What Is The 70% Rule In Flipping?

In the world of real estate investment, the 70% rule is a key concept among seasoned flippers. This rule is a valuable tool that helps investors determine the maximum purchase price they should pay for a property in order to achieve a profitable return. By following this guideline, you can ensure that you are making informed decisions and maximizing your chances of success in the ever-competitive world of house flipping.

What Is The 70% Rule In Flipping?

Understanding the 70% Rule in Flipping

Definition and Purpose of the 70% Rule

The 70% rule in flipping refers to a widely used guideline that real estate investors follow when determining the maximum amount they should pay for a property in order to make a profit. The rule states that an investor should aim to purchase a property at no more than 70% of its after repair value (ARV), minus the estimated repair costs and other expenses. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that investors have a sufficient margin for profit and can mitigate potential risks associated with their investment.

How Does the 70% Rule Work?

The 70% rule is a simple yet effective method for determining the maximum allowable offer (MAO) on a property. It is calculated by following a step-by-step process. First, the investor determines the ARV of the property, which is the estimated value of the property after it has been repaired and renovated. The ARV can be determined through various methods, such as comparative market analysis or by consulting with real estate professionals. Once the ARV is established, the investor subtracts the estimated repair costs, including both labor and materials. This provides the potential profit margin. Finally, the investor subtracts any other expenses, such as holding costs, buying and selling costs, and contingencies. The remaining amount is the maximum allowable offer that the investor should make.

Benefits of Using the 70% Rule

The 70% rule offers several benefits to real estate investors in the flipping business. Firstly, it provides a clear and straightforward guideline for determining the maximum allowable offer, ensuring that investors do not overpay for a property. This allows them to optimize their potential profit margins. Moreover, the rule also helps investors in estimating repair costs more accurately by considering the overall profitability of a deal. Lastly, the 70% rule acts as a risk mitigator by leaving a healthy margin for unforeseen expenses or market fluctuations, providing a level of protection for investors in the event of unexpected challenges.

Determining the After Repair Value (ARV)

What is After Repair Value?

After Repair Value (ARV) is an essential concept in flipping real estate. It refers to the estimated value of a property after all necessary repairs and renovations have been completed. Determining the ARV is crucial for calculating the maximum allowable offer under the 70% rule. The ARV can be determined using different methods, including comparative market analysis, property appraisals, or consulting with real estate professionals familiar with the specific market.

Methods for Calculating ARV

There are several methods for calculating the ARV, each with its own advantages and limitations. The most common method is comparative market analysis (CMA), where the investor assesses recent sales prices of similar properties in the same location. This method provides a good estimate of the ARV by considering the current market conditions and comparable properties. Another method is obtaining a professional property appraisal. This involves hiring a licensed appraiser to determine the value of the property based on various factors such as the property’s condition, location, and recent sales data. Finally, real estate professionals with experience in the local market can provide valuable insights and guidance in estimating the ARV based on their knowledge of the area and recent sale trends.

Factors to Consider in ARV Calculation

When calculating the ARV, it is crucial to consider various factors that can influence the value of the property. These factors include the location of the property, its size and layout, the condition of the property, and the current market conditions. Additionally, the availability of comparable properties and recent sales data can provide valuable information for estimating the ARV accurately. By taking all these factors into account, investors can make informed decisions and ensure a more accurate estimation of the ARV.

Calculating the Max Allowable Offer (MAO)

What is Max Allowable Offer?

The Max Allowable Offer (MAO) is the maximum purchase price that an investor should offer for a property based on the 70% rule. It takes into account the ARV, estimated repair costs, and other expenses associated with the property. The MAO calculation is crucial as it determines the investor’s potential profit margin and ensures that the investment remains financially viable.

The Formula for Calculating MAO

Calculating the MAO involves a straightforward formula that allows investors to determine the maximum offer price. The formula is as follows:

MAO = (ARV * 0.70) – Repair Costs – Other Expenses

The formula subtracts the estimated repair costs and other associated expenses from the 70% of the ARV, leaving the maximum amount that an investor should offer for the property. This calculation is essential to ensure that investors set a purchase price that allows for a reasonable profit margin while also accounting for potential risks and unforeseen expenses.

Importance of Accurate MAO Calculation

Accurate MAO calculation is vital in the flipping business as it directly impacts the profitability of a deal. By accurately determining the MAO, investors can ensure that they do not overpay for a property and leave themselves with little or no profit margin. Additionally, accurate MAO calculation allows investors to account for potential risks, such as market fluctuations or unexpected repair costs, thereby reducing the chances of financial loss. It is crucial for investors to conduct thorough research, consult with experts, and use accurate data to make precise calculations for the MAO.

