Is This "Flip" Home Your Dream Home, Or A Potential Nightmare?

You've Probably Seen All The Flippers On TV

You've seen them on TV. The Flippers buy a run down home at a steeply discounted rate, and then fix it up to sell for a profit. Typically the home hasn't been well maintained, or it's just older and has not been updated in awhile.

Oceanside home
Out-dated Kitchen With Broken Hardware

Out-dated Kitchen With Broken Hardware

Or  Many Have The Original Old Appliances. Seriously, Harvest Gold?

Or  Many Have The Original Old Appliances. Seriously, Harvest Gold?

And In Comes The "Flipper"

The Flipper comes in, sometimes with a crew of professionals, many times not, and typically takes care of most of the cosmetic issues with the home. Many times ignoring the fundamental deficiencies of the home. Some flippers will even do much of the work themselves using the skills they learned on YouTube®. 

The Buyer Sees The Upgraded Home

When the prospective buyer walks into the home they are dazzled by all the "pretty". The granite countertops, fresh paint, new appliances, and new flooring.

This is a 1960's home that's been modified as the popular "Open Concept"

This is a 1960's home that's been modified as the popular "Open Concept"

The nice new bathroom with granite countertops and new fixtures

The nice new bathroom with granite countertops and new fixtures

Stylish mirrors and light fixtures

Stylish mirrors and light fixtures

What I See As The Home Inspector

When I come into the home as the home inspector, I'm looking at it with a more cynical eye. I'm not impressed with all the niceties. My job is to look past that and find anything that is going to be a problem for my client. Many times the workmanship on a flip home is substandard, and not professional. Sometimes, the Flipper will even try to conceal defects. 

The flipper replaced all of the ungrounded receptacles with new stylish grounded receptacles, but didn't run a ground wire. So it looks grounded, but it is not.

The flipper replaced all of the ungrounded receptacles with new stylish grounded receptacles, but didn't run a ground wire. So it looks grounded, but it is not.

The Flipper Might Not Follow Instructions

All appliances will have instructions from the manufacturer detailing the installation procedures that should be followed. Many times the flipper will ignore the instructions and do what is cheap or expedient. The following photos are some examples of this.

This kitchen exhaust should be vented to the exterior of the home with a 6" solid pipe, not a 4" dryer duct as was done in this home

This kitchen exhaust should be vented to the exterior of the home with a 6" solid pipe, not a 4" dryer duct as was done in this home

These are the easy to read instructions that are included with the appliance

These are the easy to read instructions that are included with the appliance

Every range comes with an anti-tip device, and instructions on how to install it. https://goo.gl/ZGkD73

Every range comes with an anti-tip device, and instructions on how to install it. https://goo.gl/ZGkD73

Many Of The Real Safety Issues Are Ignored 

Many of the real safety issues are ignored because they are expensive and don't add to the appearance of the home. Face it, nobody has ever walked into a home and said, "Oh, what a beautiful electrical panel". So many flippers will not update things like water heaters or electrical panels.

This panel has several issues. There is no main disconnect, and the breakers are not even labeled so that you know what devices are controlled by them. 

This panel has several issues. There is no main disconnect, and the breakers are not even labeled so that you know what devices are controlled by them. 

New sink, new disposal, but amatuer wiring job. The switch used for the disposal is also not UL approved for this use.

New sink, new disposal, but amatuer wiring job. The switch used for the disposal is also not UL approved for this use.

Buyers Don't Usually Climb On The Roof

But I do. If the roof is safely accessible, then I will climb on the roof to see what I can see. And I usually see plenty. Because many inspectors don't climb on the roof, many roofers will do substandard work on repairs. Most times the Flipper won't even know what's been done to the roof. Or not been done.

Broken tiles were replaced with tiles that don't match. But who's going to see it?

Broken tiles were replaced with tiles that don't match. But who's going to see it?

The roof was leaking, but a bucket of goop will fix it. I'm being sarcastic. This is an example of a bandaid on what should be major surgery.

The roof was leaking, but a bucket of goop will fix it. I'm being sarcastic. This is an example of a bandaid on what should be major surgery.

When they remodeled the kitchen, the "plumber" didn't secure the modified vent pipe. So the pipe had slipped back down into the attic.

When they remodeled the kitchen, the "plumber" didn't secure the modified vent pipe. So the pipe had slipped back down into the attic.

This is the loose pipe. Also notice the lack of insulation in the attic.

This is the loose pipe. Also notice the lack of insulation in the attic.

Bathroom Exhaust To The Attic

Bathroom exhausts that terminate in the attic, and not to the exterior of the home, will create a damp, moist climate in the attic that is conducive to breeding mold and causing moisture damage. Wet insulation also loses it effectiveness as insulation. 

This is the bathroom exhaust termination blowing moist air into the attic.

This is the bathroom exhaust termination blowing moist air into the attic.

A fellow inspector shared this one with me. The flipper has obviously never used a dishwasher.

A fellow inspector shared this one with me. The flipper has obviously never used a dishwasher.

Don't Be Fooled By "Pretty"

Sadly, most of the issues pictured here were found on the same home. The market is very active right now and everyone watching the Flip This Flip That shows on TV think they can do it too. As your home inspector, I will inspect your home as if it were for a member of my own family. I will look for the things that could cost you money, or be a safety issue for your family. Even if you think this is the nicest house you've seen yet, get a home inspection to expose the truth behind the cosmetics.