You would think that when there is an investor involved in a transaction, escrow times would run like clockwork. After all, time is money. But with one exception, that is not the experience my clients have had over the past several years. These transactions are taking much longer while we work through a myriad of problems, such as:
Title isn't clear. This is pretty basic, but one deal was delayed nearly 2 months while we waited for that to be corrected.
Sub-par workmanship. I've seen a lot of carelessness and short-cuts. Laundry hook-ups covered over with Sheetrock; Dishwashers slid into place, but lacking any plumbing; Non-functioning furnaces; faulty electrical. It would appear that some workers hired to do work on properties have very little skill, or at the least, no oversight while on the job.
Absentee sellers. Many of these sellers are no where near the properties they represent, and it seems apparent in some cases, that these sellers have never set foot on the property, let alone overseen the quality of work by the crews they hire. Many seem to leave the details of the transaction to non-licensed staff who have no idea about contracts or proper paperwork.
Skipping the basics. Most real estate agents in California would advise their seller clients to perform pest inspections prior to putting their homes on the market. But that sure hasn't been the case on the majority of the flips I've encountered with clients. In some instances, wood rot has been cosmetically covered up.
Buyer Beware. Flipped houses generally are very clean, have a lot of visual appeal, and appear move-in ready. But a lot may be lurking beneath the surface. Inspections are still very important on these seemingly perfect homes. Do you due diligence, and for goodness sakes, do not waive your inspection contingencies!
Footnote: There are several flippers groups in my region that do an amazing job with reconditioning houses. They have terrific reputations, and have teams of skilled craftsmen, agents and support staff. Their listings go quickly and their transactions run timely. If only they were in charge of all of the flips!