Evaluating the Repair Costs

Importance of Accurate Repair Cost Evaluation

Accurately evaluating repair costs is a critical aspect of the flipping process. The estimated repair costs directly impact the potential profit margin and the overall viability of the investment. Underestimating repair costs can lead to financial losses, while overestimating them may result in a lower profit margin. Therefore, conducting a thorough evaluation of repair costs is essential to ensure the accuracy and feasibility of the overall investment.

Researching Repair Costs

To evaluate repair costs accurately, investors need to conduct thorough research. This can involve obtaining multiple quotes from reputable contractors or conducting a cost analysis based on the property’s condition and the expected repairs. Investors can also leverage online resources, industry benchmarks, and local market knowledge to gain a better understanding of typical repair costs in their target area. It is important to remember that repair costs can vary depending on factors such as the size and complexity of the project, the quality of materials used, and the regional market conditions.

Common Categories of Repair Costs

Repair costs can be categorized into different areas, each requiring a unique assessment. The common categories of repair costs include structural repairs, electrical and plumbing repairs, cosmetic renovations, landscaping and curb appeal enhancements, and any other necessary repairs to bring the property up to market standards. By carefully considering each category and accurately estimating the associated costs, investors can make informed decisions on the viability of the investment and adjust their offer price accordingly.

What Is The 70% Rule In Flipping?

Considering Other Expenses

Additional Costs to Include in the Calculation

When flipping a property, it is important to take into account various additional expenses that may arise during the process. These expenses can include holding costs, buying and selling costs, financing costs, closing costs, and contingency funds. Holding costs refer to expenses such as property taxes, insurance, utility bills, and any other costs incurred while the property is being renovated and prepared for sale. Buying and selling costs encompass expenses such as real estate commissions, legal fees, title insurance, and advertising costs. Financing costs are associated with interest payments or loan fees if the investor chooses to finance the project. Lastly, contingency funds are set aside to cover any unforeseen expenses or unexpected repairs that may arise during the flipping process. By factoring in these additional expenses, investors can gain a more accurate picture of the overall costs involved in the investment.

Accounting for Holding Costs

Holding costs can significantly impact the profitability of a flipping project, especially if the renovation process takes an extended period of time. These costs can accumulate over time and include property taxes, insurance premiums, utility bills, and maintenance expenses. It is important to consider all these costs and estimate the duration of the holding period when calculating the MAO. By accurately accounting for holding costs, investors can avoid underestimating the financial obligations associated with the investment and ultimately ensure a more successful outcome.

Factoring in Buying and Selling Costs

Buying and selling costs are an integral part of any real estate transaction, including flipping properties. These costs include real estate commissions, legal fees, title insurance, and advertising expenses. It is crucial to consider these costs when determining the MAO as they directly impact the potential profitability of the investment. By accurately factoring in these expenses, investors can ensure that they are not overlooking significant costs that may affect their overall return on investment.

Adjusting the Offer Price

Determining the 70% Threshold

Once the ARV, repair costs, and other expenses have been established, it is necessary to determine the 70% threshold for the offer price. This threshold is the maximum allowable offer that an investor should make on the property. By adhering to the 70% rule, investors can ensure that they have a healthy margin for profit and can manage potential risks effectively. It is important to note that the 70% threshold is not a fixed rule and can be adjusted based on individual market conditions, property-specific factors, and the investor’s risk tolerance.

Reducing the Offer Price

In some cases, it may be necessary to reduce the offer price below the 70% threshold to mitigate risks or account for potential challenges. This can be done by adjusting the estimated repair costs, negotiating a lower purchase price with the seller, or factoring in additional contingencies. Reducing the offer price can provide investors with a buffer for unforeseen expenses and market fluctuations, ensuring that the investment remains financially viable.

Negotiating Strategies

Negotiating the purchase price is a crucial aspect of flipping properties. To negotiate effectively, investors should come prepared with accurate data and a thorough understanding of the property’s value and potential repair costs. By demonstrating their knowledge and the rationale behind their offer, investors can engage in productive negotiations with the seller. It is important to approach negotiations professionally and maintain open lines of communication to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement. Additionally, being flexible and willing to compromise can help create a positive negotiation environment and increase the chances of a successful outcome.

Potential Risks and Limitations

Inaccurate ARV Estimation

One of the primary risks in flipping properties is inaccurately estimating the ARV. If the ARV is overestimated, an investor may end up overpaying for the property and ultimately reduce their potential profit margin. Likewise, underestimating the ARV can result in a lower return on investment. It is vital to conduct thorough research, utilize multiple methods for estimating the ARV, and seek professional guidance to minimize the risk of inaccuracies.

Unforeseen Repair Costs

Another potential risk in flipping properties is unexpected or undisclosed repair costs. While investors can conduct a thorough evaluation of repair costs, there may still be hidden issues that can only be discovered after acquiring the property. To mitigate this risk, it is important to set aside contingency funds and conduct a comprehensive inspection of the property before finalizing the purchase. Additionally, working with experienced contractors and professionals can help identify potential issues and accurately estimate repair costs.

