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When It Comes To Flipped Homes, Buyer Beware

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(credit: CBS) Liz Collin
At 15 years old, Liz Collin made her broadcast debut covering...
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COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) –The trouble started for Frost Simula just days after he moved into a Columbia Height home. Now, he’s on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars.

At first, his 2,100 square foot home seemed brand-new, but a trail of post-it notes from the last few weeks explains that all was not what it seemed.

He’s since found 51 problems with the house.

Simula moved in on May 20. Just a few days later, he found three gallons of water in his laundry room due to a seam that had opened in the ceiling. A quick patch job showed that it had been a problem before.

“The plumber was able to find seven leaks behind the walls so far,” Simula said.

An inspector did go through first and found just a few things that Simula had agreed to fix.

“I can’t expect an inspector to find everything, but I would expect him to find this,” Simula said as he pulled off his shower head.

He now has two bathrooms that don’t work but. And online, he found the worst of it himself.

“I didn’t find these warning signs until after I’d purchased the house,” he said.

There were posted pictures of what the house looked like six months before his purchase. A load-bearing wall and another load-bearing pillar had been removed.

“Ten years ago we had predatory lending, now we’ve got predatory remodeling,” Simula said.

No permits were pulled for any of the work, so Simula was unaware. He signed off on a Seller’s Disclosure Alternatives form that acts as a waiver in his case to any disclosures.

“It sort of means I bought the house as is,” Simula said.

While he explores what little legal options he may have, Simula hasn’t bothered to unpack – still unsure of his next move.

“In this case I just really feel exploited,” he said.

Simula paid $174,000 for the house. He’s been told by contractors that it could cost another $100,000 to make all of the repairs.

www.trulia.com and www.zillow.com are just two websites that have pictures of what homes look like before they’re put on the market

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