Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing with Jonathan Greene

139: The Importance of Sticking to Your Buy Box as a House Flipper with Gabe Cole


Home flipping might be the most well-known method for real estate investing, and while interest rates and home prices have pushed many investors out of the space and into others, some flippers are still making it work.

On this episode of Zen and the Art of Real Estate Investing, Jonathan welcomes guest Gabe Cole to the show. Gabe is a home flipper in Southern California, known as one of the most expensive markets in the country, and has flipped hundreds of homes. He is a licensed real estate agent and the founder and team lead of REALM Residential, brokered by Real.

As the show opens, Gabe explains how he initially got involved in real estate through his wife’s family, specifically his father-in-law, who was a top-producing agent in their market. Gabe’s father-in-law mentored and coached him while he learned the ropes. Jonathan and Gabe delve into how to identify properties that fit your buy box criteria, what he’s learned about buying outside of your buy box, and how he’s been successful in Southern California despite the high prices and low inventory. You’ll hear why you have to know who your end buyer is for a flip, the importance of raising capital through relationships, equity investors versus debt investors, and why you must have systems and processes in place. Gabe explains design’s role in a flip, the time freedom this career created for him and his family, the competitiveness of his market even for teardowns, and how other investors can find success even in Southern California.

If you’re interested in home flipping but don’t think it’s profitable anymore, you won’t want to miss this conversation with Gabe Cole.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Gabe Cole’s introduction to real estate through his wife’s family, including coaching and mentoring
  • What he learned from working in the business as an agent before becoming an investor
  • Identifying good investment properties that fit into your buy box
  • The lesson Gabe learned when he bought outside of his buy box and why he sticks to what he knows now
  • Finding success in the Southern California markets despite low inventory and high prices
  • Knowing how your end buyer is and designing the flip toward that buyer
  • The hardest part of learning to be a flipper for Gabe
  • Taking into account how much you can push value based on the house
  • Why you have to learn how to raise money to do more than one or two deals a year
  • Presenting a flip as an opportunity for the person who is loaning the money
  • Equity investors vs debt investors
  • The importance of systems and processes, particularly when doing multiple flips and implementing numerous contractors
  • Design’s importance in flipping properties
  • The time freedom Gabe now has in his schedule
  • Competitiveness even for teardowns and rundown homes
  • Why he doesn’t typically buy homes from wholesalers
  • Teaching other agents how to invest, particularly in high-priced markets like Southern California
  • Where Gabe’s business is going in the future

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Supporting Resources:

REALM Residential website –

Gabe Cole on YouTube –

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Gabe’s Instagram account –

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