Buying a Flipped House
Pitfalls of Buying a Flipped House

Navigating Substandard Renovations When Buying a Flipped House

In recent years, the allure of buying a flipped house has captivated many homebuyers. These properties, often acquired in a state of disrepair by investors and then quickly renovated for resale, can appear to be the perfect find—modern updates, move-in ready conditions, and sometimes under market value.

However, the glittering façade of buying a flipped house can sometimes hide a myriad of issues, ranging from shoddy workmanship to outright neglect of critical repairs. This blog post delves into the potential pitfalls of buying a flipped house and offers insights on how to protect yourself from falling into a money pit.

The Risks Behind the Renovation

Cutting Corners

One of the most common issues with buying a flipped house is that the renovations are done hastily, with a focus on cosmetic updates rather than addressing structural or systemic problems. It’s not rare for flippers to prioritize aesthetic appeal over functionality and safety to maximize profit. This approach can lead to a plethora of hidden issues for the unsuspecting buyer, including electrical problems, plumbing mishaps, or even structural weaknesses.

Shoddy Workmanship

Due to the rapid turnaround time, the quality of work in flipped houses can often leave much to be desired. Unskilled labor may be employed to keep costs down, leading to substandard work that might not meet building codes or regulations. For example, you might find beautifully installed kitchen cabinets that are actually hiding improperly installed plumbing or hastily laid flooring that covers uneven subfloors.

Overlooking Major Systems

In an effort to maximize curb appeal, significant systems such as roofing, HVAC, and electrical may be superficially “updated” without a thorough inspection or proper overhaul. This can result in costly repairs down the line, as these critical systems are essential for the home’s functionality and safety.

Hidden Costs

The initial lower price point of buying a flipped house can be enticing, but it’s essential to consider the hidden costs. Structural issues, poor insulation, or outdated wiring that weren’t properly addressed during the flip can lead to exorbitant utility bills, repairs, or even complete replacements after purchase.

If you would like a free quote on repairs before buying your flipped house, contact us via our contact form or call 303-909-3349.

Protecting Yourself When Buying a Flipped House

Despite these risks, not all flipped houses are bad investments. With due diligence, you can find a flipped home that has been renovated with care and attention to detail. Here are some strategies to protect yourself:

Hire a Reputable Home Inspector

Before making any purchase, especially with a flipped house, it’s crucial to hire an independent home inspector with a strong reputation. They can uncover hidden issues, ensuring that you’re aware of any potential problems before you buy. Make sure the inspector checks all major systems, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and the roof.

Research the Flipper

Do some digging into the history of the people or company behind the flip. Experienced and reputable flippers are more likely to have done a thorough job, as their reputation is on the line. Check for online reviews, ask for references, and look at other homes they’ve flipped if possible.

Look Beyond the Surface

Check for Straight Lines and No Drips
Check for Straight Lines and No Drips

Pay close attention to the details of the workmanship. Are the floors level? Do the doors close properly? Are there any signs of rushed paint jobs, like paint on window panes, door hinges or flooring, baseboards that have not been caulked, or uneven lines? These can be telltale signs of the quality of work you can expect throughout the house.

The photo above shows what can happen if you hire a company that does substandard work. TSP Painting Services was hired to come in and repaint this entire home after the previous company left an unimaginable mess. That was double the expense for the homeowner. This leads us to the next way you can protect yourself from fly-by-night companies who do shoddy work…

Check Permits and Inspections

Ensure that all renovations were done with the proper permits and passed local inspections. This information can usually be obtained from the local building department. Work done without permits can be a red flag for substandard work that may not meet local building codes.

Make sure the company has the proper insurance certificates. TSP Painting Services carries Workman’s Comp and Liability Insurance on every job.

Consider a Specialist Evaluation

For older homes or those with apparent major renovations, consider hiring a specialist to evaluate specific systems. For example, an electrician can inspect the electrical work, while a structural engineer can assess any changes made to the layout or foundation of the home.

Negotiate Repairs

If the inspection reveals problems, use this as a negotiating tool. You can request that the seller makes repairs, adjust the purchase price, or even back out of the deal if the issues are too significant.

Buying a Flipped House Doesn’t Have to Be a Nightmare Scenario.

With thorough research, careful inspection, and a bit of skepticism, you can find a flipped home that is both beautiful and structurally sound. Remember, the goal is to make a wise investment, not just to find a visually appealing home.

By taking the time to ensure that the property you’re considering is up to standard, you can enjoy the benefits of a renovated home without the hidden costs and headaches. Here is a book that might be of interest: Home Buying 101