Bought a flip house with not-to-code plumbing and wiring. Advice?

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OK:  Just bought a flip in Texas, and the flipper did a pretty bad job.  Not profoundly bad, but bad enough.

Paid cash, so no loan.  Contract was standard real estate "as-is-where-is".

I've crawled around under the house, and some of the wiring is clearly not to code.  Doesn't seem obviously dangerous, and everything electrical works properly, but it's clearly not to code.

The plumbing system keeps backing up.  I've had two plumbers from two competing companies come out.  Plumber 1 crawled around under the house said "everything was done wrong and will have to be completely redone". Plumber 2 never said anything like that, even after putting a camera into the system, but he never went under the house either.  So far the whole affair hasn't cost me that much: about $400 in plumber's fees (thank god for home warranty), but I have a feeling it's gonna get bad.

Don't bother telling me I'm a fool for buying a flip, or that I didn't inspect it properly or caveat emptor ot PYBD or anything like that.  I ALREADY KNOW AND ACCEPT ALL THAT.  Don't ask for pics either; no women involved.

Any ideas or advice on recovering expenses from the seller, or placing complaints for substandard / notToCode work or anything like that?  Is there any possibility of leverage at all?

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ElephantNest (Oct. 01, 2016 @ 6:35a) |

OP, you're better off talking to a local attorney who specializes in residential real estate (than asking here).

in gene... (more)

crabbing (Oct. 02, 2016 @ 10:09a) |

Looking at the standard TX disclosure form I found, it looks like there is a question about remodels that were not permi... (more)

dblevitan (Oct. 02, 2016 @ 11:40a) |

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You're f*cked.

Moral of the story: Don't buy flips.

kenblakely said:   Don't bother telling me I'm a fool for buying a flip, or that I didn't inspect it properly or caveat emptor ot PYBD or anything like that.  I ALREADY KNOW AND ACCEPT ALL THAT.
 

um...alright. but what else is there to say? 

You had a professional home inspection company inspect the property prior to your purchase. Right?

Huh? " I ALREADY KNOW AND ACCEPT ALL THAT. "

I thought you were asking on how to fix it then came this. I'm confused.

​Implement "greater fool" theory - if you were willing to buy it without inspection, somebody else out there will too. Flip the place out of your life.

kenblakely said:   Plumber 1 crawled around under the house said "everything was done wrong and will have to be completely redone".
 

Find a new plumber.  If somebody can't tell you exactly what is wrong and what it will cost to repair, don't let them work on your house.  It's plumbing, not a nuclear reactor.  I find it highly unlikely that "everything was done wrong and will have to be completely redone."  This guy just wants to intimidate you into parting with your money.

So your flipper cut a few corners.  Fix what needs to be fixed and move on.  Not worth the lost cause of trying to recover anything from the seller.  It would be an uphill battle. 

You bought it "as is" so what do you want the seller to do?  I also bought a fixer upper a while back "as is" but I had the professional inspection done just to let myself know what I was getting into.  We all do stupid things in the life, that's how we learn it.  Regarding the plumber that said that everything needs to be redone?  They all say that.  Otherwise how'd they make money?  Find out exactly what needs to be done and fix one thing at a time.  My 100 year old house has wiring that is not up to the code but who cares?  As long as the wires are good and not blowing circuits, I am no overloading them and I have a good insurance, what else there is to worry about?

You won't get a penny from the seller since you bought as is; that's the whole point. If you didn't write that in your contract, the seller may not have sold you the house.

so where are people not buying houses "as is"? Once a house is sold , isn't it always "as is" at that point?

rufflesinc said:   so where are people not buying houses "as is"? Once a house is sold , isn't it always "as is" at that point?

All kinds of reasons that is not the case in a traditional sale.

OP, check with 2-3 different plumbers/electricians. The extra $ will be worth it when you have to build out a realistic way to tackle each project.

It will be fine. It's not a death sentence. It stinks but it's money to fix it. To the extent you can do anything yourself do so.

Dawgswin said:   
rufflesinc said:   so where are people not buying houses "as is"? Once a house is sold , isn't it always "as is" at that point?

All kinds of reasons that is not the case in a traditional sale.

 

  That sentence doesn't make any sense. maybe I should rephrase my question as : so where are people  buying houses not "as is"?

