House flippers are a rare breed in that they aren’t afraid to take something “ugly” and completely transform it into a beautiful home. Many flippers pride themselves on their ability to make a fixer-upper completely unrecognizable by the time they’re ready to sell. However, it’s important to draw a line in the sand between a fixer-upper and a lost cause. Some homes are so far gone that they won’t be worth the time, money, and hassle you’ll have to put in to get it in any type of shape to sell. Here’s a helpful list of things to keep an eye out for! 

🗸 Fixer-Upper 🗸 Lost Cause
  Has a stable foundation   Has visible external issues that make you question the stability of the home
  No structural issues   Has visible structural issues in the frame, roof, interior, etc.
  Problems are mostly cosmetic   Problems are deeper and harder to tackle
  No obvious major renovations are needed   The home requires a complete overhaul
  It’s in a good neighborhood   The area is not ideal/desirable
  The style is a desirable one   The home is oddly-shaped or does not fit in with those around it
  The structure lends itself to the renovations you’d like to make   The existing layout will force you to rethink all of your plans
  From what you can see, the cost of renovations will not exceed the value of the home when you’re done   You can tell right away that the cost of renovations will leave you in the red after selling
  The home does not break any health or safety codes   There are issues such as knob and tube wiring, zoning problems, plumbing issues, harmful materials, etc.
  Much of the existing house can be kept as-is and simply repaired   You’ll need to gut the house and start from scratch because it’s too far gone to be saved


To be clear, any house can be fixed with enough time, money, and effort. However, if you’re like most house flippers, you want to spend as little on a project as possible to maximize the profit you make. If you take on a “lost-cause” home, you won’t be selling it any time soon. There are some homes that are worth saving from the point of no return, but they’re few and far between. If you spot a historic home, a gorgeous shell of a home that has been neglected but deserves to be inhabited again, or a particularly unique home, by all means, fix her up. Just be aware that saving a lost cause will take a ton of effort and may not get you the best return on your investment. 

Flipping a house in never easy, especially when it comes to finding the perfect candidate. If you have your eye on a house to flip, try to bring in a professional inspector. This won’t always be feasible, but if it is, we recommend it. Inspectors can spot underlying problems that the everyday flipper could miss until it’s too late to back out. Do your research prior to hunting to know what areas are good for home selling, which type of home suits your flipping style, and what are some deal-breakers that you absolutely can not overlook. There are plenty of homes out there waiting to be flipped. Try to avoid setting your heart on a home that is well past its prime. 
For help funding your next flip, contact Zinc Financial! We offer fix-and-flip loans to house flippers to help you get started as soon as possible. We’ll get you the money you need to purchase the home and get started. Our team has given rehab loans to thousands of flippers, and now we want to help you! Learn more and apply for a loan at