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Hello,

I am not an inspector and I don't mean to post this in an environment that is meant for inspectors, but I don't know where else to turn. I am buying my first house (circa 1925) and it has been rehabbed by a flipper. I am a teacher, and the money that is going into this house is basically my life savings, so I am very hesitant as to whether I should pursue this particular house. My offer was accepted for this house, but I still haven't signed the paperwork and handed over the $2500 earnest money that they want. My problem is that I am feeling little bit like the flipper is trying to hide things. (He bought the house in December for $107,000 and the next door neighbor told me that it was a wreck when he bought it, but with the new siding it looks better. ) I will definitely get a professional inspection done before closing, but I know that inspections are non-invasive, so I feel like he could have done things not to code and I will never know until it is too late. What should I do? P.S. If you need more infomration, I took pictures of the house when I was last in there to show my family and posted them on http://picassaweb.google.com/maritzaja8

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I don't think I've slept in a few days worrying about it.

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Link does not work. Flippers hide things from even the very best inspectors. Get an inspection. Get an inspection.

Where in NJ are you located?

Stop the worry and start acting like this is a huge financial transaction! PS: it is!

Repost photos and I am sure you will get comments and advice.

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Originally posted by Les

Link does not work. Flippers hide things from even the very best inspectors. Get an inspection. Get an inspection.

Where in NJ are you located?

Stop the worry and start acting like this is a huge financial transaction! PS: it is!

Repost photos and I am sure you will get comments and advice.

Hi

I just realized that the link should have been: http://www.picasaweb.google.com/maritzaja8

Thank you for responding so quickly.

The house is located in Camden County, but I am in Atlantic County.

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I just checked the link again and it works finally. When you get to the pictures, you will just see a picture of a bathroom. You have to click on the picture to see the rest. Since I had taken the pictures for my family, there are a lot of general pictures, but there are many pictures of the basement in the middle of the rest of the pictures.

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Originally posted by maritzaja

I just checked the link again and it works finally. When you get to the pictures, you will just see a picture of a bathroom. You have to click on the picture to see the rest. Since I had taken the pictures for my family, there are a lot of general pictures, but there are many pictures of the basement in the middle of the rest of the pictures.

The furnace and water heater are antiques. The furnace looks to date back to the 50s-60s. Same with the water heater. Putting in a new water heater is a relatively small job, but installing new HVAC equipment can easily run into five figures.

Even experienced home inspectors have a hard time with "flips." Although there may be some exceptions, "flippers" usually cover up flaws. They're not motivated to fix the house right; they're motivated to fix the house so it will sell quickly.

Beware.

And, maybe it's just me, but I'd advise you not to hire the RE agent's favorite home inspector. As a general rule, the agent "favorites" are motivated to push the deal through. But even the most knowledgeable and honest home inspector in town is likely to miss purposely-hidden defects in a "flip" house.

WJ

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As others have said, be very careful. I have yet to see a flipped home that was done to a consistently high standard. What I almost always see are glitzy highly visible items like appliances and countertops...and plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems that are an absolute train wreck. And I'm not talking starter homes.

A home of that vintage will automatically have "issues" due to age alone.

My advice: Don't fall in love with the charm of the home unless you also understand that older homes necessarily require more maintenance funds -- and you have those funds readily available.

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Dear M,

I kinda glanced at the photos and saw the "same old stuff" that inspectors see in flipped houses. The photo of the floor register is classic because it tells the story of how the work was done, what is covered, housekeeping, electrical etc.

The electrical entrance panel also gives you a few clues.

I would have a nice educational afternoon with you, as your inspector, and you would have a better feeling about your new house. Sixty two photos is enough for a 6hour class on house flipping and how to fool an inspector.

Ask your friends who they would recommend and do not use the Agent's friend.

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I also looked at the pictures; as Les says, the floor register is filled with debris. You can believe the ducts and blower are also caked with dirt.

First, I would call the local building department and find out if permits were taken out and if final inspections were made. Several pictures show windows in stairwells; these should have safety glass.