If it makes you feel any better, you probably only got the house because of these issues. If it was fixed up right the prospective buyers who had it inspected properly would have probably outbid you.

What are your plans for the property?
Live in it?
Rent it out?

rufflesinc said:   
Dawgswin said:   
rufflesinc said:   so where are people not buying houses "as is"? Once a house is sold , isn't it always "as is" at that point?

All kinds of reasons that is not the case in a traditional sale.

 

  That sentence doesn't make any sense. maybe I should rephrase my question as : so where are people  buying houses not "as is"?

  Traditional real estate contracts are subject to satisfactory inspection by a professional inspector and proper appraisal value.  If there is a problem with either of those then you have a recourse before you finalize the contract.  In as-is contract, you're making concession to buy the property without one or both of those protections for 1) getting a great price on the property  or 2) you're dead-set on getting that property.
 

rufflesinc said:   so where are people not buying houses "as is"? Once a house is sold , isn't it always "as is" at that point?
  Not if a seller makes a material misrepresentation, depending on location.

Start with this: Was the work permitted and inspected? If it wasn't then, depending on jurisdiction, you may have some recourse.

kenblakely said:   Don't bother telling me I'm a fool for buying a flip, or that I didn't inspect it properly or caveat emptor ot PYBD or anything like that.  I ALREADY KNOW AND ACCEPT ALL THAT.  
  
So what is the point of this thread? Put on your big boy pants and suck it up.

BostonOne said:   rufflesinc said:   so where are people not buying houses "as is"? Once a house is sold , isn't it always "as is" at that point?
  Not if a seller makes a material misrepresentation, depending on location.


Unless, the seller made explicitly clear that the property is up to code then how is seller making material misrepresentation? OP took a chance of buying as-is property and now having buyer's remorse and looking for someone to blame when it was an error in their judgement for not making the contract subject to appraisal or inspection. Op can sue the seller (not sure what the basis would be though) but winning would be a whole new matter.

You got a money pit. Doubt if you can accurately predict & plan what all this will cost you.

You'd be better off calculating what your loss would be selling it as is. Don't let your pride or stubbornness get in the way of this decision. These decisions separate winners from losers.

Stubtify said:   You had a professional home inspection company inspect the property prior to your purchase. Right?
  You haven't read about those home inspector horror stories?

You paid cash for a house? Pony up a few grand and get the plumbing and electrical fixed properly. If the two plumbers you called didn't explain exactly what was needed to your satisfaction, call a third.

I'm dying of curiosity about how this transaction went down? Flippers buy low and sell HIGH. So already you paid around market rate for your home, in cash no less, and you didn't bother to have a home inspection? Why? I have to know. Just why?

ledwards said:   I'm dying of curiosity about how this transaction went down? Flippers buy low and sell HIGH. So already you paid around market rate for your home, in cash no less, and you didn't bother to have a home inspection? Why? I have to know. Just why?


What's that saying about a fool and his money?...

ach1199 said:   rufflesinc said:   
Dawgswin said:   
rufflesinc said:   so where are people not buying houses "as is"? Once a house is sold , isn't it always "as is" at that point?

All kinds of reasons that is not the case in a traditional sale.

 

  That sentence doesn't make any sense. maybe I should rephrase my question as : so where are people  buying houses not "as is"?

  Traditional real estate contracts are subject to satisfactory inspection by a professional inspector and proper appraisal value.  If there is a problem with either of those then you have a recourse before you finalize the contract.  In as-is contract, you're making concession to buy the property without one or both of those protections for 1) getting a great price on the property  or 2) you're dead-set on getting that property.
 



Just because the house is sold "as-is" doesn't have anything to do with inspection and/or appraisal contingencies.

Almost every REO is sold as-is, but buyers are still able to have an inspection, and back out of contract if there are issues. As-is just indicates the seller isn't doing any repairs.

Ruffles is asking who ever has recourse AFTER closing on a home. Answer....hardly anyone, unless there was willful and intentional fraud by the seller.

For the plumbing you should get a second opinion to see if it is an easy fix. It could be the main drain line is not sloping or the pipe is too small. Worst case you can do a plumbing retrofit/repipe with minimal cosmetic damage by using pex. Some of the pipes get ripped out and some stay in the walls. Run new pex to everything. This can be a lot cheaper than replacing like for like to get it up to code.

