Sex sells. How else do you think the sitcom Married with Children, which ran from 1987-1998, managed to stay on the air for 11 seasons? No, it wasn’t the ingenious comedic writing. The show remained popular with the 25-36 year old male demographic for so long because the producers figured out that including scantily clad women in every episode would boost ratings.
Nowadays it’s difficult to find anything airing after 7p that doesn’t feature half naked women and sexual innuendo – and that’s just the commercials. It would be nice to watch the Discovery Channel with my 8-year old daughter and not have to explain the meaning of erectile dysfunction.
Sexy sells too.
Television has the power to make the most mundane of activities seem attractive. Think of all the reality shows out there today that make ho-hum businesses feel cool – Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Billy the Exterminator. Since when did killing a cockroach become must see TV?
To those on the outside of the real estate investing world, flipping houses is sexy. What’s unsexy about buying a house below market, fixing it up and selling it for outrageous profits? Who wouldn’t want to sit around the water cooler at work and brag about making $30,000 on a fix and flip? It’s no wonder A&E’s Flip this House is so popular.
About the only thing sexier than buying a house below market, fixing it up and selling it for outrageous profits is buying a house at a foreclosure auction (trustee’s sale here in Arizona), fixing it up and selling it for outrageous profits. That’s off the charts sexy to a television viewer. Perhaps that’s why the Discovery Channel is in my hometown of Phoenix to begin shooting “Betting the House”, a reality show about buying houses at the courthouse steps.
Over the past two years my partner and I have flipped 60 houses, most of them purchased at trustee’s sales. I can honestly say that there isn’t one part of the fix and flip process I find to be sexy.
When I win a bid at the auction I feel worried. Even a little nauseous. Did I pay too much? After the rehab of the house begins I become impatient. Why isn’t it finished yet? Then I get frustrated. Why is the fix up costing so much? Once the house goes on the market anxiety kicks in. How come I don’t have any offers yet? After an offer is received, I accept it and escrow is opened, I feel uncertain. Could I have got more money for the house if I waited longer? Did I concede too much to the buyer?
Finally, the deal closes and the bank wires me the money, including the profit. That’s sexy right? Not really. Relief is a better way to describe the feeling that overcomes me. Relief I sold the house. Relief I made a few bucks. Relief I have enough cash to do it all over again.
Fixing and flipping houses is not sexy. It’s actually a little frightening – kind of like that show Ghost Hunters on the Syfy channel. But you know what? Scary sells too.