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Definition of a Flipper

Just over a year ago I wrote a thread that digressed into a discussion on flipping:

Can we define flipper?

1) Guy buys a condo in a hot market before it is built with no intention of owning it. Builder set the price.
Flipper? Would speculator be a better term?

2) Woman buys a cosmetic fixer with the intention of living in it for two years. Nothing has really changed inside but she’s got Pottery Barn paint going on now?
Flipper?

3) Contractor buys a run down house. Guts it, saves the old bones and gives it new life with quality construction. It is back on the market six months after project is started.
Flipper? Businessman?

Posted by: Charles Turner | Apr 18, 2007 8:23:43 AM

Yes, each one is a flipper.

IMHO, anyone who treats houses like the stock market of the late 90s is a flipper. Not that the overabundance of credit has helped the situation, but as credit tightens and inventory increases, I’m not going to feel bad for any of the three categories of people you presented when they lose their hats.

Posted by: Ralph | Apr 18, 2007 9:11:23 AM

Charles: of the three, #3 is actually performing a service; he’s actually producing something. However, I haven’t seen a lot of flipped houses where they did all that much. Usually they paint things up, maybe buy a few kitchen appliances or fixtures, mow the lawn and then turn around a month later and want to get a big premium.

There’s a difference between speculation and production. Most flippers fall solidly in the speculation category. Of course, even #3 can be asking too much for the fixed up house.

Casey Serin is the flipper posterboy:
http://iamfacingforeclosure.com/

Posted by: TiP | Apr 18, 2007 11:17:48 AM

No secret that Sapphire Development LLC (I am the managing member) bought a house last year, gutted it to the studs, engineered the conversion from a duplex to a single family residence using an architect and getting permits, and then sold it. It could be inferred that we didn’t lose money as we are under contract to buy another house.

Someone else buys a house. Paints, adds appliances, doesn’t get the require permits for remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms and lists the house. He doesn’t have a CCB license even though his intent was clearly to resell from day one.

I meet the common definition of a flipper (licensed, bonded and insured flipper). The other guy meets the requirements for a flipper label too. You should get to know your flipper just as you get to know your Realtor.

9 Comments on “Definition of a Flipper

  1. And for your next post I suggest we discuss the term “bagholder”. It definitely applies to the clueless californians who bought your flip.

  2. So it is now somehow wrong to have made money in real estate? I’m honestly shocked at how much crap everyone here gives our host, just because he has been successful in real estate. How do you know that the “clueless californians” aren’t perfectly happy with their purchase? Should everyone that sells any real estate feel guilty if the value goes down after they sell?
    I’m a bubble-watcher, and I do think that values are going to come WAY down in PDX (25% by this time next year is my prediction), but I think that Charles has been very honest and straight forward about the market on this blog. Have you read other realtors’ blogs? They don’t even come close to being as realistic as Charles. Give him a break.

  3. Who wants to bet the first poster was Clint?

  4. I’d like to think that Clint has more respect than that. Especially since the comment really isn’t directed at me but at the buyers who have nothing to do with this blog. For the record, they were represented by a buyer’s agent from another company, had a bunch of inspections (including radon) and moved 15 blocks from the smaller house they sold, not from California.

  5. I’d like to think that Clint has more respect than that.

    You’d be wrong then. He’s a snake.

  6. I’m giving some thought to buying my first home/condo and I find this blog very helpful for getting honest information. Some of the comments are great, but others are so snide, and it’s really irritating. Charles, thanks for the blog. To those who think that “flippers” are the most evil people on the planet, go vilify someone that actually deserves it.

  7. Why not just use the term “rehabber” for those that actually add value (ie the 3rd example). Seems to me that the term “flipper” is a dirty word. IMHO, I can’t think of any positive results for our city when it comes to pure speculation, and so that leads me to similar thoughts of those that participate in that kind of money making enterprise. It’s not hard to make money while adding value to the greater society, rather than just your bank account.

  8. Why not just use the term “rehabber” for those that actually add value (ie the 3rd example). Seems to me that the term “flipper” is a dirty word. IMHO, I can’t think of any positive results for our city when it comes to pure speculation, and so that leads me to similar thoughts of those that participate in that kind of money making enterprise. It’s not hard to make money while adding value to the greater society, rather than just your bank account.

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