The problem with a house flip.

I might have titled this post “The aftermath of a house flip” or “The true cost of a flip.”   A house flip, for those who don’t watch HGTV or the like, is when a residence having a low value due to disfigurement, distress, or neglect has work performed that enables the home to have a greater value.  These rejuvenations can be a great thing, in the hands of a knowledgeable team of people.  All to often greed and ignorance outweigh the true needs of the home.

The problem starts with the value of these lipsticked homes being elevated due to their appearance, and ends with a purchaser unknowingly walking into an over leveraged home where the critical care and needs have been completely overlooked.

Nine times out of ten house flipping is not done for the benefit of the future owner, they are undertaken simply as a money maker.  Even though this can generate money, it doesn’t generate a future.  Some homes are given a fatal wound from flipping which won’t be fully realized until 10-20 years down the road.  With the cash pulled out of the homes by selling high, no equity remains to do what it takes to give the home longevity.  Another unfortunate casualty are improvements placed in faulty areas which will need to be torn down at a later date for structural weaknesses, water intrusion, or other failed systems.

Key components often ignored!

Structural:  Whether it be cutting out key structural components, not fixing ailing framing sections, or covering over rot, the structure of the home is its bones.  Properly built and protected from the elements, this skeleton can perform for centuries.  Ignore it being a key and there can be serious complications.

Wiring: This can be serious depending on how uneducated the workman were.  Fires, electrocution, etc.

HVAC:  Depending on how old the home is, many shortcuts may have been taken along its history.  Defining what needs to happen to bring the home up to speed takes some experience.  Running some ductwork through a closet to the upstairs is not the kind of experience we are looking for.

Plumbing: This may not be deadly, but it can cost serious damage.  Flooding, fixtures not draining, etc.

Insulation: This cost can easily be seen and felt both on the skin, and in the wallet.

Flooring:  Toe stubbing transitions and tile popping up are all examples of improperly installed flooring.

Architectural elements lost:  From small details, to the overarching style, architectural elements play a large role in giving a home its feel.  Covering over the home with vinyl and aluminum are some of the main culprits along with non-conforming additions that detract from the original aesthetic or design style.

Paint: Prep Should be 1/2 to 2/3 of the time it takes to paint a surface.  Usually flippers don’t take the necessary time to give a quality finish!

So, if you have a passion for renovating houses, take the time to learn about them.  Read construction books, manuals, periodicals. For those professionals out there that take on flips, treat them like renovations.  Its not just emptied wallets that are of concern, there is history to be lost.

My charge is for those that can, lend information and knowledge to those that desire.   On my end, please feel free to contact me with any questions.  I would love to point you in the right direction!

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2 Responses to The problem with a house flip.

  1. Jaime Dye February 9, 2010 at 8:48 AM #

    Once again I am amazed at your knowledge and character. You have such a gift and I get so much from your posts. Thanks!

    • Chris Crimmins February 9, 2010 at 12:35 PM #

      Jaime, you are too kind, but seriously, thanks for the feedback.

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