A current trend among DIY entrepreneurs is “flipping homes.” They’ll purchase a fixer-upper mobile home, “flip” it (remodel and renovate), then sell it for a profit. These homes are showcased to look amazing. However, given the urge to lower costs and maximize profits, home flippers often cut corners. As an unsuspecting home buyer, you may end up with a raw deal. Not all that glitters in the flipped mobile homes market is gold, so read below to protect yourself!

Flipped Mobile Homes Feature Image

What you see is not necessarily what you get

Many sellers believe purchasers are solely responsible for checking the quality of the home they’re about to purchase. As they say, when the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Buyers should take special precautions when the dealers are in a rush to close the sale. Shocking details or expensive repairs could surprise you if you are not careful. Make sure you carefully scrutinize the home before purchasing.

Flipped mobile homes need a second pair of eyes

Hire a qualified inspector to look over the home with you. Focus on the kitchen area, heating system, electrical, HVAC, main structure, plumbing, roofing, ceiling space, and insulation. As you check out the cosmetics of your potential new home, it’s also important to scrutinize the building requirements. Make sure all permits for any additions were obtained to avoid teardowns if city authorities show up.

The defects around the kitchen may be quite noticeable, but look out for creative cover-ups. Sometimes flippers employ tricks like installing appliances that lack plugin outlets. They might also set up handrails without drilling them into the walls. Keep an eye out for cabinet drawers that are overlapping and keyholes that do not lock.

handrail

Check the heating system

Give the mobile home heating system a thorough inspection. Not doing so may result in serious injuries. A shrewd buyer should not be mesmerized by the safety check forms presented by the dealer. Many shady characters take advantage of your goodwill in this way. It’s best to ask for an independent audit from the primary heating supplier. It’s important to check that original equipment like boilers and related pipework is still intact.

Home flippers are quite conscious that first impressions last. Home buyers are also known to judge the book by the cover. As a result, exterior remodeling is done to disguise the rot on the interior side. When inspecting a flipped mobile home, look for defects such as rotting wood panels that have been newly painted, a chimney with cracks, and deteriorating window seals. You should also examine frames concealed with aluminum and faded doors turned inside out with the locks and hinges switched.

Don’t forget the plumbing!

Buyers should be on full alert when inspecting the pipework of the flipped mobile unit. Take precaution by hiring a professional plumber to trace any clogged drains and hidden leaks. Many times kitchen sink or washroom taps have worn out washers and are unable to close tightly.

Make sure you test the bathroom plumbing work by flushing the toilet. Although this may seem unnecessary, one of the worst things that can happen is purchasing a home only to discover later than the cistern tank is faulty and the toilet bowl leaks from the bottom. The sink drainage system and the washroom vent pipes are other notorious culprits when it comes to shoddy flipping. Many times, drains will be clogged with dirt, causing constant blockages as you clean your dishes. If the toilet outer vent pipe is defective, foul odor will seep back in after toilet use.

Electrical system

The mobile home’s electrical system can be another shocker (literally!) Buyers should check carefully before sealing deals with home flippers. It’s easy to conceal poorly insulated cables with paintwork or even have some faulty bulb holders around the home. A defective bulb holder would be an annoying thing to discover at night when you’re trying to replace “burnt out” bulbs.

wires in outlet

Also, don’t be surprised if you find illegal fuse box connections. In most cases, you’ll know the electrical system has been tampered with if the fuses at the fuse box are damaged or missing. If this is the case, then it’s likely the wires are incorrectly connected. Surges caused by bad connections can easily damage home appliances.

Roofing

Nobody wants to have a leaky ceiling or worse still, a roof easily blown off in a strong storm. To check out the roof, climb up for a better view. Inside the home, flippers tend to shield roofing flaws with ceiling boards, which end up getting patchy during the rainy season. A carpenter experienced in roof and ceiling board fittings can help identify these shortcomings.

Before signing the dotted line…

All said and done, buyers should be skeptical when buying a flipped mobile home, given the masked cosmetic appeal most have. It’s easy to spend an arm and a leg on a property worth far less than its projected value. Follow these buyers beware tips and save yourself money and a lot of unnecessary headaches.

About Dan Leighton

Dan Leighton has been working in the mobile home industry for over a decade. His focus has been on sales and customer relations - making sure each person in the transaction is comfortable and fully transparent. He has a wife and one son. Dan continues to look for innovative ways to help both sellers and parks get the most bang for their buck.