House Flipper Fails

 We've all seen it, the listing that says they rehabbed, remodeled , or some similar verbiage. The listing is also accompanied with a bunch of pictures. Unfortunately when you get there things look diffferent.
I often get disappointed at the wide disparity of what they promise and what is actually the reality of the home.
So I wanted to go through a basic rundown of the most common flipper fails I've seen whilst inspecting Chicagoland properties rehabbed by some unknown crew of yahoos.

First off, It's mostly cosmetic "lipstick" kinda work . There's going to be some fresh paint, some new ceramic tile,  maybe some new flooring, and by new flooring it's almost always a cheap wood look laminate style flooring or a cheap boring color of carpeting. The walls might be painted white or gray or something very generic. 

One of the first issues or problems I've come across is that the major systems of the home are ignored covered up or cheaply addressed without any real change. Plumbing, Electric, heating & cooling systems.

The online listing is supiciously void of ages / years/ dates. 
Furnace is 15 years old , AC compressor older and about to fail at any moment -but if they do work "ok" they run inefficiently.

Plumbing is something that they don't want to spend the money on for a flip.  Instead of replacing the old and leaky plumbing you'll see some patchwork here and there may be some updated copper piping in very limited runs and mostly limited to the bathroom and kitchen areas. 

You can tell a professional did not do the work when they use accordion style flexible connections instead of proper sink drains or may have drain plumbing that pitches upward which of course will lead to a clog. Of course they're not going to take care of the major issues such as checking the waste pipe from the house to Street. Most inspectors will quickly notice plumbing installations that appeared to have been done with the assistance of a YouTube video, but with terrible results like heaps of caked on silicone at joints and yep look, it still leaks. Or they use cheater venting connection instead of understanding how to tie in the plumbing with the homes plumbing vent system. There are multiple shortcuts that might end up as very costly problems including the potential to have leaks in the walls or ceilings that might start to draw biological growth such as molds. If they are especially froggy they might have slapped on drywall on top of the plaster &  it might be a long time before you even see the leak come through and there would be at a lot of damage. Galvanised water piping can be on its way out, as it rusts out from the inside -you see leaks at threaded connections. There is so much that can go wrong if they don't properly address plumbing system in a home. Old water heaters can fail but more often i find unsafe venting of the flue and back drafting, that allows carbon monoxide into your air. Unsafe. 

Then you have the electrical system. Most of the time the so-called rehabbers are not skilled enough to even deal with any needed electrical updates and they will do stupid things,  like: paint over receptacles which is very annoying, ignore super old ungrounded outlets. More so often I will find miswired receptacles they put in backwards, for example ; hot or "live" wire connected to the neutral .  Sometimes they won't have a proper ground connection. Sometimes they are loose. I find nonmetallic sheathed wiring installed an a very haphazard way , most cities won't allow it legally as per local regulations.  Electrical issues are the most scary to me because they can cause a fire - which might which may result in someone getting hurt or dying. So that's why I get especially annoyed when I see signs of do it yourself wiring , like improper connections and cheap workmanship whether it's in the panel or at the outlet receptacles.

Something I find most often in the attics is that there isn't any new insulation, most homes have inadequate insulation; often losing heated air and energy through the roof, literally. Couple that with poorly done lighting installations, such as canned lighting and you can see the light going through directly into the attic space & just think; at all the heated air you just paid for is escaping through roof vents. Sometimes you will see the bathroom exhaust fans pointed to the direction of the roof vent but not having its own exhaust vent to the exterior... which means it will build up moisture in the attic at the wood structure and possibly allow mold to form. 

Sometimes, but more often than I want to find, I will see that the attic access was covered up by rehabbers.  Now you can not see what the attic aka roof structure or the insulation/ ventilation conditions. The new roof  is the latest of multiple layers of crappy roofing jobs by a crew that cleary didnt care, including the awful tar / caulk patchwork around roof  penetrations that will not last long. 1 layer of shingles is recommended limit. 2 layers is actually pushing it, too heavy and doesnt usually last anyway.
This is just a general collection of some of the flipper home failures I see with focus on mostly the major systems, I will also find various shortcuts done to the cosmetic work, or just a lack of skills showing in the workmanship. The low skilled worker will do everything on the cheap, with cheap materials, and the labor is cheap too.
So before you make an offer on that home that is claimed to be rehab or remodel you should really ask the listing agent or your agent to provide the name of the person or persons that did the work or the company name and whether there's warranty information. Because while there are very good rehabbers/ remodelers out there - most sellers would rather find a cheaper way & a lot of these flipped homes around cook County & the Chicago region are just a collection of cheats and cheap tricks. Caveat emptor , buyer beware  - GET THE HOME INSPECTED -  protect your investment


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