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Thread: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

  1. #1
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    The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    NOTE: This thread is cleaved off of another thread that was started about photos of a beautiful 123 model, which was sold and then flipped on the marketplace in a matter of a few months. It prompted some discussion about the psychology of flippers.




    Well...
    It's only had a few weeks to begin rotting from the road salt and ocean air.... Spent its life prior to last month in France.


    https://bringatrailer.com/listing/19...s-benz-230e-2/


    #FlipperSpecial


    Car did receive a nice detailing, though.
    2014 MB E63S, 2008 Tundra, 2006 Lotus Exige S, 1989 FJ62 Land Cruiser, 1996 Ford Bronco, and some other interesting and not so interesting vehicles.

  2. #2
    Member northNH's Avatar
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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    "A pleasure to look at..."
    Flippers, superficial rust on some mechanical components, previous mediocre photos on BaT,

    I chose to post this here because I thought others might enjoy SEEING THE PICTURES.
    I seem to have chosen poorly.
    '92 300CE Black/burgundy Sportlined
    '94 320TE Silver/gray
    '86 BMW 635CSi Black/black 5spd
    '67 Volvo Amazon wagon Green/green 75Kmi time capsule
    '62 Volvo Amazon Black/red 4Dr 65Kmi time capsule

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    A pleasure to look at...

    The Flipper-Premium is quite strong in this one....

    ace10 is hereby renamed Ace Ventura, Flipper Detective

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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    If you grew up in Michigan, you’ll get the reference: “50 watts per channel, babycakes!”

    https://youtu.be/kKQcZYTZVmI



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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    Quote Originally Posted by ace10 View Post
    Flipper forgets the internet never forgets, eh?

    50% markup is impressive for a W123 with M102.


  8. #6
    Member northNH's Avatar
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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    I don't understand the pervasive flipper vilification.
    Unless you're talking about sellers knowingly misrepresenting important facts about the vehicle, which is crooked, not flipping.

    I think that betting with your wallet that you can honestly find someone who values something more than you is AOK. And for stuff as nice as this, admirable.
    Happens in virtually every area where people value special old stuff rather than boring new stuff; homes, art, antiques...

    Rather than on BaT, if the seller bought it for, let's say, the $4K ask from his elderly neighbor, and was aking $8K, does he deserve vilification?
    Or is he as "stupid" and ill-informed as his neighbor? What about at $12K? $15K?

    Although IMHO overpriced (tho' note: "...or BO") I think you underestimate how easy it is for some people to spend "too much", even tens of thousands, on special things they value and want because of how easy it may be for them to get the $.
    '92 300CE Black/burgundy Sportlined
    '94 320TE Silver/gray
    '86 BMW 635CSi Black/black 5spd
    '67 Volvo Amazon wagon Green/green 75Kmi time capsule
    '62 Volvo Amazon Black/red 4Dr 65Kmi time capsule

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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    Nobody here except me vilifies flippers.

    My issue with them is that:

    a) They buy something cheap, and then wash/detail it and charge double the price they paid. And they pump the car up with flowery text and make it sound much better than it is, conveniently forgetting to admit that the car they are selling has any warts at all.

    b) They are naiive and greedy. They prey on uninformed buyers, and at least for 500Es, most of them don't even know that this site exists and tracks their cars. I can't tell you how many dozens of cars have been offered up on BaT by flippers, where the thread about their "gem" on this forum is disclosed in the comments that people make. Then they come on here and (rarely) get publicly butt-hurt about the commentary here, or they come to me privately and insist that I remove the thread about their car.

    c) They are trying to get something for nothing. That's inherently wrong and dishonest (IMHO). It's one thing to get a good deal on a car, and perhaps to improve it by doing some deferred maintenance, and actually making the car better mechanically/operationally. And then charging 20% or 40% more for it. Because you actually DID something to improve the car and make it worthy of a higher (or substantially higher) price than you paid for it. But buffing/detailing is not making the car better, at least mechanically. Often these guys put the buff/detail lipstick on their newly acquired pig, to try to dress it up for a quick sale.

    Look, it's a free country, and our system is capitalistic. There's nothing legally wrong with flipping. There's nothing wrong with happening on a car cheaply (like from your deceased neighbor's estate), and then reselling it for actual market value.

    But I think it is wrong to buy something (whether it's a good deal to the flipper or not) and then deliberately try to take advantage of the market/buyers by immediately doubling the price to a ridiculous ("dreamer") level, and trying to hawk it after making no improvements to warrant any kind of price like is being asked.

    Then, there's the most egregious type of flipper, who is nicely evidenced by the guy who is selling that red 124 cabrio. He's going to go to his grave trying to sell that thing. Unfortunately that car is so over-exposed, and so many buyers are "on" to what he's trying to do, that he has ruined the car through his deceitful tactics and overexposure.

    That's the end of my rant on flippers. I think the topic has been discussed on the forum in the past, as well. Again, my issue isn't a legal one, it's a moral/ethical one.

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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    I get the vilification.

