Flipping a house is a huge undertaking. Whether you flip homes for a living or you are doing this for your forever home, flipping is no small feat. Homeowners who choose to flip their homes typically go one of two routes. They either hire a contractor to handle the full project or they choose to do everything on their own. If you’ve chosen the latter route, then this guide is for you! We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to flipping your home, going room by room to give you all the tips and tricks you’ll need to have a successful flip.
Before Starting Your Flip
Since flipping a home is no easy task, it also isn’t a cheap one. Before you even start demoing rooms or taking down walls, you should establish ground rules for yourself:
Budget: The budget of your house flip is the most essential component, even more than your design aspirations. Depending on your finances, this house flip could bankrupt you if you aren’t careful. Setting a budget early on is the only way you can ensure that the project stays afloat and you don’t lose yourself in the mess. Flipping a home is very expensive, so be realistic and give yourself higher budgets for the behind-the-scenes items, such as plumbing, electrical and drywall. If there’s foundational issues, those items will cost the most to repair. Scale your budget for furnishings and fixtures back some. There are lots of ways to decorate on a budget, but the foundational pieces aren’t where you want to skimp on costs.
Timeline: Be realistic on your timeline. Even though it’s all over TV, a lot of renovations can’t be done in a month – and neither can flipping an entire house. Even if you have multiple projects going on at the same time, there are lots of variables to completing a project. Weather, budget, availability of products and workers are all variables that can delay projects. Give yourself a longer timeline so that you aren’t disappointed when you run into hiccups that cause you to delay the flip. Plus, if you get done early, then you’ll feel a rush of accomplishment.
Contractors: Depending on your personal experience with renovations and house-flipping, you’ll need to decide how much professional assistance to bring in. While some things can be done on your own, there are others that require professionals, such as taking down a load-bearing wall and installing an exposed beam. Some tasks, such as installing kitchen cabinets, can be done without the assistance of a professional but tend to go much faster if a professional is hired. Deciding where and how you want to bring in professional assistance will go a long way in ensuring your house flip is successful.
Plan it out: After taking care of the structure, foundation, electrical and plumbing, you should renovate the rooms based on how important they are to buyers. Typically, this means the kitchen comes first and then the bathrooms, living room, bedrooms and outdoor entertaining spaces. Creating a plan of what rooms will be worked on when will also help your flip go smoothly.
The Outside and Structure
When flipping a home, you should go from the outside in. This is so that you can take care of any structural issues before cosmetic ones. There’s nothing worse than replacing all the light fixtures just to have to take them apart to fix all the faulty wiring. Here are some tips for renovating the structure and the outside of your flip:
Check for cracks in the foundation: This is especially in flood-prone areas that have basements. If there are cracks in the foundation, then it is much easier for water runoff to collect in the lower areas of the home. A flooded basement can lead to a plethora of other issues. Mold and rot are just two examples. Checking for cracks before doing any demo will help you assess whether or not you need to get a structural engineer to come out.
Look for rot or termite damage: The roof, siding, windows and other areas where wood is visible to the outdoors is susceptible to rot and termite damage. Since older homes are typically the ones being flipped, it’s important that you check those areas for damage. Older homes have been around for a while, possibly going through many owners or not being taken care of properly. Taking care of those areas and treating them for the future will ensure that your flip is sound.
Open up the walls: You will have to do some demo to ensure the structure inside your home is sound. Open up the walls in your home that are outside walls (ones that are placed on the foundation, basically the perimeter of your home) and make sure everything is sound. Check all the support beams and floor joists to ensure that you keep it structurally intact. This will ultimately save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
The electrical and plumbing: While the walls are open, check all the electrical lines and plumbing to ensure that everything is sound. Make sure there aren’t any leaks and there aren’t any open electrical lines. If there are, bring in a professional to take care of the problems. You don’t want to flip a house that isn’t safe.
The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in a home. Over time, kitchens went from just places to cook to true entertaining and living spaces. While the parents cook dinner, the kids sit at the bar and do homework. Couples make their first meal together in the kitchen, and some families have their Thanksgiving meals laid out on the kitchen island. Because the kitchen has become the centerpiece of American home living, it’s important that you rehab the kitchen to reflect that. For many buyers, if they don’t like the kitchen, they won’t see the rest of the home. Here are some tips for renovating the kitchen.
Keep it crisp. A crisp, clean kitchen is always the way to go. Install soft-closing white cabinets with deep drawers, use metallic hardware and add a simple butcher block countertop. Keeping the kitchen crisp and simple will allow potential buyers to imagine themselves in the space rather than feel overwhelmed by all the nuances of the space. Remember: Customization can happen when the buyer gets into their forever home. You’re just there to make the space updated and fresh.
