Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties Real Estate. Tips for home buyers, home sellers by Gita Bantwal,Realtor at Re/Max Centre Realtors.: What should buyers look for when buying a flipped house .

What should buyers look for when buying a flipped house .

There are investors who buy homes that need TLC for low prices and fix them up and sell them for a  profit in short time.

Some of these investors do the work themselves  and some hire contractors. The homes can be a great bargain sometimes for buyers who do not have resources to fix homes and the homes may be listed at a low price compared to other homes in the area. However it is important for buyers to do due diligence.

The seller may not be aware of defects if it was purchased from a bank at foreclosure auction. Some sellers only do cosmetic repairs. Sometimes repairs may not have been done upto code and may not have permits.

The most important thing to do when you buy a home is to get a home inspection .

Ask the seller to show you permits for all work that was done.

Ask if there is any warranty for any of the work that was done.

Get title insurance and make sure there are no mechanics liens.

There are some buyers who see a house with new paint and new carpet and new floor and think everything is new and want to make an offer on the house right away. They overlook a house in the same community that has new heater, airconditioner , roof and windows if the house needs paint and new carpet.

Buyers should get estimates for all the things they would need to do when they buy a house and then decide on a house and not base it just on paint and carpet.

When you buy a flipped house, get a home inspection. You may also want to talk to the neighbors.

Yes there are good opportunities for buyers and you can sometimes  buy a house that is ready to move into.







When you read about events please check the year for the event as some people find information a year later and think it is for that year. . The posts remain online even after the event.

Gita Bantwal is a Realtor with RE/MAX Centre Realtors in Bucks County, a Northern suburb of Philadelphia. You can view 1000s of listings on her web site


She can be reached at 215-343-8200x124 or direct 215-275-8491 or via email


 Gita specializes in Active adult communities and is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. She holds the ABR designation (Accredited Buyers Representative) and specializes in selling to first time buyers as well as move up buyers.Gita also hold the CRS designation , Certified Residential Specialist and the CDPE designation as well. Information about real estate market is deemed to be correct but is subject to errors and omissions and should be verified independently.. Opinion expressed by me or others  in my post and comments is not to be construed to be  legal advice.I am licensed in Pa. Check real estate laws in your state as they may be different than in Pa.



Comment balloon 35 commentsGita Bantwal • September 29 2013 07:54AM


Great Post. I could not agree more! Flipped homes are made to be pretty, but not always functional.

Posted by Juan Jimenez, The Richmond Home Inspector (A House on a Rock Home Inspections LLC) about 5 years ago

One thing for sure.  These homes SELL.  Why do they sell?  Because they're PRETTY.

Existing home owner/sellers would be wise to take a look at this competition.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Congrats on the feature Gita!  you deserve it!  I hope you have a happy Sunday!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 5 years ago

Inspection is key... check out the previous listing photos from when the investor bought it to get more clues to previous condition. Nice article! 

Posted by Jay O'Brien, Kansas City : Social Media Guy (RE/MAX Revolution) about 5 years ago

Gita-  This is great advice.  I just sold a home for a client who originally purchased from a flipper and the proper permits were not pulle wreaking havoc on the sale.  Get a home inspection and check permits!

Posted by Kevin Vitali, Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers (EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales) about 5 years ago

New and shiny features of a house for flip can be deceiving. This is clearl a case where the buyer should dig deep in their due diligence.  Not all flippers are cut from the same cloth.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) about 5 years ago
As with any home purchase, it is wise to get an experienced home inspector to thoroughly go through the house, even if it looks "new". Some home flippers are very good at what they do and will go above and beyond when it comes to doing a good job. They are in it for the long haul and have a reputation to protect. Then there are those that are in it to make a quick buck and will cut corners to get the job done. Unfortunately this could be at the expense of an unsuspecting end buyer.
Posted by Frank Nolan, Jump and the net will appear (Nolan Realty Team / Pacific home Brokers) about 5 years ago

Juan, They look great even if they are vacant .

Lenn, I hope sellers will read this and learn from it.

Kristin, You too have a good day.

Jay, thanks for the tip.


Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 5 years ago

Many times there are no garage door openers and mail box keys on a flipped house.

Posted by Lori Bowers, The Lori Bowers Group about 5 years ago

Look deeper, a layer a of good paint covers a lot. Spme flippers do good woek while other do so so work.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) about 5 years ago

Many foreclosure sales are for suckers who are going to beat the house. The amount of work required to bring it to life is just one of the many problems. title is not guaranteed nor is there recourse for any problems that can arise. The heartache in geeting the home is sometimes only the beginning.

