How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

   Not all flip houses are problematic. Many of them are legitimate renovations that add both value and life to an older home. But here’s a few things to look out for when evaluating an investor renovated house:

  1. Bullet Deteriorated bathroom tile that has been painted over. Looks good, but the paint will begin to peel shortly after you move in and use the shower several times. Here’s an example below, where the tile has been painted white, and the faucet handles and spigot spray-painted silver.

  2. Bullet New bathroom vanity that is not attached to the wall.

  3. Bullet Goofy handyman plumbing, like this example we saw under the sink at a recent flip house inspection.

  4. Bullet Roof that has been pressure washed to look newer than it is. This cosmetic improvement actually shortens the life of the roof.

  5. Bullet Ancient water heater and air conditioning system.

  6. Bullet Spray paint job on the exterior without any prep of the surfaces.

  7. Bullet All the old 2-slot ungrounded receptacle outlets replaced with new 3-slot receptacles with no ground connection.

  8. Bullet No electric receptacle in the bathroom. Older homes had a receptacle in the base of the light over the sink, but new bathroom light fixtures no longer have them. You end up with a bathroom with no place to plug in anything.

  9. Bullet Refrigerator in kitchen has ice maker, but no water line serving it. Yes, this happens more often than you would expect.

  10. Bullet Older garage door spray painted, but in poor mechanical condition.

  11. Bullet New interior doors, but they won’t latch properly or stay open due to sloppy installation.

  12. Bullet Access opening to the crawl space has been screwed closed and caulked, or blocked-up, to discourage inspectors from checking under the home.

  13. Bullet New flooring installed over rotted or termite-eaten wood subflooring, like the example below, looking up at the subfloor from the crawl space.

  14. Bullet Laminate wood flooring installed too tight with areas of buckling.

  15. Bullet A recently enclosed back porch with no air conditioning vents in the ceiling.

   For your protection, it’s especially important to get a professional home inspection on an investor renovated house. The inspector will delve deeper into the home’s condition, opening the electric panel to examine the wiring, walking the roof, checking out the attic, testing the HVAC and appliances, operating the doors and windows, along with evaluating multiple other components. Find out what’s under all those sparkling new finishes before you buy.

   Talk to the neighbors too. They can tell you about the history of the home, what condition it was in before renovation, and if it remained unoccupied for a long period of time. Then we suggest checking with the local building department to confirm that the repairs and improvements were done under a building permit with a final inspection. Many building departments today have their permit records available online at no charge, while others will respond to a phone call request for a home’s permit history.

   A professionally renovated older house can be both a good buy for you and a profitable investment for the renovator, but not all “flip” houses are as wonderful as they first appear to be.

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  To learn more valuable strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

  1. How can I make sure I don’t get screwed on my home inspection?

  2. Should I trust the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement?

  3. Can I do my own home inspection?

  4. How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a home over a sinkhole?

  5. What makes a house fail the home inspection?

  6. The seller gave me an old home inspection report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector?

  7. Why are expired building permits a problem for both the buyer and seller of a home?   

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

  1. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

  2. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  3. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

  4. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

  5. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

  6. What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property?

  7. What problems should I look when when buying a house that has been moved?

  8. What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

  9. What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

  10. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

 

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More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. Should a home inspection scare you?

  2. What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

  3. Are you licensed and insured?

  4. We looked at the house carefully, and it seems alright. Do we really need a home inspection?

  5. Is a home inspection required?

  6. What is the difference between “character” and a defect in an old house?

  7. Should I be there for the inspection?

  8. What tools do you use for a home inspection?

  9. Is it common for an insurance company to require an inspection?

  10. The seller has to fix everything you find wrong with the house, right?

  11. Can I do my own home inspection?

  12. Is it still possible to do an inspection if there’s no electricity or water?

  13. What’s the difference between a roof inspection and a roofing estimate?

  14. Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

  15. Do inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

  16. What should I look for when buying a former rental house?

  17. What happens at a home inspection?

  18. Does the home inspector also check for termites?

  19. What different types of specialized inspections can I get?

  20. What are the questions a home inspector won’t answer?

  21. What is the difference between a building inspector and a home inspector?

  22. What do I need to know about buying a 1950s house?

  23. What is the difference between a home inspection and a final walkthrough inspection?

  24. Should the seller be at the home inspection?

  25. What is the average lifespan of a house?

  26. What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s home?

  27. Should I use my realtor’s home inspector or choose one myself?

  28. Should I use a contractor or a home inspector to inspect a house I’m buying?

  29. Should I get a home inspection before signing a contract to buy the house?

  30. Can a home inspector do repairs to a house after doing the inspection?

  31. What is a “continuous load path”?

  32. When did the first Florida Building Code (FBC) begin and become effective?

  33. Should I only hire an inspector that is a member of a national association like ASHi, InterNACHI, or NAHI?

  34. What is a “cosmetic” defect in a home inspection?

  35. Where are the funny home inspection pictures?

  36. Should I follow the inspector around during the inspection?

  37. Why do realtors call some home inspectors “deal killers”?

  38. How can I reduce the risk of an expensive surprise when buying a house sight unseen?

  39. Does my home have to be inspected to get insurance?

  40. Who should pay for the home inspection?

  41. Can you do a home inspection in the rain?

  42. What are the most Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) at a home inspection?

  43. What are the common causes of ceiling stains in a house?

  44. What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus wood frame construction?

  45. Should I buy a house that has been remodeled/renovated without building permits or has open permits?

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