AA - June 2021

Authors: Yael Geffen
CEO of Lew Geffen Southeby’s International Realty
9 June 2021

New breed of flipsters ‘changing the property landscape’

Home flipping is by no means a new concept in the world of real estate, but there is now a new breed who are doing things their own way and, in doing so, they are not only establishing a host of new property trends, they are transforming whole neighbourhoods.

“Flipsters are hipsters who flip homes, usually for the hipster market, and they are proving to have a strong entrepreneurial spirit that is playing out very distinctively within the bounds of their neighbourhoods,” explains Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Like the new generation of estate agents, flipsters are doing things very differently to their predecessors and they have quickly begun to make their mark and put their distinctive stamp on this sector.”

So how are Flipsters different and what makes them unique?

“Traditional home flippers are primarily looking to get the best bang for their buck and are driven by risk-reward considerations. They will evaluate projects accordingly taking into account current market values and a return on investment (ROI) analysis.

“Although flipsters obviously do want to make a profit, it isn’t their primary driving factor and they don’t regard real estate investment from a purely ROI perspective; they start by thinking about what they would embrace and create in a space and then work backwards.”

Geffen says this is largely due to the fact that, like other millennials, they place a greater value on integrating everyday life with work which makes their social and career needs and goals very different than those of their parents.

Another key difference is that whilst conventional flippers will usually look for that one bad penny in a great neighbourhood, flipsters are all about the gentrification and upliftment of decaying areas by transforming them into hipster-centric neighbourhoods that attract fellow-millennial buyers.

Example of hipster areas are Woodstock, Harfield Village, Fishhoek (lower down in the vibey village) and Gardens/lower City Bowl in Cape Town and in Johannesburg, it would be areas like Melville, Illovo and Braamfontein.

“They typically concentrate on properties in or near to highly urban areas, which are ideal for young professionals with an aversion to long commutes and a preference for a comprehensive selection of amenities right on their doorsteps.

“Flipsters also prefer old and re-purposed to shiny, trendy and new when it comes to interior design and will often shop at good will and junk stores rather than upmarket décor and furniture shops.”

Although flipsters are doing things very differently, they are influenced by several well-regarded schools of thought, including:

Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright – influenced by Wright’s Prairie Home Style and the 5 Senses design used in his famous Falling Waters project, hipster projects tend to incorporate natural materials such as wood and stone and capture open floor plans that reflect the outdoors;

Wabi-Sabi – a Japanese interior design style that embraces the beauty of seemingly imperfect objects;

Repurpose – with refurbished materials and items central to their interior design, flipsters like to integrate a retro sensibility which is sometimes called ‘vintage chic’;

Eco-Friendly – millennials have embraced the environmental challenges we face and, committed to lowering their carbon footprint, will install green features and systems wherever possible;

Tech-Smart – being tech-reliant millennials themselves, flipsters recognise that tech-friendly living spaces are the norm for their prospective buyers.

A recent survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens reports that 96% of millennial investors are looking at real estate for their next profit, which is a clear indication that the era of the flipster is not merely a passing phase but an established new trend.

“Millennials often get labelled as ‘lazy and entitled’ and the ‘snowflake generation’, but their foray into the real estate sector is proving otherwise and both new-generation agents and flippers are turning the once-staid industry on its head,” says Geffen.

The original article can be viewed here: