A Front Row Seat to the Battle of the Flippers

A Front Row Seat to the Battle of the Flippers

Oooh this should get interesting. Two homes on my street with very similar specs, both sold in January and both being flipped, both came on the market yesterday.

The Contenders

3417 Wetmore Ave Everett, WA 982013609 Wetmore Ave Everett, WA 98201

3609 Wetmore

  • 2 Beds, 1 Bath, 1,106 square feet
  • 4,792 square foot lot
  • Built in 1912
  • Bought 01/12 for $91,500
  • Asking $189,000

3417 Wetmore

  • 2 Beds, 1 Bath, 1,184 square feet
  • 4,356 square foot lot
  • Built in 1910
  • Bought 01/25 for $82,000
  • Asking $127,000

From the photos on each listing it definitely looks like the flippers of 3609 Wetmore spent more time to really make the home shine, but will the extra polish be worth a $62,000 premium to buyers?

Interestingly, at 2.1 times their purchase price, 3609 is actually more conservative than these flippers’ most recent Everett project (featured on here in September), which they successfully turned around for 2.4 times what they paid for it.

Whatever happens, it should be interesting to watch. I’m hoping they both have open houses this weekend so I can go check out the quality (or lack thereof) of the rehab work in each up close.

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

49 comments:

  1. 1

    With the BoeingTanker Contract in Everett

    Perhaps some transferred Seattle home owner working at Boeing would like to trade their Seattle home to save gas?

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  2. 2
    robotslave says:

    Thanks, Tim, this reminded me of a sign in front of a house in my neighborhood that I’ve been meaning to photograph:

    http://imgur.com/fJCCo

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  3. 3
    T. Y. Lee says:

    In the yellow house, the kitchen layout is bizarre. They placed the dishwasher under the window while the sink is off to the right. It makes the kitchen really awkward. Not sure what’s going on with the wood paneled ceiling above the stove and that strange window/pass-through and the awkward trim around it (it looks like they needed to put in a wider microwave).

    The bathroom looked gorgeous at first… until I realized the toilet paper roll floating up by the window sill, like they forgot to put the attachment on the wall until they had already tiled everything over.

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  4. 4
    Scotsman says:

    RE: T. Y. Lee @ 3

    Keep it in perspective. Not a dream home, but for $750/mo PITI you’re living in a freshened space that you own. Gotta be cheaper than renting, you’ll get the tax deductions, and when you get tired of it just move out and turn it over to a property management company. Eventually inflation will turn it into a cash-cow. If not, then you really didn’t lose much, did ya when considering how cheaply you lived for the years you were there.

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  5. 5
    T. Y. Lee says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 4 -A younger, single and childless version of me wouldn’t mind living in a cute house like that (and it’s way cheap compared to renting). And I’ve definitely rented places that were far worse.

    I guess I’m just worried that if the owner couldn’t even attach a toilet paper roll holder correctly, what else is wrong with the house? Just based on what I CAN see, the place looks like it has a lot of failed DIY projects.

    The craftsman house on the left has obviously had more done to it (looks they removed a wall to open up the kitchen), and the work looks more thought out, planned, and finished. It was tastefully done. I don’t think it’s worth paying $60K extra for, but that’s because it’s not exactly my personal taste and how I would have wanted it. I would choose a cheaper less finished place so that I could customize it to my own needs and wants.

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  6. 6
    Peter Witting says:

    For the price, they are both appealing. High end, no; affordable and livable, yes.

    Personal preference points me to the craftsman over the yellow house. I look forward to The Tim’s impressions of fit and finish.

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  7. 7
  8. 8

    RE: Peter Witting @ 6 – Yes, that would be interesting. Pictures can often be deceiving. You can’t see the details.

    About a year ago I went through a newer townhouse SFR built in Seattle about the peak and then lived in by the builder for a few years. The quality of the detailing was below that of a lot of remodel projects I’ve seen. There’s no way you would know that from the pictures.

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  9. 9
    ray pepper says:

    oh oh…120k on your street? turn key? How does that compare to your home? I forgot what you paid……….Are these better deals then what you bought (since they are on your street its worth an analysis…) Would you have been better off by waiting an additional year or is your purchase superior to these?

    I’m not wanting to start a Millionnaire Mike arguement because I know you do NOT want to sell but just wondering how YOURS compares to value against these 2.

