Real estate speculation earned a bad reputation in areas such as Las Vegas, when from around 2002-2007 speculators scrambled, rambled, and rolled to buy up move-in-ready properties at the current rates and soon after resell them for ( an often staggering) profit. The practice of "flipping" soon led to rapid increases in market price, and sellers started seeing multiple offers come in at the asking price and above.
Speed forward just a few years to the end of 2010 and you'll see an unpredictable housing market, where a flipper may buy a house today that will have lost value by tomorrow. Most flippers today have converted their title to "long-term investor" or "landlord", but I myself don't mind the term "flipper". After all, isn't a person holding onto the property 2-5-10 years before turning it still "flipping" for a profit at closing? So a flipper is a flipper is an investor...I think.
I'd imagine that most of us would agree the number of rookie "flippers" of yesteryear have faded substantially, and that the more seasoned veterans of today have a keen sense of market timing, a willingness to accept the risks, and is more confident in his or her ability to navigate through tough negations and iron clad contracts. Another important consideration would be the always nagging exit factor. We didn't really need an exit strategy back then when the same day the property hit the MLS, phone calls were made, contracts were faxed in triplicate, and images of white sand and Caribbean water danced in our heads as we slept.
So to all my fellow investors, flippers, and gamblers out there, make sure you have a plan A, B, and C. Be ready to adapt and adjust to the ebb and flow of the housing supply and demand. Above all don't get down on yourself when things don't go exactly according to plan A, B, and C. Lastly and most importantly allways remember..."Real Estate Happens".