Buying a Flip
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Buying a Flip (by BW [NJ]) Jan 11, 2024 9:03 PM
       Buying a Flip (by DJ [VA]) Jan 11, 2024 10:06 PM
       Buying a Flip (by ned [AL]) Jan 11, 2024 10:12 PM
       Buying a Flip (by Robin [WI]) Jan 11, 2024 10:13 PM
       Buying a Flip (by Hoosier [IN]) Jan 11, 2024 10:16 PM
       Buying a Flip (by Nicole [PA]) Jan 11, 2024 10:19 PM
       Buying a Flip (by plenty [MO]) Jan 11, 2024 10:30 PM
       Buying a Flip (by Richard [MI]) Jan 11, 2024 10:32 PM
       Buying a Flip (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Jan 12, 2024 1:06 AM
       Buying a Flip (by Robert J [CA]) Jan 12, 2024 6:13 AM
       Buying a Flip (by Vee [OH]) Jan 12, 2024 8:41 AM
       Buying a Flip (by zero [IN]) Jan 12, 2024 9:01 AM
       Buying a Flip (by Larry [MN]) Jan 12, 2024 9:29 AM
       Buying a Flip (by RB [TN]) Jan 12, 2024 9:38 AM
       Buying a Flip (by Ken [NY]) Jan 12, 2024 9:44 AM
       Buying a Flip (by GKARL [PA]) Jan 12, 2024 10:10 AM
       Buying a Flip (by BillW [NJ]) Jan 12, 2024 11:48 AM
       Buying a Flip (by Nicole [PA]) Jan 12, 2024 5:16 PM
       Buying a Flip (by BillW [NJ]) Jan 12, 2024 5:54 PM
       Buying a Flip (by Nicole [PA]) Jan 16, 2024 12:44 PM
       Buying a Flip (by zero [IN]) Jan 17, 2024 7:12 AM
       Buying a Flip (by Ken [NY]) Jan 17, 2024 9:28 AM
       Buying a Flip (by mike [CA]) Feb 1, 2024 5:45 PM
       Buying a Flip (by BillW [NJ]) Feb 6, 2024 10:17 PM

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Buying a Flip (by BW [NJ]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2024 9:03 PM

I’m trying to help my daughter and her husband with buying their first house in NJ. Many of the houses we see are flips.

Any thoughts about buying a flip? I think a flipper is mostly concerned with cosmetics and not long-term reliability of the house.

I figured I'd call the city and find out what permits have been gotten for the work. Any other thoughts about buying a flip?

Thanks -Bill


Buying a Flip (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2024 10:06 PM

Generally speaking, I would not want one. Like you said, they just put lipstick on a pig. Maybe not all, but most of them do.

I think you will find no permits were issued.

How about buying one in need of repair and fixing it up - the right way - yourself?

Buying a Flip (by ned [AL]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2024 10:12 PM

If you're not confident in your own inspection sure to get it inspected. Yes, some put lipstick on pig. Some don't. --74.132.x.xx

Buying a Flip (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2024 10:13 PM

I've toured "flip" houses and I got some contractor recommendations from a flipper, none of which I will ever use again. They make their money by making the house look pretty, not by making it function long-term. Here are some of the shortcuts I've seen:

--electrical junctions made outside of boxes

--bathtubs spray-painted white

--tile installed over sheetrock instead of cement board

--retaining walls and decks built from wood that hasn't been pressure-treated

--load-bearing walls removed to create "open concept" without adding the necessary support beams

--the cheapest of the cheap replacement vinyl windows installed

--cabinets that appear super modern but are essentially particleboard covered with contact paper

--foundation issues disguised with hydraulic cement and paint

Most of these shortcuts will lead to expensive repairs down the road. I would rather buy a fixer-upper and make sure the upgrades are done right.

Buying a Flip (by Hoosier [IN]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2024 10:16 PM

I was a licensed home inspector for 7 years and inspected many flips. About half were “lipstick on a pig” jobs, where the only thing that was focused on was appearance.

Advice to you…get a quality home inspector and realize that 75% of the issues I found in houses are in places the layperson either doesn’t usually go (attics, crawl spaces, roofs) or doesn’t have the training to evaluate.

Dont get taken in by the pretty paint and shiny appliances

Buying a Flip (by Nicole [PA]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2024 10:19 PM

Can you find the old mls photos & listing from when the purchaser bought it? that seller disclosure would be gold. I am thinking your realtor should access to those things for you.

Buying a Flip (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2024 10:30 PM

no I would not EVER recommend buying a flip house. I've seen them remodel an entire house without replacing the 50 year old stack,,, now it's covered up in a wall and can't be seen,,, it's going to fail and most likely as soon as family starts living there, lipstick on a pig is correct. Pay more (if you have too) or purchase a bit dated house that has been lovely cared for over the years...never a flip house.

Buying a Flip (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Jan 11, 2024 10:32 PM

I agree with the above people.

