The world holds two kinds of home "Flippers" – the honest and the dishonest. Unfortunately, you don't always know which is which, so proceed with caution.
Honest flippers are buying and renovating homes that need cosmetic upgrades and structural or systems repairs that can actually be accomplished. For instance, the house might need a new furnace, a new roof, or a new sub-floor in a kitchen or bath.
They're making those repairs and upgrades before putting the house back on the market.
Dishonest flippers buy homes that need much more – and instead of repairing the problems, they're covering them up. Those problems include rotting wood, termite infestations, and mold.
How can you protect yourself? Two ways:
First, talk it over with your agent. He or she may have seen the house before the problems were either repaired or concealed. Your agent may also have access to listing information from before the flipper purchased the house. In addition, he or she may know if that flipper has a reputation for good work – or not.
Next, hire the best home inspector in the area, and make sure that he or she knows the house is a flip.
Home inspectors today have tools that can almost see through walls. In addition, they know how to look for tell-tale signs that something isn't quite right – and they can spot a cover-up.
Your flipped house could be an incredible find or an incredible nightmare. So do look, but take precautions.