Welcome Back to House Hunting for the New Abode or as this part is titled – HOW NOT TO FLIP A HOUSE.
So far we have learned two rules of house hunting:
RULE #1 – Pictures Lie
RULE #2 – Don’t Get Emotional
Last Sunday, I woke up thinking I can relax, but then the whole quote thing with the first house we made an offer on fell through. Now it was scramble time. The Mrs. found a house that just popped on the market in the neighborhood that she really liked. As it was occupied, our realtor had to make an appointment to see it. Because the price was very good, we decided to make an offer contingent on getting to view the property. The pictures looked good as usual, but they were from about 3 years previous. In the meantime, the place had been rented.
Uh-oh. As a landlord myself, I know the condition renters can leave a house.
Meanwhile, the Mrs. is busy making a list of houses for me to tour on Monday.
On Monday, I looked at the house that had renters and quickly decided against it. Surprisingly, they ended up with multiple bids. Sure glad I got out of that rat race, which leads us to RULE #3 – Bidding Wars Are BAD! In a Buyer’s market, that’s not a problem, but in a Seller’s market, bidding wars are common.
After looking at the train-wreck of a house, it was on to 3 other houses. 2 were obvious no-go’s after just a few minutes of looking. However, the 3rd one was a bit interesting. It was a flipped house and the flipper did excellent work at first glance. Very clean, nice flooring, new paint, new appliances.
Once I was in the kitchen, I naturally always look under the kitchen sink to see if there has been any leakage problems. But what is this? A wire just hanging down over the pipes? And where in the hell is the garbage disposal? Hmmm, time to take a closer look. The refrigerator, albeit new, was a cheap model and had a ding on the front. Okay then, now we are starting to see what is going on with the flip.
I check out the laundry room which is huge and has nice looking freshly painted cabinets. When I open a cabinet up, I can see rust on the hinge and partially painted. The shelves which were supposed to be adjustable have been painted in place. Not good. But still doable, so let’s continue the tour.
The Glassed/Screened porch looks wonderful overlooking a very clean nice swimming pool. But wait! There are no screens in the windows except for one lonely window. Taking a closer look, the screen is dirty, and has some rips in it and looks pretty weathered. Why in the hell did the flipper just not take the screen and throw it away?
Looking at the backyard which was very nicely landscaped with new wooden fencing all the way ….. well almost all the way around. They left about 10 panels of the old fencing. By this time, I had figured out that the flippers had either a solid ceiling to their flip budget or they had run out of money. As they were asking top dollar for the house, I couldn’t help but think what else is just not right with the house. I’m going to keep an eye on the house to see if it does sell and at what price. I’m guessing at least $10,000 less than they asked but probably closer to $20,000 less.
So if you are thinking about flipping a house, for Gawd’s sake, don’t forget the details. Spend a few extra bucks on the necessities. All it takes is one wrong thing and the buyer will naturally start looking very, very close at everything. Too many wrong or cheap ways of doing stuff will lose you the sell.
All in all, Monday was a bust for looking for houses. I had a long day at work followed by traipsing around four houses. At this point, I’m exhausted but knew I had more houses to look at the next day. I’ll post about that day tomorrow.
If you are liking this series, say so in the comments. I’ll be sure to reply, especially if there are any questions.