I'd advise to buy a place that needs work and let them fix it up themselves. Do it the right way the first time. As a bonus, you'll save money by not paying retail for the "lipstick" that someone else did, plus when they do the work they will appreciate it more.

I'd advise getting a small place out in the country with some land with it, not a downtown place.


Buying a Flip (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 1:06 AM

The house I inherited was a flip where had many problem like wiring, plumbing, flooring along with hidden junction boxes. In the kitchen wired entire California ceiling has no junction boxes, wiring was not properly connected along with flickering. The dishwasher and microwave was on the same circuit where tripped when dishwasher and microwave were used where brought two separate 20 amp circuits with 20 amp wire and 20 amp circuit breakers. The drains in the kitchen froze where removed the fiberglass insulation then installed spray foam along with spray foaming around the pipes, wiring where mice no longer enter house. What flippers do is to buy the cheapest builders line of materials which fail after few years where the handyman is not qualified to do wiring. No matter the cost the only way is the right way where done once then finished. In 2005 installed a steel roof where the shingles were the cheapest out there. When the steel roof was installed then installed a roof vent for the kitchen exhaust hood. Slowly getting rid of the garbage moldy fiberglass insulation then spray foam where air tight.

Buying a Flip (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 6:13 AM

Almost all investors do not bother to consult a tax expert and buy a FLIP without a back up plan. Do you know about depreciation? Putting a rental in service?

When I purchase a property, I always have two or three choices on how to proceed. For example I purchased a corner 2 bedroom house with an alley between the main street and a row of commercial properties sharing the alley. Plus there was a park across the street that limited street parking. All bad. I tried to pull permits to change where the garage was located, from the alley to the main street. The City wanted $38,000 in bribes and wouldn't give me a permit. So instead I set back the fence along the alleyway and made 15 parking spots that I ended up renting to thee business sharing the alleyway with. Making my income $1,500 a month more. Then I put a couple of cargo containers in the back yard and rented on to a flooring company along the alleyway and the other container to a print shop. Their rent was $3.00 per square foot per month. My cargo containers were 150 square feet, wroth $450 a month, but I only charged them $250 per month, making an extra $500 income. With the tenants rent, $1650 per month, this was now a real money maker and no reason any more to flip.

The city tried to black mail me and in turn I screwed them back while making a lot of money i the process.

Oh, when the City issued violation after violation, I let out the recording of the bribes they tried to get me to pay for a permit to relocate my driveway / garage.

Buying a Flip (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 8:41 AM

A housing flip is not much different from a grocery flip, you need to know can you sell a truckload of cabbage and end up with XX-bux, you must find out about insects below the surface, much like plumbing, electrical, roofing - your knowledge of the unseen hazards will guide the profit from a flip house - same as a truck of cabbage. obvious water marks in a basement will mean there is a drainage problem, young people marvel at high efficiency furnaces and water tanks but if they exhibit water marks then trouble can not be far away, invest wisely, you only make money when you buy.

Buying a Flip (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 9:01 AM

I have done a few flips over the years. Unfortunately I seem to spend more than I should because I am NOT a flipper. Flip is a four letter word around here. Most do the pig and lipstick routine.

Did some rehab work for an older gent that flips a lot of houses in the area. I figured I could make a little extra money and learn a thing or two. This man has been doing flips for longer than I have lived.

Well, I did work on the one job and we parted ways. Some examples of why I do not work with him include:

- There was wall board in the kitchen over drywall. He had 1/2" drywall installed over it. Not only did they not attach the rock to the studs, they used 1-1/4" nails so even if they found a stud it wouldn't work.

-He had them cover over the outlets on the wall. Didn't remove them or the power to them. Said he does it all the time and no problems.

-He put 1/4" bead board in a half bath. There was a wall heater in at one time. He removed the heater but left the live wires hanging.

-Drywall not cut tight. Huge gaps. He stuffed them with regular drywall mud, smoothed with a knife and painted. No hot mud, no tape, no sanding.

-Floor busted in living room. Hole thru to the crawlspace. Had a guy come in to put LVP down and had him click over the hole. This wasn't just a spot but big enough that a small person might fit through it.

-Exterior door had leaked in and rotted under the threshold. Nothing sturdy there at all. He used spray foam from a can, cut it level and ran LVP over it all.

-Valley in roof leaked. Shingled over the front side only of the house, never fixed the issue, just smeared some tar and layed over it all.

I kept changing or fixing stuff as I saw it. My name was on the project and I couldn't sleep at night knowing a left some of the things that he called normal procedure.

We parted ways after that project. He said I was too particular to work on his flips. Then he asked me to do some work on his personal condo. I was too busy suddenly.

Still see him around and we chat about what's going on. I will never work for him again. He knows and doesn't care as I cost him too much money. --107.147.xx.xx

Buying a Flip (by Larry [MN]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 9:29 AM

People do terrible things to their own homes. Watch a Youtube video and suddenly everyone's a plumber or electrician.

So I don't know that a flip would be any different than any other home. Advantage of buying a flip is that the house is likely move-in ready and someone else went through all the hassle.

