An Opinion on Flip or Rehab Homes

Quite often I’m asked to inspect a property that was considered an eyesore only months before.  An investor has purchased it, done a quick remodel and listed it for a nice profit.

These are a mixed bag.  My advice- take caution.

Inspections of flipped houses can be difficult.  New paint, flooring, walls, etc. cover nearly everything.  For the most part, they are cosmetically beautiful.   The newest design trends are used and often the homes are staged well enough for a magazine cover.  Unfortunately this often detracts from a poorly done remodel.

Remember that these homes are remodeled for a quick profit.  You are unlikely to find a flip with high-end finishes that are designed to last.  Every decision was made with profit in mind.

Typical observations that I find include: quick-fix plumbing with improper materials, patchwork roof repair with inadequate flashing, improperly installed appliances and a significant amount of “cover-up” vs. repair.

My suggestions when considering one of these properties:

  • Despite its looks, don’t confuse it with a newly-constructed home.
  • Open and close doors, windows, cabinets and drawers.
  • Look for evidence of painted-over trouble spots.
  • Lipstick on a pig- were the “big” items addressed? How old is the HVAC system, water heater and roof?  Is the electrical panel up to date?
  • And most importantly- have it inspected!

There are reputable rehab contractors out there who take pride in their work and truly put together a well-built remodel that is designed to last and have a portfolio to brag about.  For others, it may be their first project.  If you’re considering a remodel, inquire as to other projects that seller has done.