Flipper Makes Big Money from Washington Foreclosures

by Peter Vernon on Foreclosures

Some people just know how to make the best out of any situation. This is just what Rich Sammons of Monroe County is doing about increasing Washington foreclosures.

Sammons is a flipper. The word is a casual term for someone who “flips” houses; that is, someone who buys foreclosed houses then resells them for a profit.

To look for potential deals, Sammons goes to the Monroe Country Courthouse to scavenge through a stack of files showing homes for sale. This has been a weekly job for Sammons ever since he went into the buy-and-sell market around 15 years ago, even before there was a widespread clamor for foreclosure stops.

Sammons says that looking for a good deal entails research and goes beyond searching through courthouse files. It’s quite impossible to know the property’s worth just by looking at what he reads in the records.

Every year, Sammons is able to flip two or three houses. Looking at the government’s unsuccessful attempts to effectively stop foreclosures, there could have been more, but federal and state restrictions forbid him to do so.

One of the houses he sold was foreclosed in 2007, with the owner owing $86,000. It had a $95,000 value, but the bank put it up for sale at $59,000. Sammons won the house at $48,000, and within 35 days was able to sell it for $91, 500 for a whopping $43,500 profit.

According to Sammons, business is booming; and though this may be excellent news for flippers, it reflects negatively on government help to stop a foreclosure. Statistics show that 10 to 25 homes in Monroe County are being foreclosed per week, contributing to increasing Washington foreclosures, not to mention foreclosures all over the country. In total, there have been 700, 000 foreclosures in the U.S. this year. Estimates for 2009 aren’t good either.

As Sammons says, foreclosures have become an everyday word and are experienced everywhere. That should give Washington the added push to stop foreclosures fast.

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