For the electrical you should hire an electrician to inspect and get a quote to bring it up to code. If everything is safe and functional the repair costs should be relatively small.

How much did your plumber quote to get everything up to code?

Basically almost all construction has some sort of code issues, and the older the house, the more likely.  That in itself isn't a big deal, or any deal at all really.  That something (the plumbing) doesn't work correctly means you should fix it until it works like you want it to.  Look - I just replumbed my entire basement, including breaking into the slab, digging out 200 gallons of dirt (I know because I hauled it out 5 gal at a time) cutting into the main cast iron sewer line, and redoing every inch of waste and supply, hauling out almost 1000 pounds of galvanized steel and iron plumbing from the 1950's.  I'm not a plumber, and it cost about $500 in fittings and pipe, and a lot of work on my part.  It's not rocket science, as somebody said.  I had to do that because we had an undisclosed septic tank on the property that the house was still hooked up to!  I'm not getting  a penny from the seller - he's long gone.  Either fix it yourself, pay somebody to fix it, or live with it, but unless your sale contract said that everything had to be perfect and meet current code in your area, there's no way on earth you're getting any money back.  Sorry. 

gnopgnip said:   For the plumbing you should get a second opinion to see if it is an easy fix. It could be the main drain line is not sloping or the pipe is too small. Worst case you can do a plumbing retrofit/repipe with minimal cosmetic damage by using pex. Some of the pipes get ripped out and some stay in the walls. Run new pex to everything. This can be a lot cheaper than replacing like for like to get it up to code.

For the electrical you should hire an electrician to inspect and get a quote to bring it up to code. If everything is safe and functional the repair costs should be relatively small.

How much did your plumber quote to get everything up to code?
 

  Pex is supply, he said the plumbing is backing up, which is a DWV problem, nothing to do with the supply.

snake > snake's belly > flippers

BigFatCat said:   Start with this: Was the work permitted and inspected? If it wasn't then, depending on jurisdiction, you may have some recourse.
  
Was the noncode work done recently, by the seller, or was it done a long time ago?

BigFatCat said:   Start with this: Was the work permitted and inspected? If it wasn't then, depending on jurisdiction, you may have some recourse.
  Bad idea. If an inspector finds out it will be on you to fix the issues. I think this was on a Seinfeld episode, Mom and Pop's shoe store I believe. Kramer has Pop call an electrician to fix a minor problem but it turns out it will cost thousands. If he doesn't have it fixed, the electrician has to report the code violations or he would lose his job.

taxmantoo said:   
BigFatCat said:   Start with this: Was the work permitted and inspected? If it wasn't then, depending on jurisdiction, you may have some recourse.
  
Was the noncode work done recently, by the seller, or was it done a long time ago?

  yeah the time to use unpermitted work as leverage is before closing. Now it's in the buyer's lap

Keep in mind, many plumbers will refuse to 'patch' the problem if you are having drain issues without a visible clog.

This is because the drain is either not pitched correctly or it isn't vented correctly.

With drain pitch, you don't just fix the problem area, you fix everything needed until the entire system has a minimum pitch.

With venting problems, issues can be hidden in the walls or attic space. Anything in the walls can be very difficult to inspect or repair.

A reputable repairman will want to stand behind his repair and will refuse to do band-aids for an hourly rate.

Doesn't mean you can't gamble with bandaiding the visible plumbing sections, just means you will have to find a plumber who is ok with not standing behind the repair.

Good Luck.

atikovi said:   
BigFatCat said:   Start with this: Was the work permitted and inspected? If it wasn't then, depending on jurisdiction, you may have some recourse.
  Bad idea. If an inspector finds out it will be on you to fix the issues. I think this was on a Seinfeld episode, Mom and Pop's shoe store I believe. Kramer has Pop call an electrician to fix a minor problem but it turns out it will cost thousands. If he doesn't have it fixed, the electrician has to report the code violations or he would lose his job.

  

OP just bought the house.  He can go down to the county/township and request to inspect the property records.  OP doesn't have to tell them why other than they just bought the house.  Just simply tell them that you want to see what, if anything, has been done to the property, or that they want to verify the records are correct to make sure they aren't paying too much in property taxes.  The property records should have a history of all permits and inspections for the property.