    For me, its simply the fact that those who ‘flip’ are doing so to line wallets with gobs of cash, and have absolutely no interest in contributing to this hobby/sport that all of us here are so nuts about. It gets extra ‘saucy’ IMHO, when the sellers ad reads as if they have devoted their entire lives to the study and preservation of the object which they have bought only a days or weeks earlier... alluding to prospective buyers that the object for sale is ‘perfect’ or ‘museum quality’ without having even driven the damn thing 20 miles.

    These types of ads also instantly conjures a vision of the flipper working the original owner (who always appears as a clueless/helpless old man) over to maximize his future profit. Can you find someone that’s willing to pay more than market value for something? 99% of the time I’m willing to bet you can. Is it good for our hobby? I personally don’t think so.



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  14. #9

    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    ....dang it, I just want to find that great deal before that flipper finds it !

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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    Let's contrast two situations:

    First, Mr. LWB250 on this forum. He buys a pretty nice 400E that had a few needs, cosmetically and mechanically. He slaves his ass off for weeks and months, methodically going through the car, fixing the things in a very steadfast, honest, straightforward way. Fixing things that most people wouldn't even have bothered with. Then he sells the car for not that much more (this is my assumption, given the 400E market) -- definitely not a sale price that reflects the love, care and time (not to mention parts cost) -- than he paid for it. LWB250 did it the right way -- he honestly improved the car and brought it to a level whereby the buyer got a screaming deal. He didn't try to quadruple the price for the car, he was realistic about the market, but he also poured his heart and soul into honestly improving the car.

    Second, Mr. Red 124 Cabriolet. He buys a flood damaged car, likely for near peanuts. He fixes the worst things wrong with the car, but makes it as pretty as possible in the process. Then he combines some known history with the car with a ton of made-up, flowery prose to "invent" a wonderful-sounding "narrative" for the car that gives it provenance and gravitas. And he puts the car on the market for close to quadruple what it is worth in the real world. And then he advertises it on every single forum on the Internet that sells vintage MBs. He is called out by multiple organizations (including the MB Classic Center, at least one selling site, and other astute/qualified observers), and removes the most offensive/egregious fabrications in his sales description, but continues to use the identical text on other sales forums. He figures out that people are onto him, so he lowers the price to something that is still around 2.5 times what the car is worth.

    One guy is a hobbyist and enthusiast, who is all about the cars and enjoying the ownership experience. Money isn't anywhere near the top of his priority list.
    The other guy is SOLELY concerned with fattening his pockets, and every action he takes is designed to make those pockets as fat as possible.

    One is genuine, upright, and adds value to both his car and goodwill to the community through his actions and participation.
    The other is sleazy, untrustworthy and takes goodwill from the community to enrich his bank account.

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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    How did the Golden Rule get on the most wanted list of the PC Police? Not that it was needed, but excellent analysis presented here.
    1994 E500
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    Re: A pleasure to look at...

    By the way, I also want to make another point.

    I don't think that high-end firms who sell rare cars/MBs such as Hatch & Sons, Copley Motorcars, the MB Classic Center, and Canepa are the classic "flippers."

    These firms tend to buy (and pay up front for) good solid nicely maintained cars. Yes they buff and shine them, but they are also not afraid to invest what it takes to make the cars generally top notch. And then they ask top dollar for the cars.

    That in and of itself is not a sin. Again, they do what it takes to improve the cars. They do the research and buy good cars to begin with, and if they have a provenance of any sort, you can generally take it to the bank that these firms have done their homework and what they say is generally true. You don't see any "tall tales" and mis-representations made. You generally see maintenance and repair work these firms do as being correct and appropriate.

    But most importantly, you don't see them buying a car on the cheap, and then making it look nice, and then asking quadruple what they paid for it. And one other point -- these firms are automobile (and in most cases, even E500E) enthusiasts. That means a lot.

    Just wanted to delineate these points, because I received a "What about XYZ firm" private message about my previous post.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    Thanks to the new thread title... i’ve just got to... man...




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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    I buy cars that are ready for the scrap yard and put an obscene amount of time and money into fixing them. Then I go around telling everyone how little I paid for them.

    I guess that makes me a flopper

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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    HAHAHAHAH ^^^ good one Al!
    1994 E500
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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    Quote Originally Posted by alabbasi View Post
    I buy cars that are ready for the scrap yard and put an obscene amount of time and money into fixing them. Then I go around telling everyone how little I paid for them.

    I guess that makes me a flopper
    I gotta remember that one.


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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    Quote Originally Posted by alabbasi View Post
    I guess that makes me a flopper
    Yes .... yes it does.

    But that is something to be proud of !! Like me and my "totally unhinged troll" moniker.

    troll.JPG

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    Senior Member LWB250's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    Wow!

    I’m not sure how to respond or comment here, but I’ll try...

