What Is The Difference Between Home Rehabbing And Flipping?

Flipping, renovating and remodeling… these three terms are often used interchangeably although each process is significantly different. Prospective buyers should be aware of the differences, especially when buying an old home that was renovated.

If you are buying an old house that looks like it had been renovated, you should inspect the home in detail. Explore the property and get to know whether it was rehabbed or flipped. 

Home Renovation/Flipping:

Renovate means to revive, refresh, make it like new.

Flipping is to improve the outlook without changing the underlying structure. At a flip, you will notice the new paint, new carpets, new lights, and replaced countertops enhancing the visual appearance of the house. However, most of the time, the infrastructure of the property remains intact.

Home Remodeling/Rehabbing:

Remodeling goes beyond cosmetics; it involves demolition, extensive repairs, replacement of infrastructure, alteration of the spaces, even in some cases new construction. It means repairing or rebuilding the entire structure. At the end of the process, you get a house that is fully remodeled from top-to-bottom.

The Difference Between Home Rehabbing and Flipping

Extensive remodeling requires that you rip out everything and replace the essential systems. A trustworthy rehabbing company will inspect the home in detail before buying and replace plumbing, electrical, mechanical units and/or structure as needed. Their goal is to give the best to the end user even if it means changing the entire system. The result is a fully remodeled house with all systems replaced and updated.

When you visit a renovated house, avoid getting wowed by the looks of the new kitchen and bathroom and look deeper, spend time exploring the house, looking everywhere, open all doors and closets, climb on the attic, look at the electrical panel, cables, plumbing lines. Look at the mechanical equipment…. if everything looks new then you may be walking through a rehabbed/renovated house. If it does not, then you may be at a flip.

Home Flipping and Remodeling are two different processes and are tackled with different goals in mind.

Prospective homeowners should be aware of the difference, so they don’t mistake a flip with a full remodel. Don’t be intimidated. Ask questions while in the house. If the home was properly rehabbed, the seller or the seller’s agent should be able to respond to all of your questions.

It is critical to ask questions about things that extend beyond the footprint of the house. Look beyond the curb appeal and shiny surfaces. Consider asking the following questions:

  • Was the septic tank pumped and replaced?
  • What is the condition of the sewer line, was it scoped?
  • Was the well water recuperate rate verified and the water tested for minerals?
  • What is the condition of the electrical equipment and lines?
  • What about the furnace, boiler and the plumbing systems?

Building Permits and Warranties

Most of the time, house flipping tends to involve cosmetic makeover. On the other hand, rehabbing deals with construction, replacement, and repairs. When you work with a reputable rehabber, you’ll get to see the building permits that were obtained before the rehabbing process. A reputable rehabbing company understands that your home is the best investment of your life and they want to give you the best quality product. That means, in most cases, replacing all the old systems with new ones. That also means giving you a warranty on the home and systems. You’re getting a fully remodeled house, but even if something goes wrong, you have a warranty to replace that particular item.

When buying a renovated/remodeled house, always seek to work with a reputable house rehabber. Ask them questions and inspect the home in detail.

Feel free to contact us for more information.


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