When flipping a house, your goal is to make the home as appealing to the masses as possible. To this end, much of our advice in this post will address the most common mistakes we see house flippers make!
Throughout this post, we’re going to use a home in Bellevue that we flipped as an example. Before we got to work, the value of the house was $850,000. We spent $100,000 fixing it up, and it sold in July 2019 for $1,200,000 (in 2 days for our asking price, no less!).
Read on for 10 of our must-read home flipping tips:
1.) All home renovations should be neat and cohesive. One of the biggest turn-offs we encounter when it comes to homes recently renovated is sloppy remodels. Uneven floor transitions, ugly paint, or crude gaps in cabinetry all get noticed by potential buyers, and in the minds of buyers, these details create doubt in a home’s overall reliability. Hire contractors who care about their work and do a good job. If something is incorrect, call the contractor back to correct his/her work. My main point is the cheapest contractor does not necessarily bring you the best value.
2.) Do not buy countertops, tile, or flooring that is in the clearance section. Again, your job is to make the home as appealing to the masses as possible. If you select finishes that were in the clearance section, that means no one wanted those items, and the manufacturer decided to no longer produce them. Buyers will likely feel they need to remodel the home again, and will not apply a high value to the work you conducted.
3.) If you’re flipping a home, do not finish the house to suit your taste. Remember, you’re creating a look that should be as appealing to as many people as possible. When you’re determining how to finish the home, look at contemporary homes in your area. See which homes sold quickly with the best terms and emulate what they did. Again, someone else will not apply the same value to your preferences. Think magazine spreads on houses and do your best to follow!
4.) DO NOT spend your rehab budget on just one or two projects in the house. If you do this, you’re not maximizing your dollars, and you’re not going to see a return. Instead, spread your budget out across the entire home and rid the home of as many old “cues” as possible. Every room should be touched and freshened up in some way. Remove old brass hinges throughout the house, and remove old dated lighting throughout the home. Flooring should be changed or refinished throughout the home. You want the whole home to feel newer, fresh, and reliable.
5.) If your flip has a yard and exterior to work with, DO NOT FORGET ABOUT IT. Curb appeal is SO crucial. Make sure you remove any huge bushes or trees from the home’s facade. When your older home was new, those plantings were tiny, but when you go to sell it, you need an unobstructed front facade to help your home look clean and fresh. Paint the house with modern colors, and use at least two body colors (lighter and darker) of the same hue. Then use a trim color that will pop off the body. (See pics for examples.)
6.) Open up the floorplan at every opportunity. Not always easy, but EVERY buyer these days wants an open floor plan. True, the difficulty and, therefore, the cost of doing this will vary from home to home. However, you should look for a home that can be opened up with relative ease. Opening up could mean removing doors and widening the openings as our team did in the Bellevue house used as an example.
7.) Do not personalize the wall color palette. Color on walls is very subjective and divisive—not a good combo for high sale prices. But what all buyers agree on is they want the home to feel bright and cheery. So if you’re going to remain neutral and brighten up the house the most, then you will paint everything flat white. You focus on creating a bright and cheerful atmosphere and let the buyers choose color.
8.) Remodel the home with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. Don’t throw out things that can still work today. White kitchen cabinets, for example, are a blessing. Just change the tile, counters, sink, hardware, lighting, and appliances like we did in this Bellevue home. Salvaging the cabinets saved us $22,000, and the kitchen still looked brand new.
9.) Pay for staging. Do not EVER sell a home unfurnished. Emotional connection is essential for buyers, and they are willing to pay more for houses that do not require their imaginations. In our experience, most people do not have a strong sense of style, nor do they have much of a vision for those things. DO NOT leave all your work unfinished by selling the home empty—you will leave a lot of money on the table.
10.) Last, be realistic about your list price. Find a new home in the area to have sold recently. Find an older home in good condition but not renovated to have sold recently, and last, find a home that was remodeled to have sold in the last six months. Then see how your home compares and bracket your price. For example: say the non-remodeled/right condition home sold for $600,000, the new home sold for $750,000, and the remodeled older home sold for $690,000. Your home, having just been renovated, would bracket the project between the recently remodeled home and the new home. You need to keep a healthy distance from the new home price, so buyers feel that your price is fair. To me, that would look like $710,000. Hopefully, you did an excellent job on selecting finishes, and based on some of our team’s flips, your home could sell for as much as the new home if done correctly. I mean, you can also hire the GetHappyatHome team, and we can do this all for you. 🙂 Shameless plug!