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Platinum Super Contributor
buyinghouse
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Registered: ‎04-23-2011
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!


HomeHo wrote:

 

The only way you will ever have things exactly the way you would like is if you just do it yourself...

 

On my last sale, the buyers kept complaing about a paint chip in front of the house, it took me 20 minutes to find it since it was only about the size of a pencil head..


   I am glad a landlord is talking some sense. But, let me ask you a question:

 

   Let's say your tenant Peter left you with a messed up unit. You come, asses the damages and contract a company to do the remodeled/rehabilitation. You're busy, you swing by once or twice and see the progress. The day comes that they give you the job completed. You see the "craftsmanship" they deliver and sign the check and on their way they go. Then, you go to Craiglist or via word of mouth you find a tenant. In your description you say "brand new this, brand new that". The tenant signs the contract and start moving but during the moving, they let you know they start to find out that the walls have paint drips everywhere, pebbles and dirt embedded on the walls, the brand new or refinished floors have scratches everywhere, the cabinet doors are not leveled, the countertops are not polished 100%, not even sealed properly, caulking on the joints of the enclosed bathroom/s is poorly applied where you can see voids allowing the water to percolate, the exterior lights that have a sensor don't turn on in night time when they should and you have to wiggle them to make them work, one of the rooms doesn't receive 100% of the heating from the furnace, kitchen cabinet drawers hit one to each other with this clank sound, etc, etc.  Let's say the tenant makes you sign this big check list of defects found during the move in. What would you do? Are you liable for the damages done to your own property or the company who did the remodel and damages?

 

   One of the things I told to one of the guys from the remodeling company is that "please, don't call a paint job a paint job if you don't follow the mechanics like preping, sanding, priming and backrolling when necessary".  In our house I see the things why everybody is cautios when it comes to flippers. I never expected to find such an amount of defects on a job that required more than $100,000. That's my point, I feel cheated, I feel these companies are making big bucks instead of delivering what they call a remodeling job.

 

  To tell you the truth, being a painter, more than once I walked away at the first hint that my boss was doing that kind of painting. Jesus! Not even grabbing a broom to get rid of the dirt on the walls? Can't grab a pair of pliers to pull some nails? Can't grab a caulking gun, shoot some caulking and with your bare fingers rub it in the nail holes? Man!

 

  Thanks for your participation!

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buyinghouse
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!


returningson wrote:

buyinghouse wrote:

  THINGS INSTALLED/REMODELED IN THIS PROPERTY BY THE NSP PROGRAM WITH A COST OF MORE THAN $100,000:

 

  Brand new roof. When I stepped on it I felt it a little bit shaky. Cheap quality I think.

 

  Copper tubing in kitchen and baths.

 

  New water heating.

 

  New furnace.

 

  New paint, in and out. $5,000 for the inside and I don't know how much for the exterior with a less than acceptable quality.

 

  New oven and microwave.

 

  New vinyl floors on kitchen and baths. Again, scratched!

 

  New dishwasher. 

 

  New carpets in staircase and 4 rooms.

 

  New bath enclosures in 2 rooms.

 

  New cheap and stinky metal sink (underneath the granite slab)

 

  New counter tops with a poor quality.

 

  New sinks and cabinets in baths (3).

 

   



BuyingHouse, have you contacted an attorney?  I suspect you can get restitution from the seller, home inspectors and maybe the real estate agent.  


  Thanks but can't do!  This house we bought is via NSP, a government program handled by the cities. They buy messed up properties and convert them into habitable houses. Of course, they don't tell you the quality and craftsmanship they deliver. Once you see it's a deal, you loose concentration and there you go, ending with a piggy.

 

   Thanks for participating!

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buyinghouse
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!


El_Katz wrote:

Maybe I can shed a little light on what you're looking at: 

 

The cheap metal sink under the counter:  It's called an undermount sink.  They are designed to go underneath the countertop to eliminate the ridge around the countertop and the sink.  That's a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew.  Very often, the source of leaks into the cabinet below.  Make sure that there's a bead of silicone between the sink and the countertop.  That is the seal.  Thanks! Yes, you're right, there's a barely visible amount of silicon in there. I don't trust it at all.  What upsets me and I know it's my fault, it's that if we decide to replace that sink we are in big trouble. What worries me is that I started to see some small, very small spots of redish on it. Because of the smell and the reputation of this remodel, I start to suspect rust starts to develop.

