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June  26

Flipping Gets Respectable

Say what you want about flipping, as some of you actually already have, but the esteemed Discovery Home Channel plans to explore the anxiety, triumphs and tribulations of the sport in a new reality show, Flip That House. From the press release:

With the world premiere of FLIP THAT HOUSE, created by Emmy-winning producer R.J. Cutler, Discovery Home Channel showcases a real estate gamble that a growing number of home owners are playing.  FLIP THAT HOUSE tells the real stories of people gutsy enough to buy a fixer-upper, gambling that they can “flip” that home from wannabe to where-to-be…and turn a profit. Each 30-minute episode features a different “flip” project with unique and unpredictable challenges.  Some flip projects require minimal work, perhaps as little as a coat of paint, while others prove to be more challenging, especially if a flipper purchases a historic home in need of restoration. Flippers run the gamut as well. Viewers are introduced to a few first-time flippers, including a pair of new parents who go over budget and over schedule to turn a profit, and a professional singer who delves into flipping as a daytime career. In episode two, although homeowner Kelly goes over budget with a hip home she purchased for $370,000, she ultimately lists her investment at $549,000, netting her a $124,000 profit.

Predictions: how long before the Discovery Channel comes calling to Montclair?

June 26, 2005 in Television | Permalink


Widespread speculation is the last phase of a "bubble". Be afraid.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jun 26, 2005 10:14:56 AM

Speaking of reality tv, I noticed a sign in Brick's Pizza on Bellevue Ave. that they are featured in a show called, "Fire Me Please" (or something similar). Apparently, it is airing on July 5th.

Posted by: hate to shop | Jun 26, 2005 1:53:51 PM

Didn't I read something in The Star-Ledger about 2 weeks ago about the arrest of a felonious house flipper? He would buy homes in downtrodden neighborhoods, "fix" them up by cutting the most possible corners and sell them to unsuspecting buyers.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jun 26, 2005 4:19:39 PM

remember how when you were in high school, there was always that one kid's dad who married young and then felt left out because he thought he missed the sexual revolution? he felt like all 'these kids today are getting laid and where's my action?'
so he would leave his wife and start showing up at his son's parties with a joint in the back pocket of his parachute pants and try to pick up his son's girlfriends by promising them some 'righteous ganja' or some 'rad nose candy' and the kid ended up leaving to join the peace corps or some kibbutz in israel just to get the hell away from his embarrassing, opportunistic, shameless, self-serving dad?
anyone remember the day traders who showed up, as ROC points out, at the end of the tech boom in the late 90's and would leave boring but steady jobs as dog groomers or electolysists to sit in front of a screen and scramble for the big money they were sure the rest of the country was raking in with a backhoe, and to which they insisted they were entitled as well?
that's what flippers remind me of.

Posted by: fran | Jun 26, 2005 9:12:49 PM

Not that I think there is anything wrong with "flipping". Nothing wrong with buying something adding value and then selling it.

The problem is that if a tv show is focused on "flipping" this tells you that the "masses" are getting involved. Late money is dead money. It is a sure sign of the needle approaching the bubble!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jun 26, 2005 10:20:35 PM

yes, i agree, ROC. it just reminds me of people who bought gold at 800 an ounce. remember that?
but it's more than that. it's one thing to develop something, add value, etc. but this rush to flipping evokes a 'win the lottery and retire' approach to a commodity which people need to live in.
i know a woman who has been trying to find an affordable house to live in, and she can't get one because the flippers move in fast, grab them, sometimes finding them before they even hit the market and put them back on the market for two hundred thousand more. sure it's absolutely legal but there is something unsavory about it.
the very name, "flipping," connotes a difference between people who just swoop in to make big money fast and spoil the well for earnest but less monied homebuyers, and serious home renovators who really do restore and repair homes and bring new life to them, reclaiming homes and sometimes whole areas which had once been written off.

Posted by: fran | Jun 26, 2005 11:22:01 PM

I agree. If it is any consolation to your friend, the flippers flipping when the bubble's popping probably won't ever flip again!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jun 27, 2005 8:23:10 AM

Here's another reality show press release that crossed my desk:

With the world premiere of CLAIM THAT DEDUCTION, created by Emmy-winning producer R. U. Cheatham, Discovery Home Channel showcases a tax form gamble that a growing number of taxpayers are playing. CLAIM THAT DEDUCTION tells the real stories of people gutsy enough to follow their bliss on a Schedule C, gambling that they can write-off their utlity bills and home improvements under the home-office deduction. Each 30-minute episode features a different Form 1040, with unique and unpredictable challenges. Some tax reporting projects require minimal prevarication, perhaps as little as writing off a teenager's cell-phone as a business expense, while others prove to be more challenging, especially if, say, a self-employed person has to hide a lot of income from his waste management consulting practice, but somehow justify the lavish McMansion he can obviously afford. Viewers are introduced to a few first-time tax cheats, including a pair of new parents who realize little Wallingford's private pre-K isn't tax deductible, and a professional singer who works as a waiter parttime and doesn't claim tips. In episode II, homeowner Kelly tries to argue to an auditor that the Mercedes in his driveway is used only for business purposes even though it has a child seat strapped in the back.

Posted by: walleroo | Jun 27, 2005 8:52:20 AM

A ton of these shows are staged and unrealistic. Here is a blurb on the VERY popular House Hunters - http://www.macombdaily.com/stories/052405/loc_househunt001.shtml

If they show a rehab as anything less than stressful and constantly delayed - it would be unrealistic.