    BTW very bad margins on a 127k asking flip and purchase price of 80k. best seller can hope for is 30k profit then IRS clip makes the risk/reward very poor. Not to mention many of the flippers have partners which further diminish returns. The other one has sweet margins but lets see if it sells.

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  10. 10
    ChrisM says:

    Can someone decipher this comment “Zoning allows for investment into your future” – could the goofy car garage/shop thing be demolished and another house put in?

    Looks like there’s quite a step down in that doorway in the garage!

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  11. 11
    The Tim says:

    By ray pepper @ 9:

    Are these better deals then what you bought (since they are on your street its worth an analysis…) Would you have been better off by waiting an additional year or is your purchase superior to these?

    These homes have 29% smaller finished space, no basement (my home has a 1,000 sq. ft., 7-foot tall, dry basement with two full egress windows for future bedrooms), 25% smaller lots (neither on a corner), and no garage on 3609.

    So they’re not really comparable at all. We probably wouldn’t have even considered these at their current prices if they had been on the market when we bought. We did look at a few homes that small, but only if they were priced below $100k like this gem on the other side of the alley that went for $85k in February 2011.

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  12. 12

    RE: ray pepper @ 9 – Seriously? Just from memory, Tim’s place had a very nice kitchen and also quite a bit of exposed unpainted wood trim. Both translate into value for a house of that era–a lot of it.

    It’s amazing to me how people don’t know how to value real estate. In 2010 I had a place two blocks from a slightly larger house that had been flipped. Mine was pretty well trashed (some of you made fun of it in the other forum because of one of the photos showing the mess buyers could expect to see). Mine sold first with multiple offers and for slightly more (about 5% more) money!

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  13. 13
    ray pepper says:

    RE: The Tim @ 11

    I like that lil green gem for 84,900!…Has the look thats very appealing to Buyers..Just like our last flip: http://www.redfin.com/WA/Tacoma/6217-S-Pine-St-98409/home/2993808 ..got in at 52k for a 37k pull but whew tight margins even with sale at 100k. …ours didn’t need much work…probably the same for the 82k…..the flipper investments have gotten even tougher as of late but I love keeping the powder dry during this time…

    btw good to hear Tim that your sittin good………….

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  14. 14

    fwiw…

    If the new buyer is using FHA financing, there will most likely be two appraisals required on the beige home (price increase more than doubled from when purchased) – HUD will not allow the buyer to pay for the 2nd appraisal. Along with supplying the lender documentation showing labor/materials to support the higher cost in a short time. HUD has this requirement when a home is resold at more than 100% of the acquisition cost within 180 days.

    The yellow home may have the same criteria IF it’s sold before 90 days since the home is being resold for more than 20% of the acquisition cost.

    The underwriter may also require inspections to verify the work is up to code.

    I had a flip last year where the sellers did things without permits… oops! They wound up obtaining permits afterwards and the loan did close…

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  15. 15
    Kris Yuret says:

    The 3417 is entirely too YELLOW for my taste…overkill.

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  16. 16
    ray pepper says:

    I’d take that yellow color but can’t handle this Mint color on a home I’m interested in for 50k: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/307-Pinehurst-Ct_Dayton_NV_89403_M25353-57385?source=web

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  17. 17
    StillRenting says:

    I like the tan house. The google street view on the yellow house is interesting.

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  18. 18
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 16

    Will they take $50K, and would that be cash?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. 19
    John Bailo says:

    How did they get to pay so little?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  20. 20
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 13

    Holy Cow, who paid $103K for that? Can we interview them?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  21. 21
    Tatiana Kalashnikov says:

    RE: David Losh @ 20

    These homes are tear-downs. Ugh!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  22. 22
    Peter says:

    I cant work out the yellow house. Front has a single peaked roof, then back has a double. There is definitely no side pictures (fence is visible on sides, etc), yet the last two pictures have either a garage or not, and grass or not, yet they appear to be the same area. If someone can explain the pictures and house in some way that makes sense to me, I would appreciate it.

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  23. 23
    Erik says:

    The yellow house was built 1910. There wasn’t any mention of updating electrical or plumbing, so I would assume that it has old knob and tube or cloth wire. The circuits are probably overloaded. I also assume the plumbing needs to be updated. So what will need to happen if someone buys it, is they will need to rip out all of that beautiful work to replace the plumbing and electricity. I haven’t checked these out, but I own a house in North Everett I remodeled and I have a pretty good idea what they are all about. Buyer beware.

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  24. 24
    ray pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 20

    heck yes!! Go knock on the door..I’m sure they would LOVE an interview..

