What does a million-bucks get you in this market?

Well, if you’re buying an obvious flip, then you’d better keep a close eye on the quality and workmanship…

The term “Family Home” gets thrown around a lot, but there is a value to it.

In my experience, the so-called “Family Houses” have a better overall vibe to them than the obvious flips, as the family homes have character, and you can tell they’ve been cared for.

Think about all the times you’ve walked into a house with no furniture, that stinks of urethane, and it takes you about two seconds to say, “This is a flip.”

Hey – there are a lot of great flips out there!

But for every great flip, there are a dozen awful ones.

Everybody and his mother (and brother, and cousin, and friend who is an agent in Markham who tells them they can make buckets of money in Toronto real estate…) thinks they’re qualified to flip houses, but buyers are far too savvy to get fooled by an awful flip.

I was in a million-dollar house this week that was an obvious flip, and the workmanship was laughable.

Have a look…

We started outside, and I couldn’t believe how awful the deck looked!

Have you ever seen the show “Deck Wars”?  Well this deck looked like it was a war for the builder to cut a straight line.  And why did they use that piece with all the numbering on it?

That’s awful.

I won the “Shop Award” in 1993 and haven’t touched a skillsaw since then, but I’m sure I could have done better.

I also could have cut all these pieces of 2×4 the same size:

Or how about these pencil lines from the measurements?

This guy clearly took “Measure twice, cut once” a bit too far, since he measured 3-4 times, and then didn’t use the measurements!

Erase those lines, stain the wood, or us a different piece.

Then again, maybe pencil-marks aren’t your biggest problem when you don’t even finish the job!

These rails could be “installed” with twenty nails, in about three minutes.

And keep in mind – this house has been on the market for months!  The builder just couldn’t be bothered to make it look presentable!

See below – the fact that they chipped the granite isn’t the issue.

But rather, the piece of granite they bought to cover up their sloppy work, wasn’t even glued down!  It was just sitting there on the counter!

As soon as I saw the sign that read “Do Not Touch,” I immediately wondered aloud, “Why can’t I touch this?”

So, I did.

And the tap almost fell over.  It wasn’t installed properly, and clearly the owner, er, “builder” didn’t have time in the past 48 days to go back and fix it.

Of course, I never would have noticed, had they not put that “Do Not Touch” sign that would probably encourage 99% of people to investigate further:

Nice backsplash, awful workmanship!

They got grout all over the glass tiles.

That’s not wainscotting.

That’s pieces of 1/2 inch by 2-inch wood, cut to size, and glued to the wall to look like wainscotting!

All they did was paint the drywall WHITE!  I’ve never seen anything like this!

Lots of houses have crooked stairs from years of shifting, but these top two stairs are new!

They couldn’t even install two stairs correctly…

And last, but not least, this is the wall on top of the fridge.

They didn’t bother to paint the whole wall, not to mention tape, mud, sand, and prime!

If you’re 5’8″ or shorter, you won’t notice.  But anybody taller will certainly see!

We’ve all seen photos that are a thousand times worse, but I’m showing you these today because sometimes you have to look a lot closer to spot faulty workmanship.

This house is on the market for a million-dollars and if you jogged through it really quick in twenty seconds, you’d think it’s great!  But once you stare down every nook and cranny of the house, you start to see that this is a C+ renovation at best, and it’s probably a first or second-timer.

Pay for quality.  It’s worth it.


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  1. Stephen Tar says:

    This Flipped House is very funny. Is this house located at Markham ?

  2. Paully says:

    That picture reminds me of something bizarre that I once saw while driving through Sault Ste. Marie. There was a used-car dealer right on the highway, with an old sixties or seventies sedan, resting upside-down on its roof. In front of the car, a big sign that said: “We turn over our inventory every thirty days!”

    I still wish that I had stopped the car to take a picture of it!

  3. Devore says:

    And that’s just it. If they can’t even be bothered to nicely finish the easy stuff like fixtures, tile and paint, imagine the hatchet job in places where you can’t see, where you can guarantee it is much worse. These things are death traps. Did they remove walls? Move point loads around? Cut through joists to run pipes? Who did the electric, who soldered the pipes, who installed the insulation, who waterproofed the bathrooms?

    Not as much of an issue in condos, but if I’m ever in the market for a house, there’s one thing I won’t even bother getting out of bed for, no matter the price or supposed quality: a flip.

  4. Perfect Fit says:

    If they didn’t bother to tape the new wall, it begs the question of why the drywall there is new in the first place, and what is hiding behind it? It’s pretty much a certainty that if they couldn’t be bothered to complete the finishing touches (that have a direct impact on the amount of money that they are going to make on the flip) that the quality of work where no one will ever see it will be substandard.

    I’d be asking to see the permits and inspection reports before I even considered purchasing that house.