We just finished our first flip and everyone keeps asking for tips. So I’ve put together my top 10 tips to help you with your next reno project or flip house.
- We recommend choosing your flip house in a convenient location. Meaning, close to your home and close to a Home Depot and Lowes. Be prepared to make multiple trips to the hardware stores and to the flip house, so being in close proximity is key.
- Have a general contractor oversee the flip that way you have someone responsible for each project making sure it’s done right. They’ll also be the one dealing with subs so you don’t have to. Trust me here. We didn’t use one to save money and I was in charge but if we were to do it again, I’d have a GC for sure!
- Set a budget, add about 10k to it for unforeseen expenses and stick to it. Lots of hidden costs come throughout the project and at the end. Small things add up so keep track of everything on an excel spreadsheet! Make sure to factor in closing costs which is 6-7% of the sale price to pay both the sellers and buyers realtors, home warranty, wire transfer fee, termite letter/bond, real estate tax, purchaser’s closing costs, and any requests made by the buyer after the inspection. These add up. Also, remember to factor in maintenance and your time while the house is on the market, like landscaping, pool maintenance, pest control, utilities (water, gas, trash, electricity) and general upkeep.
- Have a timeline and add 30 days to a few months to be realistic. Keeping in mind on holidays no one works and when you want to list it.
- Planning is everything. Measuring (know how to add up sq ft), having an order of operations and planning ahead. Do the best you can. My advice here is that some things (like shower doors, doors in general, etc) you can’t get the same day and can take weeks to be delivered. Check permits and make sure things are up to code. Electrical issues and inspection checks after getting a permit set us back a few weeks and we had to get a generator to continue working while the electricity was off. Thankfully it was winter so the pool was winterized and off otherwise it would have been a disaster. Still an inconvenience though.
- If you’re DIYing anything, like demo day, or just plan to be on site during the project, bring gloves, goggles, and safety shoes. Do not listen to HGTV when you see the girls walking in the houses in heels and a cute outfit. Throw that out the window. Safety is key. Think nails, dust, chems, potentially mold and other gross stuff. Also, when DIYing, the best advice is measure twice, cut once.
- Excited for demo day? Yes, it’s fun but it’s nothing like you see on TV. First of all, sledgehammers are heavy AF! Swing away from your body and make small punches at first. I expected to hit things and for them to come crumbling down like billy badass but it didn’t quite go that way. It takes a lot and it’s not as easy as it looks. A crowbar is your best friend. (Check out my Instagram story highlights labeled First Flip to laugh at our demo day!)
- Try to save or sell whatever you can to save money. Pulling off wood paneling? Can you repurpose it for a feature wall or ceiling? No, can you sell it? Same with old appliances, kitchen cabinets, claw feet tubs, sinks, sheds, etc. Anything you can sell or repurpose will help your bottom line.
- Staging is key! Make sure to stage the home prior to listing. Our realtors sent us each showing feedback form and every single one made a comment on how beautifully the home was staged. Not only that but we got an offer in 5 days and then 2 offers the next week. I think staging had a lot to do with it. **Big thanks to Shop The Little Marketplace Smyrna for all the help with staging!
- Get an inspection report done yourself when the house is ready to sell. Not a lot of money for a lot of security. It’ll tell you if you missed anything and what the buyer could potentially come back with. We didn’t do this and definitely learned a lesson. Not sure if this is the norm but the more you know the better.
Just remember, if you start feeling bad, start watching First Time Flippers on the DIY network and laugh at their pain because you can relate.