Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I flip my cousin’s house?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
Last spring, my cousin upgraded to a larger home just as I was hoping to get into the market. I expressed interest in his old place, and we agreed on a price and did the deal. It was a win-win; he didn’t have to pay realtor fees, and I didn’t get stuck in a bidding war. Based on other sales on my street, I figure I can now get 15 per cent more than I paid for it, so I’m planning to sell. When I told my cousin, he went crazy and demanded a cut of the appreciation. He’s nuts, right?
—Flipping Out, Junction
If the housing market took a tumble and you sold the home at a loss, would your cousin go halfsies on the depreciation? Of course not. Investing in a house is risky business. You took a chance—it’s only fair that you reap the reward. Still, cashing out so quickly on a hand-me-down house feels a little skeezy. Apologize for the misunderstanding, then put a generous gift under his tree this year to keep the peace. If that doesn’t settle it, oh well: you wouldn’t be the first family to harbour seething resentments over the holidays.
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