NPR logo Time to Forget Flipping?

Time to Forget Flipping?

Another sign. Source: Getty Images hide caption

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Source: Getty Images

Driving into work today, I was struck yet again by the number of "For Sale" signs outside houses along my route. It feels like they're all over the city, and their numbers are growing. I've been in the home-hunt for a while now, and although my fingers are crossed for a successful closing at the end of the month, it's hard to get my mind out of the chase. I've been actively looking for more than two years, and now my brain's just wired to the market and I can't seem to disengage (and, honestly, I probably shouldn't until I have keys in hand).

The closer I get to my prey, the more a related obsession grows: TLC's Flip that House. I'd never watched it until recently, and I know I'm late to the game, but those house-flipping shows are addictive! It's tempting, of course — you can make more than you make in a year in a number of months; but at the same time, the risks are huge. For every flipper you see raking in cash, you see a handful mired in a quicksand of untrustworthy contractors, failed inspections, and mounting mortgage payments that cut into their bottom line. I have to say, while I may not be ready to stop eyeballing properties for sale, there's no way I'd get into flipping, and I don't understand how anyone who watches those shows can think a first-timer can flip a home in a month for $15K. It's ludicrous!

Anyway, the continued bad news on the housing front made me wonder: are folks still flipping these days, or are these old shows? Financing is a lot trickier these days (sidebar: tune into our first hour to hear about how FICO may have benefitted from the no-money-down mortgage heyday)... Is that tempering the flipping market? I'm sure there are still good places to get into it... Do you flip houses? What's it like? Is the stress really worth the payoff?