Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Really, Really Bad Flip: aka the Little Farm of Horrors

Our kids just bought a flip.  And it's a really, really bad one.  The kind that makes me cringe and want to shout to people - I don't flip houses!  I renovate them.  Because truth be told, that's what most people think about house flipping.

So I have a classification system for house flipping:

1)  Reno Done Right - a full renovation to modernize an older home - leaving antique qualities in place, but providing modern amenities (I'd like to think that's SoPo Cottage!)
2) Fluff and Buff - updating the easy to see elements (say tile work and refinishing floors), but not addressing the infrastructure.  Lots of the TV shows are in this category.
3)  Buyer Beware - as in 'we don't need no stinkin' permits' .  Poor quality - no focus on safety or integrity.

They bought a Buyer Beware

So here are the low points:
-  Furnace vents into the attic (somehow the house inspector didn't catch it....amazing!).

And then the whole vent collapsed into the basement a couple of weeks after they moved in.

-  The shower drain sits higher than the tile.  So you guessed it, there is a constant puddle and due to really lousy tile work and missing grout, it ultimately drains into the basement.

And see what happened the first time they took a shower?  All the water drained into the basement.

-  There are no outlets on the kitchen counters (seriously, no outlets!!!  Why install tile and granite??  Now it's really hard to fix)

Open ground (one of many)

-  Serious electrical issues (for example, they installed an oven outlet for the dryer, open grounds, no junction boxes, etc).  This was all supposed to get fixed before closing by a licensed electrician.  But I don't think they even know a licensed electrician!!!

Why bother with a junction box when you can use electrical tape?
-  Underspanned roofing and they cut through some of the rafters!

-  The refrigerator cabinet was installed so low you can't put a refrigerator under it
-  The air conditioning died a week after they moved in (this is HotLanta folks - 90 degrees in May)

And then there are the poor fit and finish issues:
- Poor tile work - look at that grout job!

-  Poor trim work - light fixtures shouldn't be mounted sideways!

- And the gutters are brand new, but they didn't install enough supports, so they bent and leak right into the basement

Honestly, I'm not making this up!

Move in day - see the 'dry' basement!

The disclosure said 'new kitchen kabnets', no water in the basement (check out photos from the day they moved in), and upgraded electrical.

Why did they buy this?  Particularly with a 2 year old and a very pregnant mom??  And how in the world did we not jump in and say 'are you crazy'?  Well, they live in the Atlanta area - which is too far for my team to travel!  And they wanted something with at least 5 acres to allow them to start a small farm.  That's a tough combination to find.  This met a couple of their criteria - with house quality/safety at the bottom of the list.

Thankfully, our son-in-law Joe is handy.  And we'll pitch in when we visit, to help them get the place ship shape.  But it's going to be a lot of work!

In the meantime, they've started making it their home.  But it's had a lot of nasty and dangerous surprises - they're nicknamed it the Little Farm of Horrors.  Want to hear more about their adventures rescuing a derelict farm with the worst flip job ever?  Visit Tucker Farm for all their adventures!

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  1. No, you flip houses. Fix them up and sell for a profit- definition of flip. Not that there's anything wrong with that....

    1. Then I'd say, not all flips are created equal...

  2. What a mess! I think your SIL is going to get really good at the DIY

    1. His skills seem to be getting better every day!!!

  3. Ahh, you must be thinking if only you had been there and taken a look before they signed on the dotted line! Bad thing is they now own and have to pay for those "upgrades" which make real upgrades even more difficult and costly in various regards. Wonder if any combo of a farm land with something you typically buy to renovate wasn't available, then they would have had to pay for real things only! In the meantime though, their farm life sounds like a lot of fun and I hope they are enjoying it fully despite those nasty surprises.

    1. They do seem to be enjoying it, despite the surprises!!!

  4. they're young and energetic. they'll have great memories and stories to tell in the future. in the meantime, they get to play out their dream of the farm and farm life. sometimes you have to gain wisdom just by "doing it". there are also many great things about their house and barn also. in general they must be doing something right-Adelyn is a remarkable child!!!

    1. You're so right! We bought a 1790's colonial when our kids were little and renovated it as they were growing up. Wonderful memories for all of us!

      And we totally agree about Adelyn - but of course we're a bit biased :-) Thanks so much!

  5. It will be fun to watch them renovate the home. I could never do that ! Brave young people! Thank you for sharing their experience. I enjoy reading your blog.

    1. Thanks! And it helps to be young and want a sense of adventure!

  6. This is why having a knowledgeable Realtor is important. Their realtor should have asked for copies of the repair receipts before closing and should have insisted on a final walk through. I'm glad they are excited.

    1. Their realtor was wonderful. She pushed to get all the documentation (at least what there was) and helped through some complicated re-negotiations. By the time they got to the closing table, the kids knew what they were getting into (sort of!). I don't think these flippers were evil - they were just in way over their heads.

  7. In Wisconsin Home Inspectors have to be licensed and have unlimited liability to be sued for getting things wrong. Having a furnace vent into the attic is a serious issue to say the least--surprised no one died of CO poisoning before, and lucky it did fail so it could be fixed. Maybe the vent in the attic was covered by (gulp) insulation, but discoloration should have made it obvious there was something wrong. You always check for exterior vents on the roof and with a little ranch, they should have walked the roof to look up close. Every outlet should be checked for issues, and not having any outlets by a kitchen counter should be noted. Leaking gutters are obvious, as is poor tile work and every faucet and sink and shower should be checked for draining, which would have revealed the plumbing issues.

    I have gone through the training to become a home inspector and would love to specialize in old houses, but the annual cost of insurance is so high that I chose not to get licensed. But this home inspection was a travesty and I would get another inspector, especially one with a lot of experience and who uses a really complete checklist, to take a look and take them to court. Some places limit liability to the inspection fee, but just holding this person accountable is worth it. A home inspector cannot find every little thing that is wrong with a house, esp. things that are hidden, but this is a total travesty. I hope they negotiated a big reduction in price for all the trouble.

    1. To his credit, the inspector did find a lot of the issues (which helped with negotiations a lot!). But big things like the furnace vent seemed crazy to miss! Thankfully we were able to discover a lot of the issues and repair them quickly.


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