Updated: Sep 21
Flipped and Rehabbed Houses: What to Look for Before You Buy
People often ask me about my thoughts on flipped or rehabbed houses, and my answer is that it depends. This leads to several important questions:
• Have any structural changes been made to the house? If so, were these modifications engineered and permitted?
• Were any structural elements reinforced, and if so, was this reinforcement engineered and permitted?
• Was the foundation in good condition, and were the foundation walls dry before refinishing the basement?
To all my valued clients, rehabbing a house can be likened to a football game. You’ll encounter both talented, experienced players and rookies.
I’ve had the privilege of working with both types of clients. I’ve learned valuable lessons from experienced clients and have provided guidance, calculations, and necessary drawings to assist rookies in obtaining the required structural permits for their projects.
While I’ve seen many perfectly rehabbed houses, I’ve also come across flipped houses with structural issues. I once had a client contact me regarding significant sags in the floor, wall cracks, and doors that didn’t close properly. After a site visit, it became evident that the wall below the affected area might not have been replaced with a properly sized beam. This suspicion was confirmed when the client removed the drywall, revealing an incorrectly sized beam for the span between supports, along with a splice in the beam between supports.
Allow me to offer some advice:
For investors, I highly recommend collaborating with a qualified structural engineer when making structural modifications. The cost of engineering services is relatively minor when compared to the overall project cost, especially when you consider the potential risks of undiscovered issues down the road.
For prospective homebuyers, it’s essential to ask questions about the work done on the house, request before-and-after photos, and inquire about any structural modifications and permits obtained.
Feel free to reach out to us today for further assistance at 724-949-0004, or visit our website at www.pittdes.com.
Written by Firas Abdelahad, P.E.
Firas Abdelahad has been a practicing structural engineer since 2005, collaborating with a diverse range of professionals, including consultants, architects, investors, homeowners, contractors, and subcontractors. Together, they tackle the various challenges that can arise during the design and construction phases of projects.