Welcome back to the ultimate quick inspection checklist for your potential flips! This is a speedy guide to help you make the most of every tour through a home you think might make a good flip. While you will absolutely want to hire an inspector for any finalist property, you can save yourself the money and time by discovering if a property rules itself out early on simply by remembering to check a few key factors with each tour. Last time we got up to nine points and without further ado, we bring you part two.
10) Look for Cracks
Consider how much you're willing to repair when looking through each home. Cracks in the walls are particularly problematic because they can indicate a serious structural problem something that occurred when the house settled, or a sign of past damage. Either way, you may wind up replacing the drywall to fix the crack and could discover something more worrisome behind it. Make note of any cracks you identify and don't forget to look up at the ceiling.
11) Level Doorways
You might actually want to bring a small level with you in a pocket, one of those meters with the bubble in a tube of water. Set the level on top of each doorframe to see if it's even. If the bubble is in the center than everything's fine. If the bubble is off-center and the doors appear to be hanging at an uneven angle, this could indicate a cracked and slipping foundation.
12) Turn On the Burners
Most homes are bought and sold with the stoves left in place and this is true of your flips as well. Unless you've already resolved to cover a new stove, check the unit in place. Turn on all the burners and check their responsiveness. A burner that won't light will mean that you'll need to replace the stove either way or risk taking a hit to your final price for non-working appliances.
13) Flush the Toilets
The plumbing of a home, especially one that has fallen into disrepair, is often the clearest sign of it's true health. Often when a residence is left empty for a while and is suddenly full of people, that's when the plumbing breaks. You can at least get an early impression of the state of the pipes by flushing all the toilets as you tour and inspecting their drain and refill time. Also, listen for any unnerving sounds during this process.
14) Sound Check
Another measure of a home's value is how soundproof it is both through exterior and interior walls. With the help of the guiding real estate agent, a friend, or a small music playing speaker, test the sound transmission from room to room with doors open and closed. This will give you an idea of the insulation in the interior walls and how much privacy residents in the home can expect.
15) Inspect the Wall Base Molding
You can almost always tell how well a home has been cleaned and cared for by the state of the wall base moldings. The strip of wood or plastic along the bottom of the wall, often holding the edges of the floor in place, are surprisingly revealing. Dirty, chipped, and badly scuffed wall bases indicate a home that's been mistreated while spotless new wall bases show that either someone has taken good care of the home or at least thought to replace the old scuffed ones before putting the house on the market.
16) Step Lightly
The next thing to look into is the floorboards, and not just on the hard floors. Walk over the carpets, tiles, and laminate carefully, bouncing on the balls of your feet to see if you can detect a wobble or a squeak. While this may not be a structural problem, loose floorboards or tiles is worth remembering when you're making a renovation plan.
17) Sponge Test the Paint
The quality of interior paint actually matters a great deal for families, especially those with children and pets. If the walls aren't sealed with a washable gloss, then any sort of mess can permanently stain the walls and cause a hassle. To tell if the current paint job is durable, do a discreet spot test with a damp sponge. If the soft side of the sponge comes away with paint flecks, you will need to repaint one way or another.
Choosing the right flip is all about finding an opportunity that fits perfectly into your renovating capabilities and your available budget. Make sure you know what you're dealing with before committing to a purchase. With this quick checklist, you can determine if a property is worth calling the inspector or should be left for a more ambitious flipper.
For more flipping tips and tricks, contact us today!
When choosing to invest in a flip, there are several layers of investigation involved in every purchase. Flipping is a delicate process because on one hand, you are looking for crummy houses that no one else finds to be of significant value. On the other hand, you don't want to get stuck with a bigger renovation project then you're prepared to handle. Every flipper has their depth ranging from a coat of and new appliances to full interior redesign, sometimes of buildings that weren't even homes to start with. When looking into a new property and wondering if you should invest, make the most of your tour through the home and run down a checklist of performance and structural things to look out for. If the home fails at this stage, then there's no purpose in paying for a professional inspector. If it passes, then the inspection is worth the extra investment to get a full picture of the project ahead of you.
1) Try the Doors and Windows
The state of the doors and windows in a home often can't be assessed simply by looking at them. Even if the frames look to be in good shape and fit snugly, we advise opening and closing every door and window you can find. This will tell you if there are windows that stick and can reveal dangerously hidden disrepair in terms of doors that won't open easily or windows that have been jammed shut.
