Sunday, August 15, 2021

Flipping Off the Flippers, But Nicely


“Someone wants to buy our house!” My husband sounded a bit incredulous.

“But we’re not done with it yet,” I pointed out.

He read:

Hello, I noticed your property at [address redacted] and I’m writing because I’m a local investor who would like to provide you with an unconditional offer on your property.

We specialize in properties regardless of their condition - -

“That’s rude!” He threw the letter in the trash.

Rather like the home improvement salesman who stops by in person to tell you your windows/siding/roof look terrible, this investment guru put his worst foot forward. We were not amused.

Since buying the house, we have:

  • Redone the kitchen and all major appliances
  • Redone the back patio and fencing
  • Replaced major plumbing fixtures/pipes 
  • Replaced first floor flooring
  • Repainted everything but the upstairs hallway
  • New roof
  • New heating/cooling
  • Repaired air circulation/venting
You get the picture. Sure, our house is imperfect (we haven’t redone the bathrooms yet) but we don’t take kindly to letters suggesting our house is worth buying “regardless of condition.” If we want to joke about it, that’s our right. We have also lived in it and invested a lot in it and love it with all its quirks and flaws. We often joke that, by the time we die, we will have replaced every bit of the house and no original parts will remain. 

We know that these houses went up fast and weren’t necessarily built to last. But, for Heaven’s sakes, it is the only house that we can afford in Columbia/HoCo. Yes, I know these houses were meant to be starter houses and we would gladly make way for “starters” if the housing choices in the county included choices for us. They don’t.  If we sold to Mister Tactless Investorman, where would we go? There is no modestly “up” option for us. (I’m not sure there’s a modestly “down”, either.) So staying in this small but affordable quadroplex and investing in it and loving it is not only the very best choice for us, it’s pretty much the only choice for us if we want to stay local.

And we do. We love Howard County. We love Columbia. We especially love our Village, Oakland Mills. Investors looking to buy and flip our house in a wildly active market have the capital to do so but they will never have the care and commitment that we have to our neighborhood and community.

“Don’t take it personally,” I can almost hear you saying. It’s a form letter. It’s junk mail. I get that. We put it in the trash. 

But it’s not just an investment. Not simply numbers on a piece of paper. It’s home. I think we can be forgiven for taking that personally.

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