Flipping Houses

Flipping Home in Ontario: How It Works & New Anti-Flip Rule

In Ontario, flipping houses—buying properties intending to renovate and sell them at a profit—has become increasingly popular. While potentially lucrative, this investment strategy is governed by complex legal and tax considerations. This article provides a comprehensive overview of how flipping works in Ontario, outlines the relevant legal framework, and delves into the tax implications.

What Is Flipping Houses?

What Is Flipping Houses

Flipping houses is a popular real estate investment strategy that involves buying properties to sell them for a profit after making improvements or benefiting from market appreciation. Generally, investors target undervalued or run-down properties to complete the necessary renovations quickly and efficiently to sell the property at a higher price. The resulting profit is the difference between the purchase, renovation, and sale costs and the home’s selling price. This investment approach requires a deep understanding of the real estate market, renovation costs, and the potential resale value of homes.

The success of flipping houses depends on the investor’s ability to identify properties with high potential for appreciation, manage renovation projects effectively, and navigate the sales process strategically. It involves a series of critical steps, including thorough market research, accurate cost estimation, and timely execution of renovations. Investors must also consider the legal and financial implications, such as taxes and regulations related to real estate transactions. While flipping houses can offer substantial returns, it also carries risks, including unexpected renovation costs, fluctuations in the real estate market, and potential tax liabilities.

The New Anti-Flipping Rule

The new anti-flipping rule introduced by the Canadian government and outlined in the Income Tax Act aims to cool down the overheated housing market and ensure housing affordability for Canadians. Under this rule, profits from the sale of a residential property for less than 12 months are considered business income and are fully taxable. This measure is designed to discourage speculative real estate investments, where investors buy homes to quickly resell them at a higher price, often without making significant improvements. The rule targets short-term property flippers by removing the preferential tax treatment that capital gains might offer, reducing the incentive for engaging in speculative flipping activities.

This regulation is part of a broader strategy to stabilize the housing market and make homes more accessible to first-time buyers and those looking to own a home for personal use. By imposing stricter tax implications on quick flips, the government aims to decrease the rapid turnover of properties and moderate price escalations driven by speculative buying. However, the rule includes exemptions for certain life events, such as death, divorce, or job relocation, recognizing that not all short-term property sales are speculative. Real estate investors and potential house flippers must navigate this new rule carefully, understanding its implications on their investment strategies and tax liabilities.

More information can be found on the Canadian government website.

Consequences of the New Measures

The new anti-flipping measures introduced in Canada have significant consequences for the real estate market, investors, and potential homeowners. For investors, the main impact is financial; profits from properties sold within a year of purchase are now fully taxable as business income rather than being taxed as capital gains. This change reduces the potential profitability of quick real estate investments, significantly increasing the tax burden on short-term profits. As a result, investors may shift their strategies towards longer-term property investments or seek alternative markets or asset classes for speculation. This shift could decrease speculative buying, potentially stabilizing house prices and making the market more accessible to genuine buyers.

For the broader real estate market and potential homeowners, the new anti-flipping rule could have beneficial consequences. The measure may help cool down overheated market segments by discouraging speculative flipping, leading to more stable and potentially lower housing prices over time. This could improve housing affordability for first-time buyers and those looking to purchase homes for personal use, addressing one of the policy’s primary goals. However, the measure could also lead to unintended effects, such as a temporary decrease in housing supply if investors withdraw from the market or delay selling properties to avoid the tax implications. Overall, the full impact of the new anti-flipping measures will depend on how investors and the market adapt to these changes over time.

Taxing Assignment Sales

Taxing assignment sales has become an increasingly relevant topic in the Canadian real estate market, especially with the rising trend of buying and selling property contracts before the completion of a development project. An assignment sale happens when the original buyer of a property, often a pre-construction unit, sells their purchase contract to another buyer before the closing date. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) treats profits from such transactions as business income, subject to full taxation. This discourages speculative investment and ensures fairness in the housing market. This approach aligns with broader efforts to cool speculative activities and ensure that real estate contributes to the economy in a way that supports long-term housing affordability. The government aims to discourage rapid turnover of properties and speculative behaviour that can inflate housing prices and undermine market stability by taxing assignment sales as business income.

