Thanks to our show, Flip or Flop, you see a lot of “before” pictures and videos of the houses we flip. You see just how bad they can be and how much money we put into updating them to make them really attractive.
Recently, when we were teaching a Success Path Education seminar, someone asked me if they should show “before” pictures at their open houses. In general, I don’t think it’s a bad idea, and I told our student that. But that question really got me thinking about how people approach flipping houses and the reputation that you want to build for your real estate investing business.
First, you’re not going to pretend that you’re selling your home so that you can move to another one, and you’re not going to pretend that you’re representing a family selling their home, either. You don’t have to emphasize that your properties are flips, but you shouldn’t lie about it, either.
Your buyers can look up information about your properties in public records, and they’ll quickly find out that you’re not being honest. Word has a way of getting around about these kinds of things, and before you know it, no one will want to do business with you if you aren’t upfront about who you are and what you do.
The Case Against Before Pictures
As I said, though, you do not have to emphasize the work that needed to be done to make your flip houses safe and habitable. Instead, you can focus on the upgrades and updates you did that make it more valuable than ever.
You don’t have to show people what a 1970s or ‘80s kitchen looked like, as your buyers likely remember those old appliances and cabinets from when they were children. Simply stating that the kitchen hadn’t been updated in years but that you just put in all new appliances, a marble countertop, and all new cabinets will be enough to show people that you’re serious about making real upgrades to your flips and that you do beautiful work for your houses.
Many house flippers don’t ever post pictures of their fix and flip properties before they do their work, but they will post their “after” pictures. The idea behind this thinking is that the work speaks for itself, and you don’t have to remind people that they’re purchasing a home that was once a wreck. Basically, they don’t want to remind people that each property has a past and that there may still be underlying damage somewhere that could make buying a house a bad idea.
The Case for Before Pictures
At the same time, you can really build a reputation for doing high-quality, thorough work by showing your “before shots”. When we’re flipping houses, Christina and I work closely with inspectors, project managers, and general contractors to be sure that we do everything necessary to make our houses new again. I might not like the added rehab costs of removing mold or fixing foundation problems, but I’d never, ever do a flip without fixing these and other issues.
That’s why we opened up our business and started the show, and it’s why we started Success Path Education, too. Flipping houses is a great business, and it’s really rewarding when you do good work. I’m proud to show off what our houses looked like before we got to them because it shows how much we care about integrity in real estate investing and how committed we are to selling a great product.