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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Flipping Fosso Of Seattle

The Seattle P-I shares the tale of a local flipper who does more than the buy, sit, flip that has become popular with the real estate explosion. "Buy, fix, flip" actually sounds like an understatement for this guy:

The living room of the old Ballard house is redolent with the scent of freshly laid oak floors, but as Brent Fosso will tell you, just a few weeks ago, it was a much different scene.

"It was filled with garbage. There were rats. We caught a big one," said Fosso, holding his hands about 10 inches apart to demonstrate the size.
As Seattle's housing prices continue to skyrocket and home improvement becomes an increasingly popular hobby, people are trying their hands at the "rapid reselling" game. Some are relative amateurs, people with enough skill — or enough audacity — to make run-down homes more presentable and flip them.
He'll add fireplaces, reconfigure floor plans and make other changes so drastic that the house is barely recognizable from its former self. Homes should have certain features for maximum appeal, he says — a fireplace, dining room, gas furnace, rec room and, ideally, three bedrooms.

"Three is the magic number," Fosso says. "You don't want to wind up with two, because then you're limiting larger families. Whenever I wind up buying a two-bedroom house, I try to figure out how I can get a third bedroom in it. Maybe it's finishing off the basement. Maybe it's dividing up the first floor a little differently."
Considering what the word "flip" has come to mean in real estate, it almost seems like an insult to call people like Mr. Fosso "flippers." I don't really have a problem with "flipping" when it involves real improvements, not just granite countertops and a more colorful sales flier. When the recent housing madness finally subsides, those like Mr. Fosso who work hard to put real value into junky homes will be the only "flippers" to survive.

(Deborah Bach, Seattle P-I, 03.09.2006)

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