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  25. 25
    ray pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 18 – I will let you know if they accept..my guess a counter at 80k..then I counter at 52k…then they go 75k…then I go 53k…then deal goes dead until they drop price to 69k…then I resubmit at 50k and we start over again while someone else gets it at 69k…same story different house but every now and then 1 falls through the cracks and you accept the morsel.

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  26. 26
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 24

    Can I mention your name? Will that get me through the door, or walked off the property?

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  27. 27
    The Tim says:

    By Peter @ 22:

    I cant work out the yellow house. Front has a single peaked roof, then back has a double. There is definitely no side pictures (fence is visible on sides, etc), yet the last two pictures have either a garage or not, and grass or not, yet they appear to be the same area. If someone can explain the pictures and house in some way that makes sense to me, I would appreciate it.

    Both of the last two photos are the separate garage that backs to the alley. There is no photo of the back of the main house.

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  28. 28
    ivan says:

    I live in a house that was restored and flipped about twelve years ago. It’s in good shape, but I can see that a lot of shortcuts were taken. I can imagine the chaotic scene the last few days before it needed to show when the semi-skilled labor was racing to finish everything. In particular, paint surfaces were not properly prepared (forget about properly addressing the old lead paint issue) and a lot of the electrical work seems to have been done in a hurry. There’s a lot that was done that I think would have been done differently by someone who cared about the place and the quality of their work, or was planning to live here.

    In the future, I would look at a spec flip with a very sceptical eye. Especially low margin places like these two.

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  29. 29
    whatsmyname says:

    What a cute house. Is that a kitten kicker in the bushes?

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  30. 30
    ray pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 26

    they wont know me..I represented the seller!

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  31. 31
    Disappointed Buyer says:

    By T. Y. Lee @ 3:

    In the yellow house, the kitchen layout is bizarre. They placed the dishwasher under the window while the sink is off to the right. It makes the kitchen really awkward. Not sure what’s going on with the wood paneled ceiling above the stove and that strange window/pass-through and the awkward trim around it (it looks like they needed to put in a wider microwave).

    The bathroom looked gorgeous at first… until I realized the toilet paper roll floating up by the window sill, like they forgot to put the attachment on the wall until they had already tiled everything over.

    I posted this link before they dident redo the kitchen it looks like it me.
    http://www.trulia.com/property/3066125326-3417-Wetmore-Ave-Everett-WA-98201

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  32. 32
    Dorothea says:

    RE: StillRenting @ 17 – Oh my, interesting indeed! I can rule out the yellow completely now.

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  33. 33

    By Erik @ 23:

    The yellow house was built 1910. There wasn’t any mention of updating electrical or plumbing, so I would assume that it has old knob and tube or cloth wire. The circuits are probably overloaded. I also assume the plumbing needs to be updated..

    You’re making a lot of assumptions. Just because the plumbing and electrical wasn’t updated in 2012, that doesn’t mean that it’s 102 years old.

    BTW, that messy listing I mentioned earlier, that place had the oldest electrical meter I’ve ever seen. It was a museum piece, probably pre-WWII.

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  34. 34
    Pegasus says:

    How come these have not gone pending yet? Where are the multiple bidders for trash like these? C’mon we know you are out there. Who could resist living in a neighborhood like this……..”Run; don’t walk to” these charmers!

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  35. 35

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8

    Exactly Kary

    The down thumbs against us apparently believe this blog can prove the house is far worse than a similar looking 1910 $400K 2 bdrm in Seattle with white washing; when the only proof is live in it for 5-10 years and lets see your maintenance receipts, as this blog is just wild guessing on the quality. The actual maintenance costs are the real proof and they come in after its too late.

    If Everett is your close by city to your job, its better to gamble with less gas/time use commuting than hot air allegations that Seattle expensive homes are all worth it compared to similar looking ones in Tim’s neighborhood.

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  36. 36
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 33 – Yea, they probably upgraded the electrical in the 1960’s and put in some shiny new aluminum wiring…..

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  37. 37
    StillRenting says:

    RE: Dorothea @ 32

    I like google street view because it can usually give you a general idea of what the area looks like. I also like when it captures little moments in time, like that yard sale or the guy washing his car a few houses down from the tan house.

    The properties around the yellow house certainly don’t look as nice as those by the tan house. I’d have to check it out in person, though. Perhaps they have new owners, too and have been cleaned up a bit. Of course, they could also be worse…

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  38. 38

    By Pegasus @ 36:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 33 – Yea, they probably upgraded the electrical in the 1960’s and put in some shiny new aluminum wiring…..

