The Battle of the Flippers: Everyone’s a Winner

Back 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 results:

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 Jan. 12, 2012 for $91,500
  • Sold Jul. 12, 2012 $186,000

3417 Wetmore

  • 2 Beds, 1 Bath, 1,184 square feet
  • 4,356 square foot lot
  • Built in 1910
  • Bought Jan. 25, 2012 for $82,000
  • Sold Jun. 25, 2012 for $127,000

Both homes actually went pending then back on the market twice before finally snagging a buyer that would actually close. Despite this difficulty, both flippers basically got the price they were asking for at the start (100% sale to list for 3417, 98.4% for 3609).

I tried to get inside for a look at both homes while they were on the market, but only succeeded in getting a look at 3417 Wetmore, thanks to the very friendly listing agent Aaron Haack, who gave me a personal tour despite knowing up front that I had no interest in buying and just wanted to see the home so I could blog about it.

Based on my tour of 3417, I can definitely see why it was priced so much lower than the home at 3609 that was flipped by Urban Graces Design. Let’s just say that the craftsmanship on display at 3417 probably won’t be featured in Better Homes and Gardens anytime soon.

Despite the superior quality of the work at 3609 Wetmore, I’m still surprised that a home with a 21% smaller lot, 32% less square footage, fewer beds and baths, and no basement sold for just 17% less than I paid for my house two doors down a little over a year ago. Apparently quality craftsmanship plus good staging plus tight supply plus insanely low interest rates equals a surprisingly high sale price.

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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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    David Losh says:

    OK, I did drive by both properties, yours as well, on our way back from Boom City on the 4th of July.

    The listing agent on 3609 usually represents builders, and the quality of the property, as well as yours, does show superior craftsmanship.

    My question would be if these properties are worth the rehab. It seems to me a block or two away it is zoned multi family, some of it looks like the rents would be very reasonable.

    Are these prices reasonable, or are they a reflection of the fact your house sold for $250K? Is your house now the benchmark for the neighborhood?

  2. 2
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    Have you guys checked out 6th Avenue Tacoma lately?

    I was there this weekend and it’s what Fremont used to be like (and what much of Portland still is like) before the densifiers destroyed it.

    Plus it seems to have lots of craftsman style homes for under $200K.

    Really, if the Tacoma crime problem could ever be brought under control, that would unleash thousands of SFHs into the local market.

  3. 3
    mmmarvel says:

    Wow, all I can say is wow. I’m really amazed that folks pay so much for so little. Of course doing a comparison to what homes sell for in LA or even SF y’all are thinking you got a bargain; can’t say I’d agree. Wow!

  4. 4
    ESS says:

    Good news for all involved – the buyers, the sellers and the neighbors.

  5. 5

    Grab ‘Em Up

    Ya gotta live somewhere and it beats fighting with a landlord.

  6. 6

    By ESS @ 4:

    Good news for all involved – the buyers, the sellers and the neighbors.

    Exactly. Flippers get a bad reputation, but they really provide a valuable service. They take houses that the prior owners, for one reason or another, let run down, and they fix them up. Some of them don’t do such a great job fixing them, but many do, and that’s a good thing.

    People get upset because they make a profit, but they also take incredible risk.

    What is actually much worse for neighborhoods, but which has a good public image, is allowing a larger percentage of people the ability to buy a house. That’s proven to be a disaster for many neighborhoods where people move in with little or no ability or aptitude for maintaining property. They’re worse than landlords, IMHO, because landlords will typically have some interest in keeping their property maintained.

  7. 7
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – Let’s not forget that flippers by design are not long term holders and thus the quick turnovers enhance the pockets of real estate agents.

  8. 8

    By Pegasus @ 7:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – Let’s not forget that flippers by design are not long term holders and thus the quick turnovers enhance the pockets of real estate agents.

    Not necessarily. They often find some sap willing to list it for very little money for repeat business. I remember one listing where the agent only received $500. They are not the type of client I would target, but I’m sure there are some exceptions. And there are some good agents who list flipper properties. I’m just saying that’s not the thing about flippers that would stick out in my mind.

    It’s arguably good for buyer’s agents, but in normal markets they would have other properties their clients could buy, so it’s not a huge deal for them either. About the best thing about it from a buyer’s agent point of view is it’s more likely any major changes to the house were done with permits.

    In any event, I was focusing on the effect on the neighborhood.

  9. 9
    David Losh says:

    RE: ESS @ 4

    Actually the price point of this block went from about $80K to $130K and is now $127K to $250K.

    That might be a good thing in the future, but today it takes affordable housing and makes it more expensive.

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