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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flipping Out

You can learn a lot from smart people. They usually don't do dumb things. They usually are successful on the things they do in life. Jeff Lewis and his business partner, Ryan Brown, are very smart people. Jeff is a little eccentric. Correction: he's Flippin' Out! He's the lead in Bravo TV's reality show "Flipping Out". GO HERE for more info on the show. If you have not watched it, you must.

During the second season premiere the other night the show replayed a comment Jeff made last season. If you watch the re-runs you will appreciate the merit of what he said: "You either live like me or you want to live like me." Sounds egotistical I know. But when you invest the time and watch as he creates living space environments you appreciate the thought, work, attention to detail, and the demand for perfection that make Jeff's living spaces so appealing.

Jeff's projects have been high end Beverly Hills plazas that he transformed from yuck to bucks, big bucks in fact. Last season he started on a renovation of a hillside house that looked fine to me. He ripped it apart and the finished property was unveiled last Tuesday. It is remarkable. It doesn't look like the same property. It is unique. And that's why I wanted to share this with you.

Later in the episode he has to deal with a know it all owner that knows the cost of everything but not the value of Jeff's expertise (who she hired to help manage her renovation of one of the Dorothy Chandler mansion). The segment deals with hiring a contractor to replace sewer pipe. The owner sees the issue as money--how much it will cost. Jeff sees it as getting the project done correctly and competently by someone he knows and not the cheapest plumber out of the phone book. Competence. Experience. Reliability. You get what you pay for.

Jeff said this about his shift from flipping houses to managing renovations: "It's been a challenging year for real estate since Season One of Flipping Out. The tone of the market has turned to gloom and doom. The lending crisis has dramatically affected the flipping business, certainly in a negative way, but there is a silver lining -- it's an amazing time to buy and there is a lot of opportunity to purchase property as a long-term investment. During the last eight years, we experienced a huge real estate boom as we saw a lot of over-valued junk sell for ridiculous prices. Also during this time, construction prices soared to a level of absurdity, so the recent correction is helping to stabilize a bull market that no economy could sustain."

Ryan Brown (Jeff'ex but still his business partner) has his own design business called BROWN DESIGN. CLICK HERE to go to his website. The photos show the incredible talent Ryan brings to any project. What a talent. Click on the kitchens link for a real treat.

We've had our share of high-end flips. Some were more flops. It takes more than granite, vessel sinks, and Viking Kitchens to make a flip a success. Some people get it right. Most don't. When you walk into a Key West home and turn on the light does it return the favor and turn you on? That is the mark of a great property. Look at the photo to the right of a very successful Key West flip. A client of mine is purchasing this beautiful home.

I say this because there are some really remarkable homes on the market right now in Key West. Like Jeff Lewis said "it's an amazing time to buy". And some people will take advantage of this down market and profit from it and others will "boo-hoo" or say "I told you so".

CLICK HERE to do your own search of all Key West and Lower Keys real estate offerings in the mls database in real time. Then if you see something at interests you, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at You might be a closet flipper and not even know it.

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.