Many people purchase homes that are in bad shape, fix them up, or “flip” them, and sell them for a profit. However, many buyers are wary of buying a house that has been flipped, because flippers are notorious for cutting corners in their repairs. Here are some of the biggest issues to watch out for when you’re looking at buying a flipped house.
- Sometimes kitchens are poorly designed-look for blocked cabinet doors, unsecured countertops or cabinets, are appliances close enough to outlets?, etc.
- Same deal with the bathrooms. A big sign of a flipped house is vanity cabinets that are much too small for that bathroom.
- Test the durability and security of everything. Those new shiny handrails on the stairs may look nice, but are they actually secured into the wall?
- Electric is usually okay. Most flippers know that electricity is not something to take risks on, but it is still a good idea to make sure that the electrical systems have been inspected and approved.
- Heating is another thing. Regardless of what the flipper/seller says, have the gas company do a test on the system. It will be well worth your time to have the heating systems fully inspected. If you don’t you run the risk of running a system that will create high levels of carbon monoxide.
- Air conditioning. If you’re looking at the property during the summer, it will be obvious to you whether the unit is in top, working condition. However, if the house is being sold during the winter, there is probably a good chance that the air conditioning doesn’t work. Check this out regardless of which season it is.
- Structural problems are also a concern with flipped houses.
- Look at the plumbing. Make sure that the water distribution pipes are new or at least in working condition. Also check the drains for clogs and leaks-you will probably find a lot of these.
- Basement floors, showers, and sinks will often back up in flipped houses. This happens when the plumbing fixtures in the upper levels are filled and then drained. Also look for tiled shower floors, which often leak in flipped houses.
- Don’t forget to look up. You need to check out the roof and the shingles on it. Beware of any deteriorating, rotting, missing, or patched areas on the roof. Replacing the shingles on a roof is expensive, so many flippers don’t do it.
- Look inside the roof too. Check out the attic and the insulation. Flippers most likely won’t replace this, so you need to know the status of the home’s insulation before you buy.
- Watch out for fresh paint covering rotting wood on the outside of the house.
- Keep an eye out for any windows (probably in the basement) that don’t have the right size window in the frame. Usually, flippers make up for the size difference by using clear pine or plywood; this is not safe or efficient.
- Look at the siding too; check it for holes, tears, etc.
- Don’t forget about the chimney. If it is already deteriorating, you’ll need to hire someone to repair it ASAP.
To read the full article on flipped houses, click here.