In our industry, we deal first hand with many real estate listings that have the headline “completely renovated from top to bottom”. When you’re dealing with a home that is of some age and has gone through a major renovation you need to ask the following questions:
- Were structural alterations done on this property?
- Were the necessary permits pulled.
- Were the renovations done by qualified contractors and licensed tradespeople?
Unfortunately, though, people rarely know what to ask and become mesmerized by nice countertops and some fresh paint.
What are the things to look for when visiting a “Fully renovated” house
The workmanship is one of the tell-tale signs that this is just a fast flip or it’s done by someone who is a true professional. Pay particular attention to the fine details.
- Were they done in a sloppy and rushed manner?
- Are baseboards installed flush with proper finished details?
- Are tile floors uneven or not level in areas?
- Does the drywall finishes have many visible blemishes or imperfections?
- Are cabinets installed poorly with doors or drawers uneven?
Those are some of just the cosmetic details that sometimes go unnoticed when walking through a home. Next time you are viewing a property, pay close attention!
MECHANICAL SYSTEMS NOT COMPLETED BY LICENSED TRADES
A lot of times during the renovation process what will happen is that the contractor or DIYer (Even worse) with limited knowledge in plumbing and electrical, will attempt to complete the work themselves to save money. These defects will go unnoticed to the untrained eye but to a qualified inspector, it will be a red flag of what may be concealed. For example, we often notice incorrect plumbing traps, missing P-Traps, venting issues or DIY materials in use in multiple locations. These are clear indicators that the contractor was doing the work that a licensed trade should be doing.
Electrical work should always be completed by a licensed electrician. Incorrectly wiring in an electrical panel or outdated wiring in an older home could be a very costly mistake resulting in serious injury. All too often we see incorrectly terminated live electrical wiring that could very easily result in electrocution. Typically this will only be identified when covers are removed or with the proper tools. This is the biggest reason why you should never waive a home inspection. Repairs here can be costly.
FLIPS ARE LIPSTICK AND MASCARA
When a home is listed soon after it was purchased you have to call a spade a spade. The purchaser is limiting holding time on the home so as to maximize profit. Take note of the materials being used in the renovation. Flooring will typically be vinyl as it is cost-efficient. Paint will usually be a neutral colour, kitchens and bathrooms and/or kitchens with usually have a quick refreshing, new tile, paint, etc. If you have a chance to look at the mechanical systems, they will be outdated or nearing the end of their service lives. These items will all be identified on an inspection of the property. It is important to ensure that the inspection is a complete inspection and not a walkthrough. A complete inspection does not cut corners and will systematically address each component of the home in a detailed report. Take your time and review the report in its entirety as it not only references defects but maintenance items, updates and improvements a home should have over time. Purchasing a home is the largest investment of your life. Think of your home like your vehicle. You have to ensure your car is safe to drive on the road, so your home should be safe to live in.