How to avoid the dangers in buying a flipped home?
A flipped home typically refers to a rundown property that has been purchased, renovated and subsequently sold with the intention of making a quick profit.
If you’re in to analogies, think of it like buying a secondhand car. Before you spend your money on the car, you want to do your research. You want to ensure the bottom of the car isn’t covered in rust and that the bumper isn’t held on by superglue.
While buying a flipped home can certainly be rewarding, it is also fraught with dangers. Just because something appears new and shiny on a superficial level, doesn’t mean there aren’t bigger issues waiting for you when you dig a little deeper.
Seller’s of flipped homes will often spend money on the things that are most obvious like a new kitchen or bathroom however they will often overlook the sometimes more important issues like structural damage and roofing issues. Before you buy a flipped home, be sure to conduct the following checks:
Conduct a thorough check to ensure the house is absent of structural issues. The last thing you want is to buy a house and subsequently have to replace a retaining wall. Be sure to also inspect the area under the house as it can provide you with a good sense of the overall conditioning of the house. While you’re down there make sure you look at the state of the piers. Have they been damaged or are they starting to erode?
Spend some time looking into the council requirements in the area and request copies of any Building Certifier’s Approval documentation. This will show what work has been conducted and by whom. Depending on the property, there may also be further rules. For example, some older houses in Australia will have heritage rules applied to them and may have a greater load of documentation. If you suspect that any work has been done to the property, make sure you do your checks.
The little things
Look for obvious things like uneven floorboards, dodgy painting and windows that don’t close properly. If there are simple cosmetic problems with the home, chances are there will be deeper underlying issues.
Don’t be shy, get down and dirty. Check every hot and cold tap is functioning, flush all toilets and look under all sinks in the home. The objective is to ensure there are no leaks or clogged pipes.
It is worth checking out the electrical system to ensure it has been installed correctly and the wiring isn’t messy. Usually the electrical system is one of the first aspects that is seen to by the sellers of a flipped home, however there are always exceptions to the rule.
Replacing or fixing a roof is an expensive exercise and therefore is usually something that can be left off the list when renovating a flipped home. Depending on what your roof is made of, look for any loose material, missing bolts and gaps. Also do your checks on the state of the gutters.
If you do your homework, buying a flipped home can be a rewarding experience that can save you a lot of money. Hopefully now you are able to identify some of the main things to check before signing on the dotted line and consequently avoid any headaches in the future.