How to Buy a Flipped House
Buyers often assume a flipped home is like new — move-in ready and free from hassles. The newly renovated home gets top dollar, and the buyer assumes it is perfect.
Most buyers, however, don’t realize that some contractors or property “flippers” are anxious to move on to the next job, and their work may be rushed and subpar as a result.
If you’re buying a flipped house, consider taking the following steps to ensure you don’t get any unpleasant surprises after closing.
As tempting as it can be, try not to get caught up in the excitement of new appliances, marble baths and other fancy bells and whistles. By looking closely at the details, you can learn a lot about the quality of work done on the property.
Be on the lookout for telltale signs of rushed worked such as:
- Light switch plates that aren’t flush with the wall or are at an angle.
- Crown molding that isn’t completely matched at the corner.
- Gaps between the countertops and the wall.
- Gaps in bathroom tile.
- Doors or cabinets that don’t close tight.
Cosmetic mistakes could be an indicator of larger issues that can’t be seen with the naked eye. If the flipper was sloppy on the small details, pay extra attention to other areas such as the electric panel, the water heater’s gas line and plumbing connectors.
Get an inspection
Most buyers assume that a newly renovated house is, well, new. And, because of that, they don’t need to have it inspected. That is not a great approach. An inspector can check the contractor’s work. Were renovations done to code? Did the contractor cut corners or do the bare minimum in places because of a tight time frame? Sure, the town/city likely would have had to sign off on the renovations, but city officials are only looking at health and safety issues. The home inspector can check the house from top to bottom. It’s worth paying for an inspection to ensure the home is perfect.