When I decided to start investing in real estate several years ago, I had a hard time getting started. But, once I did, there was no stopping me—especially since I’d moved to the south and started flipping houses in Georgia. The timing just seemed to be perfect for me and the local market. I’ve never looked back and my career has done nothing but spring forward since.
So, you can imagine my excitement when my best friend, Stephanie, said that she wanted to start a career flipping houses, too. I’d actually wanted it for her for a long time. Investing is the perfect job for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, which is exactly what Steph has. But, like a lot of wanna-be investors doing a career-switch, she wasn’t confident about her timing or how, as a teacher with no investing experience, she could successfully get started. If she was up for a glass of Zinfandel or two on the porch, I told her, I’d happily fill her in. Of course she was.
Why You Should Start Flipping Houses in Georgia
In general, the south has a lot going for it. I mean, there is a reason why a lot of northerners, like me, as well as a lot of folks from out west, move here to live and work. The cost of living is lower than many other parts of the country. The winters are milder. And, the people aren’t just friendly, they make the effort to be your friend. It’s hard not to admit that the best stereotypes said about the south are true.
But, there is something really special about the state of Georgia. First, statewide unemployment is down to 3.8%. Not only that, unemployment fell by a larger percentage by the fourth quarter than the national rate did. Some counties, like Fulton and Hall, experienced drops by 1.9% and 2.3% respectively. And, wages went up in several counties. In Fulton and Cobb, for instance, the average weekly wages even grew higher than the national average.
These numbers are significant because high employment and a noticeable growth in wages typically indicate a stable, even strong, economy—as well as a potentially flourishing housing market. That the owner-occupied housing rate in Georgia is nearly 70%, points to the same conclusion. What this means for you is that, once you find investment properties to flip, your chances of finding buyers who can afford to purchase your investment home—and want to—are high.
Homebuying demand is so high, in fact, that home prices across the state have heated up in the last year despite rumours that the national market might be cooling down. Cities in Cobb and Gwinnett Counties are still seeing median home list prices trend upward year-over-year by 3.5% and 5.4% respectively. And, the median home sales prices in DeKalb County have jumped from $197,000 to $295,000 during the same time. In Atlanta, Fulton’s county seat and the state’s capital, median home sales prices also jumped nearly $100,000 in the last year—right in the face of the city’s more typically seasonal market that often causes list and sales prices to fluctuate, too.
So, if you already had an established business flipping houses in Atlanta, and know how to keep your purchase and repair costs low, you probably made pretty decent returns in the last 12 months or so. But, even if you didn’t, it isn’t too late to begin—in Atlanta, Stone Mountain, or further out in the college town of Athens. The deals are still there, even with prices on the rise.
Finding Houses to Flip in Georgia
It’s a great time to find some of the best deals as well as help some of your fellow Georgia residents out, too. Unfortunately, not everyone in the state is enjoying stable economic conditions. Though Georgia’s poverty rate has declined in recent years, it’s barely eked out of the top ten states with the highest number of impoverished households. That means a good percentage of your neighbors may be struggling to pay the bills, including their mortgage payments.
Although foreclosure rates are down from last year, they haven’t dropped by much, indicating that quite a few people are still having a hard time making their loan payments. And, the number of homes being sold at a foreclosure auction are actually up from last year—by more than 13%.
The vast majority of these foreclosures are going to be found in counties that skirt Atlanta’s perimeter and beyond, but that doesn’t mean near-city dwellers aren’t struggling, too. For example, only one in 2,668 homes in Atlanta’s Fulton County are currently in foreclosure. But, with a population of more than one million, that equals almost 400 houses, and as many distressed homeowners, in that one county alone.
To grow your flipped houses portfolio, you could attempt to buy a foreclosure auction home—or several—in Fulton and its neighboring counties. But, you’ll have an easier time dealing directly with a struggling homeowner than you will with a foreclosing lender. You’ll likely run across more deals that way, too, since not every homeowner who wants or needs out of their house fast finds their home on the auction block. Plus, the more deals you land, the more people you’ll help—and the faster your business will grow, too.
How to Enter the Georgia Market on Solid Footing
Of course, though there are a lot of good reasons why you should start flipping houses in Georgia, how you begin matters as well. To turn flipping houses into a good business that supports you and your family, instead of a side hustle that creates more work than its worth, it’s important to have a way to enter the market on solid footing—no matter what your background may be.
To do that, you’ve got to have several aces up your sleeve. If you’ve never bought, rehabbed, and sold properties before, getting an education in real estate investing is job one. Hiring a mentor and immersing yourself in the company of other, more experienced investors from your network are critical, too. After all, the learning opportunities never stop. And, I can’t stress enough how a team that cares about your success as much as you do makes all the difference in your ability to make well-informed, professional, and potentially profitable decisions—even when you’re just starting out, like Stephanie.
But, you’ve also got to have a way to find, and land, the best deals. For that, you need qualified leads on Georgia homeowners who are already eager to sell fast. And, in my experience, the best real estate investor leads are going to be those that come directly to you from the distressed homeowners themselves.
As it happens, I know how you can get those leads—as well as how you can get the training and support you need to enter Georgia’s real estate market. You won’t have to offer me a glass of wine to tell you, either. (Though, I won’t turn one down.)
Your First Step Toward Successfully Investing In Georgia
There are a couple of reasons why I had trouble getting my business off the ground before I started flipping houses in Georgia. Like Steph, my confidence was pretty low because the shift in my career was big. Plus, I came to this business with no previous investor training and no support system to speak of. As for knowing how to find homeowner leads that had a high rate of converting to sales, I had no idea where to begin—that is, until I saw a nationally-advertised “We Buy Ugly Houses®” billboard for HomeVestors®. It was just the sign I was looking for.
After calling to inquire about the marketing tools and resources that HomeVestors® franchisees have access to, like the ad I saw on the billboard that day, I learned that the ability to advertise on TV, the radio, in print, and online aren’t all you get. As an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, you also attend an initial week-long training program on how to invest, are provided with one-on-one mentoring from a Development Agent, and gain access to a network of other regional franchisees to lean on for ongoing support.
I don’t know of any other opportunity out there that drives motivated Georgia sellers to you and gives you the tools and the team to help you successfully convert those leads to sales. That’s what I call taking the first step towards building a solid professional investing career.
Take your first step towards buying, rehabbing, and selling houses. Call HomeVestors to learn more about successfully flipping houses in Georgia today!
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