Getting Started

Pitfalls of buying a “down-to-the-studs” remodel

You’ve heard the term “down to the studs”, but what does that mean? This term is used more and more often to describe properties for sale and the number of properties available for purchase advertised as such has proliferated. The listing agent may say “though the house was built in 1963, the seller took it down to the studs; it’s like new, new sheetrock, new roof, new windows & doors. Hmm… were the new shingles laid over the old roof or was it taken down to the deck? New wiring, you say, was the electrical panel upgraded, new breakers? And these questions are just the tip of the iceberg. Additional questions to ask: Can the seller or listing agent provide a report detailing the scope of the work? Were the appropriate building permits obtained from the town or county? If the electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing and/or roof were redone, upgraded, replaced were the contractors licensed? Are there contractor and manufacturer warranties that transfer at the time of sale? What is the condition of the sewer line? Most jurisdictions I work in the property owner is responsible for the sewer line between the house and the sewer main. In the event of a loss due to unpermitted work may void insurance coverage. Your purchase contract should allow for inspections to be completed, but remodels may require inspections beyond the capabilities of a general building inspector. The cost of additional inspections is money well spent and worth every nickel.

I’m not saying avoid “down to the studs” remodels, but go in your eyes open wide and ask lots of questions. Lastly, work with a good local Buyer’s Agent who knows the area and understands and has experience in construction and remodeling. If I can be of assistance, contact Ray Elser @ Contour Investment Properties. I’ll help you find the property of your dreams! Call us at 307-690-4313 or visit me online at