6 Signs You’re Looking at a Cheap Flip

1. Signs of a cheap flip: no building permits

There have been many scary stories of homes remodeled and flipped without permits.

Bill Gassett, owner of Maximum Real Estate Exposure, has been a real estate agent for the past 35 years and has seen his fair share of flipped properties.

“Not pulling permits is a significant no-no,” he says. “Without proper permits being pulled, it is harder to tell if work was performed up to today’s building standards.”

One of the first things a good buyer’s agent should do when showing flipped properties, says Gassett, is head to the local city hall and see what permits have been pulled. Buyers should also check how many times the work failed before passing.

“If you know the roof or heating system has been replaced and there are no permits, it’s time to start to worry,” says Gassett.

2. Signs of a cheap flip: fresh paint in certain areas

While new paint can refresh a home, it can also be used to cover up big and small boo-boos. One obvious red flag, Gassett says, is painting over previous water staining.

But there are other areas to check for, too: “Old, dated kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities that have been poorly painted over,” adds Boardman.

Boardman also says to look out for interior paint bleeding or lack of enough paint to cover past colors.

3. Signs of a cheap flip: mismatched plumbing, faulty wiring

A major warning sign is when old and new plumbing are combined. To find out if this is the case in your house, turn on a faucet and then flush a toilet to see if the water output is weak. Low water pressure and a sputtering faucet could mean you probably have aging pipes that should be replaced.

You also want to test switches and outlets throughout the home, and be aware of any flickering lights, hot outlets, or circuits not working—they could point to significant wiring problems. This may be a sign that your flippers did their own electrical work or hired someone on the cheap.

4. Signs of a cheap flip: shoddy job on cabinets and drawers

Flippers tend to work more on the cosmetic appeal of the home instead of the functionality, and this can be especially obvious on cabinets and drawers. Focus on how they open and shut and the type of hardware used. Telltale signs of poor work are misaligned or uneven doors, drawers, and molding.

5. Signs of a cheap flip: flooring inconsistency

Another signal of poor craftsmanship: when the flooring in every room is a different height or if the trim doesn’t match up. Boardman says to be on the lookout for refinished hardwood floors with rough spots, bubbling, or discoloration; mismatched flooring throughout the home; and thin carpet and padding.

“Use of foam or sealants to repair foundation/concrete cracks is also a problem,” says Boardman.

6. Signs of a cheap flip: faulty doors and windows

New doors and windows can add value to a home, but if they stick or don’t open and close properly, you might want to start asking questions.

Bottom line: Get a professional inspection

In today’s tough real estate market, where buyers are often competing against multiple interested parties and waiving contingencies, it may be tempting to forgo a professional inspection. But if you’ve seen these red flags, that would be a mistake. The house may look brand-new and in tiptop shape, but don’t take someone else’s word for it. Just get the inspection, and then you can rest easy.

Post a Comment