How “Trap Houses” Have Become the Perfect Flip

The urban definition of a “trap house” is a home where illegal drugs are sold. The phrase was coined by the urban culture back in 2005 and became a more popular term used after the Gucci Mane’s Trap House album release. It’s the home from where drug dealers would hold and distribute their product. But today, those same homes are still money makers but in a legal and different way.

Have you ever driven past a house within your city where everyone knew drugs were being dealt from that home? Police may have kicked down the doors a few times and there always seems to be an abnormal amount of activity moving in and out of the house on a consistent basis. You may have witnessing what many in the urban culture refer to as a trap house.

Recently, we wrote about how “Da Hood” has Become the Most Popular Place to Live where we talked about how many historically low income areas around cities near downtown markets has become the most exclusive place to live. But homes in these neighborhoods have also become some of the most profitable for real estate professionals and amateurs looking to earn a quick return.

If you’re ever in Downtown Durham you’ll notice one of the largest urban renaissance in the Triangle. Not only are there new skyscrapers towering across the city skyline and new exciting businesses moving in, there are also homes in Downtown selling for record prices. Areas that were once known for drug traffic are now gorgeous neighborhoods laced with playgrounds, basketball courts, and public swimming pools.

But another striking feat to note is how much investors are buying and selling these homes for. A recent transaction, according to Durham Tax Records, show a home located on Fargo St. was purchased in 2014 by a buyer for $24,000 then flipped and sold for $310,000 in late 2016. Numbers like these are not uncommon around Downtown Durham’s urban market. In fact, it’s become such a norm that it’s causing appraisers trouble. Instead of using comparables on the same street or neighborhood that may have sold a few weeks prior for $80,000 they now have to check to make sure that property was not renovated then search for one that has been around town.

Durham’s former trap houses aren’t the only ones seeing flips ending in a windfall of cash. Raleigh, Charlotte, and many other cities around the country are seeing the same kind of interest. The question is do you want to buy a trap house?

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