If you’ve recently turned on HGTV or opened up a home and garden magazine, you know that everyone is flipping for flipped homes.For the uninitiated out there, a flipped home is a property that was bought by a company or an individual at a low price in an up-and-coming neighborhood and completely remodeled in the hopes that it would turn a profit.
While living in a flipped rental certainly has its benefits (including brand new A/C, plumbing, fixtures, and flooring), it’s important to step into such situations with a little caution. Your landlord is ultimately responsible for any damages or repairs that need to be made to the property, but that doesn’t mean that flips are incapable of flopping. If you’re the one having to deal with the day-to-day consequences of bad craftsmanship, it can potentially turn into a not-so-fun living scenario.
Here are a few things to look out for in order to avoid renting a poorly flipped property:
Windows Painted Shut
One of the main things you’ll notice in a flip is the smell of freshly painted walls. Not only is paint one of the easiest ways to transform a house, but it’s also one of the cheapest makeover items that makes the biggest amount of difference. Unfortunately, fresh paint is often used to hide problems in properties — usually by teams that either didn’t know what they were doing or who were purposely trying to cover something up.
An easy way to gauge the flippers’ experience level is to see if any of the windows have been painted shut. This shows poor workmanship and inattention to important details. If you’ve spotted a window or two that’s impossible to open, don’t be afraid to ask your future landlord some questions about whether or not it can be fixed. It may not be a dealbreaker, but it’s certainly something that desrves your attention.
If your new rental has recently been renovated, you should at least be able to feel secure knowing that all its major issues have been addressed and fixed, including that of water damage. Water damage can be devastating to an apartment or a house and may be a symptom of deeper issues going on behind the walls.
If you spot any signs of water damage on the premises (including the outside), it’s likely that some corners were cut on the way to completing the project.
Just like water damage, a recently renovated home shouldn’t have any major electrical issues. As you do your walkthrough, be sure to test all the outlets and light switches, and make sure that any outlets near water sources are equipped with GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters). You’ll know you have a GFCI outlet is there’s a small reset button on its face.
GFCI outlets will quickly detect short circuits and ground faults, which basically means that you won’t get electrocuted if you accidentally drop your hair dryer into a sink full of water.
Although chipped paint isn’t altogether a huge deal, seeing several areas of chipped paint in a recently flipped house usually indicates that the renovators didn’t pay much attention to detail. This is a huge warning sign, because if they failed to see a pretty obvious spot of chipped paint, you can only imagine what else they might’ve missed.
Depending on the age of the property, chipped paint could also be a potential hazard to your health. If the home was built before 1978, there’s a small chance that the paint could be lead-based, in which case you run the risk of contracting lead poisoning. Symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomach aches, nausea, tiredness, and irritability. Children who have been exposed to lead paint may not exhibit any symptoms, so be sure to get your whole family checked out if you think you’ve been living with old paint.
Again, it’s unreasonable to think that there would be any major plumbing problems in a recently renovated home. Still, you’ll want to check for signs of bad plumbing as you conduct your walkthrough of the property, looking for things like toilets that back up or are difficult to flush, leaky sinks, a washing machine that won’t start, a garbage disposal that won’t drain, or even something as simple as low water pressure.
These are all issues that should have been addressed during the renovation. If any plumbing issues do pop up during your initial walkthrough, understand that you may just be scratching the surface of what’s going wrong.