Flipping houses is fun to watch on television. They make it look easy and even when mistakes happen things seem to get wrapped up by the conclusion of the show. While there are some builders that do a great job when renovating a house, as a Home Inspector I get to see everything from scary and wrong to really well done.
I took this photo during an inspection of a Flipper House - a very ambitious project with the most expensive building materials. The electricians, the tile guy and the plumber all followed the plans perfectly. Unfortunately, the plans called for this outlet to be installed in the same location as the faucet. Mistakes like this can be avoided with careful planning and good oversight. A lot of it comes down to the economics of the project, the level of experience of the builder, and whether an architect was used. If the margin is slim, corners can get cut. If the owner wants to save a few bucks and act as their own General Contractor, or hire the builder with the lowest quote, mistakes can be made. Those goofs cost money and time. And if the plans are not done by a professional all bets are off - we'll see safety issues, basic construction principles ignored, and worse.
Flipping works well when the economics are right. A tired home from an estate sale on a block of nice houses can be a great opportunity if the house is acquired at the right price. The comparable homes in the area also need to be considered. If the necessary investments are put into the house, will it be in the range of the value of comparable houses? Or will it require so much in renovation investments that the house will have more money in it than the comps? These are the decisions that Flippers have to make. Quality home inspections contribute enormously to the process. It's not as easy as it looks on television but with the right advisors on board it can be well worth the effort.