Flip This House!.......Or not? Fantasy TV sets ambitious viewers up for disaster.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Realty Arts NC Broker License #235526

I have continuous opportunities to visit with folks who want to buy homes, do repairs, and sell them for a nice profit in a brief period of time.  It is a common ambition now, with the popularity of television shows that show the process as a psycho-drama, with cigar puffing "investors" who strut around preening for the camera and never get dirty.

We REALTORs who enjoy watching a little real estate-oriented TV have always known that House Flipping shows portray the real estate industry about as accurately as Star Trek portrayed NASA.  Any semblance of reality is purely coincidental.  There is a lot more to renovating a home than bellowing "Aaaarghhh" and swinging a sledge hammer into a wall.

Well, we now have seen a little reality injected into the realty flipping fantasy from Atlanta's Fox 5 News.  In two aired segments, and in his blog, investigative reporter Dale Russell skewered A & E, and their use of Sam Leccima, as representative of the process, and profits, of fixing and flipping houses.

Segment aired 5/14/2007

Segment aired 5/15/2007

Dale Russell's Blog

Amid allegations of fraud, sales that never occurred, and general tawdry business ethics, it is difficult to tell who is more at fault, Sam Leccima or A & E.

Folks it just doesn't work like you see on TV.  That is entertainment.  Reality is, you must project numbers, including all holding and transaction costs, buy homes that have the potential for curb appeal and give them that appeal.  You will take on immeasurable risk in the process.  If you do not have deep pockets and/or excellent credit, and significant construction experience, you are quite possily a financial disaster waiting to happen.  And there is a ton of competition in the game.  If you spot a deal, you can bet the rent that many others already have seen it.

It was great to come across this story, to document that it just is not that simple.  are there other shows?  Sure, there are.  And I would be grateful if you could tell me how they are closer to Reality.

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Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to Email MeQR CodeMike Jaquish, REALTOR®

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Independent Broker/Owner, Realty Arts

130 Towerview Court,

Cary, NC


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Gregory Maley
Sold Buy the Sea Realty & R.E.N.T. - Wilmington, NC
Anyone who has attempted to renovate a room in a weekend like they do in Trading Spaces knows these shows are a bunch of bull.  It's sad, though, that people are being duped into buying houses and getting themselves in way over their heads.  I was particularly disappointed to see the KW signs so prominently featured in the pieces.  
May 29, 2007 01:45 AM #1
Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon
When these shows started there were a few that actually showed that the flipper was failing that the house did not sell at what they wanted that the project ran over budget and so on.  As the popularity grew and the public wanted more and more and more and the "bubble" became a reality so did the shows - In all honesty if you are watching these shows for ideas, to broaden your knowledge and to be entertained they are perfect -
May 29, 2007 03:58 AM #2
Christopher & Bernadette Hurley
Go Hurley Group - Sugar Land, TX

In said TV shows, the "house flippers" have the benefit of the camera and of boat-loads of cash from the station producing it. In the real world, all you have are your own two hands for the work and whatever is between those two ears you have for the sales (which might not be much if you got yourself into it in the first place without any experience).



May 29, 2007 11:43 AM #3
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


I saw the KW signs too.  That's why it is posted at the KW 'Rainers group.  Hoping that one of our Atlanta folks had some update information.


Entertainment...yes.  Yet I still get too many calls from folks who really can't do the math.


But...but...they make it look so EASY... and...FUN...

Thanks for the comments, folks.

May 30, 2007 04:58 AM #4
Rita Taylor
None - Sanford, NC
Sanford NC Real Estate - Homes for Sale in Sanford North Carolina


I just read another blog on this same topic.  My husband and I enjoyed the bunch of folks from Charleston who did a series like this for a while.  We found them to be quite entertaining but I would imagine it is hard to flip homes and make a profit.


May 30, 2007 04:39 PM #5
Rebecca Savitski
BSR Real Estate Group - Cary, NC
NC Real Estate Listings

All it takes is one bad flip to change your thoughts

Jun 06, 2007 02:30 PM #6
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Rita & Rebecca,

It IS hard.  Not for the faint of heart, and certainly seldom a good activity for young first-time property owners on a shoestring budget.

Thanks for commenting!

Jun 07, 2007 12:14 AM #7
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