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What You Need to Know Before Buying a Flipped Home

  • Jul 25, 2017
Need to Know

Don’t assume your flipped find is the finest option, though. Before finalizing the purchase and taking out a residential mortgage, double-check these aspects.

Home flipping is, once again, a growing trend. After hitting a high point in the early 2000s and falling alongside the housing market, the practice of buying a home, fixing it up and reselling it within the year is gaining momentum in cities across the U.S.

But while some bold investors may make home purchases and subsequently spend their days renovating the house, house flipping isn't for everyone. It's a lot of hard work with no guaranteed return on investment.

However, given the popularity of this practice, homebuyers looking for the perfect abode may come across a flipped house in their search. At first, it might look perfect. All the work has already been done, it has a trendy design and probably has a new appliance or two.

Don't assume your flipped find is the finest option, though. There are plenty of things that could go wrong when investing in a rushed flip or one that just wasn't executed properly.

Before finalizing the purchase and taking out a residential mortgage, double-check these aspects of the property:

Zoning and permits

Did you know that you need to speak with city officials before making structural changes to your home? More importantly, did the crew who flipped the home know?

Ask the seller for records of finalized permits, Zillow suggested. If you don't receive them, check with the city. Any permits that were taken out should be public record. Check to be sure they were signed off on, too.

Depending on where you live, there could be rules regarding a wide range of home features, including addition sizes, how additions are used and the style of lightinginside the home, according to CNBC.

Water heater

The water heater is an important appliance that every home must have. It's also an expensive one. Ask to check out the water heater when you tour the home. Keep your eyes open for a few things:

  • A sticker with a year printed on it: This is the year the water heater was manufactured. A heater older than a decade will likely need to be replaced soon.
  • Rust or corrosion on the heater itself or the plumbing around it: Clearly, this is a sign that the heater is deteriorating.
  • Multi-colored pipes: If pipes are made of several different types of materials, it could be a sign that the water heating system had some flaws but only completed a patch job.

If all signs point to a need for a new water heater, include this request in your contract, U.S. News & World Report suggested.

Outlets, light switches and faucets

Don't overlook the small things when touring a home. Make sure the outlets have power running to them, the light switches work and the faucets all dispense water.

Further, ensure that outlet and light-switch plates are flush with the wall and parallel with the floor. Check both hot and cold water on all faucets and shower heads. Finally, inspect the piping when the water is running. If it's leaking already, there will certainly be work to do.

Buying a flipped home can be great - as long as the contracting work wasn't a flop. Beyond your own careful detective work, be sure to hire a trusted inspector to identify any problems you might not know about. If all looks right, feel free to claim the home as your own.


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