house can be highly profitable or it can cost you your shirt. The two most expensive repairs are needing a new roof or repairing a foundation. In this blog, I examine the costs and variables that involve replacing a roof if it’s not a deal breaker.

Roof Inspection

When considering investing a rehab or flip, one of the first places you want to inspect is the roof. If you aren’t familiar with roof repairs, you probably need to hire a professional until you learn more about roofs. Even when using the basic rehab cost formula of buying for 30% less than the repaired value can get you into trouble if you underestimate the cost of putting on a new roof.

How to rehab or flip a house involves understanding the damage a bad roof can cause beyond just damaged shingles. By the time there is a leak into the living area, the entire roof system is likely to have serious damage. Besides replacing the shingles (or cedar, or tiles) you’ll have rotted roof decking, damage to the “A” frames, mold in the insulation, and wood, as well as a ventilation problem.


Besides inspecting the rooftop, it’s essential that you thoroughly inspect the roof from the inside of the attic. Look for wood damage everywhere. It can start with the decking (plywood) or be in the framing. One sign that the roof is beginning to fail are rusty nails that are letting rain in. Another important part of the roof system to inspect are the plumbing and exhaust vents. Caught early, these can be relatively inexpensive to repair. But once the surrounding wood starts rotting or molding the repair can make your rehab too expensive to be profitable.

Roofing Costs

From hurricane winds to ice dams, different parts of the country experience different roofing damage. The roof is the house’s first line of defense against the weather and is likely to be both the first to be damaged and the most expensive to repair. Roofs are designed to withstand the weather of the local geography. A roof designed for one part of the country but installed in another will have a much shorter life span or even fail from the first bad weather event.

It can cost as little as $6,000 to replace a shingle roof on a 1,400 square foot house. But before you come to that conclusion, consider the many variables that go into replacing a roof. In most locations, you can put up to three layers of shingles on a roof before being required by code to rip off all the old roofs to put on a fourth layer. Ripping off old layers is costly not only for the labor but to dispose of the old materials as well.

Other costs to consider are replacement plywood, flashing, and cement. But the repair costs often go beyond the basics. Even if the “A” frame is in good repair, other costs can include repointing of a chimney, repair of gutters, or resealing of skylights. If you are planning to profit from a rehab or flip, don’t plan on going the cheap route by replacing a tile roof with a shingled roof if the neighborhood is dominated by tile roofs. Doing so will only devalue the property.

Finally, most rehabbing projects are based on upgrading an old house to modern standards. When the roof is involved, this can add additional costs to install skylights and other amenities. The bottom line is that if you’re not a roofing expert and you know there is a problem with the roof, you need to bring in a roofing expert to get a full estimate of the repair costs before making a purchase offer or you may spend more repairing the roof than you estimate to be your rehab profit.

By Wendy Patton

For more than 30 years, I’ve used the Sandwich Lease Option System to earn myself and my students millions of dollars. From my experience, I know there is plenty of room and opportunity in the real estate investment market for everyone wanting to participate to find profitable deals. It’s because of that fact and my personal success that I share the Sandwich Lease Option System with others.

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