The Ultimate Guide to Flipping Houses in Malibu Beach

The Malibu Life August 25, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Flipping Houses in Malibu Beach

In an ever-evolving real estate market with new opportunities constantly emerging, flipping houses has become increasingly popular. In 2022, the number of houses flipped was 58% more than in 2020. Put another way, house flips in 2022 accounted for about 1/12 of all sales by dollar amount — the largest percentage since at least 2005.

Are you intrigued by the possibility of flipping houses, or just want to know what all the fuss is about? Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of house flipping, specifically focusing on the stunning locale of Malibu Beach.

How to find a house to flip

Before you start flipping houses, it is essential to do your research and understand your local community. This includes knowing which neighborhoods are considered “hot” and are likely to attract eager buyers. Within Malibu, you will find different types of properties in East Malibu than in West Malibu. Your location will also determine what buyers will be interested in your house.

A trusted local real estate agent can significantly enhance your search for houses to flip. They can find properties that fit your criteria by checking foreclosure sites, attending auctions, and networking. An agent like those at The Malibu Life will research each potential house’s history, assess their condition, and accurately estimate their potential value. In most cases, you can contact the owner directly to ascertain their interest in selling.

Breakdown of house flipping costs by project

Once you’re the owner of a house, it can be tempting to add the latest trends and luxurious touches, especially in Malibu. However, the more money you invest in lavish renovations, the higher your asking price must be. Start with essential repairs and basic features when flipping.


Bathroom renovations are among the most popular and profitable upgrades when flipping luxury houses. The average cost of a bathroom renovation is around $15,000, but this can vary depending on the size and scope of the project. Choose reputable contractors and durable materials for the best ROI.


Kitchens are one of the most critical rooms in a home, and a well-renovated kitchen can be a major selling point for buyers. However, kitchen renovations can be expensive and time-consuming, so it is crucial to plan carefully before embarking on a project.

When choosing upgrades for your kitchen, consider the style and needs of your target buyer. If you are targeting families with young children, consider installing a kitchen island with seating. If you are targeting empty nesters, you should focus on updating the appliances and countertops. Most buyers love new cabinets and countertops, pantries with built-in shelving, and new light fixtures.

Bedrooms and living rooms

Living spaces in Malibu are as variable as the neighborhood’s market for luxury homes. In the highly competitive Malibu luxury homes market, you’ll find different styles of house call for different interior design choices. For example, new flooring can cost well over $10,000, depending on the type of flooring and the size of the home. Hardwood floors are typically more expensive than carpet but have a higher ROI.

Home systems

A thorough home inspection may uncover systemic issues with houses. Central air installation is the most expensive systems upgrade, costing around $10,000 in luxury homes. You might also update the home’s HVAC and replace its appliances; both endeavors typically cost over $1,000.

Financing your house flip

It can be easy to get caught up in the details of a property and forget that you are buying it as an investment, not a home. That’s why staying objective is important when choosing an investment property. Monitoring your finances is the best way to stay grounded during a house flip.

Budget conservatively

When budgeting for home renovations, try to overestimate rather than underestimate the costs. This is because there are often hidden costs that can add up quickly. For example, a house you acquire may need a new central air system. Or you may need to purchase additional materials or hire more labor than you initially anticipated. By overestimating your budget, you will be less likely to run out of money in the middle of the project.

Adhere to the 70% rule

This rule states that you should spend no more than 70% of a home's after-repair value (ARV) minus the cost of repairs. For example, if a home's ARV is $100,000 and the cost of repairs is $20,000, you should spend no more than $50,000 on the property. This will leave you with a profit of $30,000 when you sell the property. This rule of thumb will help you ensure that you profit from the property when you sell it.

Identify the best loan for house flipping

When seeking funding for house flipping, your main options are home renovation loans, hard money loans, and traditional investment loans.
Home renovation loans
Home renovation loans are a great way to finance flips. They can be obtained as a purchase mortgage with additional funds, a cash-out refinance, a personal loan, a government-backed loan, or a home equity loan.
Hard money loans
Hard money loans are a type of short-term, high-interest loan that is secured by real estate. They are an option for people who cannot get traditional financing from banks.
Traditional investment loans
For traditional financing, a 20% down payment is typically required. However, for investment properties, lenders may require a 30% down payment. Your credit score and history will also affect your loan approval and interest rate.

Weighing the pros and cons

The worth of house flipping lies in the potential for high ROI, opportunities for growth and learning, and the satisfaction of transforming a property. However, the final call depends on individual financial situations, market knowledge, and risk tolerance.

There are more advantages than disadvantages to house flipping. Successful house flippers frequently cite the potential for a quick profit, complete control over the renovation process, greater insight into buyer preferences, networking opportunities, the potential for a full-time career, and the relative safety of house flipping investments. The roadblocks to a successful house-flipping career are primarily financial — you will face an entry cost, the likelihood of unexpected expenses, high holding costs, and the potential for increased taxes.

Common pitfalls in house flipping

House flipping can be a lucrative endeavor, but there are some pitfalls to avoid, especially for beginners. One of the most common mistakes is underestimating the difficulty of flipping houses. It is more challenging than it may seem on TV or in pamphlets. Flipping houses takes significant time and money, and it is not for everyone.

Another common mistake is not working with licensed contractors. It is vital to hire professionals who are experienced in flipping houses. This will help to ensure that the work is done correctly and that you avoid ending up with a money pit.

About The Malibu Life

Serving as a top-tier real estate team, The Malibu Life brings knowledge and skill to the property market in Malibu, Calif. Their agents combine highly personable customer service with up-to-the-minute information on luxury properties throughout Southern California. If you want to buy or sell a home or have questions about the Malibu Beach real estate market, contact The Malibu Life today.

*Header photo courtesy of The Malibu Life

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