Flipping homes is a great way for people to make money, but there can be a lot of issues that come with a flipped house. It’s not uncommon to find a flipped home that looks great on the outside, but behind those new cabinets is another story. Learning to see beyond the curb appeal is vital for any potential homebuyer. Here is a guide to help you understand how to see through those misleading improvements on a home.
Following the Paper Trail
As you look over the history of a home, find out how many times it has been bought and sold. When you can see a home has been bought and sold a lot, and the most recent listing was only a few months ago, there is a good chance that home is going to be a flipped home.
Ask for the permits and upgrades history report. You need to know what exactly has been done to the home so you can determine if it’s the right home for you.
Strange Asking Price
Another way to spot a flipped home is to really question that asking price. Take a look at the home’s history to see how its value has tracked over the years. If the purchase price is much lower than the resale price, you are usually seeing a flipped home.
Question the seller of the home. If you can pull reports to see how many transactions are under their name, you have a home flipper selling to you.
Older Home, New Look
When you see the age of the home is quite old, and you walk into the home and it looks like it was just built inside, it’s clearly a flipped home. This is an instance when you want your real estate agent to pull a history report and repair report, so you know what you are getting into. Quality flippers will have a reputation in the industry, so work with a real estate agent that is connected enough to gather this information.
Contact a Home Inspector
The best way to know what’s really behind the flipped homes is to hire a home inspector. Inspectors have a checklist of items they look for, but they also go a little deeper behind the construction of the home to get an idea of how well the home is holding its value and current condition. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of a poorly flipped home:
- Unsecured hardware, countertops, handrails, cabinets, fixtures
- Improper heating system – this is the area where most home flippers try to cut costs
- Older AC system that is on the end of its life expectancy
- Non-functioning drainage system (drains likely have not be checked, even if there are new sinks in the home)
- Older insulation
- Rot around doors and windows indicates a quick flip, not a detailed flip
- Roof – as the roof is an expensive investment, you can have problems with leaks if the roof was not replaced during the flip.
- Cracks in the foundation
Making sure your flipped home isn’t a flop is important to your investment. Some home buyers end up with buyers regret quickly as they need to start replacing several things that were supposedly “brand new” or “just replaced” by the home flipper.
Buyers Guide When Browsing Homes
While not everyone has the same training, experience, and instincts of a quality home inspector, there are some things you can do when you are house hunting. Getting some insight into these elements can help you weed out the bad homes from the good ones:
- Flooring flaws – When you walk through a home, take a good look at the flooring. Poor workmanship is a sign you have a bad flipped home. One way to tell if the flooring is correct is to look at the flooring and how it fits the base molding and doorjambs. Some people have them butted up to each other, but correct installation calls for the base molding and doorjambs to be removed and replaced after the floor is installed. According to experts, poor flooring is an indication of serious flaws in other areas of the home including the plumbing and electrical work.
- Dysfunctional kitchen – While the kitchen may have new appliances and looks nice, take a harder look. Is the layout of the kitchen actually functional to the way you cook? If you have to walk from a dishwasher to put away your dishes in the cabinet, you are going to hate the layout pretty quickly. How about that backsplash, can you see a gap between the countertop and backsplash?
- Strange wiring. If you notice a light switch in a strange location, it normally indicates a flipped home with less-than-perfect planning. Poorly placed light switches, inaccessible outlets, and overloaded circuits are some electrical issues to watch.
- Poorly designed doors. Open and close the doors of the home as you walk through. If you notice the door doesn’t close smoothly, the latch won’t secure itself, and you see the door slightly open on its own, beware. Replacing a door without replacing the door jamb can cause this, but it can also be caused by house settling or weather issues.
- Discolored finishes or mismatched finishes – As you walk through the home, take note of the faucets, door handles, cabinet handles, etc. You want to notice if they all match, or if you have some that are replaced and older ones in other rooms. Mismatched metals can date a room, and some can be poorly constructed and look discolored.
Reedy Set Go Tip: Don’t let cosmetics distract you during home buying. It’s easy to love a new backsplash, but you could have buyers regret when you learn that fancy backsplash is actually a peel and stick tile.
Hire a Home Inspector
Before you make an offer and sign on the dotted line, you always want to have a qualified home inspector take a look at the home to make sure you aren’t purchasing flipped homes. Reedy Set Go is your source for all things home inspection, and we can spot those poorly flipped homes from the ones that were done properly. Give us a call today to schedule your home inspection.