You’ve acquired the house and you’ve decided to flip it for a profit but now the list of needed-wanted improvements is growing as your budget seems to be shrinking and you are wondering how to prioritize. These are common issues for our fix & flippers from across the country and they’ve shared with us five of their tried-and-true upgrades that get them the most return on their investment and help minimize days on market when it comes time to sell. From top to bottom, here are their 5 favorites:
1. New countertops
2. Updated plumbing fixtures
3. Additional storage space
4. New flooring
5. Improved curb appeal
The kitchen and master bathroom are the most important spaces a buyer considers when choosing a home. If the countertops in either space are stained or dated, replace them. If your budget is tight and you must choose one space, focus your efforts on the kitchen – the most used and visible space in home. A growing trend and cost-effective alternative to new countertops is to paint existing countertops with epoxy paint. The number of color options is excellent, and the quality and durability are improving; just make sure you hire a qualified, competent epoxy specialist.
Updated Bathroom Plumbing Fixtures
Plumbing fixtures are a focal point of the bathroom and if that focal point is dated, leaking, or hard to use (hard water damage) the overall impression of the bathroom renovation is lessened. And for $200 this issue can easily be avoided. New plumbing fixtures with new countertops is a quick way to make a space feel new and add style without breaking the bank.
Additional Storage Space
Eventually everyone runs out of space to store all their belongings. Luckily there are some creative ways to add storage space that will attract more buyers. For example, the garage is an excellent place to add a simple tool bench with shelving below and pegboard above. A banquette (built in bench seating around a bay window) can add space for tablecloths, appliances, pet food, or other kitchen items. Bedroom closets are another great space that is often underutilized for storage. For $100 you can add built in storage in a bedroom closet that will be a major selling point. Each time you maximize the storage capacity in a dead space, you add value to the property. And remember to leave storage space empty when you show the home, as it makes the space seem bigger.
The fastest way to change the look of a home is to replace old flooring. Our office room, one of the largest rooms in our home, went from being the least used room to the most used room when we replaced stained, old carpet for laminate wood flooring. The project took us 4 hours to complete and was just over $350. New flooring provides a clean, elegant look that markets a home as move-in ready. Keep in mind the value of replacement flooring and make it commensurate to the projected value of the home as a whole. For example, replacing vinyl flooring with Carrara marble tiles would not be a smart use of your budget in a 1,100 sq ft home in downtown Phoenix. You want to spend your budget on those materials that will increase the value of your project, not price it out of the range of buyers for that area. One of our builders has a catch phrase he regularly uses that perfectly captures this idea, “As nice as…” Your goal is to upgrade the features of the house, like the flooring, so that they are as nice as the comps, and that’s it.
Improve Curb Appeal
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And curb appeal is a buyers first impression of the home. Little things can make all the difference. For example, upgrading a mailbox, adding new house numbers, planting flowers in a flower bed, installing new exterior lighting fixtures, and applying a fresh coat of exterior paint can quickly change the look of a home and generate more initial interest to more buyers. According to the research conducted by Remodeling.net, “‘Curb appeal’ and ‘first impressions’ are strong concepts in real estate because they have a big impact on how much money prospective home buyers are willing to pay for a home. If they start out thinking the house looks good – is in good shape, has ‘good bones’ – they begin to fit all the new information they learn once they walk through the front door around these positive impressions. ”
There are many ways to improve a property but only a few have the kind of proven return on investment that make sense. These 5 upgrades are consensus winners and will provide the greatest bang for your buck while increasing both marketability and profitability.