You are looking at or have just purchased a newly updated home – a flip house. Cosmetic refreshing has been done and it looks great! Except . . . the foundation is a bit of a concern.
Can you repair or level a foundation on a home with recent cosmetic updates? What happens if you do? What should you do now??
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been inspecting and repairing thousands of Brazos Valley foundations since 1985. We know when the timing is right for foundation repair and when it’s not a good idea and can tell you all about handling foundation issues on a flip house.
This article will discuss what happens when foundation repairs are performed on a recently updated home and offers recommendations on what to do next.
What Do We Mean By a Flip House?
Just to make sure we are all on the same page here, what do we mean by a flip house anyway? According to our good friends at Merriam-Webster:
: to buy and usually renovate (real estate) so as to quickly resell at a higher price
i.e. He’s flipped three houses for a substantial profit.
In general, we tend to think of a flip house as an older home that could be on either a slab or a pier and beam/crawl space type foundation. This home will have many fashionable new and undamaged cosmetic finishes: fresh paint, updated flooring, and refreshed kitchens and baths which may include new tilework.
A house flipper tends to focus on outward appearances and not on unseen and easily underappreciated systems like roofs, foundations, plumbing, and electrical infrastructure.
Maybe you’ve heard the expression about *lipstick on a pig* before? A flipper can take a home with foundation issues (or other major and costly problems) and just pretty it up without much regard for the serious structural stuff behind the walls and under the floors.
To be clear, we’re not saying that house flipping is a bad thing or that all flipped homes are inherently bad. But we do know that *sometimes* the updating is only cosmetic, and minimal consideration is made towards underlying structural integrity and key whole home systems.
Since the motivation for house flipping is profit, they’re usually trying to spend the least amount possible on fixing up the home. This is not true of every house flip or house flipper, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibilities that infrastructure was somewhat neglected during the reno.
Can You Do Foundation Repair or Leveling on a Flipped Home?
So if you’re in this flipped house situation and are concerned about the foundation, you’re wondering if you can even get foundation work done. Is foundation repair on a flip house possible?
Short Answer: Yes, you can get foundation repairs anytime you want!
Complicated Answer: You might not want to get foundation repairs on a recently updated home because it might hurt more than it helps at the moment.
What Happens With Foundation Repairs on an Updated House?
If you get foundation work on your flipped slab home or house leveling on your recently updated pier and beam, damage can occur to all those newly refreshed finishes. Ordinarily, foundation repair shouldn’t cause damage to homes *unless* new finishes are involved.
Unfortunately, all those lovely cosmetic elements were placed on the home in an unlevel state. So when you attempt to level the home after updating, it can actually mess up all that pretty new stuff.
It’s kind of like putting a Band-Aid on your elbow when it’s bent. Then, when you straighten your arm the bandage gets all bunched up and funky and isn’t covering what it’s supposed to be covering anymore.
So if the home in question appears undamaged and pristine right now, doing foundation repairs will likely result in:
- Cracked Drywall,
- Doors that already don’t close/latch properly get worse,
- Damage to tilework on floors, backsplashes, or tub/shower surrounds,
- Little real improvement in the condition or functionality of the home.
This is why we say you might not want to get foundation repairs on a recently updated home. It will likely ruin the recent renovation and the new finishes would have to be repaired or redone.
Recommendations for Handling House Leveling on Flipped Homes
If you have not yet purchased this flipped home, don’t buy the flip unless you feel 100% confident in what you are getting. Every house flipper is different and some could pay full attention to all of a home’s needs. If you feel pretty good about it, then be sure to still have it inspected so that you can plan for the future.
If you buy the home or already own the home, we recommend that you live there for at least a year and make seasonal observations about the home’s condition and record changes. We would only recommend that you do repairs if damages begin to occur in the new finishes OR if you’re ready for another renovation. Let’s recap all that with a bulleted list:
- Only buy a flip if you feel knowledgeable about what you are getting.
- Have the home inspected to give you a baseline to plan for the future.
- Live in the home for at least a year and continue to observe for changes.
- Only do foundation repairs if you begin to see more signs of foundation issues.
- Consider the partial fix of foundation stabilization until full repairs can be made.
- If you’re ready for another full remodel later, do the foundation repairs first.
But until you’re ready for another full refresh, enjoy the updated look of your new (to you) home as is for as long as possible. If it looks great for the time being, it’s okay to savor the moment and hold off on foundation work or save up funds for future repairs.
For a typical Central Texas home, it’s safe to wait on foundation repair for a bit.
When Waiting on Foundation Repairs Makes Sense
Now that you know how to handle foundation issues on a recently flipped home, that last sentence in the previous section might have thrown you for a confused loop. Many foundation repair companies will try to scare you about never waiting to get repairs because it’s not safe, but we have a different take.
With so many companies out there trying to freak you out with dire warnings, it’s hard to know who is shootin’ straight with you and who just wants you to take your money. After 35+ years in business, Anchor Foundation Repair is here to help guide you through the foundation repair process with 100% honesty and transparency.
We recognize that there are times to get moving on foundation repairs right away and times when it makes sense to wait. Check out this article for more thoughts on timing: Should I Do Foundation Repairs or Not? Now, Later, or Never.