 

Water spots:  You countertop needs to be sealed.  Go to Home Depot and get a granite cleaner (I assume it's granite by your description) and then put a sealer on it.  The sealer has to dry and you should reapply it about every 6 months or so.  The fissures (rough spots) on the countertop are normal.  It's a natural product and probably contains some fillers to smooth the pores of the stone. Again, right! The city guy told me "all the countertops change colors when wet", something I didn't believe. The countertops I see around are so smooth and don't have those fissures. What's laughable is that the guy told me to go to Home Depot and buy the cleaner and a sealer when I should not be doing it but the remodeling company. He contracted them, why isn't he calling them to finish the job and call it "brand new countertops"? 

     I think that they had in the plan to put the sink on top of the granite. No communication and they put it underneath, that's why the ridge you mention shows signs of somebody starting to sand it but he was told to stop.

 

Metallic smell of the sink:  I assume it's stainless steel.  Use Barkeepers Friend to clean it.  It doesn't scratch it and removes the oxidation from the surface. Thanks! I will look into it.

 

There is no gutter "code".  There is a way they should be installed and that has to do with sloping towards the downspouts. If there's water sitting in the middle, the slope is wrong.  Thanks, that's what the lady from the construction company told me, they are "up to code".

 

If you have a window in your shower area there is no requirement for an exhaust fan.  Open the window a bit and turn on the fan.  Or leave the door to the bathroom slightly ajar - tough to do with little kids, but it does solve the moisture problem.  If moisture is a big problem in the bathroom, I'd recommend mixing a mildecide in the paint.  Use a paint suitable for damp areas - probably an oil base (if you can even find them any longer).  The bathroom lacks of a window, that's why the fan but in the wrong location. What worries me is that there's a closet in the shower (?) and if the moisture is not taken away it will create a mess. Yes, they told me to open the pocket door so the fan in there sucks the moisture its way. Problem is that if somebody is sitting on the throne you won't be able to do it 'cause the switch to turn on the fan is next to the door going to the livingroom. I think I will be installing another fan in the shower area. No, I won't pay permits!  Ha ha ha

 

Exhaust fans in microwaves - unless vented to the outside - are useless.  Sounds like yours is just a fan. It's vented, Ihad to call the guy who installed it during inspection and he found out the exit to the tube was overpainted. We scratched it and we could feel the air coming out. The guy made a little experiment of letting a small piece of paper be sucked in and he took off. To my horror, when I tried to cook, I found out it was a mere ilusion. To me it's ridiculous that not even a small amount of vapor can be sucked in. Live to learn!

 

The bouncy roof doesn't necessarily mean cheap.   It could mean that the sheathing is minimum code for the rafter spacing.  Some bounce is normal.  Yes, cheap, that's what it is, cheap!

 

The flooring you're describing is linoleum... made with linseed oil and other natural byproducts (wood flour, cork dust, etc.).  It's a green product and is quite durable - and not necessarily cheap.  It's much better than vinyl, but does require some maintenance.  http://www.armstrong.com/flooring/floor-care/linoleum-care-instructions.html  Oh boy, it really requires a lot of maintenance. But again, when I am standing by the fridge and look to the patio, I can see this bunch of scratches and I start to cry because I can't believe how neglecting they acted. Funny thing? The city guy said it can cure itself?  Really?

 

Popcorn ceilings.  If they've been painted, they're nearly impossible to remove.  The method to remove them is to wet them with a light water spray and then scrape the popcorn (or cottage cheese) off by hand.  I never liked those.  They always seem to look dirty.  I have done it but when they have flat paint. I will do it when I am 80 years old, not now!

 

I've bought several homes over the years.  None of them - even brand new ones - were perfect.  I've had custom built and tract homes.  They were all pretty much the same.   One obviously nicer than another, but still imperfect just the same. I wasn't expecting perfection. What I was expecting is the truth not scratched floor, fixtures, and unfinished countertops.  

 

 


  Thanks for your participation El_Katz!

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kinectimal
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!

[ Edited ]
You sound very picky like someone said the only way to get things done to your satisfaction is stand over their shoulder while they do the work or do it yourself. To be honest most of the thing you listed dont sound too expensive to fix except maybe the furnace being undersized. This is why i prefer to buy homes that have been lived in.
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buyinghouse
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!


sakidd12 wrote:
You sound very picky like someone said the only way to get things done to your satisfaction is stand over their shoulder while they do the work or do it yourself. To be honest most of the thing you listed dont sound too expensive to fix except maybe the furnace being undersized. This is why i prefer to buy homes that have been lived in.


