BEWARE THE FLIP!!!
Flipping is a term in which an investor purchases a property not to use, but with the intention of selling it for a profit. Buy low, put a little money into it and sell high. What could go wrong?
On a recent inspection I came across such a property. Within a few minutes of walking the exterior I could tell that this was a flip. There was fresh paint, new cuts in the foundation for a window and door, and the house was vacant. Suspecting a flip, the alarm bells start going off in my head.
Why the alarm bells? Because everything is pretty, freshly renovated on the interior, fancy looking light fixtures and even a basement apartment that apparently had been issued an occupancy permit from the city. It is meant to fool the potential buyer and puts pressure on the home inspector to find the things that were most likely covered up and can’t be readily seen.
There were a lot of red flags for me and plenty of defects on the exterior and the interior, the list was long. The first red flag I encountered is that there were apparently no permits given to my clients to prove that all the renovations were completed to proper industry standards. Meaning there were no inspections performed during and after the construction process by the city or the Electrical Safety Authority.
Permits cost money and taking shortcuts saves money. Like not having an engineer develop plans to alter the structure of the home. Remember those cuts in the foundation I mentioned. As I began my inspection in the basement, I started at the new door cut into the foundation for the basement apartment. The exterior was not yet finished and I could clearly see the bottom 2 x 4 plate of the house structure with a couple of floor joists sitting on the bottom plate. There was absolutely no structural support given to this opening in the foundation. The kitchen floor above with the fancy looking tiles looked perfect…give it time I warned my client. The other fresh opening in the foundation for the window was completely covered up so I could not see anything but I was highly doubtful that it was properly constructed.
Things did not get better after this, I opened a window in the basement and it literally fell out of the frame. There were other structural issues, electrical problems and even a fake heat register cut into the floor of a walk-in closet.
Like I said at the beginning……BEWARE THE FLIP!!!