Is “I Buy Ugly Houses” the Future of Real Estate?

Photo Courtesy: Bloomberg/Getty Images

No matter where you live, you’ve definitely seen them. Stopped at a red light, you glance over at the sidewalk. Your eyes reach a telephone pole and, traveling upward, they settle on a bright sign boldly proclaiming, "I buy ugly houses!" Or, browsing the newspaper classifieds one morning, you can’t help but notice the biggest ad on the page — one with lots of exclamation points and the promise of cash payments for run-down properties. These and similar advertisements are everywhere these days — but what exactly are they all about?

As it turns out, "I buy ugly houses" ads are related to flipping, which is the practice of purchasing low-value homes that are in poor condition or that owners need to get rid of quickly before remodeling those homes and selling them to make money. Over the years, house flipping has seen huge interest from both real estate buyers and sellers because of its potential for profit — so much so that there’s even a franchise company called We Buy Ugly Houses that aims to capitalize on this process. If you’re wondering whether the "I buy ugly houses" claims are legitimate or you’re interested in how it relates to the home-flipping process, learn more about what’s involved and what role it’s begun playing in the real estate market.

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