How to Flip Houses in Ontario

How to Flip Houses in Ontario

Flipping houses in Ontario involves a series of strategic steps, from market research to the final sale, each crucial for ensuring profitability and compliance with provincial regulations. Some of the steps for flipping houses in the region include:

Market Research and Planning

To start investing in real estate, it is important to conduct comprehensive market research. This will help you identify areas with room for growth or undervalued properties that can be profitable. To do this, you need to analyze local housing market trends, property values, and future development plans in the area. The planning process should also involve creating a budget that includes the purchase price, renovation costs, and a buffer for unexpected expenses. You should consult with professionals such as your realtor and accountant to get their advice.


Financing is a crucial aspect of house flipping, as it provides the necessary funds to purchase and renovate properties before selling them. Successful flippers usually explore financing options to finance their projects, including traditional mortgages, home equity loans, lines of credit, hard money loans from private investors, and partnerships with other investors. Each financing method has advantages, interest rates, repayment terms, and eligibility criteria. Traditional bank loans may offer lower interest rates but require a good credit score and a down payment. On the other hand, hard money loans are more flexible but come with higher costs. Additionally, tapping into personal networks or entering into joint ventures can offer access to capital without the strict requirements of institutional lending. Choosing the right financing strategy is essential because it affects the project’s total cost, the timeline for completing renovations, and, ultimately, the profitability of the flip.

Finding the Right Property

When it comes to flipping houses, finding the right property is crucial. This process requires a combination of market knowledge and strategic searching. Successful flippers tend to focus on undervalued properties in neighbourhoods with a high potential for appreciation. These could be areas that are undergoing revitalization or showing consistent demand. They use various methods to identify such properties, including real estate listings, auctions, direct marketing to homeowners, and building networks with real estate agents who have insights into off-market deals.

When selecting a property, several things to consider include the cost of necessary renovations, the property’s location and appeal to potential buyers, and whether any legal or zoning problems could complicate the flip. Conducting thorough due diligence at this stage can help uncover hidden opportunities and risks, which can make the difference between a profitable flip and a financial misstep.

The goal of any flip is to acquire a property at a price that allows for renovations and a profit margin upon resale, which should align with the investor’s budget and timeline.

Due Diligence

Conducting due diligence is an essential step in the house-flipping process. Before finalizing the purchase of a property, investors must assess it thoroughly. This assessment includes conducting professional home inspections to identify structural issues, system failures, or necessary repairs that could significantly impact the renovation budget and timeline. Investors must also review zoning laws and property titles to ensure that no legal encumbrances, such as liens or easements, could affect the property’s use or resale. Additionally, investors need to do a detailed analysis of the local real estate market, including current trends, average property prices, and future growth projections, to gauge the property’s potential for appreciation. By conducting due diligence, investors can minimize risks, uncover hidden costs, and validate the property’s profitability, ensuring that the investment aligns with their financial and strategic goals.

Understand Tax Requirements

It is crucial for individuals involved in flipping houses to understand the tax requirements as they directly impact the profitability of their investment. In Canada, profits from house flipping are generally treated as business income by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This classification implies that profits are fully taxable at the investor’s marginal tax rate instead of being eligible for the capital gains tax, which only taxes 50% of the profit. In addition, house flippers may have to collect and remit GST/HST on the sale of the flipped property, depending on the nature of the transaction and whether it is considered a commercial activity by the CRA. To ensure compliance and optimize tax obligations, investors must maintain detailed records of all expenses related to the property’s purchase, renovation, and sale, as these can be deductible against income. Given the complexity of tax laws and the potential for significant financial implications, consulting with a tax professional is advisable.


