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Buyer Beware of San Diego House Flippers

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Since the recession, buying and flipping homes is a common practice everywhere.  As a buyer, you should scrutinize anything that has been bought and put back on the market quickly.  Unfortunately, the code enforcement departments do not have the staffing to effectively police an activity that is out of control.

Frequently, house flippers in San Diego do not use professional home remodeling contractors to fix structural issues, but instead will hide it with drywall mud and paint.  It is not unusual for house flippers to do structural work, electrical, plumbing and mechanical without proper building plans or permits.  Chances are, if a realtor or house flipper is cutting corners by not developing construction documents or paying the appropriate city fees, there are other shortcuts in workmanship and potential safety hazards to look out for.

For these reasons, I recommend the following:

  1. Ask the seller or realtor to provide documentation of the permits obtained on the property.
  2. If there are no permits for recent work, the home inspection should be completed by an inspector with structural and building code experience.
  3. Get a monometer test to make sure the floors are level.
  4. Check door jambs and windows for cracks.
  5. Have the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems checked.

Tell Tale Signs:

  1.  The seller is a realtor.
  2.  The home was recently sold and then put back on the market.
  3.  The stucco has been painted.
  4.  There are freshly touched up wall patches.
  5.  Interior doors are short of the standard 6 foot 8 inches.

Buyer beware of San Diego house flippers.  Before you put yourself, family or investment at risk or danger, a little do diligence is required.

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About

Gregg Cantor, a third generation contractor and owner of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel has successfully remodeled thousands of homes in San Diego County. Gregg's is experienced in all phases of construction and home remodeling including design development, project management, best building practices, code requirements, and contract law. He also writes articles for examiner.com and is co-host of The Home Pro Show Saturday's at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on A.M.600 KOGO San Diego. Follow Gregg's posts.


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