Buying a Home January 11, 2024

WARNING Inspect Lipstick Flips Before Buying

It is hard to miss all of the Flip/House Makeover shows on television.  Some transformations are incredible, but some seem ‘too good to be true.’  Okay, maybe they are ‘true,’ but are the makeovers good enough to last long-term?

When inventory is tight and newly renovated homes are wooing prospective buyers, you must take a step back and remember that the home you’re hunting for is a long-term investment. While futuristic appliances and gleaming hardwood floors may seduce you into making a quick offer, understand there’s much more to a home than what lies on the surface.

Investors who renovate homes want to maximize their profit as quickly as possible. While many are upstanding, others will cut corners to boost their return. Sometimes, an investor will do a “lipstick flip” on a home renovation. This flip type means fixing up what’s cosmetic and leaving the rest as-is. Paint, flooring, appliances, fixtures –all may get a tune-up. But this doesn’t necessarily consider foundation issues, leaks, plumbing problems, and work performed without permits.

Foundational and mechanical problems are a significant concern, but I want to caution buyers that cosmetic changes must be inspected for quality. A new DIY floor that is installed quickly may present problems. 

Just look at the products’ quality and the renovation details before getting ‘wowed’ by the fresh new paint.

Once buyers close on a home, they’re responsible for the home. This includes issues that may be costly to repair or unsafe for habitation. You must take the necessary steps to protect yourself before signing off. Here are some tips to prevent the headache and heartache of a bad “lipstick flip”:

  • Do not waive the inspection. In addition to the usual areas, inspect exposed wiring in the attic and mold. Include a termite inspection.
  • Ask for a complete list of all work done with receipts for the work. 
  • For all work done, make sure the seller used a licensed contractor.
  • Ensure the work on the home passed inspection and is up to code. Request a copy of the certificate of occupancy.
  • Ask the seller for a current disclosure statement, as required by law.

If the seller balks at these requests, it may be necessary to pass on the home. If issues arise during the inspection, you may change your mind about the house or negotiate for repairs or closing credits, depending on your agent’s advice.

Don’t worry; not all flipped homes are money pits. Prescott has many beautiful homes to offer. As a trusted real estate advisor, I like to ensure my clients don’t get burned! Let us use our years of experience and help you look for your next home (928) 830-6976.