More and more often we are seeing newly renovated, vacant homes, come on the market that were previously sold only weeks before. These are called flip houses, a house that somebody has purchased, renovated, and put back on the market for a profit.
Unlike new home builders, renovators do not have to be licensed or regulated, so buyer beware! This is not to say that there aren’t any good home renovators out there, but the vast majority are people that are doing renovations part time, or with other part time help. I have seen a lot of shoddy workmanship that has been performed by unqualified people that learned on YouTube or by watching reality television. In other words, no formal training. In some cases the final renovation looks superficially great. However a closer look by a trained eye can reveal flaws that could be caught by an experienced realtor or home inspector. Bringing Dad or Uncle Joe through may help, but they too may be deceived, or simply not know current building code requirements. This could leave you to discover problems yourself once you own the home, and it is too late to recover the cost of corrections.
I recommend a simple list of requirements from sellers when I find a flip house for a buyer. This, combined with your realtor’s experience, helps to insure that you are more protected. Hidden problems may still present themselves later, but at least your are minimizing your exposure to faulty workmanship or non-inspected work.
- Look for structural defects in the home. Pay particular attention to cracks in exterior walls and basement corners. Also look for signs of previous water seepage and damage.
- Ask for building permits, electrical permits, plumbing permits, and in the case of moved walls, structural designs approved by a engineer.
- Ask for reports indicating all work has been inspected and passed by proper building departments
- If no permits were taken out, ask for inspections of completed work by qualified and licensed trades people. Home inspectors may help, but will not replace a licensed and trained professional trade person. Please note, no permits or inspections may lead to unobtainable insurance coverage, or denial of claims by insurance companies in the case of claims.
- Get a list of trades and contractors that worked on the renovation. Not only will this show you the quality and experience of people that worked on the house, but enable you to contact them should you need to call on them for future repairs.
Having your experienced realtor do a bit of homework on your behalf, will bring you peace of mind, and hopefully prevent costly future corrections.
If you have any questions, or have a topic that you would like addressed, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org, or cell: 519 383 2566