There was a time, you see, when people could buy a house, maybe fix it up and maybe not, then put it back on the market and gain $200k, $300k or more in 6 months.
History will show that was 2002-2005.
Some people believe that time is now.Example:
A small duplex on Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Purchased August 2006 for $1,495,000.
For sale now for $1,875,000
(list date 1/31/07).
To be fair to the flippers, they tricked it out inside. Listing says "completely refurb in 2006" and features: "Remodeled kitchen w/gaggeneau appliances, wok burner, deep fry, convec oven, wine cooler & granite/tile counters." No pics of the interior, tho.
Is this house worth $1.9 million?
Location is a problem. Its beachy, cottagey, old-Manhattan feel is sort of ruined by the large buildings on either side of it, and the choking traffic. It's right near the intersection at Valley/Ardmore. Your view from that front deck/patio is of the cars lined up at the red light.
Livability is a problem. It is two 2br/2ba units. You imagine someone is expected to make this a full-blown investment, in which case both rentals must cover a mega mortgage, or you live in half and rent out half. As the owner/landlord, you get a crap location ("steps from downtown," true, but watch your steps!), a small home and tenants for $1.9 million.
Maybe these sellers know something, or maybe they need a calendar.