Uber Drivers Being Used as Scouts for Home Flippers

May 30, 2019

Real estate firms are hiring ride-sharing drivers from Uber and Lyft to serve as their personal searchers for their next big house flip project. The drivers are being hired to keep a watchful eye along their routes for that next diamond in the rough that can be transformed and flipped for a profit at resale.

For example, one firm called CORI hires drivers to identify homes on their routes that the real estate firm can buy to flip. Drivers are trained to spot strong house-flipping candidates, looking for issues such as warning notices on the doors, overgrown yards, abandoned cars in the backyard, and piled-up mail.

“It’s a great way to be able to reach areas that I can’t drive around town all day,” Scott Sekulow, who runs a HomeVestors franchise in Atlanta, told The Wall Street Journal. “You don’t need a lot to know the house needs repairs.”

Drivers earn a fee for their help, either a sales commission or a fee for each productive lead they submit. The compensation method varies by firm. Some drivers get paid for pictures they submit of possible property candidates.

“You kind of have to make it worth their while because it can be a long time between when that deal comes in and when you actually close,” Krystal Polite, co-founder of Polite Properties in Adamance County, N.C., told WSJ. Polite Properties hires drivers to find potential flip houses in 20 states.

Eric Richner, the co-founder of CORI, also told WSJ he has about 100 drivers working for him, but he hopes to have 1,000 by the end of the year. Investors hope the added help in scouts will cut down on time wasted in search for their next flip.

House flipping has become big business among real estate firms; 40% of flips are now made by companies rather than individuals, according to CoreLogic, a real estate data firm.

Uber Drivers Seek Extra Cash Working for House Flippers,” The Wall Street Journal (May 28, 2019) [Log-in required.]