When you flip a house, it’s easy to get attached. You start with a real mess, where no one would want to live. Then, by the time you’re done, you have an amazingly updated and beautiful space with new appliances and gorgeous design. You have to remember, though, that you’re a real estate investor, not a new homeowner. You need to make sure that your design decisions are right for any buyer who walks in and takes a look around. That can seem like a really tall order for a lot of house flippers, but it’s actually pretty easy if you stick with my favorite design tips.
It’s Not Your House!
First, leave your personal taste at the door and bring in only an eye for good design and modern real estate trends. You might love dark floors and bright, contrasting colors for the walls. You might have a great idea for a gorgeous, personalized transom for the front door. Stop right there.
Making design decisions for your flip property is going to be a very different process from making design decisions for your home. Instead of thinking about how much my daughter would love a pink room upstairs, when I’m designing for one of our flips, I think about how to make any buyer with any kind of family feel comfortable and at home when they walk in the door. To do this, I pay attention to the houses that are selling the fastest right now and the decisions their architects and designers have made. I look at what works and what doesn’t, not at what I love the most for my house.
Choose Neutral Colors
Remember the episode of Flip or Flop when my car got stolen? Well, in all the excitement there, you might’ve missed something else… We were having a discussion about the color of the paint we were using on the trim and the garage doors. It was supposed to be gray, but it was a lot closer to lavender. We had a green house with lavender trim and a pink fence.
It was a little bit special, and I kind of broke my first rule a little bit in choosing the color because I love lavender. Fortunately, with the exception of having our SUV stolen, we got really lucky with that house. We had the perfect family for the property walk in and put an offer down almost immediately. As house flippers, though, we probably could’ve been a little bit more conservative with our paint on that one.
Go Modern But Not Too Modern
As you add new fixtures and make updates to your kitchen and bathrooms, don’t forget to choose timeless style. Don’t just go with the latest trends and fads in interior design. They’ll only appeal to some buyers, and they’ll be out of date next year. Instead, think “modern but classic” as you make your decisions.
Pay Extra Attention to the Kitchen and Bathrooms
As you bring everything up to date, get ready to spend some time and money on the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the most important rooms in the house when you’re selling. Your buyers will imagine themselves cooking and eating with their families, and they’ll imagine themselves relaxing in the bath after a long day. The more easily they can picture these relaxed, happy moments, the more likely they’ll be to make an offer.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you flip a house, and you should have a much easier time choosing the right materials and making the right design decisions. If you’re having trouble with an upgrade or with materials, remember to think like a real estate investor and a house flipper. Choose the most cost-effective option that will be attractive to your buyers, not your “favorite” option, and you’ll usually be making the right choice.