House flipper — ahem, real estate investor — Justin Pierce has flipped about 40 houses in the last seven years. But the 37-year-old former Marine almost bit off more than he could chew when he bought “the ugliest house on the block” in the Washington, D.C., suburb Temple Hills, Md.

Pierce paid only $63,000 for the home, and the median sales price for homes in Prince George’s County is $195,000. But Pierce wanted to do a “pop-up” on the tiny home, adding a second floor to double its size to 1,600 square feet. In six months, he “transformed the property,” which features hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

But Pierce — who figures he needs to pay no more than 70 percent of what a home is worth in order to flip it for a profit — went $20,000 over budget. All told, he spent $85,000 renovating the home, with financing from a private investor with whom he will split the profits.

No longer the ugliest house on the block, the home’s now on the market for $239,000. While Pierce may walk away from this flip with a nice profit, flipping activity in the Washington, D.C., metro area is down 13 percent from a year ago, and the average gross profit has declined from $114,991 to $71,832, the Washington Post reports, citing data from RealtyTrac. Source: washingtonpost.com

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