    LOL. For some reason I think we see a lot less aluminum here than in other parts of the country, which is odd. Or maybe there just wasn’t that much aluminum wiring.

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  39. 39

    RE: Pegasus @ 36 – BTW, probably more likely that one of the two has a Zinsco/Sylvania breaker panel. Those are somewhat common, which makes me question how unsafe they really might be.

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  40. 40
    T. Y. Lee says:

    RE: Disappointed Buyer @ 31 – You’re right. That owner didn’t even do anything to modernize that kitchen at all. No wonder it’s so awkward to me.
    To my uneducated eye, it looks like he really didn’t do much besides drywall, tile, and paint.

    In the other house, you can tell a wall was removed to expand the kitchen and open it up, and recessed lighting was put in throughout. It already just seems like it involved a lot more highly skilled labor, the kind the average weekend warrior would not be able to do. What was done to that house was more than just slapping on some lipstick and making it look pretty. They made it more functional as well.

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  41. 41
    erika says:

    I personally love the beige one! Compared to anything in Seattle, it’s a steal. And looking at it, it appears that they redid the floor plan– opened a wall or something– which appears to be more than the yellow house did.

    I actually live in a flipped house and they really did nothing but paint it and put in new appliances and priced it higher because it’s Seattle and they could.

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  42. 42
    redmondjp says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 38:

    By Pegasus @ 36:
    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 33 – Yea, they probably upgraded the electrical in the 1960’s and put in some shiny new aluminum wiring…..

    LOL. For some reason I think we see a lot less aluminum here than in other parts of the country, which is odd. Or maybe there just wasn’t that much aluminum wiring.

    I hate to break the bad news here, but EVERYBODY’S home has aluminum wiring in it, including mine. The utility feed to your electrical meter, as well as the feeder from the meter into your electrical panel, is all aluminum. And it works perfectly fine when used with the proper terminations (that say “CU/AL” on them). There may be some isolated exceptions on really old homes that still have 60+ year-old overhead drops that use copper.

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  43. 43

    RE: redmondjp @ 42 – Yes, the heavy gauge wiring is aluminum, but that’s not the stuff that started causing the fires. That’s why it is still used.

    I’m talking about the distribution wiring to the outlets, switches and light fixtures.

    Also, it’s not clear it’s “just fine” if the device is rated for aluminum. That’s not true past the breaker box (e.g. breakers can be rated but a different solution should be sought for switches and outlets.)

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  44. 44
    ChefJoe says:

    I wonder what is going on with the yellow house having very different electrical outlets in the walls. Some are super low, like they were going to put in a bunch more baseboard heaters, and others are the the standard 1 ft above the floor. Maybe they redid the original electrical wiring at some point and added in the standard height outlets.

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  45. 45
    MichaelB says:

    Tim,

    Congrats on buying the best house on the block!

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  46. 46
    Pegasus says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 42 – You need to Google “aluminum wiring” and educate yourself about why I posted my comment about aluminum wiring. I was referring to the wiring in the walls of a house, not a specially designed wiring connection. It was primarily installed in the 1960’s and early 1970’s as a copper replacement because it was cheaper than copper and it is a really bad fire hazard. Try insuring a home with all aluminum wiring and you will find out just how far off base your comments are and how wrong you are about “there may be some isolated exceptions on really old homes that still have 60+ year-old overhead drops that use copper”.

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  47. 47
    Pegasus says:

    PENDING………3417 Wetmore Ave. Everett, WA 98201…….Who says that we have run out of fools and everyone learned their lesson….??????????????????

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  48. 48
    The Tim says:

    RE: Pegasus @ 47 – Yup, I contacted the listing agent on Thursday. I told him that I only wanted to see it out of curiosity as a nearby neighbor and real estate blogger, but he was still willing to show me the home. When we met, he told me that he had three offers in hand already that he would be reviewing on Friday. I have no reason to believe he would have been making this up, since hew knew I had zero interest in buying the home, and he seemed like a very genuine, down-to-earth guy.

    I took a handful of photos and notes in the house. I’m still working on getting into the 3609. Hoping to have a look sometime next week so I can post a follow-up.

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  49. 49

    […] in April two similary-specced homes hit the market on my street in what I referred to as “The Battle of the Flippers.” As of last week, both homes have now sold, so let’s check out the […]

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