As an inspector, I sometimes think I've seen it all, until I look at a flip house or “flop house” as I usually call them. Flippers most of the time have great design taste and can make a house pretty, but…don’t know squat about the structure or “bones”.
I can spot a flip house from the street. There are several distinct signs. Runny paint, new mulch not placed correctly, and my favorite; multi colored shingles. You can put a pig in a prom dress, but that doesn’t make her prom queen.
First, make sure the foundation is stable and doesn’t have issues. When those get fixed, after I call them out on the report, your gonna have to fix the interior where you tried to “hide” the flaws. If it’s an older home and it’s obvious the foundation has issues, fix them first. You will save yourself money in the long run and gain a reputation as total house flipper. You want to make money, right?
Next, look at the plumbing, especially the drains. You can’t use flex drains as a long-term solution. They stop up over time. Don’t try to run Pex water lines through the attic without insulation. This is a sign that you’re cheap and don’t care
Please, fix the HVAC! Don’t leave it to, hopefully, pass.
Check the electrical out as well! Aluminum wire is a red flag, but can be corrected easily. Also, get rid of the Federal Pacific and Zinsco panels. We always call them out as hazards.
Pull permits for work. You don’t want to appear that you’re cutting corners when you actually are. That’s a huge liability too.
If you don’t flip a house where it’s safe and structurally sound enough for your family to live in, why try to make a buck and push it off an unsuspecting buyer. Do the right the right thing. What if it was your brother, sister, mom that was buying this? Would you sell them junk? I think not.
Lastly, hire an inspector to tell you what the house needs. This also shows you care and want to do the right thing. We can also save you thousands of dollars up front, which means a bigger bottom line.
Remember, not everyone has the intelligence or ability to flip houses. Stick with what you know.