Market Fluctuations

The real estate market is subject to fluctuations that can impact property values and overall profitability. Flipping properties involves a certain level of market risk, as the market conditions can change during the renovation process. Economic factors, housing demand, interest rates, and local market dynamics can all influence the success or failure of a flipping project. While it is impossible to predict market fluctuations with absolute certainty, investors can conduct thorough market analysis and consult with experts to minimize the impact of these risks.


The flipping industry is highly competitive, and finding profitable opportunities can be challenging. Increased competition can drive up the purchase prices of properties or limit the availability of suitable deals. Investors need to stay informed about market trends, develop a strong network, and actively seek out potential properties to overcome the challenges of competition. It is crucial to thoroughly analyze each opportunity within the context of the 70% rule and make strategic decisions to ensure profitability in a competitive market.

Alternatives to the 70% Rule

The 65% Rule

The 65% rule is an alternative guideline that some real estate investors use when determining their maximum allowable offer. This rule suggests that investors should aim to purchase a property at no more than 65% of its ARV, minus the estimated repair costs and other associated expenses. The 65% rule offers a slightly more conservative approach compared to the 70% rule, providing investors with a larger profit margin and increased protection against potential risks. However, it is important for investors to analyze the specific market conditions and individual property dynamics to determine the most appropriate rule for their investment strategy.

The 75% Rule

Conversely, the 75% rule is a more aggressive guideline that allows investors to offer up to 75% of the ARV, minus repair costs and other expenses. This rule provides investors with a lower profit margin but may be suitable in markets with high demand and limited inventory. The 75% rule allows investors to be more competitive in their offers while still accounting for repair costs and potential expenses. However, it is crucial for investors to thoroughly analyze the market conditions and weigh the potential risks and rewards before applying the 75% rule.

Customized Rules based on Market Conditions

In addition to the 70%, 65%, or 75% rules, real estate investors may also develop their own customized guidelines based on specific market conditions and individual investment strategies. Customized rules can account for factors such as the level of competition, property-specific considerations, and the investor’s risk tolerance. By tailoring the rule to their specific needs, investors can maximize their profitability and adapt to changing market dynamics. However, it is important to thoroughly evaluate and test customized rules before implementation to ensure their effectiveness and feasibility.

Success Stories of Flippers Using the 70% Rule

Case Study 1: Property X

In a case study involving Property X, a real estate investor successfully utilized the 70% rule to generate substantial profits. The investor identified a property with an ARV of $300,000, estimated repair costs of $50,000, and additional expenses of $20,000. By applying the 70% rule, the investor calculated a maximum allowable offer of $160,000. After negotiating with the seller and completing the necessary renovations, the property sold for $280,000, resulting in a profit of $100,000. This success story highlights the effectiveness of the 70% rule in achieving a profitable outcome in the flipping business.

Case Study 2: Property Y

In a separate case study involving Property Y, an investor encountered significant challenges when deviating from the 70% rule. The investor estimated an ARV of $400,000, repair costs of $80,000, and additional expenses of $30,000. Instead of adhering to the 70% rule, the investor deviated and made an offer of $250,000. However, unforeseen repair issues and market fluctuations resulted in additional expenses, and the property eventually sold for $360,000, generating a profit of only $20,000. This case study highlights the importance of following established guidelines, such as the 70% rule, to mitigate risks and ensure profitability.

Lessons Learned from Successful Flippers

Successful flippers consistently emphasize the importance of accurate estimation, thorough research, and adherence to established guidelines such as the 70% rule. These experienced investors emphasize the value of accurate ARV calculations, conducting comprehensive repair cost evaluations, and factoring in additional expenses to ensure a realistic and profitable outcome. They emphasize the need for patience, persistence, and a meticulous approach to flipping properties. By following these lessons learned from successful flippers, aspiring investors can increase their chances of success in the flipping business.


The 70% rule is a valuable tool for real estate investors engaged in flipping properties. It provides a clear and practical guideline for determining the maximum allowable offer, ensuring that investors have a sufficient profit margin and can mitigate potential risks. By understanding the concept of ARV, accurately evaluating repair costs, factoring in additional expenses, and adjusting the offer price accordingly, investors can increase their chances of success in the flipping business. While there are potential risks and limitations associated with the 70% rule, by conducting thorough research, adapting to market conditions, and learning from successful flippers, investors can navigate these challenges and achieve profitable outcomes. The 70% rule serves as a foundation for informed decision-making, offering a flexible framework that can be customized and adjusted to suit individual investment strategies and market conditions. By applying the principles of the 70% rule diligently and consistently, investors can optimize their profitability and create a sustainable business in the competitive world of real estate flipping.