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Old 10-28-2005, 09:24 PM
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Lightbulb "flipping" a home can be a costly mistake

TWO YEARS AGO, Warren Holmberg of Griswold, Conn., was searching for a money-making venture to supplement his retirement income whenever he finally decides to leave the computer industry. Intrigued by the real estate market's growth, he decided to try "flipping" a home -- purchasing undervalued property and then refurbishing and reselling it to turn a profit. Working with a contractor, Holmberg, 55, bought a single-family home for $72,000, invested four months and $110,000 in its makeover, then sold it within seven days on the market for $320,000, making a tidy $138,000 profit. Holmberg was hooked and has flipped several homes since then.

Despite constant speculation that the real estate bubble may be about to burst, flipping homes is gaining popularity, as evidenced by this summer's premieres of three TV shows on the subject: Discovery Home Channel's "Flip That House," TLC's "Property Ladder" and A&E's "Flip This House."

R.J. Cutler, executive producer of "Flip That House," says flipping really isn't a new concept. "It's just that the real estate market is hot and relatively stable, so there are more people doing it," he says.

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