The acquisition phase is a vital step in flipping a house, where investors finalize the purchase of a property they believe can be turned into a profitable investment. During this stage, it is crucial to carefully negotiate the purchase price to ensure enough room for profit after accounting for renovation costs and potential market fluctuations. Investors must also ensure they have enough time to conduct thorough due diligence, including property inspections and title searches, to uncover any possible issues affecting the project’s success. Additionally, financing arrangements should already be in place by this point, whether through traditional mortgages, private lenders, or other financial instruments. It is also essential for investors to be aware of any legal or regulatory requirements that may affect the transaction, such as disclosures about the property’s condition or compliance with local real estate laws. A detailed understanding of the market, intelligent negotiation skills, and a clear financial strategy are all essential to ensure a successful acquisition that sets the stage for a profitable renovation and resale effort.


Renovations are an essential part of the house-flipping process. You can increase a property’s market value and appeal by making strategic upgrades and repairs. Successful flippers aim for cost-effective renovations that enhance a home’s look and functionality. They choose projects that offer the most value for their investment. It is important to partner with reputable construction companies and ensure all permits are in place.

The kitchen and bathrooms are prime areas for high-impact improvements. These spaces can greatly influence buyer perceptions and the property’s value. Moreover, simple cosmetic updates like painting, landscaping, and floor refinishing can transform a property’s appearance with a relatively modest investment.

Efficient project management is a cornerstone in ensuring renovations are completed on schedule and within budget. This is key to preventing overcapitalization and maximizing the property’s resale value. Partnering with skilled contractors who deliver quality workmanship and adhere to local building codes and regulations is vital in the renovation process. These measures guarantee a profitable return on investment.

Marketing and Selling

Marketing and selling are the final and crucial stages of the house-flipping process. These stages involve presenting the renovated property to potential buyers in the best possible light to secure a profitable sale. Effective marketing strategies such as listing the property on popular real estate platforms, employing professional photography to highlight its best features, and staging the home to showcase its potential for comfortable living are necessary. Social media and real estate networks can also increase visibility and attract more potential buyers.

During the selling phase, it is essential to have a nuanced understanding of the market to set a competitive price that maximizes profit while ensuring a quick sale. Collaborating with experienced real estate agents can provide valuable expertise in marketing and negotiating, streamlining the process and helping achieve the best possible outcome in selling the flipped property.

Closing the Sale

The final step in the house flipping process is the sale’s closing, which involves transferring the ownership of the property to the buyer. This stage requires precise coordination and adherence to legal and financial procedures. It’s highly recommended to seek help from a real estate lawyer ahead of time to navigate through the plethora of necessary documents, such as the deed, loan paperwork, and the settlement statement, which itemizes the transaction costs. A mutually agreed-upon closing date is set when the seller hands over the keys and the buyer finalizes the payment. Any contingencies specified in the sale agreement, such as necessary repairs or final inspections, must be resolved before the closing. Effective communication, timely fulfillment of contractual obligations, and a thorough understanding of all transactional details are critical to a successful closing, ensuring a smooth handover and securing the potential profits from the property flip.

Be aware of the legal and tax implications throughout the flipping process. This includes adhering to all relevant laws and regulations, understanding the new anti-flipping rule that taxes profits from properties sold within 12 months as business income, and properly reporting your income to the CRA. Many other tax regulations are to be considered, such as the land transfer tax. It is important to consult with a real estate lawyer, realtor and accountant to understand and assess the conditions specific to your requirements.


Flipping houses in Ontario can be a lucrative investment strategy when done correctly. It requires careful planning, a good understanding of the real estate market, diligent renovation management, and compliance with legal and tax regulations. Consulting with real estate professionals, contractors, and legal and tax advisors is advisable to navigate the complexities of the flipping process successfully.

Insight Law Professional Corporation is a real estate law firm located in Toronto. If you need more information on real estate transactions, contact us today and learn how a real estate lawyer can help you.

The information provided above is of a general nature and should not be considered legal advice. Every transaction or circumstance is unique, and obtaining specific legal advice is necessary to address your particular requirements. Therefore, if you have any legal questions, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer.

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