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What To Know About Buying A Flipped Home

Flipping homes has become more and more common so we asked our experts what we should know about buying a home that’s been flipped. If you are considering buying a home, especially a home that has been flipped, you should research the history of permits that have been requested for that home. Find out how to check permits for a home in San Diego. Have a question for our experts? Ask your question here!

Details On “What To Know About Buying A Flipped Home”

Sean: It’s time to Ask An Expert. Where we tackle everyday home improvement topics to help you better understand your home. Today I’m with Gregg Cantor, our Resident Expert, and Dan Scherer, program manager for the City of San Diego Development Services. Basically the Department of Building Services. Gregg, we’re talking about flipped houses. First, define that for us, what’s a flipped house? 

Gregg: Basically someone buys it or an individual or a group and they fix it up and put it back on the market to sell. 

Sean: So quickly buy it, make it look pretty, get it back out there for a profit. 

Gregg: Absolutely. 

Sean: Dan, what are the things you’ve seen with flipped houses that are problematic or some of the issues you’ve seen over the years? 

Dan: I’ve seen structural issues where they remove interior bearing walls. I’ve also seen electrical issues, no smoke detectors, no carbon monoxide detectors.

Sean: So dangerous things like that? 

Dan: Safety, yes.

Sean: What about converting rooms into bedrooms that weren’t intended for bedrooms? 

Dan: Yeah. I’ve seen that as well, where they don’t have the proper egress window.

Sean: Now Gregg, permits are a core thing that flippers don’t often do. Is that something you’ve seen in your experience, no permits for their work?

Gregg: Frequently. Probably more times than not. But there are good flippers that pull permits, but there’s a lot of them that don’t and they’re just looking for a quick way to get that house back on the market. Chances are they’re not following the building code and it can put someone in harms way. 

Sean: So Dan, if somebody buys a flipped home and the permits weren’t pulled, down the line they’re going to do something, if they need a permit or something comes up, whose on the hook? Is it the flipper or the new buyer? 

Dan: The new buyer usually, and they could be in for some real problems.

Sean: Yes, define that for me so on the hook for money redoing jobs?

Dan: Money, new permits, also exposing work, tearing walls, opening walls up so we can see what was done, see if it’s done correctly or not.

Sean: Tearing open walls, that’s one thing I wanted to bring up because flippers want things to look pretty. So they want you to walk in the house when you’re on that tour and say “Wow”. But they don’t really care necessarily about the quality of the materials. 

Gregg: They don’t care about the quality and a lot times they hide things too with paint.

Dan: Yeah I’ve seen that. 

Sean: Yeah they kind of put lipstick on a pig to make a home that’s not that great quality look beautiful to be able to trick the buyer into going ahead and buying the home.

Dan: Correct.

Sean: Thank you guys. I think the central message is caveat emptor: buyer beware. If you have questions for our experts or want to see more information on previous questions, visit ApprovedHomesPro.com in our Ask an Expert section.