   Picky would be somebody who looking at a paint job won't like the way the painter makes his lines. But, if you are not like me, next time you buy a  brand new car, don't complain if they give you one all scratched up. It's brand new they say, isn't it? It's going to get scratched anyways, isn't it? But of course, not by you!

 

    Same situation if Sears go to deliver a new oven to your house. They unload it, put it in front of the space where it goes, push it in scratching your brand new hardwood floor. What the heck, it's going to cure itself.

 

I hope you get the idea, why do I have to replace or repair when that house was supposed to be "looking like brand new".  Unless your expectations for "new floors" means they are all scratched and already looking like if people were walking on it for years.

 

   The explanation I got from the city guy was that disregarding the "as is", the contractors are bound to some liability. If something doesn't work properly or brakes because it was installed incorrectly they are supposed to come and fix it or replace it. Reading my story, do you think they will be begging me to come to fix whatever? 

 

   One thing I agree with you, brand new doesn't mean crap nowadays. It seems that craftsmanship and integrity were thrown out of the window when it comes to deliver a good construction job. Cutting corners is the way to go nowadays.

 

   Thanks for participating and good luck if you're looking for a home.

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AprilMay
Posts: 79
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!

I am so sorry you had such a bad experience, and I completely sympathize with your complaints about the quality of the work that was done. I had similar thoughts about the work that was done on my house. It should have been done right the first time, instead of wasting taxpayer money on what seems to be a corrupt and wasteful government program.

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returningson
Posts: 349
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!


buyinghouse wrote:

sakidd12 wrote:
You sound very picky like someone said the only way to get things done to your satisfaction is stand over their shoulder while they do the work or do it yourself. To be honest most of the thing you listed dont sound too expensive to fix except maybe the furnace being undersized. This is why i prefer to buy homes that have been lived in.


   Picky would be somebody who looking at a paint job won't like the way the painter makes his lines. But, if you are not like me, next time you buy a  brand new car, don't complain if they give you one all scratched up. It's brand new they say, isn't it? It's going to get scratched anyways, isn't it? But of course, not by you!

 

    Same situation if Sears go to deliver a new oven to your house. They unload it, put it in front of the space where it goes, push it in scratching your brand new hardwood floor. What the heck, it's going to cure itself.

 

I hope you get the idea, why do I have to replace or repair when that house was supposed to be "looking like brand new".  Unless your expectations for "new floors" means they are all scratched and already looking like if people were walking on it for years.

 

   The explanation I got from the city guy was that disregarding the "as is", the contractors are bound to some liability. If something doesn't work properly or brakes because it was installed incorrectly they are supposed to come and fix it or replace it. Reading my story, do you think they will be begging me to come to fix whatever? 

 

   One thing I agree with you, brand new doesn't mean crap nowadays. It seems that craftsmanship and integrity were thrown out of the window when it comes to deliver a good construction job. Cutting corners is the way to go nowadays.

 

   Thanks for participating and good luck if you're looking for a home.


buyinghouse wrote:

sakidd12 wrote:
You sound very picky like someone said the only way to get things done to your satisfaction is stand over their shoulder while they do the work or do it yourself. To be honest most of the thing you listed dont sound too expensive to fix except maybe the furnace being undersized. This is why i prefer to buy homes that have been lived in.


   Picky would be somebody who looking at a paint job won't like the way the painter makes his lines. But, if you are not like me, next time you buy a  brand new car, don't complain if they give you one all scratched up. It's brand new they say, isn't it? It's going to get scratched anyways, isn't it? But of course, not by you!

 

    Same situation if Sears go to deliver a new oven to your house. They unload it, put it in front of the space where it goes, push it in scratching your brand new hardwood floor. What the heck, it's going to cure itself.

 

I hope you get the idea, why do I have to replace or repair when that house was supposed to be "looking like brand new".  Unless your expectations for "new floors" means they are all scratched and already looking like if people were walking on it for years.

 

   The explanation I got from the city guy was that disregarding the "as is", the contractors are bound to some liability. If something doesn't work properly or brakes because it was installed incorrectly they are supposed to come and fix it or replace it. Reading my story, do you think they will be begging me to come to fix whatever? 

 

   One thing I agree with you, brand new doesn't mean crap nowadays. It seems that craftsmanship and integrity were thrown out of the window when it comes to deliver a good construction job. Cutting corners is the way to go nowadays.

 

   Thanks for participating and good luck if you're looking for a home.


