What I'm Seeing Now


A Sure Sign It Was A Flipper

When I pulled up to this house I saw a sure sign it was a Flipper.

I could see new vinyl siding on the lower half of the front.  The upper half of the front was the original aluminum siding, painted to look like the lower half.  You can see both siding materials in this photo.

The other thing I could see (and all this from the car before even getting out) was that the light fixtures were improperly mounted.

Can you see what's wrong here?

There was an electrical junction box already on the wall, left when the house was built.  Most houses have exterior light fixtures near the front door. 

And the Flipper had simply cut a small hole, and attached the wiring, and screwed the brass base of the fixture directly onto the siding.  Excellent.

What should there be instead?  Some sort of base for the fixture.  The fixture needs to rest flush against an attached subsurface to prevent water from getting into the electrical connection.

Water and electricity don't really like each other.

There are dozens of kinds of bases.  It is simply a matter of selecting it, cutting a suitable hole through the siding, attaching the base to the junction box in the wall, and caulking the gaps!

So, sitting in the parking space, looking at a flipped house, with my antenna already extended to max, I knew I was in for some fun.  And I was not disappointed.

My recommendation:  often buyers are impressed by lipstick and glitz, but unaware of what that portends.  A home inspection is essential (ESSENTIAL) to the home buying process, but especially when lipstick and glitz are a part of the scenario.  But even when there is no lipstick!  Essential.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 10 commentsJay Markanich • June 02 2016 02:44AM


I've seen these same signs Jay - difficult to spot for the untrained eye - thanks for sharing

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 4 years ago

I couldn't agree more. An inspection is a necessity for any kind of purchase, lipstick or no lipstick.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) over 4 years ago

I often see unprofessional renos in an attempt to raise the value of the property... but they are so bad and easily seen as a quick, cheap fix and many buyers could be fooled....I always recommend a home inspection for any purchse, whether its a re-sale or brand new..

Posted by Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent, REAL Experience | REAL Commitment | REAL Results! (BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE SIGNATURE SERVICE) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay! I get the feeeling that this was just the tip of the iceberg! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 4 years ago

Jay Markanich I was not aware of the lapboard junction box, but now that I do; you can be sure I will be looking are flipper homes differently when observing exterior fixtures. Thanks!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

I'll have to start taking pictures of some I have seen!

Where is the caulk for the gaps.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

I had one the other day....roof was shot, fireplace was shot.... kitchen was beautiful!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay - We're getting to the point where a flipped house carries quite a bit of suspicion with it, and deservedly so. While our buyers are being wowed by the shiny bits, we're poking around in the basement and elsewhere looking for signs of what wasn't done, and we usually find it. And if we can see it, imagine what you'll find.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 4 years ago

Jennifer - sometimes there are a plethora of signs!  And I thay that without a lithp.

Kat - so I am just as good with or without my lipstick?

Gloria - when people who aren't home inspectors can see things are wrong, imagine how high the antenna of a home inspector would go!

Wayne - yep, and the Titanic sank quickly after hitting it.


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

S&N - there are all kinds of bases out there.  Those that protect the underneath the best would surely be preferred.

Raymond - surely ABC gum would be as good as caulk.  I suggest fruit over mint as it sticks better.  See?  I can think like a Flipper!

Tit for tat, Fred!  You get some, you give some.  You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.  Any more cliches I can throw out there?

Dick - I get the wowed buyers all the time.  Sometimes that smile turns upside down.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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