Buyers balk at markup on flips

Mood of the Market

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I'm not really sure exactly when investors got such a bad name. Once upon a time, every other person I met wanted to be one. Maybe it was the imprimatur of slick, infomercial-esque get-rich-quickness that kick-started the national anti-real-estate-investor antipathy. It probably didn't help when investors, only a small percentage of whom can accurately be called "flippers," ended up squarely on the wrong end of the foreclosure-crisis finger-pointing. Probably wrongfully so, as the last numbers I could find -- from 2008 -- showed that only 20 percent of the foreclosures in America at the time were on non-owner-occupied homes, which is disproportionately low, considering that 33 percent of homes in America are owned by investors. All last year, during the deepest depths of the foreclosure crisis, I saw buyer after buyer get outbid -- or underbid, but still bested -- by cash investors seeking to make the most of the decline in home values. While I felt deeply for the...