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) about 5 years ago


You're right about the home inspection. Don't be impressed by the glitz...look under the hood to see what you're getting.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 5 years ago

Gita - You give excellent advice for buyers of flipped homes.  I have seen properties that have been flipped which have had excellent workmanship provided, while others were almost a disaster.  You're absolutely right about getting a home inspection.  It is important in all homes sales, but can be especially useful in those which have been flipped.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) about 5 years ago

So glad you mentioned checking on the permits.  There are so many times that someone buys a house that is partially or fully rehabed without permits.  Later, when you finish the rehab, and find out from the department of building and safety that nothing was permitted.  Painful.  Glad you mentioned that one.

Posted by Jay & Michelle Lieberman, Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos (Keller Williams World Class) about 5 years ago

YES!  Check on all permits!  We have a company that does Building Permit Packages and researches EVERYTHING about the subject property. I've had packages that went back to hand written entries and who passed away of the 4 siblings.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) about 5 years ago

Gits, i have seen too many flippers that look great at first glance but are a maze of shoddy workmanship. Hire an inspector!

Posted by Helen and Larry Prier- Re-Max Gateway - Residential Real Estate, Anacortes & surrounding Skagit & Island Counties (RE-MAX Gateway- Residential Real Estate Sales) about 5 years ago

Excelent advice!  Flip properties can be a good deal for the buyer, but they must be inspected MUCH more carefully than purchases from a seller who has lived in the house.  Inspections and title insurance should never be considered optional, but especially in flip situations.  

Posted by Laurie Martinez, South Orange County Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties) about 5 years ago

Good post.  To many times buyers are swayed by the granite and new carpet without understanding the 15 year old roof or furnace are going to cost them far more to replace than the cosmetic items.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 5 years ago

Watch out for the proverbial "Lipstick on a Pig".  Paint and spackle and shiny new door knobs can distract from serious issues, such as roof, wiring, electric, and HVAC.   Get an Inspection!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Flipped houses can have their issues and it would be far better sometimes to take the house that needs paint and carpets but the rest of the house is sound

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 5 years ago

I always insist on an Inspection, Warranty, and Title Search, even if NOT flipped. the part about talking to the neighbors is a good ide & tip. THANKS!


Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: / cell: 334-494-7846 (Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330) about 5 years ago

I know the Oklahoma City rehab and resell contractors. We have done a little work with one or two but as a rule we mostrly sell to them. I know of some who can make a house look cute but look a little deeper and it like putting a bandaid on a gapping wound. Some REALTORS® seem to think that if it is a higher end home that has been rehabbed it must be a terrific home for their buyer, but due diligence is the key as always.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 5 years ago

You made some excellent points.  Checking to see whether a warranty was done on the improvements made is a great suggestion!

Posted by Andrew Payne Realtor® Richmond VA Homes For Sale~804-938-5257~, Richmond, VA, Real Estate, SRES®, NAR Green (Coach House Realty) about 5 years ago

Gita-all of your suggestions are good ones and I'd also want to talk to whoever did the repairs, if it wasn't the owner.  Were they licensed contractors, or not, and ask what was NOT done that should have been done.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) about 5 years ago

Hi Gita.  Great advice about getting a home inspection.  The buyer should always get one.

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) about 5 years ago

I work with investors that rehab Chicago foreclosures. I can say with confidence that everyone of them are in it for the long haul and provide a great product....there are however rehabbers in the Chicago area that are in it for a quick buck and most times you can tell when viewing their homes.

I agree with what you said... You should get it inspected just to make sure. 


Great post

Posted by Goran Utvic, We Buy & Sell Chicago Houses Fast (606 Homes LLC | Chicagoland Brokers Inc, Chicago IL 60656) about 5 years ago

This is great advice.  Buying a flipped home isn't a bad thing, but you do need to be careful.  Thanks for the post.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) about 5 years ago

Gita that is very goo advice, many homes on teh market are such as this where they were bought, fixed and no back on the market. I have seen some very good work and pretty poor work. A home inspection is a must and yes, checking permits is also a must. Have a good day

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) about 5 years ago

This is a timely post considering that a high percentage of homes are investor owned. They are not drvien by the love of community either...Caveat on chaep materials is a good awareness

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 5 years ago

Doing some homework on the "flipper" is important. Is this someone who has been doing this for a while or someone for whom this is a first-time project? Then, inspect, inspect, inspect.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) about 5 years ago

One thing I'd add is to ask the flipper to provide copies of all disclosures given when he/she bought the house.  That would include any prior home inspections as well as seller disclosures from the person who lived there before.  A good flipper will usually provide those things.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Is like any house. . a home inspection is a must to protect yoru clients 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) about 5 years ago

Yes, a home inspection is just as critical on a flipped house as it is on new construction or an existing home.  I strongly suggest all buyers get one.


Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, about 5 years ago

The best thing to do is to obtain a home inspection. Also, you can request the seller to disclose the updates made to the home.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) about 5 years ago

I agree, Gita.  It's not that hard to make the surface of lots of items look okay without touching the underlying structure. 

Posted by Elise Harron, Rural Vacant Land and Development Specialist (Dirt Road Real Estate) about 5 years ago