flipping house that has frozen advice...

9 Replies

I am looking at a foreclosure on hubzu. It is being sold as-is cash only. Starting bid $135,000. ARV comps around $215,000 conservatively. I know that the house froze last winter. Is this something that you would consider? Hubzu states that the house is occupied but i know for a fact it is vacant as my mom, who is a realtor just showed it about a month ago before it was foreclosed on. I have purchased a property through hubzu before and know what to expect. I have done two rehabs for buy and hold, this would be by first flip.

I a planning on having to replace all plumbing with pex, toilets, and hot water heaters. also needs flooring and other standard basic cosmetic upgrades. Anything else big that I would need to consider? 

Aaron,

Being up north it is often a little harder to repipe a house unless there is a basement. I have done them down in FL but we run everything through the attic which makes it simple. When you say is there anything else to consider, are you speaking of the rehab on the whole or just the plumbing?

Pex can be "fished" through walls just like electric wiring. The cast iron waste lines could be a problem; they can crack when a house is vacant and the waste lines go unused. 

Hopefully, no water leaked out in a thaw in between flooring and walls; if you have signs of that ... well, water damage can be more than the obvious. 

Was this heated by a furnace or a boiler? If a boiler, you should expect to replace the likely cracked boiler and radiators. 

Originally posted by @Adam Bartomeo :

Aaron,

Being up north it is often a little harder to repipe a house unless there is a basement. I have done them down in FL but we run everything through the attic which makes it simple. When you say is there anything else to consider, are you speaking of the rehab on the whole or just the plumbing?

 There is a basement, however, unfortunately, it is a finished basement, meaning I would have to remove a good portion of the ceiling drywall to get at it... It would not be the end of the world but would add quite a bit of labor cost.

Originally posted by @Steve Babiak :

Pex can be "fished" through walls just like electric wiring. The cast iron waste lines could be a problem; they can crack when a house is vacant and the waste lines go unused. 

Hopefully, no water leaked out in a thaw in between flooring and walls; if you have signs of that ... well, water damage can be more than the obvious. 

Was this heated by a furnace or a boiler? If a boiler, you should expect to replace the likely cracked boiler and radiators. 

The house is in a rural area and has a septic so there should not be any cast iron waistlines everything would be pvc, which could also crack but shouldn't if it is sloped correctly. One thing I didn't think about though is the possibility of a sump pump that may need to be replaced... I will have to look into that. It is heated with forced air so no worry there. I have not been able to get into the house yet as it is being advertised as "possibly occupied" foreclosure but I know that it is vacant. I am going to see if I can find a way to go look at it some time this week to see if there may be any water damage.

Don't assume because it has septic that the waste lines aren't cast iron. If it's older construction (pre PVC schedule 40), it would have cast iron or copper or lead for waste. And it's possible that there are even other materials in the waste lines, depending on when it was built. 

sounds like you have a good handle on the matter. one thing you need to check out though is if the city that the house is in will allow you to do the work yourself. some places around here in buffalo, ny will not allow the owner to do the work, only a  licensed plumber. this could lead to additional costs that you are not expecting

@Steve Babiak

The house was built in 2003, so it is practically new construction for all intents and purposes compared to my other homes that I have rehabbed.

@Mark Elliott

The property is outside of city limits and remains under the jurisdiction of the county. As long as you are the owner of the property you can do whatever work you want yourself to the property. However, I would likely hire out most of the work as I don't have the time to complete all of the rehab myself. I have learned my lesson after the first two I have done but will budget for it...

I wouldn't repipe the whole house unless needed.  Usually you will get your failures in elbows.

You might only have a few spots that need to be replaced.

You can just shut all valves off.  Turn water om and go section by section opening g valves and checking for damage.

If you really don't want make a mess you can use an air compressor and fill it with air.  Assess the same way.  

Same procedure for boiler/heating system but perform a separate test on this.

Usually the elbows in runs near the exterior walls break first which actually reliefs other parts of system.

I have seen freeze ups where it was only minor a few elbows here and there.

It really needs to be done on a case by case basis but it seems like your preparedfor the worst but I don't think it will be that bad. 

Pex is the way to go!  I use clamp fittings but if time is money shark bite (push to connect) are great just expensive but the save alot of time!  Plus they are approved for in wall use.  Always check with building dept.. all towns are different.  If you are handy it would be a good idea to find a licensed plumber and explain your experience and see if they will allow you to do the bulk of the labor.

also with pex in visible areas use rigid pex also color code in red/blue (very impressive to people looking at it), for your heat make sure you use one with an oxygen barrier for heating systems.  Good luck!

Originally posted by @Dan Liptak :

I wouldn't repipe the whole house unless needed.  Usually you will get your failures in elbows.

You might only have a few spots that need to be replaced.

You can just shut all valves off.  Turn water om and go section by section opening g valves and checking for damage.

If you really don't want make a mess you can use an air compressor and fill it with air.  Assess the same way.  

Same procedure for boiler/heating system but perform a separate test on this.

Usually the elbows in runs near the exterior walls break first which actually reliefs other parts of system.

I have seen freeze ups where it was only minor a few elbows here and there.

It really needs to be done on a case by case basis but it seems like your preparedfor the worst but I don't think it will be that bad. 

Pex is the way to go!  I use clamp fittings but if time is money shark bite (push to connect) are great just expensive but the save alot of time!  Plus they are approved for in wall use.  Always check with building dept.. all towns are different.  If you are handy it would be a good idea to find a licensed plumber and explain your experience and see if they will allow you to do the bulk of the labor.

also with pex in visible areas use rigid pex also color code in red/blue (very impressive to people looking at it), for your heat make sure you use one with an oxygen barrier for heating systems.  Good luck!

 Thanks for the info, you are right. I actually just made my own pressure test gauge last night for my compressor because this is the second house that i have had these concerns with and I am sure that I will run into them again. I always plan for the worst to be conservative in my numbers... again thanks for your time and input!

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