All that glitters is not gold.

Stunning living room in Phoenix, AZ

Flipped homes are gorgeous, but they can also be deceiving. I’m going to teach you how and why to play defense when you’re considering buying one of these beauties.

When you’re inside a home that has caught your interest, you’ll start to daydream about what life will be like living there — having a drink with your friends in the kitchen, watching your kids playing in their rooms, hosting the best Super Bowl viewing party ever, decorating the house for the holidays — you get the idea.

Daydreaming is a beautiful part of the home buying experience, and since flipped homes tend to be the shiniest, the cleanest and the prettiest properties, they make the whole dreaming process even easier!

Unfortunately, all of that shine can distract you from paying attention to the other things that matter, such as the structure of the home, the age and underlying condition, and the potential repairs this property may need in the future.

This is why we recommend bringing in a highly qualified home inspector to examine the property, regardless of how stunning it looks. Remember, your home purchase is an investment.

We know from experience that spending a few hundred dollars on a professional at the beginning of your home buying process can save you thousands of dollars in hidden costs and repairs down the road, as well as a lot of inconveniences and headaches.

Here’s the deal, most investors try to turn a profit as quickly as possible, it’s part of the game.

They perform the most aesthetically pleasing repairs they can, as cost-efficiently as they can. Often times, this means corners are cut. For example, some investors who are flipping older houses in Central Phoenix will often put new fixtures on outdated old plumbing. It might look stunning, but when you take a deeper look, you’ll find old galvanized piping, some of it not even up to code.

A trusted inspector can tell you the overall health of the home and diagnose any major problems.

And if a red flag is raised, then you should call in a specialist to look deeper into the issue. This could mean getting a plumber to put a scope down the drain, or an electrician to test the wiring and electrical box, or even a roofer who can get up there and tell you about any potential issues and provide an estimate for the life-expectancy of the roof.

It’s worth the investment, because when a specialist does identify a problem, they can accurately and professionally quantify the cost and next steps. With this information, you can negotiate with the seller to have it taken care of at their expense or subtract the repairs from the cost of the home. This is how you protect yourself from purchasing a home that has thousands of dollars in hidden costs and needed repairs.

Flipped homes can be hard to spot, but here’s a few reliable giveaways:

I. It’s all on the surface.

If most of the updates are cosmetic, like paint, carpet, or some fixtures, then you might just be paying for a lot of pretty distractions. You should be looking at things like the AC unit, the roof, the electrical systems, and the plumbing. If those haven’t been touched, there’s a good chance that this is a flipped home.

II. The updates are unoriginal.

Flippers tend to follow the standard, meaning they usually find what’s in style and use that as their template for making improvements. So, if the home looks exactly like all the other updated homes on the block; similar paint colors, tile, back splashes, cabinets, etc., it’s probably just been flipped.

III. Lack of records.

If the investor put considerable effort into upgrading and repairing the home, then they should have records, receipts and warranties for everything that’s been done. Ask to see written proof.

For example, if they upgraded the plumbing, they should be able to provide receipts for the copper pipes or the records from the licensed plumber who installed everything. More importantly, these records should transfer to you, as the buyer, so you can protect yourself in the future. If the seller can’t provide proof, then something may be off.

Your first line of defense is an experienced realtor.

Quite simply, a good realtor will keep you on track. We have a proven support system and trusted contacts in the industry.

After twenty years of walking homes with our clients, we have a thorough understanding of where and what to look for, what questions to ask, and who to call. More importantly, we know how to bring their professional findings to bear on your negotiations. This is how we ensure our clients get their home in the right condition and at the right price.

Interested in working with us? Contact us today.