Real estate “flipping” refers to the act of purchasing a house, often in a rapidly rising market, renovating it, and reselling it for a profit (the “fix and flip”). Otherwise known as “house flipping,” the phenomenon has become increasingly publicized over the past decade. The show Flip This House premiered on the A&E network in 2005, and ran for four years until 2009. The show followed various real estate teams (from varying locations each season) as they purchased and renovated a given home then flipped the property for profit. In 2011, Spike TV aired the show Flip Men, which ran for two seasons. The leading men in this reality show purchased foreclosed houses at auction, remodeled them, and sold them for impressive returns.
As the real estate market has continued to recover over recent years, we've seen an increase in flipping at all price points. In 2013, the $1M plus market saw 5.3% of properties flipped in the first six months of the year, as opposed to only 3.4% in the latter half of 2012. Interestingly, many big name celebrities are getting in on this trend. Stars who house flip have the advantage of their fame – which comes along with an impressive network of contacts, an insight into the world of the wealthy and plenty of disposable income. Though it may seem like an easy enough way to make some serious cash, experts warn that it isn't as simple as it looks. The job takes practice and skill; it requires a shrewd understanding of the financial aspects of house ownership and sales. After all, before a house is actually sold its owner still racks up bills in interest, utilities, tax, and insurance. In order to make money, one must put down a fair amount of money at the get-go, meaning the whole process involves a significant level of financial risk, even for the moneyed celebs. The following Hollywood stars make plenty of money in their primary careers, but have also profited significantly through this interesting skill.
4 Meryl Streep: $2.25 million
Meryl Streep may have found another astonishing talent, as she's recently become interested in house flipping. In 2013, she purchased an estate in Hollywood Hills for $4.5 million and is asking $6.75 million for the newly furnished home. The home was originally designed by architects Honnold and Rex for Architectural Products magazine, and had been recently remodeled by designer Xorin Balbes. According to its listing, the house comes with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a beautiful outdoor pool and spa, marble floors, a walnut staircase, and a smartphone-controlled security system.
3 Jennifer Aniston: $13.5 million
In 2012 Jennifer Aniston tried her hand at house flipping to the tune of $21.5 million. In 2006, the actress flipped a Beverly Hills mansion for $13.5 million, and sold the estate to billionaire Bill Gross for $35 million. In 2012, she cleaned up another estate in Bel Air, reportedly purchased for $21 million, and, after dishing out around $6 million on the renovations, put it back on the market with an asking price of $40M. With the current buzz around high-end sales like this one, especially in Los Angeles, 40M may not be at all unreasonable.
2 Ellen DeGeneres: $15 million
Aside from being one of America’s most likeable and successful TV personalities, it turns out Ellen has an eye for real estate deals. Indeed, she has been involved in the art of house flipping for a number of years now. In 2011, the talk show host purchased a home in Malibu from Brad Pitt for $12 million and sold it a year later for $13 million. In January of 2014, DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi reportedly sold their $40 million home in Los Angeles for $55 million to billionaire Napster co-founder Sean Parker (AKA Justin Timberlake’s character in The Social Network) only six months after purchasing it. 15 million in six months? Pretty efficient.
1 Jeremy Renner: $17 million
Jeremy Renner and his business partner actor Kristoffer Winters have bought and sold at least 16 homes! Most recently in 2010, the actor sold an Art Deco Mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles he bought for $7 million to the British property developer, Nick Candy, for a cool $24 million, earning quite the profit. Impressively, the pair developed the mansion from the ground up; Renner reported to Esquire that the only original features left were a pair of brick fireplaces. Some new features include a full theater, outdoor pool, spa, and cobblestone driveway. Not to mention the 6 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and 10,000sq feet of living space.