Beware of House Flippers in Virginia Beach

“A fool and their money are soon parted.” -Thomas Tusser in Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie, 1573

There are many “great deals” in the housing market in today’s economy.   But how do you protect yourself against professional “house flippers” who may be unscrupulous?   These professionals buy a distressed property for a low price, apply some cosmetic fixes and then sell it for at a much higher price.  This is known as “Flipping a House”.  The unsuspecting new buyer may be buying a home with many problems that will be very costly to fix.

As a home buyer, to protect your interests, you need a professional home inspector that sees this game on a daily basis.  You need Brad Brinke.

Brad Brinke of Pro Craft Inspection Services brought us the following cautionary tale:

“I am all for free trade and capitalism.  I appreciate that a home can be bought in very rough condition and then renovated for a profit.  What I do not appreciate is what I see from 90% of flipped properties.  The sad part is that most of these flippers know the tricks and trades of the business and would rather hide some problems than deal with them.  This may seem harsh but it is a problem I see on a weekly basis.  The home I inspected today was a “cute remodel”, thats code for “flipper special”.  The problem with the home today is that I was doing an inspection for a young couple that walked from another “flip” that I had inspected.  I hoped and hoped that today would be smoother, however, my hopes were dashed when I realized that wood rot was covered with beautiful trim at the back door.

As we moved inside, I discovered that not only did the kitchen sink leak, every single sink drain in the home leaked.  Some leaked like the drain was not even there and some leaked in two spots!

The damper on the chimney was painted shut, it looked great though.

The best part of the whole inspection was that the flipper was onsite.  When I mentioned that some roof damage had been covered up, he immediately spoke up and said “we did not even go on the roof”! The moral of this story is that no matter how nice a flipped home looks, no matter how shiny the appliances are, do not be drawn into the light.  I am not saying that you should not consider buying a flipped property because there are companies out there doing it right.  Always ask for a home inspection on any property and be very, very aware when the listing says “cute remodel” or “like new!” 

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