Another picture shows the basement steps with just a rail, no balusters. Balusters or a wall are required.

You should anticipate replacing the furnace and the water heater; both look ancient.

It also looks like new joists and a post were installed in sections of the basement; why?

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I think that it is ironic to post your question in the "Appreciating Old Homes" forum because the "Flipper" did everything he could to conceal the old house character with vinyl, carpeting, and more vinyl. Most of us have seen this type of work before and can make educated guesses about what is underneath the fresh coverings (not to mention the issues that are visible in the photos).

My guess is that your feelings are correct and you should keep looking.

If you decide to proceed, and you need a list of licensed home inspectors, you can find NJALPHI members that work in your area at:

http://www.njalphi.com/

Use the find an inspector icon.

Good Luck

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Hire the most detailed, nit pickiest, "inspector from hell" that you can find. Ask how long it will take him to do the inspection and how quick he can get to it. Taking longer and waiting longer for a busy inspector are good things. Do not trust the realtors referral unless the realtor loves you more than money and can tell you about several "deals that he has killed."

As others have said, expect some issues with major mechanical systems.

Furnace, A/C, plumbing, electrical and the roof can all be major money pits even when the house has a pretty "wrapper."

Good Luck!

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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Originally posted by maritzaja

I just checked the link again and it works finally. When you get to the pictures, you will just see a picture of a bathroom. You have to click on the picture to see the rest. Since I had taken the pictures for my family, there are a lot of general pictures, but there are many pictures of the basement in the middle of the rest of the pictures.

The furnace and water heater are antiques. The furnace looks to date back to the 50s-60s. Same with the water heater. Putting in a new water heater is a relatively small job, but installing new HVAC equipment can easily run into five figures.

WJ

Everything Walter said, but I would like to add that with the visible rust on the furnace front they probably had a leaking humidifier at some distant point. I would normally just tell my client to replace that furnace. Short of getting the seller to replace it ask him for a written statement from the service company that they have inspected the heat exchanger and it is not cracked or rusted. Or, hire your own guy which is always better.

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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are all wonderful, and you have helped to realize that my instincts were correct. Since I now know that if I choose to continue in the process with this house I will have to get someone who is extremely detailed, and because you have now made me realize that using the inspector suggested by the realtor is not a great idea, I was wondering if any of you had suggestions for anyone who inspects houses in the southern NJ/Philadelphia area. I trust all of you a lot more than my realtor. (Even if I don't go forward with this house, which is probably going to be the case, I will still need a good inspector that I can trust.)

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Originally posted by maritzaja

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are all wonderful, and you have helped to realize that my instincts were correct. Since I now know that if I choose to continue in the process with this house I will have to get someone who is extremely detailed, and because you have now made me realize that using the inspector suggested by the realtor is not a great idea, I was wondering if any of you had suggestions for anyone who inspects houses in the southern NJ/Philadelphia area. I trust all of you a lot more than my realtor. (Even if I don't go forward with this house, which is probably going to be the case, I will still need a good inspector that I can trust.)

Did you read post #11 above?
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Originally posted by maritzaja

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are all wonderful, and you have helped to realize that my instincts were correct. Since I now know that if I choose to continue in the process with this house I will have to get someone who is extremely detailed, and because you have now made me realize that using the inspector suggested by the realtor is not a great idea, I was wondering if any of you had suggestions for anyone who inspects houses in the southern NJ/Philadelphia area. I trust all of you a lot more than my realtor. (Even if I don't go forward with this house, which is probably going to be the case, I will still need a good inspector that I can trust.)

I would say Bill Kibbel, David Goldstein or Ken Salvo, Ken might be too far away but he plays a mean banjo!

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I didn't see it mentioned but the garage roof is sagging at the ridge and the side wall is bowed out - indicates overloaded framing.

In my experience, many flipped homes that I inspect come back off the market or are re-listed "as is" after my inspection. Sellers just have no money left over to make the repairs that are still needed.

People see these TV shows and think flipping is for them. They have absolutely no idea what they're getting into when they take on these projects and usually will grossly under-estimate the work that is needed.

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