How to Buy a Good Flip in Greenville

And Avoid a Disaster

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There is something to be said

about the fact that many retirees and young professionals alike desire a home that is move-in ready.

A new home was built with a cohesive plan. Even a used one was (at one point) built with a cohesive plan. 

With a flip or a renovation near Greenville, it's not always the case. 

Talk about surprises. 

I'm not against flips - I've seen some that I'd be happy to sell to my mom. Great attention to detail, thorough work, no funky smells, new appliances, and a sparkle that's rare and magical.

Trouble is, many "investors" are inexperienced and looking for a quick buck - sometimes at your expense. 

Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnnnnnnnn...

Here's how to avoid a bad flip and move confidently into a solid home.

1. Proper permits

This one is a no-brainer. If someone got permits, the city has to inspect it. Jacuzzi-tree-house-roof with no permit? 

Run, Forrest Run. 

If the MLS or owner brags about the swanky new all-stone shower with 9 showerheads [above the rotting floor joists], you can check to see if the city/county approved it here:

If you are in Spartanburg, for example, you can Google, "Spartanburg building permits" and you should be able to find it as well. 

Buying a flip? Search for permits. No permit? Possible red flag. Watch out, ask your agent (or the neighbors!) what they think. 

2. Solid inspections 

A solid inspection is there to reduce risk, and it's even more important if you are buying a home with additions and renovations. Check out my blog post here learn more about how to get a high-quality inspection and what to do when you find a problem. 

Make sure the inspector is willing to share their knowledge of building codes and will let let you tag along for 30 minutes (at the end) to ask questions. 

3. Look up ownership records

This is what I use: A real estate agent has access to the most up-to-date info on who owns the house, how long they have owned it, and also information on public information as many of them are owned through LLC's. 

The ability to contact the business later on if you encounter issues can be beneficial to you (even if it's a minor issue). 

4. Trust your gut

If you feel something is wrong, or notice lots of unfinished details it can be a sign to slow down, even if it's a hot property. There are some very reputable renovators in Greenville and even they can make mistakes through their subcontractors. 

One thing I always share with my clients is a 1-10 rating for the flip. This helps me compare to the rest of what I've seen - if the flip is a "1", I'd consider it very unfinished, poor quality, scary construction, and something to be avoided.

A "5" is about average - we need to trust the inspection and appraisal as well as test the comfort level of my client taking on a home that may have underlying issues. 

I've only seen two "10's" out of a thousand. Beautiful work, inside and out, excellent attention to detail, quality materials, all new appliances and quality features (insulation, electrical work, etc.). This might as well be a new home that someone really cared about. 

Since these are so rare, it's helpful to keep in mind what you might be getting into. 

bonus secret 

Really want to be nosy? Talk to the neighbors or someone who has bought a flip from the investor before you. Their opinions can be invaluable, and many strangers are really nice and want you to avoid a flipping fiasco. Plus, it's a good chance to gossip, if you are into that kind of thing. 

To conclude

Get a good agent and do your own homework. Together, you can avoid disaster and secure a great home.

Questions? Comments? Worst horror story you've ever heard? Get in touch with me below or find me on Facebook!


David is a REALTOR®, New Homes Buyer Specialist, author of the only new homes website in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Are you buying a new Upstate SC home in the next 3-6 months?

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