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  • Beware of Bad House Flippers Before You Buy a House

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    You may have found exactly the house you’ve been looking for, so let’s make sure you’re not going to be taken off guard by sellers who used the minimal amount of effort to make a quick sale, or a “flip” of this home. People who have purchased a house for the express purpose of reselling it have likely never lived there, and are looking to get in and out as fast as possible, leaving some things to be overlooked.

    The pitfalls of a bad flip can include many debacles. Use these tips to discover if the house you are considering is indeed a gem, or collection of hidden problems disguised by some quick-fixes:

    1. Research the company you buy from. If the house flipper added additions to the house without requesting the appropriate permits, you may find yourself having to answer to your local municipality when they approach you. Many companies that flip homes are under scrutiny more than ever before and investigated for shady practices by the cities in which they buy and sell.
    2. Look for construction flaws. Looking closely at newly-installed flooring or other upgrades can reveal telltale signs of shoddy workmanship, like installing floor tiles without first removing moldings and door jams, might be masking a disaster or even danger beneath.
    3. Don’t be dazzled by the upgrades. Just as pretty flooring could be poorly installed, the same goes for the components of your home you don’t immediately see elsewhere. So stop staring at the spotless new appliances, and look deeper at the functional portions of the home’s upgrades, like appliance connections, drains, electrical wiring and safety standards that must adhere to current codes.
    4. Spot the flaws. Do you see gaps in spaces that should be flush? Doors and cupboards not level enough to close correctly as the weather changes? Fixtures and hardware that are new, but don’t match? You may be looking at a rushed flip job. Carry a level, tape measure, think of long-term wear and tear, and take pictures. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it was well-done.
    5. Hold out for clean HVAC. If there has been a great deal of new construction performed on a home, be certain the owners have already cleaned out the vents and ducts from the heating and cooling systems. Cleaning the visible areas of a house won’t do you any good if the heating ducts, blower fan and evaporator core are caked with dust. This should be tended to by a licensed professional, once each year, and after major construction projects are completed.