Rant on House "Flipping"

manicrodder

$50 site donor 2022
Joined
Nov 8, 2003
Messages
1,701
Location
Cedar City Utah
I purchased my current home in UT when retiring from my job and living in the Denver area. At the time I had worked 37 years in all aspects of building inspection/plans examining. During the process I hired a home inspector as I was a good distance away. I asked my realtor for a reference.

My realtor recommended an individual to whom I paid 400.00. Some states require home inspector certification. Colorado and Utah do not.

My association with home inspectors in CO and elsewhere proved for the most part that they were competent. Although not building inspector types some knowledge of codes is required.

My home was built in 1956 and obviously received work in 65 years. It shows well to the eye.

Inspector prepared a lengthy report and here are only some of his findings:

Building

  • Attic and mechanical ventilation satisfactory. In reality, the lower attic vents were all blocked by blown insulation. Bath exhaust fan un-ducted and blowing unconfined in attic. Pics showed plenty of insulation, but 25 sq. ft. area around same bath fan had insulation pushed back down to the gyp board ceiling.
  • Drainage problem against house. Right he was. I saw it when viewing prior to purchase.
Electrical

  • Dead/inoperative switch controlling furnace. Whoever wired this circuit used it as a j-box and left the unwired switch in it. Further in the inspection he indicated the furnace was working. So much for proficiency.
  • All GFCI receptacles noted operative. Out of 6, one was operative. Inspector obviously hit test button only and they tripped. 5 remaining receptacles were reverse polarity and will not trip by using a tester, even though they trip at source.
  • Visible wiring to code. Wrong! Flipper had wire nutted connections in attic and taped them without using boxes. This is prevalent and visible from the ceiling access.
Mechanical/Plumbing

Exterior and interior gas piping to code. This was the most egregious condition IMO. Flipper had converted electric range and dryer to gas. I pulled out the range when I moved in and the gas flex was coming through the floor and no shut off was present! I went to the basement and cut out the ceiling under the area and the valve was visible. I have installed a 12” X 12” access panel and will remove more ceiling in the future to fully correct the situation.

I decided to start my own home inspection and code consulting business and applied to the City for my license. Upon review of my application. I was asked to apply for an open Building Inspector position and was subsequently hired. I am now working full time again and loving it.

My intention was to take my home inspector to task. I won’t as my current employment would make this action unpleasant for me and family. My realtor was excellent throughout my purchase transaction and is fully aware of these findings. He was shocked and will no longer give references but will refer to yellow pages or search.

My advice is to be careful in selection of home inspection services. It may be best to hire a reputable electrician and mechanical contractor.
 

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Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
8,473
Location
California
In the Bay Area, with an acute housing crisis and high home prices, flippers still do shoddy work in houses that can easily sell for over a million. And not just flippers - people who are selling their homes and not doing an as-is sale. There’s even a real estate chain called Compass who offers to renovate and sell your home - you eat the costs out of the equity.

I see day laborers at the local Home Depot or the Chinese-run building supply/kitchen stores with cheap cabinets(but nice countertops), cheap vanities and fixtures and cheap paint. A friend bought a house recently, they’re starting down a $20-30K bill to rip out all the knob & tube wiring and questionable add-on wiring.
 
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
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1,926
Location
Wisconsin
Compass and Titan properties are the worst scum of the earth type establishments, they use local offices to bypass zoning/laws against corporate overlords.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
8,473
Location
California
Compass and Titan properties are the worst scum of the earth type establishments, they use local offices to bypass zoning/laws against corporate overlords.
That’s more Airbnb or Picaso(which people in Napa and Tahoe have a special scorn for).

In the Bay Area, Compass seems to move a lot of high-value real estate, especially in Berkeley/Albany, Oakland/Piedmont, SF and Marin. But the suburbs, the Compass sellers tend to be more expensive flips.

They’re just a fancy Coldwell Banker/ReMax/Keller Williams.
 

twouvakind

Site Donor 2022
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
501
Location
Conway SC
Our house was a flipper.. yup about the same as everyone else experienced. A bunch of new drywall slapped on junk, electric wiring.. dangerous, plumbing.. I could go on and on. My wife was single and bought it before we met. How inspections didn't catch the wiring just goes to show how useless inspections are. If we were together at the time I wouldn't of bought it. So far though it was a cheap house and now it's paid for. I've corrected everything wrong and improved on it, turning out to be a good cheap house.
"how useless inspections are" You can say that again!
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
19,629
Location
Silicon Valley

Because land is the only thing that has a known finite supply and farms are bankrupting, so the lands are goo deals. If you are billionaires you cannot expect to buy anything in meaningful amount without inflating the price, so you either have to 1) take risk and buy something that isn't there yet (i.e. startup, VC fund) or 2) buy things that are currently distressed and hopefully it will appreciate.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2003
Messages
3,782
Location
Austin, TX MSA
I had a 1964 build house for 12 years, from 2004-2016. I bought it in it's mostly original, untouched form. After 5 years I tore it down to the studs. Quite an adventure. Consumed 2 years of my life.

I think in retrospect I might have preferred "move in ready" also. Or maybe "incremental changes", i.e., let's work on 1 room at a time. At least when I was finished, it was a lot more energy efficient. New windows, new insulation, everything actually caulked.

To the OP - I would advise you to be careful pulling up floors in these old houses. The black mastic used to put down linoleum before the 1970s contains asbestos, and so does the linoleum itself in many cases. I had all sorts of stuff in my 1964 build house tested. The linoleum in the bathrooms was 30% asbestos, whereas the mastic only contained around 4%.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
12,271
Location
MA
House Flipping = Basically only can take place when a sellers housing market will allow the practice of putting lipstick on a pig for profit.
Or buyers who aren't willing to outbid the flippers. Many times the buyers will overestimate the cost of repairs and underbid on a house that needs work.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
1,584
Location
FL
Or buyers who aren't willing to outbid the flippers. Many times the buyers will overestimate the cost of repairs and underbid on a house that needs work.

Experienced folks like you can look at a property and know it needs $____ amount of repairs.

I’m sure you also have contractors you hire on a regular basis that can do a quality repair job.
 
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