6 Typical Finds (DANGERS) on Flipped Homes

typical finds on flipped homes

Home buying is an exciting time! However, it can be met with uncomfortable moments when you fall in love with a home too quickly that has been flipped. Here are 6 typical finds on flipped or renovated homes.

“Lipstick on a Pig”

This is highly referred to in the home inspection community. Basically, it means that homes have just been “prettied up” through painting, new carpet, or cabinets. Also, the flipper or investor tends to ignore the more serious concerns about the home, such as, the roof, electrical, or A/C.

In the Tampa Bay Area, we see this often unfortunately. Flippers will tend to invest in older homes without fixing the termite damage, addressing structural issues, or replacing the electrical panel.

Although the house may look nice, it is still pertinent to get a home inspection and evaluate the inspector’s findings.

Roof Issues

Sometimes flippers may address roof issues through patching or even replacing the roof. However, it sometimes seems like it’s a 50/50 chance of it being done incorrectly.

A repair is a delicate process and takes professional experience to complete it the right way. If a roof repair is completed improperly, it may cause future leaks, or the leak may have to be repaired often.

On the other hand, I have inspected roofs that have been completely replaced, but they were COMPLETELY wrong. An investor or flipper may have hired the wrong professionals, or did the work themselves without the experience or training needed.

In all, a roof keeps moisture away from the home. Insurance companies and your wallet should be carefully evaluating the roofing construction for signs of weaknesses.

Electrical Issues

I do not know what it is about some flippers or handy people, but they love to just double tap everything. If you do not know what a double tap is, you can read about it. But in short, it’s when two wires connect to one circuit breaker which is only rated for one wire connection.

Double taps are definitely a no-go for insurance and for general safety. Although, a fire from a double tap or spark is rare, we should always be cautious.

Moreover, in the electrical issues, some new flippers may still leave older panels. Some older panels are okay, but others may cause fires and may have to be replaced for insurance. Check out the list of panels on our electrical category page.

Plumbing Issues

I can start listing items in this section…

A lot of flippers like to use flexible drain lines. Flexible drain lines are super handy indeed, however, the clog easily and hold odors. Also, 9 times out of 10, they are improperly installed causing issues with the drains p-trap.

In other areas of plumbing issues, we have flippers that are not replacing plumbing systems that should be, such as, cast iron drains or polybutylene. We have even had flippers try to paint polybutylene to try and hide what it was from the home inspection! (Yikes.)

All in all, the plumbing system has to be fully inspected and overloaded for signs of weakness/damage.

Termite Damage

This is another item that is consistently covered and not handled properly by some real estate investors/flippers. We often find termite damage near water damage like under the crawlspace in older homes. Worst of all, termites in a crawlspace can easily cause structural damage to a property.

This is why, in Florida especially, you should always have a WDO or Wood Destroying Organism inspection. A WDO (termite inspection) covers items that a home inspector would not. Furthermore, WDO inspectors are trained for all types of damage and where to look for them.

A termite can easily crawl through soil, through concrete cracks, and begin eating away at structural components of the home if a house is left untreated.

“Unlicensed Specialist”

This one just refers to how many real estate flippers like to do repairs either themselves or with cheap labor. The unfortunate part is that the repairs are often done improperly causing home inspectors to call them out.

With improper repairs, the liability has to be somewhere, and home inspectors are definitely experts in not leaving anymore liability onto themselves. Therefore, as a buyer, you should want a licensed professional to complete repairs (especially costly ones like a roof repair).

Summing Up Typical Finds on Flipped Homes

While not houses that are flipped are “bad” homes. There are some flips that tend to have more issues because of the repairs being made.

A buyer should be cautious about renovations at first without seeing contractor information, permitting documents, and also requesting a home inspection or WDO inspection.

If you have questions about flipped homes, leave a comment!

Aaron Shishilla

Author Aaron Shishilla

Aaron Shishilla is the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida. Coming from a family-owned home inspection company and now the marketing manager at Waypoint.

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