Flipping houses can be a fun, profitable, and creative experience if you know what you’re doing. There’s a reason home renovation television shows are so popular. You can make a lot of money, and it’s fun to see a space transform into something new and improved before your eyes.
But flipping houses is not for the faint of heart. You can easily get in over your head, surpass your budget, and quickly become overwhelmed, wondering why in the world you ever decided to take on the project in the first place.
Knowing a few tried and true first steps when you buy a house to flip can dramatically improve your results and your overall experience. You’ll want to be sure the house is safe, that the basics are functioning and looking good, and then consider eco-friendly improvements that will make the house more appealing to potential buyers.
Having a plan is essential to success. If you know the most important first steps to take when you flip a house, you’ll be more likely to have a positive experience and want to keep flipping houses for years to come.
Following the best practices for flipping homes is essential if you want to maximize your profit. It can be tempting to dive right into cosmetic improvements immediately, but slowing down and thinking about safety first can be extremely helpful in the long run — and it’s one of the most important things you can keep in mind. You want to be sure the house you just purchased to flip is safe and up to code before you think about turning around and selling it.
You will want to be aware of any potential safety hazards or things that need to be addressed immediately, so be sure to take notes and turn your attention to these items first. The last thing you want is for a minor problem to turn into a major one later.
You’ll want to:
- Test for radon with a home test kit.
- Be sure there isn’t harmful asbestos hiding in the drywall (you’ll want a professional to attend to this).
- Check for any loose or frayed wires that will need to be replaced.
- Do a sweep of the electrical and plumbing systems.
- Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working.
- Make sure there are no damp areas where water is seeping into the house or foundation.
Ideally, these things would be known before you buy the house to flip it, as too many big repairs like this can get costly quickly, making it difficult to earn a profit when you sell. It would be better to walk away from buying a house that is in need of major repairs, but if you do find yourself in the position of buying a home that needs some serious love, it’s best to take care of these things first so you can stick to your budget down the road.
These structural checks and safety-conscious measures will ensure that you don’t run into any surprises down the road when you’re trying to flip the house and sell it to the highest bidder. If you’re aware of the house’s faults ahead of time and you work to fix them, you’ll be able to make more money when you sell.
Fix the Basics
Once the house itself is safe and functioning, you’ll want to focus your attention on fixing and sprucing up the basics. One major tip for flipping a house is that you don’t need to add personal touches or major design improvements, but instead think of the house as a blank sheet of paper that the new buyer can shape and create how they like.
Basic improvements can really make the house shine. Consider the following:
- Ripping out old carpet and putting in a hardwood floor.
- Giving the walls a fresh coat of paint.
- Making sure sink and bathtub drains are unclogged and working well.
- Updating appliances.
- Sprucing up the bathroom.
When thinking of fixing up the basics, it’s important to focus on low-cost updates that will go a long way in improving the value of the home. The following projects are great ways to do just this:
- Painting the front door.
- Refinishing kitchen cabinets.
- Adding updated fixtures to drawers.
- Modernizing outlet covers.
- Adding baseboard or trim where needed.
- Installing extra storage.
- Upgrading tile.
- Purchasing new light fixtures.
It can be easy to go too deep when you set out to simply fix the basics. Because of this, you should carefully plan out your renovation ahead of time so you don’t get sucked into personalizing every nook and cranny of the house. Remember, your goal is to make a profit.
Making an effort to improve the sustainability of the house you’re flipping can go a long way in helping you get a bigger profit after everything is said and done with the fix and flip process. If you can push the eco-friendliness of your renovation, you’ll likely increase the visibility of your listing as well. Getting it in front of more eyes means more chances to get a high-quality buyer.
For future buyers who want to make an environmentally friendly move, there’s nothing more important than knowing that the house they’re going to buy will be energy efficient.
If part of your renovation project includes updating appliances, consider going with smart appliances that help conserve both energy and water. Installing LED light bulbs is also a great and easy way to show future buyers that sustainability is possible in their new home.
Paying some attention to the yard and landscaping can help project this ideal and increase curb appeal as well. A well cared for outdoor space can really make a house stand out to buyers, so spend some time making the yard look nice and inviting.
Smart thermostats can also be a big selling point for eco-conscious home buyers, allowing you to customize temperatures between rooms and operate more efficiently than older, traditional thermostats.
Buying a house to flip is not an easy undertaking. You really need to assess everything that needs to be done to a run-down house and whether the cost of fixing it up will be manageable enough to result in profit once you sell. But if you take the time to budget, plan, and make smart upgrades, you will no doubt be well on your way to successfully entering the house-flipping game.
This article has been contributed by Adrian Johansen.