Sensible Shopper: Real Estate 'Flipping'

ByABC News via via logo

March 5, 2005 — -- The housing market has long been the playground for the rich and famous, but now the average American is getting into the real estate buying craze.

A new survey by the National Association of Realtors estimates as many as 25 percent of all home buyers never intend to actually live in their new home.

It's called "flipping," where people buy property, wait a few months for it to go up in value and then "flip it," or sell it for an instant profit -- sometimes a huge instant profit.

Carlos Lidsky is a Florida attorney who "dabbles" in flipping real estate. In just two years, he and his wife, Betti, have dabbled their way to nearly $1 million in real estate profits.

"There's no question that this has the potential to make large gains," said Lidsky of his real estate ventures. "This is a very good way to supplement [income], and even at some point, if it works well for someone, could even be a full-time job."

But as more Donald Trump wannabes shift their assets from a frustrating stock market to a soaring real estate market, some experts caution that flipping property for a profit isn't quite as easy as it looks.

Realtor Todd Nordstrom says that "flipping" is becoming so popular that people have to be extra careful. With so many properties on the market, prices will be driven down, he said.

But with some careful planning and research, there is still money to be made, he said. "What you try to do is find out about the property before the general public does," said Nordstrom.

Cynthia Crowley, a Manhattan realtor, offered some tips on how to flip real estate the right way and pitfalls to watch out for.

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