�20/20� EXPLORES THE REAL DEAL ABOUT REAL ESTATE:
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING, SELLING
OR BUILDING, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7 ON ABC
This Friday, an hour-long �20/20� report focuses on the biggest investment of your life � your home. Today the real estate market is booming, with house prices soaring and buyers and sellers alike wondering if the bubble is about to burst. For those about to put their home on the market, �20/20� talks with experts who explain how you can get thousands of extra dollars for your house just by rearranging the furniture. Others weigh in on whether it�s wise to try to save money by selling your home without a real estate broker. And for those looking to buy, �20/20� surveys the real estate market from coast to coast to explore what $200,000 buys today. It turns out it will get you anything from a private island in Maine to a 235 square foot apartment in New York City. �20/20� airs on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
� How do you know if you�re getting the most you can when selling your home? John Stossel reports on some of the tricks in the real estate business, including key words in classified ads. Stossel talks to the authors of the best selling book Freakonomics, which explains that conventional wisdom is often wrong. Additionally, Stossel explores the benefits of and disadvantages to hiring a realtor to sell your home.
� Elizabeth Vargas reports on �flipping� � buying and then soon selling land, houses and condos, sometimes even before ever moving in. Flipping is based on the idea that home prices are as sure to rise as a thermometer left in the Florida summer sun, and it�s a practice that�s growing in popularity in some South Florida neighborhoods like Miami and Delray Beach. People can make hundreds of thousands of dollars on a transaction when getting �pre-construction� prices, but at what risk? Vargas talks to real estate experts on whether or not this �flipping� trend�s bubble will burst. �20/20� also talks to people who make a living off of �flipping.�
� American families are fuelling a frenzy of house building � two million new homes constructed last year alone � but as Martin Bashir reports, the dream does not always go according to plan. Most new home nightmares involve structural problems and bad building, like the problems Robbie and Katrina Lawrence ran into when building their dream family home on riverfront property in South Carolina. But sometimes the problem is not how the new home was built, but rather what the new home was built on. Southridge Hills in Arlington, Texas, is the site of 587 houses. Soon after moving in, residents learned that the development had been built directly on top of a practice bombing range used during World War II. In total, the Army Corps of Engineers reports that their sweep found 187 inert practice bombs and 58 potentially live practice bombs on Southridge Hills and the adjacent property.
� We have all heard the expression, �you get what you pay for,� but is that really the case when it comes to your home? The National Association of Realtors says that the �typical� price for a house in the United States is about $210,000. But what does that buy around the country? Armed with a map, a check and a full tank of gas, �20/20� set out on a cross country trip from Maine to Montana, Manhattan, Kansas to Manhattan, New York, Illinois to Arizona and even the Hamptons, looking for the place where you can get the most bang for your buck. Martin Bashir reports.
� Chris Connelly reports on staging, a technique used by realtors and homeowners to prepare a home for sale at the highest price. Staging guru Barb Schwarz says that all it takes is removing clutter, moving around furniture, opening up rooms, replacing family photos and other tricks of the trade. �One of my sayings is, �clutter eats equity,�� she says. �We�re looking for the treasures that we can use in a different way.� Schwarz and two dozen accredited staging professionals whom she trained are put to the test at Greg and Alicia Erickson�s home in a Seattle suburb. With just four hours and $100, will the group be able to upgrade the Erickson�s home, making it more attractive to buyers at a higher price?
Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel are the anchors of �20/20.� David Sloan is the executive producer.