Houses that have undergone a fix and flip can be found in nearly every market in the country. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the home buyer, it does mean paying closer attention to the physical features of each home. Some properties are flipped by investors who are in it for the long haul, so they take greater care in the quality of the renovations. Other homes are fixed as quickly and cheaply as possible by owners interested in a quick ROI, so quality may be compromised.
Pay Close Attention to the Property’s Sale History
One way to tell if the home you’re considering buying is a fix and flip is by looking at the sale history. If the current owner has had the property for 12 months or less, this is a good indication that this is a fix and flip property. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you should walk away, you should take a closer look at the quality of the home.
Study the Door and Windows
Flipping a house can be expensive and, in most cases, it eats up a larger chunk of the investor’s capital than expected. To counteract this cost, many home flippers will look for ways to minimize the costs of renovating, starting with replacement doors and windows. First, look at the doorknob and hinges to ensure they’re made of high-quality materials that will stand up against burglars, high winds, and other forces.
Similarly, try to determine if the windows are replacement windows. If so, research the make and model to find out if these are the cheapest windows on the market. If these features seem inadequate, chances are good that the owner skimped on making other improvements as well.
Check Out the HVAC System
By turning the HVAC system off and on, you’ll be able to determine whether or not the system has been recently updated. An older system will make moans and groans as it’s activated, while a newer system should start up relatively quietly and should shut down more easily. A new system indicates that the current owner took the time to do more than just cosmetic repairs, which means fewer items on your “to-do” list if you do buy the home.
In general, a lot of improvements are a good sign that you’re looking at a fix and flip property. As previously mentioned, this can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the seller’s motives. A seller who took the time to really update the home with quality materials may be offering you the best deal. In the end, you’ll have to take a close look at the home’s features and use your best judgment.