Buyinghouse:

 

I fully agree with you but, I hate to say it,  you have to take some responsibility for the situation you are in.  You should have carefully inspected everything before signing the purchase contract and should have done a pre-settlement walkthrough and noted all defects.  If the seller didn't agree in writing to repair all defects you could have refused to close on the property.  I know, it's messy but it's the only leverage you would have had.  

 

For what it's worth, I made the same mistake when I bought my current townhouse.  I was pressed for time, the townhouse looked good and was in a highly desirable location.  Since it was a condo I didn't bother with a home inspection as I assumed the HOA was responsible for all the big stuff.  Well it turned out that the seller didn't disclose a lot of defects within the unit that were not the HOA's responsibility, e.g., a plumbing leak under the sink, wiring that he had done which did not conform with the code, shoddy drywall work, settling cracks patched over, etc.  It took me over a year to discover and fix all of those things.  A good home inspector would have found much of this stuff.   That was 24 years ago and the house has more than doubled in value (which only amounts to about a 4 percent per year appreciation rate - pretty stinky but at least it's a positive return).

 

We can't trust anyone these days.  Maybe it's because of the highly competitive environment we live in.  Our corporations outsource production to China to same money and we end up getting crappy quality products with a high failure rate - but they are cheap.  

 

Developers and "flippers" are under pressure to hold down costs.  The TV show "Flip this House" (or some title like that) depicts the problems the typical flipper faces.  Most of them make an unconscionable profit for the time and effort they put in, but not always.  What gets me is that most have limited educations (one was a hair cutter).  Makes me wonder if I should go into the flipping business instead of doing part-time management consulting.    

 

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mediaguru
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!

[ Edited ]

returningson wrote:

Developers and "flippers" are under pressure to hold down costs.  The TV show "Flip this House" (or some title like that) depicts the problems the typical flipper faces.  Most of them make an unconscionable profit for the time and effort they put in, but not always.  What gets me is that most have limited educations (one was a hair cutter).  Makes me wonder if I should go into the flipping business instead of doing part-time management consulting.    

 


If you do, you could probably come out pretty nicely these days... but not in overpriced California.  You'd have to pick the right markets. I imagine that, with how far Florida fell and the allure it holds for many foreigners looking to move the US, that might be a prime market. Illinois also is a hotspot for foreigners, and they may have more money, coming from European and Asian countries that are doing well right now.

 

Or outside of NYC... I'm seeing several houses in the Hamptons down 40%-50% from peak, back to prices from the 90's...

 

But there's no way I would be one in CA, unless you have some way to get on the good deals through probate sales and such (I would also say auctions, but even most auctions are overpriced these days; people owe more on the mortgage than the house is even worth, hence the reason they are walking. Most auctions I am seeing just get ignored because after it goes REO, it will have to be sold for less than the minimum price you pay sight-unseen at the courthouse steps.)

 

I'm seeing a few flippers pull off the coup if they pick the right properties -- but those are ones that would appeal to special subset of wealthy retirees and foreign vacation buyers. Not typical suburbia-dwelling families and workers.  I see other flips that must be barely breaking even...

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AstroWallaby
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!

Sort of a pointless thing to toss in here, but with regard to the comment about a "bouncy" roof: I didn't see anywhere in the opening of this post what the vintage of the house in question is, but I can comment about my typical 1959-vintage Bay Area tract house: yes, the roofs bounce and they did from the start.

 

I don't know to what degree later building codes might of lead to beefing up the roofs but every "orginal" house in my neighborhood has the same thing: 2x6-ish rafters spaced at roughly two foot intervals with the roofing material nailed onto boards about eight inches wide and about a half-inch thick. (In one section my house has had the original boards replaced with exterior-grade plywood.) It's apparently fully up to whatever code applied at the time, it doesn't leak, and it's covered with the second-best compsite roofing stuff on the market but I wouldn't recommend doing much dancing on it. It definitely has some give when you walk around on it, particularly if you don't fall into the bantamweight classes.

 

To someone who grew up in part of the country where roofs are actually expected to hold up snow part of the year I'm sure your average coastal California house must seem astonishingly flimsy. :^b

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kinectimal
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Re: How we ended up buying a very ugly flipper!

Also the disclosure form where they tell you what's been replace isnt' meant to be a list of things that are in perfect condition.  It's more like a list of what to check to see that it's been done properly.

 

Also as far as materials quality there's a Chinese version of just about everything these days so if you dont specifically ask for it you are more than likely getting the cheapest thing possible.  Check your new water heater for example more than likely it doesn't have any brand name on it.