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How To Buy An Investment Property - Articles

Successful property flipping tactics

Date: 12/01/2014


Property flipping is an investing strategy where you sign a contract to buy a property and then sell your interest to a third party before having to settle or close on the deal.

An example of property flipping…

Successful property flipping tactics
Andrew finds an absolute bargain of an investment property in Richmond – an inner city suburb of Melbourne approximately five kilometres from the CDB. He knows that it is worth about $400,000 – but the seller only wants $320,000 for a quick sale; she needs some quick cash to settle some urgent debts.

Andrew doesn’t have the cash to settle on the property but he does know that he could sell the deal to someone else who does.
He completes a full due diligence before signing the contract on a 30 day settlement with a deposit of $5,000.
Elyce is a property investor with significant means behind her. A mutual friend puts her in touch with Andrew after Andrew made a post on an Internet forum outlining that he was selling a property for less than market value.
Elyce is very interested and offers Andrew $390,000. Andrew can’t believe it and accepts immediately. They arrange the dates so that there is a simultaneous settlement between Andrew and the original vendor and also Andrew and Elyce.
Both feel it’s a win-win outcome as Elyce picks up an investment property that fits with her wealth creation strategy (she plans to renovate it) and Andrew has made a lot of money for simply brokering a deal.

The above is an example of a successful property flipping scenario.

What are the critical success factors?

property flipping successful factors
The critical property flipping success factors are:

1. Finding undervalued properties

In the example above Andrew stumbles across an undervalued property.
But in reality finding cheap properties, especially in a ‘hot’ market where prices are rising daily and properties are selling quickly, is going to be difficult.
Like most creative investments however, the time that you allocate to sourcing opportunities will have a direct impact on your success. If you’re already stretched for time because you’re working long hours in a job then property flipping won’t feature greatly in your property investing portfolio.
On the other hand, if you have lots of time then it may only take one or two successful property flipping deals to potentially replace your normal salary.

2. Finding someone to flip to

Your role in a flip is to dispose of your interest in the contract to another party before having to settle on the property. In other words, you are acting as a private broker by seeking to pass on the property to another person and receive a commission in the form of the difference in your buy:sell price.
While you might be able to locate a cheap property, your eventual success in property flipping remains dependent on finding someone who wants to buy it off you.
That’s why it’s critical for flippers to maintain a database of investors who are time-poor and are happy to pay for you to bring them deals.

3. Affordability

If you can’t flip the property before settlement date then you’ll have to buy it. This means that you have to be conscious of the financial impact upon your wealth creation plan should this happen.

4. Flipping

Property flipping in Australia is not as straightforward as it seems to be in the United States. There are three issues that I can immediately think of that will impact your  profitability. They are:

  1. Stamp Duty

    You may find that there will be double stamp duty payable on a flip.

    In the example above Andrew would have to pay stamp duty on a purchase price of $320,000 and Elyce would have to pay it on $390,000.

    While there may be ways around this, such as buying an option to purchase the property rather than agreeing to buy the actual property, the legalities are complex and you should consult a lawyer before setting up the flip deal.

  2. Licensing Issues

    Because you are selling a property that you don’t technically own and making a profit as a result, it’s likely that you are going to need to be a licensed real estate agent to complete a flip.

    If you’re not a real estate agent then it doesn’t mean that you can’t do property flipping… you’re just going to have to operate under the auspices of someone who is. This means that you’ll need to pay some kind of fee to ensure you are operating within the law.

  3. Capital Gains

    You should also be mindful that if you buy and sell something that triggers a capital gain in less than 12 months then you will not be eligible for the 50% Capital Gains Tax discount that individuals are otherwise entitled to. See your accountant for more information.

Taking these three issues into account, let’s dissect Andrew’s profit on the basis that he has to pay a real estate agent $3,000 to operate under his agency.

Contract sell price:$390,000 
Less Contract purchase price:$320,000 
Less Legals:$2,500 
Less Stamp Duty:$14,860 
Less Agent’s fee:$3,000 
Capital gain:$49,640 
Capital gains tax @ 48.5%=$24,076 
(assuming top marginal income tax rate)
After tax profit:$25,564 


While this is still a great outcome for Andrew, it demonstrates how a $70,000 book profit ($390,000 – $320,000) can be whittled away to just $25,564 after tax and expenses.

Where to next?

Profile photo of Steve McKnight

By Steve McKnight

Steve McKnight, the founder of, is a respected property investing authority as well as Australia's #1 best-selling business author.


  1. Damien

    Hi How do you get around the banks doing there title searches for the person who eventually end up with the property. When they do there title searches it will come up as the original owner not the middle man. I understand you can do simultaneous settlements but some banks are not happy with that. I have flipped properties in the past this way with no problem but I have one at the moment and the person I am flipping the property to cant get finance due to the property is not in our name.

  2. rob

    how do the logistics of the flip in settlement work.
    Settlement is due in the same date. But how are the transfers and cheques work. How does one pay for the original property and then get the money from the new buyer?

  3. Timothy Lord

    Hi Rob.
    I have done it and the answer to your question is: Assuming you are the middle man…
    Your conveyancer / lawyer instructs the purchaser to make out checks to:
    1. Council rates, the water board, etc etc
    2. you for profit
    3. the owner for their price
    4. the real estate agent
    5. Your conveyancer / lawyer
    6. any other conveyancer / lawyer who is to be paid in the transaction

    The title never touches you.
    it goes from the original owner to probably the purchaser’s bank (unless they are paying cash, if so the purchaser them self)

  4. Profile photo of Tyger

    Incredibly helpful,thank you Steve.

    Does anyone know of any Australian sites similar to ListSource where pre foreclosure properties, default tax properties, vacant properties etc are listed?

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