The House Flipping Phenomenon

This crazy pandemic real estate market is bringing the house flippers out in full force. There are also landlords with old rental homes that sense the timing is right to unload their old rental property that was paid for 10 years ago. Whatever the reason there are many houses on the market today that are being fixed up to sell. What does this mean for the buyer and what does this mean for the home inspector?  For the homeowner it means buyer beware and for the home inspector, it means potential hidden deficiencies and substandard repair work. The flip house phenomenon is also the “lipstick on a pig” phenomenon.” 

How do you approach this as a home buyer?  Zillow will lead you to believe through pictures and descriptions that everything is ”new” and “updated.” The flipper is generally good at fixing and hiding cosmetic issues. This means fresh paint, new tile, and new vinyl over uneven spongy flooring. Just because a shower enclosure has new tiles, doesn’t mean it’s new and updated. There could be old plumbing and sewer lines such as cast iron, leaking pipes, subfloor moisture damage, microbial growth, and the list goes on. Where is most of this found? In the crawlspace!

Now let’s get to the top of the house. The remodeler for the flipper installed new shingles so the roof looks great! On that end, we can have roof sag, sheathing moisture damage, roof leaks, an old rusting air handler for the HVAC, poor ventilation, rodent infestation, and again the list goes on.

The bottom line is the flipper makes the house look good and presentable for a sale. They often overlook the attic and crawlspace. If you are a brave buyer, go ahead and buy that house site unseen or “as is” and waive the home inspection. Better yet, why not spend a nominal fee and get a home inspection to find deficiencies, maintenance issues, the age and general condition of the systems, etc. Seems like a prudent decision and Summit Home Inspections in Norfolk is here to help. Contact us today!

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