real estate

Buying a flipped home? 5 questions to ask

Is this an older house with a new interior?
Is this an older house with a new interior? © Artazum and Iriana Shiyan/

One big clue that a house is a flip: "It's an old house and everything is brand new," says Pat Vredevoogd Combs, past president of the National Association of Realtors and vice president of Coldwell Banker AJS Schmidt Realty, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

With a flipped home, "typically, owners are looking to sell it as soon as possible and not have to carry the expense," Szot says. In some cases, they'll put the home on the market before they're finished updating, she says.

Some flippers will give buyers a stipend to "choose what they want" for things like flooring or wallpaper, she says.

That can be a great way for potential buyers to personalize the house, but it's not always a great deal, Szot says, because sometimes those allowances cover only inexpensive materials.

Check out how much that stipend is and what it will really buy ahead of making any agreements, Szot says.


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