Intentionally Trying To Hide Problems On A Flip - Chapter 1
These next couple of posts are to show how investors/flippers sometimes try to palm off problems onto others. It's disgusting.
Walking around this little log cabin by a local lake I saw so many things that bothered me, but I did not know the entirety of what had happened. Two different neighbors saw me and asked me if I knew the history of recent work done on this house.
WHAT THEY EACH HAD TO SAY WAS CONSISTENT, SO THEY DIDN'T MAKE IT UP, AND THEY WERE EXTREMELY HELPFUL! BY THE TIME THEY WERE DONE, I UNDERSTOOD WHAT I HAD NOT BEFORE AND WAS VERY ANGRY.
A lot of the material on the logs did not look like wood.
As you know, home inspectors are not destructive, so I did not try to see what the material might be.
After speaking with the neighbors I went back to a previous spot and, while looking away, I turned to look back at the log and noticed that a spot had been exposed! I did not see how it happened.
The wood was full of termites.
It was soft.
Tapping elsewhere I could feel that most of the logs were very slathered with a putty to cover soft material.
Sticking my pen into the wall near the window, it went right in.
There is only one reason it would go in so easily!
I could probably have done the same thing all over the house.
IT IS DISGUSTING TO THINK THAT SOMEONE WOULD GO TO SUCH LENGTHS TO MAKE WOOD LOGS THAT ARE OBVIOUSLY SO SEVERELY DAMAGED BY, AND RIDDLED WITH, TERMITES THAT THEY ARE STRUCTURALLY UNSOUND. AND THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL THIS TO SOMEONE ELSE. DISHONEST THIEVERY ABOUNDS.
On the opposite side of the house some new windows were installed in the kitchen. They offer a view of the lake.
A little box was created to house them.
Above the windows was wood siding.
Below the windows was wood siding.
All this new material covered the entire wall.
I had previously taken a photo of what was inept flashing and a very unprofessional window installation.
What I learned from the neighbors was that this particular wall used to be just feet from a 6' high trunk that was termite riddled.
The trunk is gone, ground down below the soil.
But the wall itself was so damaged, and therefore so structurally unsound, that rather than slather their pretty make up putty over it, they simply covered it with pretty new stuff!
It's wonderful, new siding and a beautiful double kitchen window!
AGAIN, I WAS SO DISGUSTED I WANTED TO SPIT!
Then my clients arrived! We had a nice talk about my findings. I asked if the listing agent and investors could be reached by phone so they could come over and we could all chat. Somehow they were not available, and they all knew that we were doing this inspection. I asked the agent to leave them messages to call me. They have not. Gee, why?
My recommendation: when substantial work has been done to a flipped property, it might just pay to have a talk with the neighbors. Who knows how much information they might be able to give!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560