HomeVestors, a nationwide home-flipping franchisor that’s also known as the “We Buy Ugly Houses” company, has announced the 2018 winner of its annual The Ugliest House of the Year award.

The honor went to a property purchased last fall by HomeVestors’ franchisee Nyath Properties, as a run-down 1,700-square-foot Tudor-style home in Queens, New York.

HomeVestors reported that the home won the most votes from the American public out of thousands of home makeovers completed by HomeVestors franchisees.

The Queens home had a giant hole in the bedroom ceiling, “destroyed bathrooms, and less-than-habitable conditions throughout,” HomeVestors said.

Performing a resurrection of sorts, the HomeVestors franchisee gutted the house while salvaging the wood floors and exposed beams. It then replaced “everything else,” including sheetrock, windows, electrical wiring and panels, bathrooms, basement floors and the kitchen.

A bedroom of 2018’s The Ugliest Home of the Year when the property was first purchased by a HomeVestors franchisee.

The same bedroom after renovations.

The home’s living room after its purchase.

The living room after renovations.

“We purchased this house from a seller who had been struggling with a sick family member that had lived in it for years, and who was grateful to find a way ‘out’ of dealing with the property,” said Steve Papadakis, who runs Nyath Properties with Michael Gatzonis, in a statement.

“The seller didn’t have the time or resources to improve it to a condition that traditional sellers would consider. But, we were able to give her cash to get her out of her ugly situation, and were beyond thrilled with the chance to work our makeover magic.”

The home’s kitchen pre-rehab.

The home’s kitchen after renovations.

The pre-rehab bathroom.

The post-rehab bathroom.

More than 1,000 HomeVestors affiliates operate in 168 markets across the country, typically hawking all-cash offers with the come-on “We Buy Ugly Houses,” and vacuuming up thousands of properties every year.

In recent years, so-called “iBuyers,” such as Opendoor, Offerpad, Zillow Offers and Redfin Now, have burst onto the scene, using technology to buy homes directly online and re-sell them on the open market.

These venture capital-fueled upstarts have overshadowed HomeVestors, but are quick to argue they are not flipping homes since they usually don’t buy properties needing significant renovations. So home-flipping companies such as HomeVestors/”We Buy Ugly Homes” still fill a niche that iBuyers have so far shied away from.

Many HomeVestors franchisees, on the other hand, specialize in boosting a home’s value through full-fledged rehabs.

While iBuyers surely have created unwelcome competition for some traditional home flippers, the difference in core competencies between the two suggests that HomeVestors and some of its affiliates will be able to keep the lights on for some time to come.

HomeVestors affiliates, as HomeVestors CEO David Hicks said, are still “reintroducing properties that many might have considered “lost causes.”

“We pride ourselves on providing a needed service not only to these sellers, but also to the communities where our franchises live and work, driving both new development and a more affordable housing supply,” Hicks said in a statement.

Hicks also told Inman an interview that whenever iBuyers enter a new market, HomeVestors hears from franchisees who are concerned about how the startups could impact their business.

“[But] a year out, it’s almost a non-issue,” he said.

Opendoor has told prospective buyers in Denver that “we do not buy ugly houses,” Hicks said. “Well, we do.”

HomeVestor franchisees typically buy about 8,000 homes per year, according to HomeVestors. Opendoor purchased more than 9,500 homes in 2018, according to RealtyTrac data.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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