Lipstick On A Pig-Checking Out Whether Those Beautiful Updates Were Done Correctly

By
Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate Group

Buying a Pig in a Poke in Northern VirginiaYou've walked in the front door and you are blown away.  On the surface everything about the home you are exploring looks perfect. Granite counters, stainless steel appliances, updated bathrooms and hardwood floors. What's not to love? 

Before you run back to the office to write an offer you may want to do a little double checking.  In the case of this wonderful little house in Fairfax County VA the first place we went was to the county website to check to see if any building permits were pulled.  What we found were a slew of permits with work marked incomplete by the county inspector.  None of the permits pulled showed any work had passed inspections.

It's an issue buyers in Northern Virginia face everyday when they look to purchase a flip or home with recent updates.  Some contractors never pull a single permit and you can just about guarantee "Joe" homeowner didn't pull any permits when they did the work themselves.  I have a contractor currently working on a property I own in Parkfairfax in Alexandria VA and I doubled checked to make sure all of the permits were pulled before the work started.

If you are thinking about buying a home that was obviously remodeled take a few minutes and check for building permits and inspections.

Alexandria City

Arlington County

Fairfax County

Prince William County

If you have questions most of the city and county government agencies are more than happy to answer them for you.  If you decide to go ahead and buy the home make sure you have a home inspection with a licensed home inspector.

If  aren't working with a Realtor® and are thinking about buying a new home in Northern Virginia your give me a call at 703-346-2213.   Let me help you navigate the murky waters of our current market.   No hassle, no pressure just straight talk about whether now is the right time to buy a new home.

 

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                                   Real People*Real Lives*Real Estate

If you are interested in learning more about the Northern Virginia Real Estate market including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William Counties give Cindy Jones and Integrity Real Estate Group a call at 703-346-2213.

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Check out www.varealestatetalk.com and www.cjrealtygroup.com for more information.

Integrity Real Estate Group
 
Real People*Real Life*Real Estate

Licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia



 

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Chris Ann Cleland 11/21/2010 03:14 PM
Topic:
Home Buying
Location:
Virginia Alexandria City County Alexandria Parkfairfax
Groups:
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Northern Virginia Real Estate
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Tags:
northern virginia real estate
fairfax county real estate
prince william county real estate
parkfairfax va
fairfax county building permit

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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Ruthmarie-yes we have a good number of flips.  Though I see it slowing down a bit as the prices have gone up in some of our neighborhoods making it cost prohibitive.

Nov 19, 2010 10:20 PM #53
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Chris-how about that another "it's a small world" connection.

Nov 19, 2010 10:21 PM #54
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Cheryl-glad your dad is up and rolling.  My iPad will be working at RainCamp.

Nov 19, 2010 10:22 PM #55
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Fernando-thanks for stopping by.  I've been in plenty of flips in the last few years and a majority of them did not have permits.  They have a general handyman doing major plumbing or electric work that looks great on the surface but it isn't done to code.

Nov 19, 2010 10:24 PM #56
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Renée Montgomery
Century 21 New Millennium - Warrenton, VA
Northern Virginia Real Estate

Many time you can just barely hear me mutter "lipstick on a pig" as I walk through a vacant, renovated listing. New paint, carpeting, cabinets and granite. Then seeing the original, dirty HVAC and filthy return vents I start muttering. It seems to be one or two investors doing the same minimal cosmetic changes. I am not impressed.

Nov 19, 2010 10:56 PM #57
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Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ

Cindy,

This is the very first thing I check into when I get a new listing. We use attorneys in my area. First thing the buyer's attorney does is check on permits. You're 100% right that this permits are critical safety issues!

Nov 20, 2010 12:03 AM #58
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Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Cindy, wise advice for sure...  as I was reading I was heading for the "suggest" button then saw it already was featured!!!  (congrats)  But seriously, this is a very real issue and one that needs to be said over and over.  Check those permits!  And don't forget the septic permits too! 

Nov 20, 2010 01:09 AM #59
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Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Cindy - Always always check out those permits... Ha ha.. That saying is a favorite of ours.... The lipstick quote that is....

Nov 20, 2010 02:52 AM #60
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Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Cindy, more often than not, assuming quality workmanship with remodeling is the WRONG thing to assume. Always check.

Nov 20, 2010 03:34 AM #61
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Brent & Deb Wells
LivingWell Properties - Prosper, TX
Prosper TX

Cindy,

Very solid information right there. Once you get burned it will never happen again, but its that first time you get burned thats painful. Great post.

-Brent

Nov 20, 2010 06:31 AM #62
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Renee-some of our local investors have a formula.  Bright and shinny surfaces.  But as you point out they forget about the major systems which can be the real money pit for the new buyers.

Nov 20, 2010 11:13 PM #63
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Irene-there are times when I wish we had attorneys handling our transactions.  Fortunately checking permits is easy with all of our local jurisdictions being on-line.

Nov 20, 2010 11:14 PM #64
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Lee and Pam-don't get me started on septic permits.  Had a client who bought a home (I didn't represent them when they purchased.) The "passed" a septic system that turned out to be in the wrong location and ended up costing the owner big $$$$ when they hired me to list the property.  Should never have passed inspection when they bought only a few years earlier. 

Nov 20, 2010 11:18 PM #65
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Lisa and Bob-glad to hear you are permit checkers as well.  An informed buyer can make better choices.

Nov 20, 2010 11:20 PM #66
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Gary-how true.  That's why we check permits and then bring in the licensed home inspector.  You never know what you are going to find underneath all the glitz.

Nov 20, 2010 11:21 PM #67
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Brent-you are right.  Fool me once shame on you....fool me twice shame on me.  Lessons learned.

Nov 20, 2010 11:23 PM #68
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Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Cindy, I live in the City of Sizzle. People are constantly impressed with flash-n-splash. Usually the inspection wakes them up a bit, but it's amazing how many would forgo substance for SubZero!

Nov 21, 2010 01:53 PM #69
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Gwen-how true.  Sometimes you can point out the obvious but the reaction is oh it's okay we can live with that.

Nov 21, 2010 11:16 PM #70
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Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Raleigh - Cary Triangle Real Estate 919-602-8489

Great Title!  Thank you for highlighting these problems and how important it is to follow up on permits.

Nov 21, 2010 11:49 PM #71
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Carla-way to many flippers trying to get away with the eye candy and forgetting the details. 

Nov 22, 2010 12:28 AM #72
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