Flip this House: Reality TV vs Real Reality

You’ve binged the gamut of reality home flipping shows on HGTV, got all pumped up and now you find yourself with your first home to flip. Now what?

To start, you need to forget the last thousand hours of TV that you watched. Because this is not how flipping homes really works. It takes more money, more time, and more patience than what you’ve been told. 

I could go on and on from the real estate/investment angle regarding what properties are good to flip and which ones should make you run for the hills. But today I want to talk design, because good design is what’s going to make or break your project. It’s what’s going to get you top dollar and fewer days on market. And it may even be what has buyers lining up to place multiple offers.

In other words, the design of your flip is a big flipping deal. Oh, and on the other side you can lose tons of money too if the design is bad or you have to do things over again. So, no pressure.

Your home needs to tell a story in order to sell. I’m going to fill you in on what you need to do create that perfect story that will have your ideal buyers reading like it’s the latest gossip rag they can’t put down.

Chapter 1: Beautiful Bones

What’s the architectural style of this home?
You don’t want to design coastal interiors inside a classic Tudor, nor do you want southwestern style in a mid-century modern. That doesn’t mean you can’t update the  design and style of the home, you can modernize the architecture and the interiors. You should. But you need to have a place to start with your design concept.

Obviously if you’re doing an extensive remodel/tear down you get to dictate the style of the home. Which leads perfectly into Chapter 2:

Design for the style of the neighborhood and the bones of the home.

Chapter 2: Peeps in the Hood

What’s the demographic and details of this neighborhood?
What do the homes look like, or is it a mix? What do the comps say, what home styles are selling for the highest dollar? What kind of square footage can you build without overbuilding? Do people have pools here? What other yard and landscape elements do you see in this neighborhood? What’s the demographic of this neighborhood, and who is going to be your ideal buyer?

Take careful note of all these elements so that you can design a home that’s juuuust right, without throwing a lot of money away on a home that is too expensive for the area.

Chapter 3. Color Me Money

Choosing the color palette that will bring you the green
I’m skipping ahead a bit here, since I presume you’re working with an architect and perhaps structural engineer, to get your drawings and renderings approved for permits. The design and structure of the interior is sound and looks great, complete with ambient lighting, and lots of closet space and storage. Oh, you’ve also made sure you have lightinig in all the right places, and electrical outlets too. 

Now you need to choose what color palette speaks to this neighborhood and style of home, while also being on the cutting edge of interior design. I’m not just talking about paint, I’m talking about the entire palette for the home. Again, no pressure.

If your ideal buyer is a family, then don’t you ever ever evah forget that it’s the women you have to (ultimately) please. The same women that are all over Pinterest until 1:30am every day of the week. Although it’s a “mutual decision” in theory, make no mistake, if the woman doesn’t like the home they probably won’t be buying it.
Which is, again, why your design needs to be on point.

We all know that muted and neutral colors work the best and create the ideal canvas for your flip, but the caveat is your design also needs to be relevant and you need to interject some color and personality in order for your home to sell for top dollar. 
Lots of developers make the mistake of going SO neutral that there’s no personality. And when there’s no personality, buyers can find that home anywhere, anytime, which means no urgency to buy.

A color palette seems simple, but it’s super important as it’s the main story in any great flip, and one you’ll turn to for all your decisions.

Awesome kitchens sell homes. Don’t be afraid to use color to create a unique selling point for your flip.

Chapter 4: To Basic or to Luxe?

Got your checkbook handy? This is where it all gets real. 
Choosing your Fixtures and Finishes, Flooring, Cabinets and Countertops, and Appliances.
When flipping a home, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars can evaporate in a matter of minutes. Seriously. So you have to know when to go basic and when to go luxe, and how to use basic designs to look luxe.
No matter what the price point, buyers want to feel special, and feel proud that they picked a great house with some extra great features and finishes. If all you have to offer is a whole lotta cheap crap, they can get that anywhere. Thank you, next.

Many buyers still like carpet in the bedrooms, while others prefer hardwood floors throughout. You can’t please everyone so you have to decide which will be most appealing to your ideal buyers, given your monetary constraints.
Hardwood floors almost always bring more money, buyers see them as a luxury and they stand the test of time.

Going back to your main Color Palette and style of the home, everything should work together, even if it’s not going to be in the same room. You should be able to lay out the flooring, backsplash, tile, counters, paint, fixtures, flooring and it all ties together, it’s cohesive and all a part of the same lookbook.

When it comes to appliances, it’s so important to know your ideal buyer. Family and upscale buyers geek out over applicances and kitchen gadgets. Add a perfect backsplash and hey, you just sold a home.

Which brings me to this point, with all the money involved in this step, and all the chances for things to go oh-so-very-wrong, it’s imperative to involve a design professional to pull together the plan for your interiors. I know, I know, TV makes it look so easy and simple. But there are seriously thousands of options available here, and as I’ve addressed, one bazillion things that can go wrong. If you want to sleep at night, get some help.

Little touches can add a luxe look for little $$.

Chapter 5: Bringing it All Home

Elevating your final result
It’s at the very end of these flip projects when you are SO over all the money spent and thousands of decisions made that things tend to get sloppy. Punch yourself in the face, drink another jug of coffee and get back to it. The best decisions still need to be made, finishing touches like pendants, chandeliers outdoor lighting and landscaping.

Lighting fixtures are the jewelry of the home, they show off the rest of the design to its utmost. This is another area not to scrimp, although you don’t have to break the bank either. There are many mid-range options that look super swank, and the end result will thank you. Cheap lighting looks cheap, and drags down the entire look of the great design you’ve worked so hard to execute.

Landscaping is a no-brainer, it has to be done. Use some planters and seasonal flowers and foliage to create a welcoming curb appeal that buyers can’t resist.You want to get people into your home, and without an enticing exterior they probably won’t even exit the car.

Too much reading? I got you. Here are the Cliffnotes.

Choose your Color Scheme and Style and refer back to this for every decision, ever, in all of time. Before you buy even ONE THING you must have decided on the story of this home, which you will tell throughout the property. 

Details Matter. Go neutral but add some unexpected touches to captivate buyers.

Decide where to go cheap and where to spend to create the most impact in your design.

Find a professional designer that can help you with the mountains of choices you’ll have to make, and will work with you to create an aweseome design story in this home.

Which finally leads me to this: We know flips and design, and what it takes to get yours sold.
For help with your Flip or New Development, schedule a complimentary Discovery Call with us here.