Hit Or Miss, Flip Or Flop -- Why A Home Inspection Can Help You Avoid Purchasing A Mistake

You've finally found the house of your dreams, but there are two other people who have also fallen in love with the property. Now, you're wondering if you should make your offer for the house more attractive by purchasing it as-is and foregoing a home inspection. But don't do it. Remember, not everything in this world is what it appears as the recent unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner aka Bruce Jenner proves. At first glance, most people would think that the picture of Jenner on Vanity Fair magazine is that of a stunning, older "natural" woman. But as the world knows today, it was of Jenner, a transgender female. And that house you fell in love with? It could be a "flipped" home that has had a lot of cosmetic work done on it to make it appear one way when in reality, the house has underlying issues that might make it unsuitable for your needs. 

The Importance of Home Inspections  

Home buyers sometimes fall in love with a property after taking only a single twirl around a house. Unfortunately, this love is based almost solely on what the home buyer can see and not on the substance of the property. That is one of the reasons why the Toronto Real Estate Board states that getting a home inspection is a very important part of the house purchasing process. And the home inspection process is critical if you are considering purchasing a flipped home. 

Flipped Homes

The term "flipping" a house refers to the practice of buying an inexpensive fixer-upper property and then making renovations and repairs in order to re-sell the home for a profit. Television shows such as "Flip this House" and "Flipping Out" popularized this practice with the general public and convinced many amateurs that they could make a fortune flipping homes. Unfortunately, to make a profit, home flipping often means that:

  • The work performed on a home was completed quickly. Every month that a flipper owns a home means another mortgage payment that they have to pay and, thus, less money that they will make in profit. 
  • A flipper will concentrate on improving the cosmetic appearance of a home rather than making major repairs. To attract buyers, a flipper will add "shiny" touches such as granite counters, but may ignore the fact that the home could really use a new roof. 
  • The quality of the work and products used in the renovation of the home may be poor. A typical flipper will either try to do the work themselves or hire the contractor who gave the lowest bid to do the work. Unfortunately, the flipper may not have the experience or the contractor may not actually be the best qualified to perform the repairs and renovations on the house. 

Don't Skip the Inspection on a Flip

According to CBC News, a buyer should walk through a flipped property with a home inspector and also get a disclosure statement from the flipper that describes any known problems with the house. In truth, however, the flipper may not be aware of any problems with the house as flippers typically only own a property for a very short period of time. So that is another reason why having a home inspection is so important. A home inspector will walk the home, checking its contents carefully from top to bottom, including but not limited to: 

  • The condition of the foundation, basement and roof
  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • Heating and air conditioning systems

Buying a home can be a very emotional experience, so it can be hard to be rational if you've fallen in love with a house. But if you don't want to get stuck with a lemon, it's important to choose wisely. And a part of choosing wisely is getting a home inspection.