Written by Andy M

I love reality TV property programs.

I love the touring mansion programs, celebrity crib programs, real estate drama shows, and tense auction programs.

I love living vicariously through people who are 'going tiny' or building eco-lodges or whose entrance way is bigger than my entire house and features more marble than the whole of Greece.

But most of all -- and I am certainly not alone in the Sale Ezy office on this one -- I love the home flipping programs.

I love the dumps that become palaces, the interior decoration that is mind-blowing, the 'fast-forward' pace, the frenzy and of course... I love the drama!

Who can look away from the spectacular arguments that come hand-in-hand with the glamorous couple, the funny builder and his beautiful designer wife, the slow-drawling Texan auction flippers and the mum and daughter duos?

Some say it's the drama that makes these shows what they are, but there is something else that truly makes them an obsession.

They make a flip look so simple... and that makes us think we can do it too.

But should we?

What is house flipping?

For those of you who have not fallen prey to the wonders of flipping TV (not an Alf Stuart reference!), you may not be aware of just how popular this movement has become.

And though not everyone can afford it, or is brave enough to try it, it has certainly inspired many people to lay down a cheque, pick up the tools and hope for a solid post-renovation appraisal!

House flipping is essentially the practice of purchasing a house -- a 'doer-upper' -- with the aim to renovate it and then sell it again at a higher price, in a short time, allowing you to make a quick profit for some fast work.

But while the concept is great and the TV certainly makes it look like an exciting few weeks, does it offer the profit it promises and is it really as pain-free as it seems?

Here are a few myths about house flipping, set straight!

1. It's quick and easy -- better than a normal job!

This myth is two-fold and the two key words to look at here are quick and 'easy'.

Depending on the property you purchase, the renovations you plan and a vast range of other factors, easy and quick may be achievable, but they also may be impossible.

While the television -- even the Australian renovation programs -- give the impression a makeover can occur in mere days, the fact is, unless improvements are very minor, or you have an army of trained professionals, rushed renos can lead to poor finishes that are obvious to any buyer.

By rushing through your renovation, you may be degrading the quality of the result and in doing so, minimising the profit you can make -- or worse, ensuring yourself a loss.

Tip: When planning a flip, make sure you set a realistic timeframe for completing works based on the complexity of the plans and the availability of quality tradespeople. If you're not sure how long it should really take, never be afraid to ask.

2. You can make big money!

Watching reality flipping shows, it seems no 'smart investor' ever ends up with a dud property. Sure, they all encounter the odd structural issue that causes an argument and provides some great drama, but somehow, they all manage to get the job done and make a solid return.

In fact, given they present makeovers with such a fast turnaround and every one results in a profit, it is easy to assume that every flip is going to be successful.

But that isn't the case.

Changes in market conditions, demand, loan conditions and a range of other factors can have an impact on the price you achieve for your completed renovation; regardless of what you paid.

While real estate is most often a great investment and is more likely to appreciate than depreciate, flipping is like any risk -- sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

Tip: Before purchasing your property, do thorough research into the market and any factors that may be destabilising during and immediately after your renovation is complete.

3. Costs are easy to control

A good plan is the basis of achieving any project on time and on budget and of course this is true of flipping properties.

In saying that, also like any project, a flip is subject to scope creep -- an extra spend here and there, a problem that needs fixing here and an upgrade that needs including there, can all lead to a final bill that is much higher than expected.

Also worthy of consideration are the costs involved in selling. As the property owner, you may be subject to a range of costs, including solicitor fees, valuations and capital gains tax. All of these costs can affect your profit.

Tip: When planning your flip, ensure you are thorough in exploring any and every cost so you are fully aware of what you will spend and what you can make.

Talk to real estate agents, your bank manager, solicitor and accountant, and do your homework -- make sure every foreseeable cost is included in your budget and you have a rainy-day fund for costs that come up unexpectedly.

4. Drama is just for television

Though we enjoy watching the drama TV personalities experience during a flip, is it something we really need in our own lives, and can we control it?

Flips can be full of anxiety with work not going to plan, timelines blowing out, budgets being surpassed, and of course, the many different opinions involved in design, both inside and outside the home.

It's easy to butt heads and find ourselves locked in arguments about things that don't really matter.

While we all hope we would not lose our tempers like some of the pairs on television, high stress environments don't always bring out the best in people.

Tip: Have a plan and process not just for the renovation itself, but also for decision-making and conflict resolution. You don't want to waste time arguing, so be prepared to deal with issues in a way that results in faster, more peaceful resolutions.