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Diary of a real estate flipper

Flipper talks to rehab expert Steve Berges

Like most people who work at desks for a living, my husband is slightly suspicious of my new freelance lifestyle. He called me the other day – a day when I was supposed to be looking at houses – and he heard the TV on in the background. "What are you doing, hon?" he asked. "I'm watching 'Flip This House,'" I replied. "It's research." Perhaps a result of the 72 straight hours of kidding I had to endure about that, I thought I'd do some nose-to-the-grindstone work: I put down the remote and picked up the telephone. The nice guy at the other end was Steve Berges, a principal at Real Estate One Symphony Homes, and a builder/rehabber/investor extraordinaire. Steve has been investing and writing about it for 25 years; I had read his "101 Cost Effective Ways to Increase the Value of your Home" (Dearborn) and thought it was one of the best "bang for your buck" books I'd ever read. So I thought I'd ask him what does (and doesn't) work. The amazing thing? He told me. Here are ...

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