Get an inspection done. You should always do this anyway. Don't over think it. --172.58.xx.x

Buying a Flip (by RB [TN]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 9:38 AM

News flash -

think buyer beware, for everything Jack(s) built.

AKA - Jack(s) of all trade types.

Buying a Flip (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 9:44 AM

I do a lot of flips.I actually prefer to buy a place full of junk and clean it out,mow the lawn and sell it as a handyman special, i do better oftentimes than if i do a complete jobi often spend $5000 just to clean out a house.I have done plenty of traditional flips.My name is on it and we do it right.No covering electrical behind walls etc.I have skilled guys who would quit if i asked them to do anything like zero mentioned and i wouldnt blame them, i dont want guys who would consider that acceptable.If we open a wall we replace electrical or plumbing behind it while we have it open.I do concentrate on cosmetics like paint and kitchens etc because that is what sells, lower priced houses dont get new heating systems or water heaters if they are working but they are out in the open and the buyer and inspector can see what they are getting.I dont get permits because it takes too long and the inspectors waste time getting there and dont even know the proper way to do things until we explain it to them. --74.77.xx.xx

Buying a Flip (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 10:10 AM

I think your assessment is correct. All of the places I've done were done with a view towards keeping them, so I wanted to make sure the repairs were durable and long lasting. Flippers generally aren't focused on this. I agree with the others who suggest finding a place with good bones and fixing it up yourself.

Buying a Flip (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 11:48 AM

Thanks all! You sold me on not buying a flip. I think even if you had a good inspector, they can’t see what’s behind the walls and they make that clear on their report. The problem is that flippers somehow pick up the majority of houses these days before they reach the MLS.

Robin, you have given me a great list of things that might be hidden. I think I’m savvy when it comes to houses, but some of your items I hadn’t even considered. Some of what you mentioned, like junctions without boxes, was seen by Robert in his inherited flip.

Plenty I can see that, the flipper is no way going to replace something that doesn’t improve the cosmetics of the house.

Zero, that is interesting. I guess you need to be a certain kind of person to be a flipper :-) Pretty funny some of the examples you listed, like not a big enough hole in the floor for a small person to fall through. Funny unless you own the problems.

Ken, I get the feeling that people like you are few and far between. Of course I mean that in the best way.

GKARL, like when a contractor is quoting a job they typically ask, “how long to you plan to stay here” and base the extent of the work on that. Can imagine if the answer is zero.


Buying a Flip (by Nicole [PA]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 5:16 PM

...The problem is that flippers somehow pick up the majority of houses these days before they reach the MLS....

I think the days of many folks purchasing a dated but solid home needing cosmetics is mostly gone. A good portion all want shiny and new.

I have a friend about to list a home for sale. Due to an elderly relative and young adult children (irresponsible, including their animals), the flooring is shot in the entire home. The house itself is a good solid, well maintained (other than floors and some baseboards) home in a good area with a beautiful yard. The realtor said to replace all flooring or lose potentially 3/4 of the buyer pool. They want to walk out the door from settlement with the keys and move right in. The net would be about the same for him but his buyer pool will be much larger.

Buying a Flip (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Jan 12, 2024 5:54 PM

Yeah, that seems true. I think 90% of buyers are only aware of the cosmetics of a home and that is what's shown to buyers. You rarely see pictures or talk of the heating system, the insulation, how well the home is air sealed, etc. Most people don't understand it and so it's not a concern of theirs. --96.242.xx.xx

Buying a Flip (by Nicole [PA]) Posted on: Jan 16, 2024 12:44 PM

Yesterday I saw work being done on what I assume was a flip. It was starting to snow and the temperature was in the low 30s. Three guys were painting the outside of a cinder block building. Is there a special below freezing, snow resistant paint? Possibly ...

Buying a Flip (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Jan 17, 2024 7:12 AM

Back when I was working side jobs for a few realtors I would have to paint outside in the winter.

The mortgager was usually an alphabet company that made the seller cover anything outside with paint. Nobody cared if it would stay, they had to do it for the loan to go through.

It was absurd. I would put in my quote and on the invoice that the paint would not last thru the winter and would have to be re-worked when the weather broke.

Some didn't like the wording but I wanted to CYA.

Then again the flipper I mentioned earlier painted an exterior steel door in mid Indiana winter. Thing was probably still wet when he sold the place. --107.147.xx.xx

Buying a Flip (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Jan 17, 2024 9:28 AM

Nicole, yes there is a paint for lower temperatures but i wouldnt count on it, i would expect it to be as zero said --74.77.xx.xx

Buying a Flip (by mike [CA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2024 5:45 PM

i did a LOT of roof work for one of the biggest flippers in san diego after the mortgage meltdown. i would not buy one of their properties. lipstick on a pig. it got so bad i told them i would not work behind 2 of their 4 crews. if the flipper is a onesy twosy like me...sure. but a serial flipper...hard no --75.80.xx.xx

Buying a Flip (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 6, 2024 10:17 PM

Good to know. Thanks Mike --96.242.xx.xx

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