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  • Writer's pictureSpring Valley, The Investor's Bank

Pro Tips from the Property Flippers: Restoring a 100-Year-Old Sheriff Sale Property

Updated: Jun 28

Pro Tips from the Property Flippers June 2024 Edition

HDE Holdings

Allison and her husband launched their real estate company, HDE Holdings, in May 2023 and are now celebrating their first anniversary with the sale of this month's highlight, 3460 Wabash. Both juggle full-time jobs that complement their business—Allison an attorney and her husband is in the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing sector. Their shared enthusiasm for revitalizing homes in the Greater Cincy community sparked the creation of their company. Alongside them on this real estate adventure are their three children, who actively participate, making it one of their cherished aspects of this endeavor. Allison happily reports, "Whether it's cleaning, painting, or just talking shop, they've really embraced it. It's hands-on experience on how to manage a budget, people, a project and the benefits of hard-work." 

HDE Holdings partnered with Spring Valley to complete the renovation at 3460 Wabash Ave, Evanston, OH 45207, a property purchased at a Hamilton County Sheriff sale.

When asked to recap their experience on this particular project Allison notes, "Wabash was a massive undertaking! This 100-year-old dilapidated property, which we acquired through a Sheriff's sale, had been vacant for months and neglected for decades before that. The home was devastated by hoarding and the roof had partially collapsed, allowing water damage to infiltrate the house for years. Despite these challenges, we were committed to restoring this craftsman gem in the heart of Evanston. The structure had good bones, but everything else was in dire need of repair. We rebuilt every aspect of the home, including new drywall, framing, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC, water heater, windows, kitchens, and bathrooms. We were able to salvage the original Rookwood pottery fireplace tile - which I was ecstatic about!"

Purchased for $96,000 this professional renovation resulted in a February 2024 resale of $320,250, $20,000 above list price.

Tips from the Flipper

Quotation Mark

Navigating the Sheriff sale experience

The Wabash property was purchased out of a Sheriff's auction. Unlike traditional home purchases, when purchasing through a Sheriff's auction purchasers must buy the properties in cash and are not afforded an opportunity to see inside the property before purchasing. There are a whole host of other potential pitfalls when purchasing a property through a Sheriff's sale (i.e. home occupants either owners or squatters that you have to evict, back taxes or liens on the property that you will be responsible for once you purchase, etc.).  So, a risky endeavor for sure!
My top piece of advice for anyone considering this route is to do your homework. Performing thorough research on a potential property purchase is critical.
Additionally, set a firm maximum purchase price (bid) before the auction begins. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement, especially now that everything is online and feels like eBay! Having a predetermined budget—both a minimum and a maximum—is a must. 
Don’t be afraid to walk away if the numbers don’t add up. There will always be another property but if you saddle yourself or your company to a property that has you underwater from the beginning it can have lasting/ damaging consequences.

Advise for the novice investor

It's nothing like the TV shows. Leave that expectation behind or you will be disappointed. It's real physical (sometimes back-breaking), mental, and emotional work.
  • You learn as you go and you don't have to stay in one lane. You may find you like flips better than rentals. Or you like long-term rentals better than short-term rentals. Or you may just like to wholesale properties and stay out of renovating all-together. There is so much diversity in real estate you can try things out and see what works best for you. 

  • You don't have to be perfect, you just have to start! Do your homework but at some point you are just going to have to jump-in. 

You can say that again

Lastly, it's no secret that the current real estate market in Southwest Ohio/Northern Kentucky is particularly challenging - with a surplus of buyers looking for a good deal and limited inventory - so my final piece of advice would be to chase leads on potential purchases in as many unique ways as possible - that could be through a Sheriff's sale listing, through the MLS, through Facebook groups, or even a FSBO sign in a yard. If you stay consistent in your searching something is bound to pop up!  

The Stager

Allison's monochromatic design choices are so in the moment. Her choices made it easy to use on point staging trends such as natural wood tones, mixed metals, plants and plant textures to complement the design and tie together the look. This is a pivotal time in the design market for investors as the market makes a notable transition away from grays and into softer natural design elements. Allison made all the right decisions.

We often approach modest size homes with the mindset of defining spaces. Due to their size, these homes commonly lack entry ways, so by adding a bench and plant to meet you as you walk in the door you create the feeling of having an entry and not just spilling into the living room.

If you plan to stage, Design to Market Staging offers style presentations at the beginning of the renovation process. These meetings help validate your design choices during this defining period in design that is pulling forward natural elements.

-Jo Potvin, Design to Market

The Financer

I love this space where we can connect our borrowers, practitioners and partners with you to share real life experiences to further enhance your knowledge of the business. Allison offers some sage advice in her comment about not being afraid to walk away from a property if the numbers don't work. This is a litmus test I can't stress enough. An investment is only an investment if it turns a profit. Anyone that has purchased a property through any avenue for any reason knows there is an unavoidable emotional experience involved. Performing your due diligence helps investors rely on facts, not feelings, when making transactions.

Spring Valley is your local community bank offering our investors SOLUTIONS:

  • Quick decisions with in-house underwriting

  • Certainty to close

  • Availability of real estate & banking experts to listen & stay connected

  • Flexible financing options for flips, refis & income producing properties

  • Dependability of an established banking institution

If you know an investor that may benefit from the flipping advise of seasoned professionals, please share this blog with them.


Allison notes, "We could not even pretend to do this business without the incredible work/ support of their partners and vendors. When it comes to flips, your project is only as good as your "people" - we were very fortunate to have an amazing "people" supporting us through Wabash." 




A monthly series showcasing tips from professional property flippers partnering with Spring Valley.

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