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Buyer Beware With "Flipped" Properties

Pay Attention to “Flipped” Properties Before You Purchase

No house is trouble-free. This includes flipped houses that ‘look’ terrific!

First, check and see if the house is a flip. Get a realtor to help you because this will give you a layer of protection. And by all means, hire a qualified home inspector! Without one, there is no-one to look after the buyer. Read that as you!

House flippers are into making money, period. The more money they have to pour into a “flip” means the less money that will go into their pocket. So buyer beware. While looking at a flipped house to purchase, here are a few warning signs to watch for.

  1. Poor workmanship with new flooring - especially with wood flooring that only butt up to the base moldings and do not go all the way under. Or, where the door jams have not been cut for the flooring to slide underneath. With carpeting, this will be harder to tell.

  2. Kitchens: We all know that kitchens sell houses, so don’t be distracted by all the kitchen “bling” (i.e.,: stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, etc.) that flippers install to distract you from looking at the real workmanship. Check for gaps between back splashes and countertops. New door and drawer fronts that are poorly installed on existing, old cabinets.

  3. Interior and exterior doors that do not open or close smoothy, or if they tend to open and close by themselves. Sometimes the age of the house is a factor in this, because older homes settle over time, but these can be properly corrected with good workmanship.

  4. When a house is turned into a construction zone, all the drywall dust, sawdust and other airborne debris gets sucked into the furnace and air conditioning system and become caked with dust, and should be professionally cleaned once construction has been completed.

  5. Check with the city to see if work permits have been pulled for plumbing, heating and electrical work done on the property. If not, that is a huge red flag that work done may have not been done by any licensed contractors.

  6. If a home warranty is offered: a good home warranty service should protect the home’s major systems and appliances. Many people automatically think that home warranties cover everything, but find out later, that warranties do not cover workmanship.

  7. Look for serious cracks and movement in painted brick walls within the basement foundation. Painting basement walls is a common practice used to temporarily hide mold and leaks.

Hiring a qualified inspector helps you avoid buying a “two-story” house, you know the one the seller tells you, and the one you actually purchase.

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