Mar 31, 2010

Did Someone Say the Home Flippers Are Back?

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle sported the headline, "Pace of House Flipping Picks Up." That's right, the investors are back, buying up properties for cheap, fixing them up, and then selling them at a profit.

Does this mean that the real estate market is picking up? Well, it's not exactly a sign of robust economic health, given that the investors are focusing on foreclosure properties.

But it is a reminder that, even in the worst of times, homebuyers need to get to know their local market. There may be more competition out there than you realize, and the investors readily acknowledge that they may be edging out some would-be first-time buyers.

Oh, and while shopping for a house, be sure to notice whether it's being flipped. (It's easy to tell, based on how recently the last sale was recorded.) If so, don't be overly wowed by the new materials -- also check into their quality and level of workmanship. Remember, whoever did the work was out to make money, not to create a home they'd be happy to live in.