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Jeremy Renner might be best known for playing brooding tough guys and charming anti-heroes, but there’s one part he plays that few know about: house flipper.
Before he was nominated for Oscars for The Hurt Locker and The Town, Renner and his business partner, actor Kristoffer Winters (who had a small role in Locker, plus last year’s Fair Game) were fixing up and flipping old houses in Hollywood and Studio City.
In 2002, the two bought a nondescript three-bedroom 1962 home in Nichols Canyon for $659,000 and sold it less than a year later for $900,000. According to Keller Williams’ Bobbe Mitchell, the sales agent on many of their projects, Renner and Winters had a shoestring budget but transformed the house into a cozy, private abode, adding a patio and new landscaping. During those lean days, the two staged it with flat-screen TVs that had a 30-day return policy, hoping they’d sell the house before the expiration date.
Fresh off their first flip, they re-invested in a $915,000 Spanish-style 1940 house off Laurel Canyon that required more work. They gutted it, and Renner lived in the guesthouse during renovations. “He lived in squalor,” Mitchell says. “He was in there with a gun and would shoot the rats” that would invade during a winter of heavy rainfall. The house sold for nearly $2.4 million.
Music supervisor Mark Wike (NCIS: Los Angeles) bought their next project, a four-bedroom 1938 Cape Cod near Fryman Canyon. “My wife is an avid cook, and the kitchen made it really appealing,” Wike says. “They opened it up, and we could have 25 people in there at a party.” The flip? Bought for $1.36 million, sold for $2.09 million.
The pair have recently gotten more ambitious, and it has paid off. In 2008, they bought the Hemingway House, a 1924 Greek Revival estate in Hollywood, for $1.55 million. A year later, they grossed $2.45 million, selling it for more than $4 million. “Renner does beautiful work and does what he needs to without breaking the bank on construction costs,” says John Bersci, a luxury flipper ($15 million-$20 million range) familiar with the properties.
With Renner slated to appear in the tentpoles Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol and The Avengers, will he continue his home-buying habit? Neither he nor Winters would comment.
FIVE FLIPS BY RENNER
1. Laurel Terrace Drive
Renner and Winters bought a two-bedroom in Studio City for $915,000 in 2004. It sold for $2.39 million in 2005. Gross profit: $1.48 million.
2. Fryman Place
In 2006, they flipped a Cape Cod in Studio City, bought at $1.36 million and sold at $2.09 million. Gross profit: $725,000.
3. La Cuesta Drive
Renner and Winters took on their first project in 2002: a $659,000 house in Nichols Canyon; it sold for $900,000 a year later. Gross profit: $241,000.
4. Selma Avenue
After renovating a 1924 Greek Revival estate in Hollywood (purchased for $1.55 million in 2008), they sold it two years ago for $4 million. Gross profit: $2.45 million.
5. Franklin Avenue
The business partners are currently rehabbing a nearly 6,000-square-foot house in Hollywood acquired in 2009 for $1.35 million.