For house flippers and real estate investors there is no ‘off season’ per se. Although the real estate market may ebb and flow seasonally in your area depending on weather, school schedules and other factors, you are likely on the lookout for new investment opportunities all the time. And the current fall season is no exception – but there are some things to watch out for as the golden leaves fall.
Keep in mind that most home owners are looking to sell in the peak season for the area. But for areas that are going to start battling blistery temperatures; the fall is probably not the prime time to list their home. This could indicate a good deal is to be had because they may have another reason really motivating their move to sell now. Talk to their Realtor and find out what the situation is and then use that intelligence to your advantage to snag a great deal.
The fall weather conditions itself can also come into play when shopping for a diamond in the rough. After all – if you are not planning to completely rip off the roof with winter snow coming soon then be sure your home inspection dusts off all the leaves and takes a good look underneath.
Fireplaces are another thing to check out thoroughly as they can become a costly headache to repair and/or replace if needed. They are a great selling feature- particularly in the chilly fall temps but if the chimney is cracked, leaking, clogged, Etc. you’ll have a much more expensive feature on your hands then you bargained for.
With cooling temperatures comes the need to crank up the heat. And that’s exactly what you should do with your home inspector when you evaluate a property in the fall. Crank the head and the AC and ensure they both work well. You can also walk around and check for bad insulation, foundation cracks or other leaks in windows or doors to note on your report. The more you can come back to the sellers with – the cheaper you can get the house for. You may be planning to fix all that anyway – but they don’t know that, right?
Next, make sure the home is well water proofed. If you’re not lucky enough to get rain try hosing down the windows, doors and over the roof and look for leaks. Water damage is a scary phrase for most home owners and will be a good negotiating point to get the price down even more. And often, water damage may be hidden under a coat of fresh paint so finding an actual leak may be the only way to identify a problem.
Finally check if the home is in a flood plain and find out if the area has ever flooded. This is something that is easy to overlook since as an investor you’re not planning to live there anyway – but the people you sell to will look into it. This could cost you valuable time to find a buyer willing to take the risk when trying to flip the property.
Fall is a beautiful time to stage and sell a newly refreshed home – just make sure the ones you buy are worth every penny before you sign on the dotted line.