GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The real estate market heats up in spring and one trend that only continues to increase in popularity is property flipping, which reached an 11-year high last year.

Hellmuth & Johnson attorney Chris Jones visited the KARE 11 News at 4 to discuss what viewers who are looking at purchasing a home need to be aware of when buying a house that’s been flipped.

First, be sure to know how long the seller has owned the house since this is the easiest way to spot if the home was flipped. If the seller has owned the property for less than a year, it’s more likely than not a flip so you’ll need to ask important questions. Some of these questions include:

▪ What work was done on the property and who completed that work?

▪ If it’s a contractor, then treat that information like you were going to hire that contractor to complete the work for you directly on your own home:

• That would include looking up the contractor on the state licensing system, seeing if there have been any enforcement actions taken against the contractor, ask for referrals, do web searches, etc.

• Ask to be provided with a copy of any contracts for the work done to see if any warranties transfer to new owner.

▪ If it’s a DIY’er, use caution since the current laws have little recourse for collecting on shoddy workmanship if it wasn’t completed by a licensed contractor.

• Homeowners doing their own work don’t provide the same protections as a licensed contractor (insurance coverage, warranties, state oversight, state Recovery Fund “safety net”)

However, a new bill was introduced into the Minnesota legislature recently that would require DIY’ers to be under similar warranty as contractors. This is good news for home buyers, who currently can be on the hook for the mistakes of whoever flipped the house. Until any potential law change, it would be wise to proceed very cautiously if a licensed contractor did not complete any construction work.

For more information, contact Chris Jones at cjones@hjlawfirm.com.