Vail Daily column: Fix and flip in today’s market? |

Vail Daily column: Fix and flip in today’s market?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

A few years ago some friends were doing “fix and flip” by buying properties that needed work, fixing them up and selling (flipping) them again for a nice profit. Is that possible in today’s real estate market in Eagle County?

Dear Fix and Flip Entrepreneur,

“Fix and flip” is always possible in the real estate world, if you buy “right.” The housing market in Eagle County was on a roll in the 2000-2008 period, with price increases in the 20 percent per year range for some properties.

During this time in the high-end markets in Vail and Beaver Creek, we had a unique situation where you did not even need to “fix” a property to be able to “flip” it for a profit.

Often times, if you were able to get in on a new home being constructed or a multi-family project that was being built, you had substantial appreciation before it was completed. That kind of “flipping” went away quickly by the end of 2008.

Now, in 2013, we are starting to see some opportunities appear again. Our luxury market is slowly growing stronger, with buyers buying remodeled properties in prime locations, allowing the “fixer” that is able to put in a very large sum of money, to get a nice pay off.

There are not a large number of these, as most investors are not able or willing to take this kind of monetary risk. A great real estate agent would be essential in this type of “fix and flip” to first, find the right location and property and second, to hopefully have a buyer prior to completion of the remodel.

Another area in the market where this strategy has an opportunity to work is just above and below the million dollar price range.

This price range is also sensitive to location, so you might look in East Vail, West Vail, Eagle-Vail, Arrowhead, Singletree and Eagle Ranch. If the location is good and the initial investment is minimal for the neighborhood (i.e. a distressed property or highly motivated seller with equity) the rewards may not be large, but there is good potential for some profits.

The easiest and most abundant opportunities are in the lower price ranges of the market, say $400,000 and under.

The lower the price the more buyers there are to bid on the property for sale. It is common sense that more buyers can purchase lower priced properties, whether it is for their primary residence or an investment property. And, since the lower priced properties will often cash flow when they are rented, they are in higher demand and will often have multiple offers submitted when they appear on the market.

Since there are higher rewards possible in this price range, it is essential that you have a an experienced buyer broker real estate agent to help you find and acquire one of these properties when they first come on the market.

Sometimes an experienced agent will have knowledge of a property that will be coming on the market in advance and you can take advantage of their expertise and local knowledge. The opportunities in this price range could be anywhere, but most likely in East Vail, West Vail, Eagle-Vail, Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum.

Find a good Realtor today and let them educate you about the market and help you find the “fix and flip” opportunities.

Good luck!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team of qualified experts. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past Chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact her with your real estate questions at , 970-337-7777 or

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