You've seen all the shows where older, abandoned homes are turned into gorgeous, modern dwellings. Flipped houses are usually attractive, 100% move-in ready, and competitively priced. They can seem ideal in today's inventory-strapped real estate market. If you're thinking of buying a flipped house, however, you need to determine whether it is the treasure it appears to be or a dust-heap in disguise. Some developers will flip a house to make a quick buck, using cheap labor, going with cheap finishes, and taking shortcuts. Here are some ways to spot renovation problems in a flipped house for sale, according to our real estate agents.
- Just Look Down
If you want an immediate assessment of the overall quality of the renovation work, look at the flooring. Poor workmanship is a red flag that you shouldn't ignore. For instance, if they've got flooring butted up to doorjambs or base molding, that could be a hint at more serious flaws. Also, wall-to-wall carpeting can be used to conceal water-damaged hardwood floors. Cracked or bouncy tiles could indicate the subfloor was not laid correctly.
- Take a Deeper Look at the Kitchen
Kitchens sell homes. But you need to look beyond the shiny kitchen bling or the amount of cabinet space if you're to determine if the flip is worth buying. When appliances aren't laid out correctly, the flippers may have used the existing layout to save money. New doors installed on old cabinets or gaps between countertops and backsplash are other signs of poor workmanship. Check to see if the cabinets are level and even all around.
- Give the Doors and Windows a Try
As you're touring the house, inspect the doors and windows to determine if flippers cut corners to stick to the budget. The front door is the first place to check. For the sake of security, soundproofing, and insulation, exterior doors should be solid and sturdy. Beware of doors and windows that don't close smoothly, open or close by themselves, or fail to latch securely. Make sure the original window frames were not painted to hide rot and if you're dealing with replacement windows, conduct a little research to see if they're energy-efficient.
- Turn the HVAC On and Off
A properly functioning HVAC is the heart of a comfortable home. Unfortunately, a flipped house may have an old, unsafe heating system past its lifespan. If the system seems to take a while to get going when you turn it on or roars as it shuts down, the unit likely hasn't been updated. It's also possible that the HVAC system was completely replaced but exposed to drywall dust and other airborne debris during construction.
- Look at the Ceiling for Signs of Water Damage
If the roof is in a state of disrepair, you can usually tell by patches, spots, or discolored paint on the ceiling. Leaks can also lead to water pooling around light fixtures, so be sure to check those areas as well. You should also know that flippers may leave a badly deteriorating roof alone if it isn't leaking. Roofs are expensive to replace, so you don't want to carry that burden after the purchase.
- Work with an Inspector
During the due diligence period, you should hire a third-party home inspector to examine all components of the house. In addition to the elements we've highlighted above, an unbiased inspector will also examine electrical wiring, plumbing, drywall, insulation, siding, and other important components. They'll be able to easily spot signs of shortcuts and other issues that you might overlook. An inspector can help verify the structural integrity and safety of a flipped house.
With careful consideration and due diligence, you'll be in a better position to determine if that flipped house that has caught your attention is worth it. Contact us today and let us help you explore Albany homes for sale.