2) Light in the Attic
Take a moment to climb into the attic. You don't have to go far, just enough to see how it looks during a sunny part of the day. If light is coming in through the roof, you may have to deal with some serious roof repair expenses as part of any renovation plan. If not, check for signs of dampness or soft boards which could indicate a roof leak.
3) Run the Taps
The quality of the water in a home matters a great deal to both your experience flipping it and your ability to resell. Make sure to run several of the taps. Check the color, taste, and how long it takes for the water to heat up.
4) Look Under the Sinks
Under each sink is a collection of plumbing which can reveal the actual state of repairs in a home. New mis-matched pieces shows an active if DIY handyman while old rusty parts that shake when tapped show dangerous signs of age and disrepair. Dampness may also reveal a leaking problem.
5) Check for Mold
Mold in a home can be anywhere but the walls and floors are always the most suspect. Keep an eye out for wallpaper and, in general, plan to remove any wallpaper you find. When looking for mold, trust your nose and instincts. Look for places water could pool or gather and check under carpets wherever possible.
6) Sagging Roof
A sagging roof can be seen from the outside of the house as ridges that fall lower in the middle than at the corners. This sag is a clear indication of structural decay and you may be looking at massive roof repairs or even an entirely new roof installation. However, sagging doesn't necessarily mean a leak so it may be a longer term problem and worth considering.
7) Read the Water Heater
Don't just take a look at the water heater and judge it by the grime, actually read what's written on the labels and repair notes. This will tell you the age, make, and model of the unit and depending on the practices of the last handyman, it might even print the date of the most recent repair.
8) Try the Lights and Fuse Box
Flip every lightswitch and dimmer knob you can find in the house to see what it does and if it works. While not every home will have all the light bulbs in place, this can give you an idea of the state of the wiring. Take a look at the fuse box as well to ensure it's not a dangerous mess.
9) Test the Outlets
One of the most useful if somewhat silly-looking tests you can do in a potential flip is to carry around a small lamp or device to plug into each outlet. If the lamp lights up, the outlet is good. If it doesn't, you're looking at an incomplete wiring job or something wrong behind the walls.
This is only the first half of the checklist. Stay tuned and contact us for more detailed information on how to find a great flip!
The housing market has always flowed with the whims of the current buyers and the most market-savvy flippers know which features will sell a house faster this year as opposed to last year and which features seem to be timelessly appealing to any family looking for a new home. Lately, one particular trend has caught the public's fancy. Energy efficiency. From energy star rated insulation and weatherproofing to solar panels on the roof, the more energy efficient (and obviously so), the more appealing a home becomes to the modern buyer. If you want to not only flip a home fast but for a much higher value than the structure itself might warrant, all you have to do is appealingly lower the power bill by incorporating energy efficient features into your flip design plan. Not sure where to start? Here are four desirable energy efficient additions that will work for almost any flip.
1) New Windows and Weather Stripping
The quality of windows is one of the most important factors to the energy efficiency of a home, and they're often overlooked as long as they keep the rain out. However, the window's actual capability of keeping AC or heat inside the home rather than leaking into the neighborhood can be invisibly compromised. Check the seal on the windows and if they're double-paned, look for signs that the insulating gas-seal has been broken. If the windows aren't perfectly sealed, replace them with upgraded, energy-star approved windows. New windows or not, make sure to install new weather stripping to ensure the windows seal completely when closed.
2) Install Solar Panels - Credit or Net-Zero
Everyone is going crazy for solar panels for a variety of reasons. Whether they're prepper-inclined or just want to save money on the power bill. Solar panels are a lot easier and less expensive to install than the big home installation companies want you to think they are. All you need to budget for are a few solar panels, an inverter, charge controller, and a grid-tie or battery bank. Most states offer a solar credit system that gives power bill discounts for grid-tied solar generation.
If, on the other hand, you're renovating a small home (or have a big solar budget and a lot of roof space) you can also use batteries and a little creative electrician work to make the home self-supporting, able to generate as much power as it needs with enough batteries to last overnight and through rainy days.
3) Energy Efficient Appliances
If the appliances that came with the house are old, they're probably also inefficient. For only a few thousand of your renovation budget, you can significantly upgrade the quality of life in the home, as well as the look and feel of the kitchen and utility areas, simply by purchasing new energy-efficient appliances. These will not only spruce up the place and de-emphasize the age of the building, it will also lower every single future power bill, including your own while you renovate.
4) Extra Insulation
Never assume the quality of a home's insulation until you've inspected it. In some cases, there might be room for insulation but the builders never put it in, or some previous tenant removed it, or there is insulation but it's decayed badly since the home was built. However, the quality and quantity of insulation between the walls and in the attic significantly determine the quality of life in a home, preventing the unwanted transferrence of both heat and sound through the walls. Be prepared to completely replace or simply bolster the insulation with modern, efficient, and remarkably inexpensive materials.
