3 Red Flags House Flippers Avoid When Buying Homes

red flags house flippers avoid flipping homes

When shopping for a first home, there are many things first-timers just don’t know. Buying a home can get overwhelming with all the paperwork, credit checks, and of course, house shopping. 

While the constant viewing of homes on Zillow can be exciting, it’s easy to get distracted by wallpapers, gardens in the home and overlook potential red flags. While homebuyers may have changes planned for any house they buy, it’s important to look out for major red flags that can lead to expensive or even dangerous repairs. 

House flippers who look out for distressed properties know what repairs can be easily fixed, and what repairs would be too big to tackle. 

3 Red Flags House Flippers Avoid When Buying Homes To Flip 

1. Furnace Or HVAC Issues 

Imagine a boiling hot summer day, you go to turn on your AC unit and nothing happens. A broken AC in the heat of summer is one of the most uncomfortable and expensive repairs a homeowner can face. No matter where you are looking for homes, temperature control is a necessity for any home. 

Furnace and HVAC repairs are very expensive, with the average cost of repairing a system falling anywhere between $650 to $2,500. According to HomeAdvisor, a complete HVAC replacement costs anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. 

The best way to avoid this red flag is to have the HVAC unit in a home inspected by a professional. Additionally, when you view a home check to see if the climate control is on and ensure that the HVAC is working properly. While a furnace and HVAC can be replaced, it is a costly repair that can affect the price of a home, and it is a red flag to look out for. 

A home without a functional Furnace or HVAC is a red flag that house flippers avoid at all costs. 

2. A Bad Roof 

While homebuyers are often most concerned with the interior of a home, the roof is one of the most overlooked aspects of a home. A bad roof can lead to major issues if not addressed. 

While a roof’s appearance may not be top of the list when buying a home, the ability to protect your home from the elements is one of the most important functions of a home. A bad roof should be a red flag for any buyer. 

Roofs help insulate your home and protect it from the elements like wind and rain. A leaky roof can lead to countless problems, from water damage, electrical issues, mold, and more. Therefore having a good roof is essential for any home. 

When home shopping, look to see if there are any missing shingles on the roof, or water stains on the ceiling inside the home. Be sure to hire a roof inspector to ensure that your roof is properly installed and in good working condition. 

Replacing a roof can be costly, but worth the price for those planning to stay in a home. A new roof can cost anywhere from $5,500 to $11,000, depending on the roof style and roofing materials you choose. 

Roofs in total disrepair, such as holes, or parts of the roof caving in can be a sign of major issues with a house, and any buyer should proceed with caution. 

3. Foundation Issues 

The foundation of a home is the most important aspect of a home, and any signs of a foundation problem are a major red flag. Foundational problems can be the most expensive repair on the list and can even make a home dangerous to live in. Foundation repairs are complicated and expensive to fix. 

House flippers will often avoid purchasing homes with foundation problems because of the large price tag attached. However, the signs of a poor foundation can be hard to spot and can take a trained eye to spot the early warning signs. 

When viewing a home there may be small signs of foundation issues, doors and windows not closing properly, floors that slope (this may not be a foundation issue but should be fixed), water around the edges of a home, and cracks on the walls or ceiling. 

Before you purchase a home an inspection can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars. According to Bob Vila, foundation repair costs range from $2,012 to $7,074, with the national average at $4,542. An inspector will be able to properly assess the status of the foundation before you purchase a home. 

If the home shows signs of major foundation issues, do not ignore this red flag as it can lead to extremely expensive repairs! 


Buying a home is an exciting time in anyone's life. Shopping for your dream home can easily turn into a nightmare if you don’t lookout for the most important red flags that eat away at your wallet. 

While house flippers know that some elbow grease and a vision can transform any home, it’s important to know what red flags to look out for. 

To reiterate, these are the 3 Red Flags House Flippers Avoid When Buying Homes: 

Furnace Or HVAC Issues: This repair is expensive, and always tends to happen when you need it most. Make sure to have the furnace and HVAC unit inspected and look out for warning signs of a unit on its last legs. 

A Bad Roof: A leaky roof can cause a lot of problems in a home, such as mold, electrical issues, and much more. Roofs are easy to replace but can be expensive to fix, so be sure that you take a look at the roof of any home you want to buy. 

Foundation Issues: Foundations are the most expensive and complicated repairs on a home. Keep your eyes peeled for cracks, doors and windows that can’t close, and water around the home. 

What is one red flag on potential properties that you would add to this list? Let us know on social media and make sure to share this article link with your thoughts or experiences flipping houses.

Catherine Way is the Marketing Manager at Prime Plus Mortgages: Mortgage Note Investing a hard money lender and note provider for real estate investors.

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