In today's Homes section of the Times Colonist there is a story from the perspective of the couple that bought the house of a subject of a recent article about flipping. Apparently the Flippee's were happy to purchase a home that they knew had been bought in the past year for considerably less than they paid for it and had been 'updated' and received minor renovations. The article isn't available electronically, so I can't link to it.
But one question really stood out for me: could I be happy buying someone else's home? As we hunt around for a new place to live, one of the reasons why we want to buy, is we want a house that is ours. This means we want to take some time, put in some 'sweat equity', not to gain value so much in the monetary sense, but to gain the value of emotional attachment to our living space and the pride of ownership.
So why would we buy a flipper's house? We won't. We don't want someone else's decorating and interior design ideas preventing us from making a place our own. Why would a flippee's house prevent us from redecorating? Simply because the house is priced accordingly to their improvements. We could negotiate a $5K discount to change paint etc... sure. But we couldn't get a $25K discount to redo a brand-new kitchen with different cabinets could we?
I know my arguments here are purely anecdotal. But I got the sense that in the way the author wrote her article she was really suggesting that there is an increased market for flipped homes. Come in, clean up, change non-structural layout, create space, fire in new kitchen and bathrooms, slap up some new paint and baseboards, and SELL TO MAKE A PROFIT. It's apparently a great home-based business, pun intended.
But as a buyer, would you want this? One of the bonuses of buying a new home is that quite often you get to make some choices for yourself: paint, flooring, cabinetry, extra bathroom, finished or unfinished basement etc. Yes, the choices are almost always limited, and there are financial consequences to those choices, but in a flipped house you get one choice: buy or don't. If you want to make changes for aesthetics, fine, but don't expect a discount because you don't like the new paint and cabinets.
You also don't get a warranty. The only warranty you get is a home inspection that you pay for.
We for one, want the discount associated with an older property; and the emotional attachment of purchasing 'good bones' that may require a bit of non-structural upgrading. We want to put the time and little-bit of money in to make our house our home. In this market, pride of ownership may be the only attractive thing about purchasing. Being on the receiving end of the flip doesn't seem like a good deal to us. Why can't the TC write that story?