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15 Things To Know Before Buying A Recently Flipped House

List RulesVote up what everyone should know before buying a flipped house.

It's always a good idea to invest in real estate, but you have to be weary. If you come across a flipped house, things can get a little bit messy so it's better to stay alert and read some useful information to prepare yourself. Here are some interesting pieces of advice. Which one do you think is the most helpful?  

  • 1
    30 VOTES

    The Inside Beauty

    From Redditor u/welmoed:

    I have a mantra: "Beware the Recently Remodeled Home."

    Flippers have a tendency to focus on the cosmetics but, as others have said, many times the materials aren't the best and the workmanship can be less than stellar. The big thing is to focus on the big, expensive things, especially those that can't easily be changed.

    First, check the data plates on ALL the appliances and systems (furnace, AC, water heater, etc.). If they are 15 years old or so, they are at the end of their serviceable lives and will need replacing soon. The factor that into your decision.

    How old is the roof? If they boast "new roof", make sure that a) the entire roof was replaced (yes, we've seen roofs only replaced were visible from the curb), and b) they didn't simply slap a new layer of shingles over the old one (which will cut the life of the new shingles almost in half).

    Is there a new sump pump and perimeter drain? These indicate wet basement issues, and interior drain/sump systems treat the symptom but not the cause. Try to visit the house during a downpour and be mindful of where the water is going.

    How's the electricity? An old panel may prevent you from adding any circuits and, at worst, be a potential fire hazard.

    Oh, and about those new bathrooms: make sure there are access hatches for the bath/shower pipes. Our daughter actually got burned by that when she bought her house (yes, we inspected it, but we can't see inside walls): the master bath plumbing had CPVC pipes and PEX pipes simply glued together; it was all hidden behind the drywall with no access opening.

    I've got a book on Amazon called "101 Things You Don't Want In Your Home" that has a whole bunch of stuff that you can learn to spot as your house hunting. Good luck!

    Good to know?
  • 2
    14 VOTES

    Thanks For The Encyclopedia

    From Redditor u/i__cant__even__:

    Buying a flip isn’t a bad idea per se. they are really attractive to buyers who want an updated house but don’t want to do the work themselves.

    I’ve seen enough to be able to tell a good flip from a bad flip. Before paying for a home inspection, look for the things that indicate corners were cut:

    -Tile work that isn’t done by experienced professionals looks shoddy when you inspect it closely. It won’t have bullnose trim, the grout will be smeared, and the tiles will be unevenly laid. Spacing is probably fine because everyone knows to use spacers, but they screw up because they don’t know how to get the grout level underneath the tiles.

    -Outlets will have new covers but the outlets themselves will be old and covered with paint drips.

    -The original fuse box hasn’t been replaced with an updated switch panel.

    -The number of outlets in each room will be insufficient. Probably avoided adding more because then so then they’d have to pull a permit and upgrade the fuse box.

    -The doorknobs are new but the hinges are original. It’s purely aesthetic but it’s inexpensive and should have been done. This applies to kitchen cabinets too. Check the hinges!

    -Cabinet doors are new but cabinet boxes are original. It’s fine as long as all are in good shape and the paint/finish is done well. If they’ve upgraded to soft-close drawers and doors, that’s nice to have and it’s an expense they could have skipped but didn’t.

    -Walls repainted but ceilings left as-is. Look for patchwork in popcorn ceilings because you can’t just paint over stains and expect them not to show through after a few months. When it comes to ceilings, it’s a minor expense to repair/repaint the entire ceiling while they’re repainting the walls so it bugs me when they skip this.

    -Air registers should be new or at the very least squeaky clean.

    -Look for missing trim work. You don’t notice it at first, but when they re-do floors they often don’t put down new quarter-round trim at the base of cabinets and baseboards. You might see missing trim around windows and doorways too. Also, check for gaps in the trim where they should have caulked but didn’t. It’s relatively minor stuff but it can make an interior look cheap without you’re being able to pin down exactly why.

    -Flooring is updated in appearance but the cheapest available product. May/may not be laid with care. You may notice the floor feels unlevel beneath it as you walk around. Apartment-grade carpet doesn’t last long and you’ll be really disappointed in the laminate floors if they were laid on the bad subflooring.

    -Check for towel holders, TP holders, etc. my clients didn’t realize until after move-in that all of these ‘fixtures’ weren’t really permanent and the sellers took them when we closed. It’s something you just don’t notice unless you’re really looking for it, especially in an unoccupied house.

    -This is the most obvious but it p*sses me off the most. Why do flippers not update EVERY room? At a certain price point, you can’t have one bathroom updated and the other one looking like Grandma’s house. Seriously. WTH?

    -Speaking of bathrooms, check under the sinks to make sure they replaced old plumbing when they did the sinks. Those old pipes don’t match up too well with our new-fangled faucets.

    -Appliances are likely to be cheap. Check model numbers and reviews. Don’t be wowed just because it’s all brand new stainless steel.

    -Did they paint the insides of the closets? This is getting picky, but I hate it when everything else is beautiful and the closet still has flat white paint from 1972.

    -I’m sure there’s more but those are the things that stand out to me when I look at flips. If your agent is any good, they should be able to show you a sh*tty flip so you’ll know what to look for when you see a good one. I did this with my clients and it was a big help.

    Good to know?
  • 3
    27 VOTES

    Recent History, Checked!

    From Redditor u/novahouseandhome:

    Check permit history and make sure the permits are closed out.

    Good to know?
  • 4
    10 VOTES

    Just My Luck

    From Redditor u/25happygirl101:

    I just bought a flip house and haven't had any issues other than peeling paint as others have mentioned. We were lucky because the original owners took extremely good care of the house and the flipper did cosmetic stuff. We had a thorough inspection and I had a contractor friend look at the property as well, just in case.

    Good to know?