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  • October 2, 2017

Flipping Houses: A Pro’s Essential Check List for Beginners


Flipping Houses: A Pro’s Essential Check List for Beginners

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If you’ve done your own renovations and remodeling—especially if you are flipping houses as an investment—putting the final issues to rest so that you can finally proclaim yourself finished is notoriously frustrating and always more time consuming than you would have imagined.

As soon as you think you are at the end of the to-do list, something else appears that needs to be taken care of. After final clean up is done and everything is sparkling and looking very inviting for a move in or resale, owner-builders often overlook an important matter before the project is really finally complete.

Modern buildings are loaded with mechanical and electrical operating systems. All of these, including appliances, need to be operated and tested.

Run all systems and appliances to verify they are performing properly. Some machinery need break in periods or adjustments until they are functioning as they were designed. System testing is an essential part of closing down any home improvement project.

You can make the following checks yourself or assign them to the appropriate subcontractor or supplier:

✦ Operate all lights switches and dimmers. Don’t forget any fixtures working on motion detectors and/or photo cells.

✦ Make sure all GFI circuits are functioning properly.

✦ Run the furnace and air conditioner. Determine whether room temperatures are maintained to thermostat settings. Normally the HVAC contractors will do this as part of their installment agreement. In addition, they will typically balance the system by adjusting the supply air registers.

✦ Water softeners, reverse osmosis systems and other water filtering devises should provide the soft and filtered water they were designed to delivery. If water purity is an important issue for you, a sample of the water can be checked by a water testing lab, proving you with a thorough report of the analysis.

✦ If you are using a computer to monitor and control systems in the building, put it through its paces. This is one area that usually requires some fine tuning.

✦ Open and close garage doors including use of the remotes. Make sure infra-red safety devises are also working properly.

✦ All kitchen appliances need testing. Run the dishwasher through its entire cycle. Make sure the garbage disposal is working. Turn on the range and heat the oven. The refrigerator and freezer must be holding the designated temperatures and making ice or any other function it is supposed to do. Also check the refrigerators water filter capabilities. In some areas where the water is exceptionally hard, it might be prudent to install an additional in-line filter. Put a full glass of water in the microwave and see if you can bring it to boil.

✦ Be sure the water heater is indeed heating the water and that the hot water circulating pump is running and delivering heated water to the appropriate fixtures. If the plumber has not done so, run enough hot water through the hot water tank to flush out any impurities which may have accumulated during construction (usually a couple of bath tubs full will do it).

✦ Put the washer and dryer through their full cycles.

✦ Verify that the breaker panel(s) have been accurately labeled. Know where your main on-off electrical switch is located.

✦ Check the telephone lines, cable TV outlets or any computer cabling that may have been installed.

✦ If you have a security system, have the system installer/provider verify that it is working properly. All window and door bugs and motion detectors should be checked.

✦ Make sure all windows operate smoothly and will lock. Try your keys on all door locks and check that privacy locks on interior doors are working right.


Some of these system checks may seem obvious, but when you get to the point where you are saying to yourself “I want this all to be done already”, even the obvious can be overlooked. Hopefully this can provide you with a useful check list to make sure all is covered.


For more insights on new construction and remodels, especially for the owner ready to take control and save money, to see this major investment play out successfully, is to have a blueprint for success.

Screw It! I'll Be My Own Contractor by Bill TrimbleMy How To book, “Screw It! I’ll Be My OWN Contractor,” is available on Amazon in print and eBook formats.

For a small investment in this highly readable, comprehensive guide on DIY project management, “Screw It!” answers all your questions, from hiring the right architect to securing permits and more. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me using the form on the Contact page in this site. YOU can do this!

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