Most of us love to see “Just Remodeled” or “Recently Updated” when looking for a home. Who wouldn’t want a brand new looking home at a fraction of the price. They can be easy to fall in love with and think this is your dream home. Just don’t forget to look deeper or you could be getting into a money pit.
Is It All Just Cosmetic?
The first thing to look at with a flip or remodeled home is the age of the major systems. Don’t get blinded by the pretty new paint, a modern kitchen, or the fresh landscaping. If the big systems are beyond their life expectancy you will be replacing them soon.
As a home inspector we also get to see these homes 5 to 10 years after the remodels and flips. We get to see things that the original contractors never get to see. Some contractors think we are nit picking when we call out things that they think are no big deal. They may be right that right now they are not a big deal. But after 5 years it becomes a bigger deal. After 10 years its turned into a bona fide problem that needs to be addressed.
Not the Same Security as an Existing Home
All remodeled homes, flipped homes, and even brand new construction need a little bit of a shakeout period to see how everything is working. There is nothing better than a family living in a home to break in all the plumbing, appliances, and finishes.
With a remodel or with a flip you don’t get that kind of security. There are usually no warranties or guarantees on the work that has been done. Once you own the home it can be tough, maybe even impossible, to get the original contractor back. If the owner did the work themselves you are probably out of luck.
Don’t walk away just because your dream house is a remodel or flip. Pay close attention to the details and look beyond the cosmetics. By being careful you can avoid making an offer on a potential money pit.