Flipping Homes: Risks Vs. Rewards

Ready to start on your own home flipping adventure?

You’re in luck.

Meet our office’s go-to guy for all things renovation – Ray Thietten. Ray is a real estate agent with Real Estate One – Troy and owner of Smiley Creek Properties.  Ray recently shared some secrets and insight on flipping homes.

Before and After - Kitchen.jpg

Before and After of a kitchen. Images Courtesy of Ray Thietten.

How long have you been in the house flipping business?

  • I flipped my first house when I got out of the Military in the late 70s in Twin Falls, Idaho.   Then took a 30+ year break to do a Corporate Career with EDS and HP. In 2012 I got back into flipping houses and have done several over the past 6 years and doing it full time since last year.

What inspired you to become an investor in real estate?

  • I always knew that real estate was a good investment and when I was looking at how to set up my family up for financial independence I knew that Real Estate needed to be a big part of that. It wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to invest in my Real Estate education and signed up with a top Real Estate investment team to get the coaching, tools, and resources to be a Real Estate Investor.
Before and After - Living.jpg

Before and After of a living room space. Images Courtesy of Ray Thietten.

What is your main focus/goal when flipping houses?

  • The main goal when flipping a house is to make money.   The second goal is to provide a service to the community through taking distressed properties and turning them into updated homes for buyers, where they can move into a home where all the updates have been done and they can have all of the home improvements part of a long term mortgage.

What do you think are the biggest challenges with this line of work?

  • There is a large financial risk in flipping a house. The biggest risk is finding a repair that needs to be done that was not discovered before you bought the property (i.e. Sewer line needs replacing) and underestimating the repair cost.   Managing this risk and learning from your own mistakes and others is key to being successful.
  • The other challenge in this current market is finding good contractors to do the work and on time. Every good contractor is overbooked so scheduling your contractors to the work and coordinating them is key to a successful project.
  • There a lot of house flippers/investors that you are competing with and this demand in the current market is causing some municipalities to add building code requirements to your project, which costs time and money. One city I am rehabbing a house in right now it took 4 weeks to get my building permit approved due to a backlog.
Before and After - Rosedale

Before and after of a home exterior. Images Courtesy of Ray Thietten.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about entering into the world of flipping houses?

  • I know a lot of people who want to flip houses and love to watch all of the TV shows on flipping houses.   The advice I would give them is stop watching TV and get off the couch and sign up for some training and start taking action even if it is a small step.
  • There is a lot of great books and resources available today for people wanting to get into the business.   Start being a consumer of investor knowledge
  • Another great way to learn is to partner up with another investor who has already done it.
  • Join a local Real Estate Investment Association group (REI).   Michigan Real Estate Investor group is one of those groups that are local and meets in Troy once per month and offers great networking with other investors and training opportunities https://www.michiganrealestateinvestors.com
  • Listen to a Real Estate Investor podcast (Free). Here are a couple I listen to:
  • If you are a Realtor you are in a great position to find deals, since you know the market and have access to the MLS and other agents that can bring you deals
  • Unless you love doing the rehab your work yourself hire the work out.   Your time is better spent finding deals and managing the project.
Before and After - Bathroom

Before and after of a bathroom. Images Courtesy of Ray Thietten. 

What is your favorite part about being involved in this industry?

  • Meeting and working with people to solve Real Estate Opportunities and Problems for a win-win outcome.
  • Turning a distressed property into an updated property that makes a great home for a first time home buyer.
  • Being around great Real Estate agents and investors who provide a great service to their communities they work in.
  • Working on my own business instead of JOB for someone else.


Still have questions? Contact Ray Thietten at ray.thietten@gmail.com or 248.941.1256.

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