Flipped properties aren’t always what they appear to be.

Let’s face it, the real estate market in Central Iowa is on fire right now. Homes are flying off the shelves in a matter of days, and buyers are feeling rushed to get their offers in.  Real estate investors are also getting in on the action, buying up project homes and putting some lipstick on them. Some investors do a great job with their flips, taking the appropriate measures like pulling permits and having installations done by professionals. On the other hand, there are investors who are more DIY oriented, leaving much to be desired when all said and done.


There are a few things you can do to protect yourself as a home buyer:

  1. Hire an experienced realtor. The best part about buying a home with a realtor, is it’s FREE for you. A well rounded realtor can help point out defects as you’re touring properties, and ultimately point you in the right direction.
  2. If you’re in the City of Des Moines jurisdiction, you can easily check for a history of permits by going HERE. Simply type in the address of the home and it will display all the permits pulled on the property. Permits are a good thing as this means a city inspector was on site at various times to make sure the installation was done in accordance with the adopted codes. If you see a new electric panel, water heater, deck on the property and want to make sure it was done in compliance with today’s standards. Check for permits!
  3. Get a home inspection.  A qualified home inspector will be able to identify amateur installations and list defects for you in a report. A good home inspector will also provide you with on-site training and maintenance tips as well. It’s important for a home owner to know where the main water and gas shut-offs are, how to find their furnace filter, among many other things.
  4. Call in a qualified professional. Many times home inspectors will refer you to various trades for repairs. These professionals can review the specific system in more detail, and provide you cost estimates associated with the repairs. This is an important bargaining tool for you as the home buyer because you can ask the seller to either fix these items, or discount your offer price to make up for the costs associated with fixing the defects.

All of this can be a bit overwhelming with the market moving as fast as it is.

Having 10 days to get a home inspection and repair quotes is a tight window, but you should make every effort to find out as much as possible about your home during this time. It’s your only chance to learn about the property before you purchase it, and it’s definitely worth your time and money.

I have inspected a lot of flipped homes lately and am surprised how many are done under the supervision of amateurs. It takes an extensive amount of time to review these homes, and more often than not, there is a hefty list of defects requiring multiple trades to pay a visit. If you have any questions about a flipped home or would like a home inspection, feel free to give us a call and we will be glad to assist you.

Best of luck on your journey of home ownership.

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