For Scranton realtor Pat Rogan, house flipping has become a good source of income and has proven to be a successful way of doing business.
“I’ve done a majority of my flips in Scranton and it’s been a positive experience,” he said.
Scranton is a hot market when it comes to home flippers. Researchers with ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data company, studied home flipping in metropolitan areas across the country and found that in Scranton and Pittsburgh, homes were selling at a higher price due to home flippers.
Rogan, who has done about 10 flips, said from an investment side, it’s been good for the community.
“We are often taking the ugliest house on the block and making it one of the nicest,” he said. “At the end of the day, we are putting a family in there and it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
Rogan, who began flipping houses two years ago, said every house is different but added the profit margin can vary.
“Some you do very well and others you barely make a profit,” he said. “You don’t know what you’re going to run into as the project moves along.”
He said he uses several different contractors to get the flip finished, depending on the demands of each project and the needs of each house.
“Some of them just need cosmetic work,” he said. “New kitchens and baths, carpets, flooring and things like that where the roofs are good, furnaces are good. Others are a complete rebuild.”
He talked about a project on East Monroe Street in Scranton, which became very involved.
“It needed a new roof, windows, furnace, hot water heater, electrical, kitchens and baths,” he said. “It was new from the ground up.”
According to the data compiled by ATTOM, house flipping in Scranton garnered a 168.2% return on investment, which is the highest in Pennsylvania. Other top cities in the study cited Flint, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio.
“Every flip has different parameters,” said Paul Marcks, president of the Greater Scranton Board of Realtors. “If you can be in and out pretty quickly and make a 30-profit, that’s pretty good. Others look at a number of other aspects including neighborhoods. It’s lucrative to flip homes here.”
Marcks said part of the reason it’s a money maker is because of the housing stock.
“We have a lot of homes that were built in the 1920s,” he said. “A lot of them have different levels of update, but as long as they have a good, solid structure, you may be able to go in and do a semi-flip where you rehab the kitchen and bath, you can make the project appealing to buyers. The other side of that is you can buy a home that’s completely distressed and create a completely new home.”
Rogan said with the lower interest rates helping the housing market, he sees more flips in his future.
“The problem for me always seems to be houses to purchases,” he said. “I’m always looking for a deal.”