July 19th, 2014 10:36 PM by Dan Howard
Buyers Beware of Flipped Houses
everything looks shiny and bright. The carpet smells like new. Heck, the paint
is so fresh you want to touch it to see if it's still wet. Everything is so up
to date that you are ready to move in tomorrow without even a home
bottom line is that no matter how good the house looks now, every flipped house
starts with a home that's in distress. The
distress could be the result of foreclosure, short sale, owners with health
challenges, fire or major insurance loss. In almost every instance, the property was in
bad condition and you are in the hands of someone with unknown skills and
ethics to sell you a quality house to call home.
the perspectives of the flipper and the contractors that work on the house. The
flipper knows that on the day of closing, any short cuts and cover-ups become the
buyers problem and not theirs. From the
contractor's point of view, the buyer does not matter. The contractor works for
the flipper and there is no warranty for their work past the day of closing.
Some contractors may do a good job, but not every flipper or contractor is
motivated to sacrifice profit for doing a quality job.
Most Common Defects Found in Flipped Homes
Badly done work: This can range from decks and steps not
properly secured to a house wall to improper plumbing and wiring. The work is only as good as the person doing
the work will do on any particular day .
Mold: Houses that are flipped were often empty for
extended periods of time. Fresh paint and open windows do not undo mold growing
inside or behind the walls of a house. Mold can affect future resident's health
and cost tens of thousands of dollars to correct. Finished basements and
interior french drains are examples of high risk conditions for mold.
If I had a dollar for every flipper who claimed that there were previous water
problems, but adding a downspout or coating a basement wall with waterproofing
has solved them, I could take a month off work. It usually doesn't work that
way. Have a skilled and experienced professional check out those claims
These are not easy to find. Flippers can have the sewer snaked out before
putting a home on the market. There is no way short of having the sewer checked
with a sewer camera for any buyer or home inspector to recognize a damaged
sewer. If the house has high risk
conditions such as terra cotta sewer pipes or trees in the yard, having a
plumber check the sewers with a camera could be the best $250.00 a buyer can
backups, fires, pet urine, improper plumbing and furnace installation can each
be a source of odors. Open windows or temporary deodorant treatments can hide
odors that you do not want to live with. Cold weather is another condition that
could cover up a nasty warm weather surprise of a smelly or unhealthy
Gas Leaks and Gas
Line Defects. Leaking pipes, missing
gas valves and improper materials are all examples of these serious and
Vent Systems: Hot water tanks that
do not have proper flue liners installed after a high efficiency furnace is
installed are probably the most common example of this defect. Loose vent pipes and blocked chimneys are two
other examples common to flipped houses.
Electrical Issues: Hidden connections, dangerous splices and
improper wiring above suspended ceilings are common. Shortcuts that occur when an amateur adds on
to existing wiring can be a fire waiting to happen.
Drug Houses: The manufacture of illegal drugs in a home
can leave toxins that can poison a family moving into a home. Meth houses are
an example of foreclosures that become flipped houses.