How Sacramento Flipper Homes Are Changing the Market
On our way home from the Tower Theatre in Land Park yesterday, my husband and I stopped at the Target store on Broadway. I didn’t want to go in, but he made me. I don’t enjoy the Target shopping experience like he does and, besides, they moved everything around since I was last there back in the Stone Ages. We walked by the Mother’s Day card aisle. This was the middle of afternoon on Mother’s Day. It was crowded with people looking at Mother’s Day cards. I wanted to stop, thrust my hands to my hips and yell in a very loud voice: REALLY? You can’t get it together before Mother’s Day? You wait for the last possible moment?
I refrained because I know that other people are not always organized, we all lead busy lives with not enough time for the essentials, and I should not be judgmental. Or, maybe I felt that way because first-time home buyers in Sacramento are developing such high expectations that I want to strangle some of them. Buyers are pretty darned judgmental. Don’t get me wrong, Sacramento home buyers have a right to be judgmental, it’s their home, but some of those judgments are being manipulated.
I know this because 4 or 5 years ago, a buyer would walk into an older home in Land Park, East Sacramento or Curtis Park and ooh and ah over the architectural features and original detailing. Buyers loved to caress the stained wood doorways, tug on the tassel lights, admire the basket-weave tile in the baths. Now, they walk into the kitchen featuring an original washboard sink and blurt, “Whoa. This is not Elk Grove. Where are my granite counters?”
And you know where they get this idea? From the investor flippers. There are so many flipper homes in our marketplace right now, tearing the guts out of homes, stripping these historical legends down to the studs, and pouring in cheapass materials, installed by cheapass labor. Buyers don’t know if there are a swarm of termites in the kitchen walls, and they don’t care because they are loving those granite countertops.
If you are buying a flipper house, be careful. There are many flipper homes in Sacramento in 2013. Some of these homes were ruins that investors picked up for pennies at foreclosure auctions on the courthouse steps. These types of homes could have sat untouched and vacant for years. You don’t know if there is mold in those homes or if they were flooded, vandalized or smeared floor-to-ceiling with feces. I’ve sold some of them in that condition, and I know what they look like.
Throw on a coat of paint, refinish the hardwood, stick in the Ikea cabinetry, replace all of the appliances with low-end new and voila, you’ve got all these flipper homes ready for the market. Because first-time home buyers will buy the bells and whistles.
The flipper syndrome affects our Sacramento marketplace because the landscape of our marketplace is changing. If your home doesn’t have updates, it’s considered a fixer and first-time home buyers will pay a lot of less for it. We can thank the flippers for that attitude.
If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Sacramento, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.