Investing Exit Strategy – When top Flip and When to Hold?

I get asked all the time by investors when looking at property deal feasibility reports as to what is the best exit strategy for US property – flip it (resell) or hold it (rent)? Often though, the answer is not as black and white. One of the most important things I look for in any and every deal we do, or recommend to an investor, is to have TWO exit strategies. Have a plan B. This can be one of the most important parts of analysing any deal. We always want to have the preferred option, but have a backup in case circumstances change.

Now, there are a number of factors you need to take into account when looking at which exit strategy is best for any particular property deal. No one particular point is the most important, I generally look at all aspects and rate them, seeing which way a particular deal leans towards (flip or rental). Particular areas to look at are:

1. ROI – Rental return vs Flip profit

I think always the first thing we should always look at is what is the estimated return we will get from renting the property or selling the property. We also need to take into account when selling costs such as realtor commissions, taxes applicable, title company charges and settlement/closing costs. If a particular property is going to give a high rate of rental return (i.e. over 10% net after costs) then it could be a great addition to your portfolio to keep. If on the other hand, the rental return is down around the 6-7% but the profit from sale (again look at net after costs noted above) is over the 20-25% range, then it’s possible the best strategy may be to flip and invest the money into another deal.

2. Region Demographics & Market Forces

Demographics and market forces of a particular region or neighbourhood can play a role in what is the best exit or outcome for a particular deal as well. Certain areas may be heavily owner occupier properties, often giving higher property prices as it may be a popular area people want to live. This may lean a particular deal towards looking to do a better level or renovation/rehab and plan to flip the property. Other areas might be very strong rental areas; very low vacancy and high rental returns compared to the price of the properties might tend a particular deal to be a good rental. If you have properties in rougher or less affluent areas of a city, it may be best to renovate and sell, with the demographics of the area not conducive to getting good solid tenants. Don’t forget also to check sale prices in the region over the past 3-6 months, to see if the area is getting any capital growth. Maybe a boom in infrastructure or businesses is seeing prices rising, so again, it can lean a deal towards rental, to hold onto while the prices in the area appreciate.

3. Affordability or Price/Cost of the Deal

How much capital you have in the deal (or would have if you were to purchase) and the cost of funding (if applicable) is also a critical factor to look at. If the property cost is relatively affordable then it may be good to hold the property and look to purchase another for flip or hold. If on the other hand, a particular deal will tie up all your available capital, and if returns are such that you are unable to continue investing (stuck so to speak), then getting a chuck profit from sale, to enable you to continue to invest in your strategy might be the best option

4. Type of Property

The type of property you have or are looking at can also play a big part in the favourable exit strategy for the deal. Large 4-5 bedroom properties with 2-3 bathrooms possibly on large blocks, are not as generally favoured by renters, and/or don’t really get the rental return they deserve with rental demand more for the 2-3BR /1BA homes or apartments. Larger two storey properties though, could look to be turned into multi-family residences (MFR) with possibly a 2 BR unit upstairs and 2 BR unit downstairs depending on the layout. This can significantly increase the rental return a property can give. Occasionally, property layouts could even support 3 separate units, vastly increasing return – these would lean strongly to rentals.

Often it is not just one of the these points above that will decide for you the best option for your deal/property. It may be a combination of 2-3 points that gives you that Plan A, but you should always have ready that Plan B in case circumstances change. On the other hand, one particular point might be so strong in one direction, that it is easy to see the best outcome for the deal.

If your looking at starting or adding to your investment portfolio and would like to discuss options and strategies, book a call with us today!