Posted by: RE Lucas | Jun 27, 2005 9:10:54 AM

Someone who leaves his wife, wears parachute pants and shows up at his son's parties trying to pick up young women (and in turn the son skitters off to either Tonga like the Peace Corps or Israel) sounds very foolish indeed to me. But I've also never in my life heard of anyone doing such things. (Although there certainly are people who trade "gold" at $800 an ounce, they're correctly termed drug dealers.)

How, pray tell, do such imaginary figures relate to the real-life business of rehabbing houses and then selling them, understandably, for more than you paid for them? I'm truly curious here.

And Fran, you commendably seem to have an active fantasy life. Have you considered writing romance novels? (I'm serious.) I especially liked the bit about "parachute pants."

Posted by: cathar | Jun 27, 2005 9:52:22 AM

(How, pray tell, do such imaginary figures relate to the real-life business of rehabbing houses and then selling them, understandably, for more than you paid for them? I'm truly curious here)

I still do not understand what is wrong with flipping.

Someone, not you, is smart enough to buy a property, fix it up and sell it for more than they bought it for...

Sounds like sour grapes to me folks.

Posted by: Pam | Jun 27, 2005 10:29:46 AM

Sorry, my post is not referring to you, cathar. You and I seem in agreement here.

Just used your example to further illustrate my point.

Posted by: Pam | Jun 27, 2005 10:32:44 AM

well, it was an attitude i was trying to evoke. i just remember that attitude of 'hey, what if someone's getting laid and it's not me!!! Well i deserve to join the party too! why shouldn't i get lots of what everybody else has!! shove over! I'm gettin' some!"
(yeah, that guy actually existed. think of stan's dad on the tree house episode of south park.)
i sense the same attitude with the flippers--'hey, i deserve to make half a million on a flipped house, real estate is skyrocketing, it will go up forever, there is no bubble, and i want in!!!!!!!!!'
flippers--if you're not paying cash for a house, give some thought to what will happen if the bubble does burst and you are stuck with an adjustable rate mortgage on an unflipped house.

Posted by: fran | Jun 27, 2005 10:38:22 AM

pam, i'm not talking about serious rehabbers. i've seen some beautiful rehab jobs and respect the honest effort and time put in. that's legitimate profit to me, especially in a town like montclair, where neglected but lovely homes are brought back to glorious life.
i've just been seeing a scurrying of bottomfeeders as the real estate market keeps rising, and there's an unsavory aspect to the greed that puts me off. a show like 'flip that house' is only going to encourage them.

Posted by: fran | Jun 27, 2005 10:42:20 AM

Fran, I happily concede/agree here, the idea of an ARM on an unflipped house does sound pretty awful, and possible, a type of uniquely modern tragedy that could wipe people out completely. And Stan's dad, yes, that works too.

But I still can't quite picture "parachute pants." Because they're similarly made out of silk? Here's where I really feel old.

Posted by: cathar | Jun 27, 2005 10:45:49 AM

I agree, Fran...a lof of these unscrupulous flippers are just doing the bare minimum needed to to get by and guarantee a quick sale.

Ah, to go back to the days when "Flipper" was a cute mammal with his own TV show!

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jun 27, 2005 10:46:29 AM

Or perhaps it's not fantasy, but some character out of fran's past?

Anyway, it's nice to hear from you, fran. It's been a while, no?

Posted by: walleroo | Jun 27, 2005 10:47:44 AM

Being the (unreasoned and unreasonable) free market Bourgeois Capitalists that I take pride in being, I'll say there is nothing wrong with flipping.

I'd also like to state my hope that free capitalism be allowed its fullest expression should the bubble burst. When the pop comes and defaults begin, and people begin to walk away from their no-equity "holdings" we refrain from saving them. Let banks which make bad loans fail, tighten bankruptcy laws so individual speculators must pay their debts. The real possibility of financial ruin is necessary - no bailouts!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jun 27, 2005 10:51:16 AM

Walleroo, I am ashamed to admit I have been contacted by the producers of the show you mentioned.

Hey, I drive past my yard on my way to work. What do you mean landscaping is not a deduction?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jun 27, 2005 11:01:29 AM

parachute pants.....ah, yes......it was 1982....olivia newton john's "(let's get) physical" was a big hit....women were wearing bronze eye shadow and earrings that looked like a golden birch leaf....men started wearing oversized blazers with a t shirt underneath....and parachute pants, that looked like they were made out of a gigantic parachute, were popular for men and for women. sometimes they came in olive green, which looked really, really good with bronze eye shadow!

Posted by: fran | Jun 27, 2005 11:38:12 AM

Hmmm. 80's fashion.


Posted by: MiloG | Jun 27, 2005 1:51:24 PM

HAHAHA! great photo. wow, they look hot in powder blue, too.

Posted by: fran | Jun 27, 2005 3:50:48 PM

The 80s: LOVED the music; HATED the clothes!

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jun 27, 2005 4:51:22 PM

Thank you, Milo. Now I know why he sang "U Can't touch this," because anyone who wanted to touch "it" would never find it amidst all that fabric.

Fran, you mean sane men wore those things with sports jackets and t-shirts? In public? But they'd get caught someplace in the motor if you hopped on your Harley wearing them.

Posted by: cathar | Jun 27, 2005 5:15:17 PM

>>>But they'd get caught someplace in the motor if you hopped on your Harley wearing them.<<<<

yes, you're absolutely right. there were many dangerous clothing trends in the 80's. anybody ever get knocked out by a norma kamali shoulder pad? wow, that smarts!

Posted by: fran | Jun 27, 2005 8:48:14 PM

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