3 Warning Signs to Look Out For When Buying a House to Flip
Buying anything used is a gamble. Used items have a history, and that history is not always pleasant. You don’t always have a way to tell if there are traumatic things in that history. Most of the time you don’t even have solid information on how it was designed or built. Things are only more complicated when you’re planning on reselling. So when you’re looking for a property to flip, it’s important to watch out for the warning signs that indicate an investment that will eventually be a bust.
There are a lot of considerations when looking at a house to remodel, with some aspects of a fixer-upper being easier to accept than others. While everything you change or repair is going to cost something, there are some problems that are likely to break the budget. Below are three places to look when trying to decide whether to buy a property or not.
What’s Holding it Up?
The first step is to look at the structure of the house: the foundation, the exterior, the load-bearing walls, etc. Even sturdy houses weren’t designed to last forever, and sometimes an environment can be hard on a property. Check the foundation for cracks. Check for dry rot in the studs. Check for structural damage in load-bearing walls. Problems with the overall structure of the house are an indication that serious work will be required to fix it. No one wants to buy a house that’s going to fall down on them, so picking up a property with these problems will mean greater difficulty trying to sell it on the other side.
What’s On the Inside?
We’re not talking about the home’s interior, here. We’re talking about the guts: what’s in the walls, like plumbing and electrical lines, and the worry should increase the older the house is.
Plumbing, like everything else, wears out over time, and those worn lines tend to develop leaks. Small problems can be remedied easily, but older lines are prone to a multitude of problems. Be sure to look at the sewer/septic system when you’re inspecting the plumbing, too, as those can be in disrepair too.
As for electrical, homes use a lot more energy than they did in past years. Think of all the devices that need power that we use in our homes today, then compare it to the power output required in a home built back in the 1960’s. Older homes just aren’t built to keep up with the power draw of modern homes. What’s more, if the home is old enough, they may use things like aluminum wiring, which is less efficient (among other problems).
Dealing with either of these systems can be expensive, and extensive problems can mean redoing lines throughout the house. While replacing a faucet or an outlet is an easy fix, rewiring or re-plumbing a whole house is often enough to break the budget.
Keep in mind, plumbing and electrical are specialty jobs. While minor tasks can be done by an ambitious DIYer, serious work should always be done by a professional. While you might think you’re saving a buck or two by doing the work yourself, but you’re actually just causing future problems for the property. There’s a lot of expertise that goes into plumbing and electrical work. Knowing when to put an outlet on a separate breaker, for example, is the kind of thing that requires training, which you won’t likely have.
What’s On Top?
Roofs fall into that classification of things you don’t think about much unless they’re not functioning properly. No one wants a leaky roof, or one that’s falling apart. So be sure to check it for distress before committing to a property, as renovating a roof can be expensive and difficult.
Not every potential flip is going to make a profit, and not every property is worth a flip. Choose your investments carefully, and you’ll see better results from your labors. For more information on how to be a successful flipper, look into the Real Estate Elevated blog, and learn from the best.