Add an island. Depending on the size of the kitchen space, you should add an island. Kitchen islands are a huge selling point, and having one in the kitchen will guarantee at least one offer. A kitchen island is a versatile tool. You can add a sink, extra storage with more cabinets or even an extended bar for seating. The island is also the one space in the kitchen that can serve as a focal, contrasting point. Consider using a different color for the cabinets in the island for an interesting twist on the space
Install easy-to-clean appliances. The goal of a home flip is to give buyers convenience in spaces they didn’t realize could look or feel a certain way. Installing easy-to-clean appliances will ensure that the buyers feel the home is easy to maintain. For many buyers, they’ll be turned off if they realize just how much upkeep they’ll have to do with the home in order to keep it pristine. Appliances that don’t require a lot of maintenance will have offers lining up at your door.
Consider alternative countertops. Even though quartz and marble are highly sought-after, they’re also some of the most expensive countertop materials. For budget-friendly alternatives, consider using butcher block or granite. Many counter companies have found ways to make the alternative materials mimic the more expensive ones. Potential buyers won’t even realize their counters are made from other materials.
Bathrooms are a place to relax, so it’s important that the bathrooms in your flip are laid out in a way that makes sense and have features that make life easy for the homeowners. Here are some ideas that will turn the current bathrooms into complete knockouts.
Match the fixtures. There’s nothing worse than a room that seems mismatched. Keep the flow of the bathroom together by matching the fixtures. Use the same metal for the handles as you do for the lights and faucets.
Update the mirror. If you’ve got extra room in your budget, consider updating the mirror. If you’ve tried your hardest to clean all the gunk off and nothing is coming off, then you should replace it. If you’re flipping a home to restore it to its original glory, visit an antique store to see if you can find a mirror that fits well in the space. If you’re not concerned with having era-specific pieces, then getting a simple, new mirror will do the trick. Round mirrors have taken on a new trend, so if your fixtures are also round, why not get a mirror that’s shaped the same?
Create a vanity: Some bathrooms, especially in older homes, have stand-alone sinks with no storage. Even if you’re restoring a home, it’s important to install bathroom vanity cabinets with storage. Potential buyers will be thrilled to see under-the-sink storage in the bathrooms.
Add a half bath. If you’ve got room in the budget, consider adding a half bath on the first floor of the home. It’s a great space for when homeowners have guests over. No one has to travel through personal space to get to the bathroom and guests can freshen up while the homeowners shower if needed.
The Living Room
The living room, behind the kitchen, is one of the other spaces where people spend a lot of time. In homes without open concepts, the living room is the space where most of the entertaining happens. Here are our tips for renovating the living room.
Keep the fireplace. In older homes, there’s usually a fireplace. Don’t remove it! If you can, keep it in working condition. Whether you replace the hearth or fix the brick around it, the fireplace is a focal point in any living room. Simply paint it if it’s in good condition and add some decor to the mantel.
Think conversations. Living rooms are where people interact with each other. Arrange the furniture in a way that makes people think of having conversations with others in the space. This will help potential buyers see themselves in the home.
In some home flips, you won’t need to do too much to the bedrooms. In others, you’ll need to knock down walls, rearrange closets and maybe even establish a master bathroom suite. Here are some tips for the bedrooms.
Freshen up the paint. Even if you determine the bedrooms are in pristine condition and don’t need any renovations, still paint the walls with a fresh coat of crisp, white paint. This will help the space feel new even if you don’t do anything to it.
Move the door to the bathroom. If there’s two full bathrooms on the floor, consider closing the door to the bathroom that’s adjacent to the master and instead putting it in the master bedroom. That will turn the bathroom into part of a master suite, which is a real selling point for buyers.
In the backyard area, there’s a few things you’ll need to do to complete your flip:
Fresh grass: Make sure fresh grass has been laid out in the backyard. That will help make it look fresh and clean.
Stain the deck: If the home has a deck, make sure it’s structurally sound and stained for weather protection.
Add a seating area: A seating area in a backyard is a must! Buyers need to know they can use all areas of the home for entertaining.
Green is good: Plants on the deck and flower beds along the fence are all selling features for a flipped home.
There you have it! Be sure to refer back to this guide as you work your way through your house flipping project.
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My name is Scott Wienert and I am the owner of Wholesale Cabinet Supply. We are a family owned supplier of quality kitchen and bath cabinetry across the United States.
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