Foundation Repair
Buyer Beware in the Crazy World of House Flipping
9 months, 1 week ago Posted in: Foundation Repair 0
Buyer Beware in the Crazy World of House Flipping

As the prices in the GTA housing market continues to rise, it is important for those people looking to purchase a home to be aware that there is an increase in houses that are being purchased and flipped. A home that is being “flipped” means that it was purchased at a lower price, quickly and inexpensively renovated, and then put back on the market for a substantial profit. Many homes that are being flipped merely receive a Band-Aid like fix that is usually purely cosmetic. This is done to trick those who are contemplating purchasing the home, to pull the trigger.

But how do you know if a home was genuinely renovated or if it was just quickly repaired? There are many different things to look for that are telltale signs that a home has been quickly repaired with the intention of being flipped.



A fresh new interior may be appealing at first, but it may have just been completed to cover up other issues in the home. Some of the signs to look for include new appliances, a fresh coat of paint, new carpet, cheap lighting, and more. It is hard to not be fooled by the clean and new look of a freshly renovated room, but make sure to take a closer look at the work that has been completed.


Heating systems in a home are very important, especially with the extreme cold we experience during the Canadian winters. There are two different things to look out for when attempting to determine if a home is being flipped. The first is a new heater system that is filled with drywall dust from the quick construction. The second would be an old heating system with a seal of approval from a company that you may have never heard of. If either of these issues present themselves, it is recommended that you have a 3rd party heating company assess the heating system.

Ceiling Leaks

A major thing to look out for in a home is a ceiling with water damage marks from previous leaks, or fresh paint on only parts of the ceiling. Instead of addressing the issue that caused the leak in the first place which can be costly, many flippers will cover up the damage and hope no one notices!


Your roof is what protects your home from the rain, snow, sleet, and other weather elements. It is important to look at the condition of your roof and the state of the shingles prior to purchasing your home. This can be done by simply stepping back from the house and looking at the roof and comparing it to others in the area.

While issues will play an important role in determining whether or not you want to buy a particular home, because they can involve costly repairs and can also be time consuming, they are mostly cosmetic repairs. There are more serious issues that can present themselves in a flipped home. The most important issue in the home that you must look out for is any cracks in the foundation. These cracks or leaks can be covered by drywall or other items that the seller has used to hide the issue.

Foundation Cracks and Leaks

Many homes that are being flipped will advertise a fully finished basement. Many times there are serious underlying issues in the home that drywall and paint can’t fix. Some of these issues can result in the need for basement waterproofing or foundation crack repair to eliminate the potential for a wet basement. Basement cracks or leaks are a serious issue that cannot be ignored. These cracks, when left unattended or improperly repaired, can result in the need for a full foundation replacement.

Different Types of Foundation Cracks

There are many different types of foundation cracks. These include step, vertical, and horizontal cracks which can appear along walls and in the floors of a basement.

Step Crack

A step crack is a horizontal and vertical crack that occurs in between cinder blocks or bricks.

Vertical Cracks

A vertical crack occurs from the top of a wall and extend all the way to the bottom.

Horizontal Cracks

These cracks can be serious. A horizontal crack occurs below grade and can compromise the structural integrity of the wall.

Some of these cracks are more serious than others, but all of them should be addressed by an expert. The staff at GJ MacRae have been identifying and repairing basement cracks in foundations since 1975.


If the home you are looking to purchase is not a new build and has a substantial ceiling height, the previous owners or current sellers may have opted for basement underpinning. This process is extremely tedious and involves a new foundation, therefore if not completed by experts, can lead to a foundation that is not structurally sound.

Interior/Exterior Cracks

Cracks can occur on the interior or exterior of a foundation. It is easier to find an exterior crack than an interior crack. This is because the exterior of a home is less likely to be covered, unlike the inside that may be covered with drywall.

Issues with a Cracked Foundation

It is better to repair a crack in the foundation of a home right when it is found instead of letting it grow. Cracks can allow water or even harmful pests to enter the basement and cause more of a problem.

Cost of a New Foundation

A new foundation can be very pricey. You want to avoid the cost or replacing your foundation at all costs. The total replacement of a foundation may be necessary if a crack in the foundation has been left to grow, or improperly repaired before. It is more cost effective to complete a foundation crack repair instead of completely redoing a foundation.

Extra Steps

There are also many extra steps required to replace the entire foundation on a home. This process entails replacing the floor in the basement, additional backyard landscaping, and a complete overhaul of the furnishing inside the basement.

How to Fix a Crack in your Foundation

There are two types of foundations, poured concrete foundation and concrete block foundation. Both require the same initial steps in order to repair a crack in them but the latter involves a bigger hole. A specialist must carefully and cleanly dig a hole on either side of the crack, down to the footing or the weeping tile. The area must be dusted and cleaned and then a Hydro Shield will be applied. Following this, a drainage board must be installed from above the grade to the weeping tile. These steps must be followed to ensure a dry basement.


Regardless of whether the home you are looking at has been flipped, it is always important to make sure to hire an expert to inspect a home before you decide to purchase it. That way they can inform you of any hidden damages and the steps required to fix them. If your home needs foundation crack repair, the experts GJ MacRae specialize in keeping your basement safe and dry.

If you’re located in Toronto West, the GTA, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton, or even Etobicoke, we can help! Our experts have specialized in basement waterproofing and structural foundation repair for over 40 years. Contact GJ MacRae today for a free no-obligation quote. GJ MacRae also offers a 15-year transferable warranty on basement crack repair!

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