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Florida's "Non" Flipper: His Maserati Is In The Shop

Wednesday, 3 Oct 2007 | 4:54 PM ET

I'm on day two of my shoot for "Business Nation," focussing on just what caused the Miami condo market to rise and fall so fast. Today, I met Mark Zilbert, founder of condoflip.com, which he has of course renamed condosupercenter.com. Forget flipping. It's all about the discounts. I don't want to tell you everything he said (for one thing I'm blogging by BlackBerry and my thumbs are starting to ache), but I was struck by a comment toward the end of the interview.

Mr. Zilbert is trying to put an optimistic face on the market, although he admits we've yet to see what could be a huge wave of condo foreclosures. He claims that prices here have basically hit bottom. They'll stay flat for a while, he projects, and then start to climb back in 2009. He admits there"s a clear and present glut of units, but he's confident there is enough international interest in this city to eventually soak it up.

Now here's the kicker: When I asked if he personally lost money flipping, he replied "Oh no, I never bought a property to flip!" He said this with great pride, explaining that he always, even during the headiest times, considered the Miami condo flip far too risky. So here's a guy who offered the canvas for investors to paint themselves into a corner, but he himself never raised a brush. Gotta hand it to him. He made the deals and reaped the commissions, and now he drives a Maserati.

Of course it's always in the shop. I guess every investment has its risks. (I'll be taking up a collection for the orthopedist who will be seeing my thumbs next week).

FYI: Here's a blog of interest on real estate: bubble meter.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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