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  • Writer's pictureKim McLaughlin

Don’t flip out!

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

I’ve had a challenging time writing this, but someone had to say/write it. Every time I view a newly constructed home, a recently “redone” flipped home, or a painstakingly renovated home, I ask myself, “What’s really going on here?” With the latest real estate trend of having every listed home either staged or curated to fit the current market, it’s easy to become lost in the scuffle, not the shuffle.

Let’s take a minute and peel back the onion to see what’s really going on. I hate to think of the arguments that arise between homeowners trying to make decisions about what kind of faucet, counter surface, type of tile or size closet the home will have, when it’s only to “flip” the house for profit; the conversation is vastly different when it’s your forever home and every decision is something you will actually live with and take pride in. A flip is more than likely not a reflection of you, but a reflection of the latest trends and a path to making money quickly.

Three remodels, from light (left) to extensive (right).

A renovation is a carefully and thoughtfully balanced way of making the home exactly right and hoping to stay within a budget. A renovation allows you to enjoy the home, as it reflects your lifestyle. You want to be careful with your decisions so you can afford to stay and live in your beautiful, renovated masterpiece once it’s complete. A renovation is not a quick for-profit endeavor; if done correctly, it will bring you years of enjoyment and a generous profit should you decide to sell. It may take some time to find a home that has substance and “good bones’ to renovate.

A flip is more likely an exercise of “get in,” “get out,” and try to not to lose your shirt. Looking for a house that has enough substance to flip takes skill, patience, and imagination. Example: good lot/bad house, bad lot/nice location, small home/room to expand, established gardens/tired get the picture! The situation has to have a compelling feature worth making the process of flipping the home worthwhile. This is when educating yourself before you begin the process helps. Deciphering what it is you’re attempting to achieve will help you make the right financial decision. Let’s face it, there’s a bit of real estate mogul in all of us buffeted by the overabundance of home improvement shows. If you have the time and money to successfully flip homes, it may be your next endeavor. However, crossing the finish line is a very big commitment for the typical weekend warrior with a paint brush, a Sawzall, and a nail gun. If you’re going to get into the business of flipping houses don’t flip out!

Two examples of new construction on Bainbridge Island, the example on the right being a home that sold twice in the same year.

A new build may be ideal if you need to move quickly in order to get the children in school, work from a real home office, or find a yard for the kiddos or dog. Whatever the driving force, a newly built home may work perfectly. There’s no muss or fuss and everything starts out new; you can have your cake and eat it too! With new construction, you make no decisions except the price you’re willing to pay. One has little upside if you decide to sell soon after purchasing, however there’s a convenience factor that removes the burden of weekend home improvement projects. A new build is usually a bit trendy with a dash of lifestyle, appealing to larger buying pool. By including all the bells and whistles the developer/builder can afford while still making a profit, housing developments offer an economy of scale and work for many buyers.

One thing is for sure: the draw of creating a nest for ourselves is enticing us to explore the possibilities of home ownership. None of these choices is bad; they’re all necessary and there’s a home which checks the boxes for every type of home buyer. Choose wisely and don’t put the nail gun before the horse!

Bainbridge Island real estate over the past 30 Days

  • 15 active residential listings High $2,348,000 Median $899,000, Low $310,000 Average days on market 15

  • 33 pending residential listings High $3,996,000 Median $1,298,000, Low $298,000 Average days on market 18

  • 49 sold residential listings High $3,800,000 Median $1,235,000, Low $51,000 Average days on market 17

  • 7 active vacant land listing High $950,000, Median $575,000 Low 165,000 Days on market 45

  • 4 pending vacant land listings High $699,000 Median $232,000, Low $95,000 Average days on market 25

  • 6 sold vacant land High $725,000 Median $400,000, Low $175,000 Average days on market 61

  • 1 sold unlisted property vacant land High $500,000 Median $500,000 Low $500,000 Average days on market 0

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