    First of all, thanks to Gerry for the kind words regarding the 400E. That’s pretty typical behavior for me with any car I get, no matter what the plan is for it. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with that car when I got it. I knew if I was going to resell it my margin would be pretty small, for sure. Consider that when I go through a car like that, it’s also a learning experience for me, which I place great value on. I know W124s pretty well and I know M119s well, too. This was an opportunity to combine that knowledge, learn more, and experience the thrill of an M119 in a W124 chassis, which was really a treat.

    On a different car I was accused of a “flip” by some even though that wasn’t the intent.

    In November of 2016 a guy I vaguely knew through the PP forum who lived close by contacted me and wanted to know if I was interested in his 1982 300D. Suspecting it was a beater, as well as having marginal interest at best, I went to look at it, more as an effort to be courteous than anything else.

    The car was truly a “diamond in the rough”. It was far from perfect, but every issue it had was minor and cosmetic. He offered at $1800, I told him I could go $1700. In today’s market, I stole that car. But - when we shook hands, he was happy, I was happy. A good deal.

    Understand that I’ve been on the hunt for a good driver quality W110/W111 for a number of years. I saw this as a side trip in that search, a few years with a nice W123 that I could probably sell at a decent profit and continue my Finnie search with the proceeds.

    For those of you who aren’t familiar with my moniker, “The Mercedes Martha Stewart”, here’s what I did to that car when I got it:

    http://penoff.com/Paint_Recovery_%26...ng_-_300D.html

    That is pretty typical behavior for me with any car. The 400E got similar treatment. What you see for the 300D is about two full days of work for me.

    Anyway, I digress.

    So I have the 300D for a few months, drive it weekly, enjoy it, but just don’t get the “warm and fuzzies” from ownership. So I do what many would do - I look to sell it.

    Now by this time I probably have a total of about $2500 or so in total in the car, including the purchase price. I figure I can get maybe $4000-$4500 out of the car if I’m living right. So I approach BAT to list the car and they accept.

    I’ll pass on the details, suffice to say the hammer dropped at $6700.00!

    Yes, I actually felt guilt over this. But the irony had yet to reveal itself....

    Long story short, the car was purchased by a dyed in the wool flipper. The guy trolled BAT, buying up cars and then reselling them on the private market like Craigslist. I found this out when a buddy who lived in MI, where the buyer lived, pointed out to me that two days after the buyer took possession the car was on CL in Grand Rapids, MI for $8,000!

    So did I flip? Not intentionally. Had I sold to a fellow enthusiast I would have felt bad, as I thought the car was oversold. In this case, the flipper got caught up in the auction, someone ran him up, and he couldn’t back out.

    He later claimed to BAT that he made money on the car when he resold it, but in reality had he truly cost accounted there’s no way. He even wrote a post after the sale that BAT put up, bemoaning the fact that sometimes a car you bought wasn’t that great of a deal after all. Right, buddy.

    There’s also a rather ugly back story about the buyer that I won’t go into here, suffice to say that in my opinion he misrepresented himself to me, while he claimed otherwise.

    Would I do it again? Probably. But I can also justify some of my profits against the sweat equity I put in the car. No doubt some people put great value on that. I just think it’s fun.

    Dan

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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    Quote Originally Posted by LWB250 View Post
    For those of you who aren’t familiar with my moniker, “The Mercedes Martha Stewart”, here’s what I did to that car when I got it:

    http://penoff.com/Paint_Recovery_%26...ng_-_300D.html

    That is pretty typical behavior for me with any car. The 400E got similar treatment. What you see for the 300D is about two full days of work for me.
    That's it. I'm going to convince Dan to fly to Boise and spend a week doing that to my fleet!!


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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    That's it. I'm going to convince Dan to fly to Boise and spend a week doing that to my fleet!!
    We do have former neighbors that live in Boise that the wife wants to visit....he’s an Albertson’s employee....

    All jokes aside, every car I get is stripped of nearly anything and everything I can remove, cleaned, detailed and waxed, then reassembled. It’s an affliction I have.

    Dan

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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    That's it. I'm going to convince Dan to fly to Boise and spend a week doing that to my fleet!!
    Quote Originally Posted by LWB250 View Post
    We do have former neighbors that live in Boise that the wife wants to visit....he’s an Albertson’s employee....
    The problem is, once you enter GSXR's man-cave, with all of its tools, parts, spare motors laying around, multiple E500Es under car covers ..... I think you'll find that it's very very difficult to actually extricate yourself. You could, however, confirm for the rest of the forum that GSXR is actually running his shop computers on DOS and Windows 95-XP.

    It's a smaller-scale feeling to being in Jono's shop, but very equivalent to being in captruff's warehouse.

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    Senior Member LWB250's Avatar
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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    That's it. I'm going to convince Dan to fly to Boise and spend a week doing that to my fleet!!

    Just to tease you, here is some of the same with the 400E:

    http://penoff.com/1993_400E_Wash_%26_Prep.html

    Dan

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    Re: The Psychology of Flipping & Flippers

    A few years back, I offered my car for sale via EBay and was bombarded with offers from flippers. Some offers not too bad, but I refuse to let a flipper profit from my hard work.
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