Microsoft surpasses IBM (but Google outgrows them all)

After six months of non-stop house-hunting, my wife and I began to develop a sixth sense about whether a house had recently been flipped.

Flipping has been big over the past few years. A number of TV shows celebrate the practice of buying a run-down house, doing the minimum necessary to make it livable, dressing it up with paint and new drywall, and reselling it for a mad profit.

Be wary of the fix and flip

In theory, there’s nothing wrong with a fix and flip. But as home buyers, we felt it was in our best interest to steer clear of flipped properties. We found, for example, a house where an open floor plan had been created where one obviously hadn’t previously existed.

How did we know? The beam that previously must have had a supporting wall sagged almost four inches in the middle. The flippers must have taken out a load-bearing wall. While the room looked more open and modern, any buyer would probably have to contend with some serious structural repairs after purchase.

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In addition to the inappropriately large open space, the new windows were architecturally out of place for the age of the structure, and the trendy new kitchen style was completely out of character for the personality of the house.

It’s hard, sometimes, to picture what a house looked like before it got spruced up for resale. Sometimes, a house’s history is obscured. We’re still not sure about all the details for…