How to Avoid Burst Pipes

When evaluating a property, flippers must account for unexpected problems and related costs. Renovations take time and money — and incorrect budgets can wreck your ROI. Kurt Schlegel, one of our fix and flip experts at Fixters provides tips on how to check a potential flip for major issues before incurring unexpected costs. He shares, “I see HVAC, furnace, water heater, air conditioning, roof/venting, plumbing, cracking or heaving foundation and sewer systems issues all the time. Those fixes are the most expensive and therefore the most important chunk of my renovation budget.”

Let’s take a look at one of the common issues with fix and flips: Burst Pipes.

Why do pipes burst in the winter?

As Kurt shared in the video, the house was vacant for over 3 years before acquisition. The water, gas and electric were left on when the bank took possession. The home was not properly winterized, and water continued to flow to the house throughout fluctuating freezing and melting temperatures.  The pipes contracted and expanded as the water melted and refroze. Ultimately, creating cracks and leaks that required serious time and money to fix.Recognizing the water damage, the bank quickly shut off all resources.

How to check pipes for leaks after the water supply is turned off:

  1. Locate the main water shut off in the home.
  2. Open up the valve to turn on the water. The home may have a ball valve or gate valve.
  3. If water leaks at the valve, this could be the pressure regulator.
  4. Check the rubber gaskets where pipes connect. Have they expanded past to pipe connectors? This is where seals are broken because of the expansion and contraction during the freeze/melt process.
  5. Check visible cracking for obvious leaks.

What to do if your property has burst or cracked pipes:

Repairing broken pipes can be expensive, but is a necessary fix to any flip with the issue.  Kurt recommends making sure the water supply is shut off and hiring a licensed plumber to complete similar repairs. Budget to bring out qualified contractors and experts to inspect and fix your property within a manageable timeframe.

Get your eyes on the pipes as early in the buying process as possible. Keep a sharp eye out for issues involving heating and cooling systems, as well as plumbing, during your inspections in the buying, renovating and sales processes. Get assistance on how to fully evaluate properties with Fixters Academy. Our coaches will guide you through your property evaluation and help you locate and tackle these potential roadblocks to a profitable flip.