Keep in mind though, this tactic can backfire if the property has a permit for an improvement that somehow wasn't reflected in the assessed value.  If the person helping you notices that, they will kick it over to the assessor to fix that.

gnopgnip said:   For the plumbing you should get a second opinion to see if it is an easy fix. It could be the main drain line is not sloping or the pipe is too small. Worst case you can do a plumbing retrofit/repipe with minimal cosmetic damage by using pex. Some of the pipes get ripped out and some stay in the walls. Run new pex to everything. This can be a lot cheaper than replacing like for like to get it up to code.

For the electrical you should hire an electrician to inspect and get a quote to bring it up to code. If everything is safe and functional the repair costs should be relatively small.

How much did your plumber quote to get everything up to code?

  Bought a house that had sit used for a year or so. Flush toilet and line would back up. Roots had grown into sewer pipe. Roots gone, poop flows one way now.

To me, a sewer line backing up is easy to diagnose. Something is blocked. Go to your clean out section, drop a camera in and look around.

saladdin said:   
gnopgnip said:   For the plumbing you should get a second opinion to see if it is an easy fix. It could be the main drain line is not sloping or the pipe is too small. Worst case you can do a plumbing retrofit/repipe with minimal cosmetic damage by using pex. Some of the pipes get ripped out and some stay in the walls. Run new pex to everything. This can be a lot cheaper than replacing like for like to get it up to code.

For the electrical you should hire an electrician to inspect and get a quote to bring it up to code. If everything is safe and functional the repair costs should be relatively small.

How much did your plumber quote to get everything up to code?

  Bought a house that had sit used for a year or so. Flush toilet and line would back up. Roots had grown into sewer pipe. Roots gone, poop flows one way now.

To me, a sewer line backing up is easy to diagnose. Something is blocked. Go to your clean out section, drop a camera in and look around.

  plumbing companies around here advertise $99 sewer cleaning and free camera inspection.  I would gladly pay $99 for a pro to do that

tuphat said:   snake > snake's belly > flippers
 
Isn't a flipper someone who buys a house that needs some work, spends time & money on select improvements, and then tries to find a buyer willing to pay more for the improved house? I don't understand the problem. I'm sure some make dumb improvements or have shoddy work done, but I've seen some pretty shoddy work left behind in formerly owner-occupied properties too. 

gatzdon said:   
OP just bought the house.  He can go down to the county/township and request to inspect the property records.  OP doesn't have to tell them why other than they just bought the house.  Just simply tell them that you want to see what, if anything, has been done to the property, or that they want to verify the records are correct to make sure they aren't paying too much in property taxes.  The property records should have a history of all permits and inspections for the property.

Keep in mind though, this tactic can backfire if the property has a permit for an improvement that somehow wasn't reflected in the assessed value.  If the person helping you notices that, they will kick it over to the assessor to fix that.

I failed to see what purpose would that serve.  OP got the house now, wart and all.   Whatever work was done, correct or not, permitted or not, are his problems now.  As mention before, the only caveat is if the prior owned failed to disclose a known problem and if one can prove that.

SlimTim said:   
tuphat said:   snake > snake's belly > flippers
 
Isn't a flipper someone who buys a house that needs some work, spends time & money on select improvements, and then tries to find a buyer willing to pay more for the improved house? I don't understand the problem. I'm sure some make dumb improvements or have shoddy work done, but I've seen some pretty shoddy work left behind in formerly owner-occupied properties too. 

  
The flipper has the financial incentive to polish a turd for as little money as possible, then sell said chromed up turd to a sucker for as much money as possible as quickly as possible. Since the flipper doesn't intend to occupy the property they only have to put enough quality into the work for it to last a few months until they've sold it and moved on.

Skipping 8 Messages...
crabbing said:   OP, you're better off talking to a local attorney who specializes in residential real estate (than asking here).

in general, the buyer's recourse lies in the cancellation contingencies, and the inspection contingency is probably the most important. if you forego the inspection, your recourse lies either in finding a material misrepresentation by the seller, or some other legal basis to cancel the contract or seek damages.

Looking at the standard TX disclosure form I found, it looks like there is a question about remodels that were not permitted or inspected. OP, did the flipper check that and provide an explanation? If not, it would be hard for a flipper to argue that he didn't know that something was not up to code (especially if the work is obviously brand new). I don't know it if would be worth it, but if it's going to cost tens of thousands to repair, it might be.



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