Energy efficiency is the new hot trend that most home buyers are looking for and everyone will be happy to have. Tackle a new flipping project with insulation, weather stripping, and efficient appliances in mind. But most of all, consider solar panels. Not only are they an attractive addition to any roof and highly popular, they are also a permanent increase to the value of the home and can reduce or eliminate power bills for decades. For more helpful flipping tips, contact us today!
Foundational issues are either a good sign or a bad sign, depending on what you're interested in as a property investment. If you know how to fix foundational damage on a budget, then getting a private loan for a home most major lenders wouldn't trust can be a gold mine. If you prefer a solid foundation for your investment properties, knowing the signs can help you walk away from a bad deal. Either way, it's better to know the signs before you sign.
Signs of a Shifting Foundation
Knowing exactly what you're buying is important in real estate investing, and not noticing a foundation problem can be a costly mistake. But if you're in the business of finding homes with foundation problems you can solve but other investors and banks won't touch, private lending is the perfect solution. Go to Center Street Lending here to get started.
The vast majority of flipping projects focus on the single-family home. Whether you're starting with a cute little ranch house, an abandoned gem in the suburbs or an old barn you're renovating into a spacious home, these are all stand-alone buildings meant to house one family or group of people living together. However, with the housing market this tight, finding a good single family home to flip may be more trouble than it's worth, especially if you've already looked at or flipped most of the prospects in your region. But what about condos and apartments?
Single-family flats that exist in larger multi-unit buildings may be predominantly rented, but they are also bought and sold individually on the housing market all the time, especially in high-demand areas like downtown anywhere. Renovating these often aging units can be an incredibly rewarding venture, but like any new type of project, flipping a flat requires a few special considerations to remember.
1) How Deep is the Deed?
This is the first and most important thing to find out about any apartment or condo that you're considering buying to flip. Because owning a flat only directly relates to the interior of the unit and possibly the patio/balcony, there are varying 'depths' at which you're able to make changes, and you'll want a property that can accommodate your renovation plans. The most restrictive deeds allow you to make no structural changes, even to emplacements like the kitchen island or interior walls. The least restrictive deeds let you do whatever you want as long as you don't punch through into another property. Just make sure you know what the rules are before you start.
2) Age and Health of the Property
When it comes to flats, the most tempting flips may also be too risky. If the building is ancient and crumbling, if the pipes are weak, or the deed too restrictive to safely replace decaying materials, the location may not be worth your trouble. There's also the risk in delicate properties that your work will damage someone else's flat, massively increasing the costs of your project. Just as you would for a single-family home, make sure to get a full inspection of the health of the building as well as the unit you're looking into and determine if it's safe to do your thing.
3) Temporarily Joining the Owner's Association
Condo owner's associations are a lot like the HOA's you're familiar with, except that rather than simply having to be aware of redecoration rules, you're now (at least temporarily) a part-owner of the entire building. Be very careful. There are often dues and if the owner's association happens to levy money to pay for shared area (spa, gym, grounds, building exterior) maintenance and improvements, you'll be on the hook just like all the other owners. You may also be called on to vote on issues you know and care nothing about. It may be in your best interest to get on their good side during the buying process and stay aware of current goings-on rather than just minding your own business as usual.
4) Keeping the Noise Down
In a normal home, you usually have at least a little bit of buffer space between your renovation efforts and the neighbors trying to handle a normal school and job lifestyle. Throughout the project, you'll be subject to apartment courtesy rules because the walls, floors, and ceiling may or may not be shared with other tenants and even non-thumping sounds carry better through shared surfaces. Keep your loud activities to acceptable daylight hours and, if you like working at night, find quieter things to do like repainting, organizing, or laying things out for the morning when everyone else goes to work.
5) Parking and Material Delivery
Finally, not all flats have convenient parking and delivery options. In fact, many are notorious for limited parking, narrow staircases, and other limitations to getting your renovation materials into the unit in the first place, much less clearing out when you're done. While most flippers live by the code of 'Where there's a Will, there's a Way", it's worth considering exactly how much will it'll take to get your materials into and out of the flat.
There are a lot of aging condo and apartment buildings out there with individual units for sale that could use a little professional TLC. If you're looking for a new profitable flipping opportunity, don't forget to check out the flats for sale in your region. For more helpful flip tips, contact us today!