7 Property Upgrades for Flips That Cost Under $2,000
Preparing an investment property for market can be time-consuming. The process of capturing the most desirable aspects of a property for buyers to see requires plenty of effort and attention to detail. While some sellers believe that the natural qualities of a property will shine through, dedicated investors often know better. Without proper preparation, you could potentially cost yourself thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on the profit of your sale.
Determining which changes make the most impact is equal parts science and art, balancing the aesthetics buyers want to see with the simple fixes that won’t break your budget. Far too many beginners to flipping jump into major projects, like replacing siding or refinishing the basement, that cost a considerable amount with a low return on investment, but experienced sellers know how to do more with less. A few small tweaks may be all it takes to completely change the value in a buyer’s eyes.
With a strong knowledge of property sales and the facets buyers like, it’s possible to turn a small investment into a major benefit. Here are seven upgrades for property flips that cost $2,000 or less.
- Repaint The House
If you’ve never thought much about the color of walls, perhaps it’s time to start. Many investment property owners keep walls plain and simple, favoring white, eggshell, and cream to avoid interfering with decor choices, but a lack of innovation can downplay a house’s best features. To sell, finding a creative way to add warmth and character to a room can be exactly what it takes to bring a buyer’s dreams to life.
Painting may seem like a big project, but the price of paint makes this upgrade extremely affordable, with options available at any home improvement store for $30 or less a gallon. With one to three gallons required to paint an 800 to 1,000 square foot space, it’s possible to virtually redo an entire house for between $100 to $250 a room.
Instead of choosing colors you like personally, focus on buyer favorites or current trends in home decor. If you’re not sure what best suits the age, style, or feel you have in mind for a house, don’t be afraid to ask; most hardware stores have decor specialists working in the paint department who can assist with palate choices and complementary colors to ensure a professional final product.
If painting isn’t your strong suit, that’s okay; professional painters are also relatively affordable, especially if you only have a few areas to touch up. Average contractor costs range from $350 to $650 for a 10 by 12-foot room, providing a lot of latitude in your budget.
- Update Lighting
See those old, outdated fixtures from the 1970s hanging on your ceiling? Think no one will notice them? Think again.
Decor is often an important part of a buyer’s purchase decision, no matter how illogical that may seem. Something as small as a light fixture can dissuade a prospective homebuyer, even though the cost to make a change may only be a few hundred dollars.
Instead of leaving bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling or faux chandeliers dominating the dining room, take this opportunity to improve the size and appearance of rooms by upgrading or replacing light fixtures. While fixtures can get pricey, basic choices can be had for $100 or less, providing ample opportunity to enhance every room on your list.
Lighting can make a huge difference in terms of a house’s presentation; a buyer is likely to be unimpressed by a dark, cramped feeling room with a low wattage bulb, but at home in a space with ambient lighting and a warm, natural glow. Stick to simple, sophisticated dome lighting, wall sconces, and other simple yet timeless pieces that can completely change the feeling of your property.
Light bulbs can make a difference, too; instead of choosing basic low wattage incandescent lighting, Compact Florescent Bulbs (CFLs) can provide a warmer, brighter, and more natural appearance.
- Touch Up The Bathroom
Bathrooms are extremely important rooms within a home, serving a critical purpose for both homeowners and visitors alike. While most bathroom amenities, like toilets, last a long time without requiring replacement, a bathroom with awkward colors, older fixtures, or outdated styles may not attract the right kind of attention.
Luckily, bathroom repairs are among the most economical, providing a return on investment of 80% to 90%, one of the best rates in basic remodeling. A few simple shifts can be all it takes to completely transform and modernize an essential space in a way that will resonate with buyers.
While the changes available will vary greatly from one property to another, your focus while improving a property flip should be on modern, subtle styles that will appeal to buyers without running the risk of contradicting personal decor choices. Luckily, in a bathroom, most of these kinds of changes don’t require a significant investment to make. Updated tiles on the floor, a fresh coat of paint, or a new shower curtain and linens can add vitality to any tired space.
If most aspects of a bathroom are perfectly fine but the bathtub has issues, a standard replacement may run over $2,000. However, a tub liner can create a fresh, crisp look for $1,000 or less.
- Refresh The Yard
The interior of your flip isn’t the only part buyers care about. For most shoppers, the yard is equally important, and presentation matters. The phrase “curb appeal” rings true when flipping a property. If you have spare cash to invest and aren’t sure where to get the most out of your money, the yard is an excellent choice.
Even if your prospective buyer isn’t blessed with a green thumb, a beautiful lawn appeals to everyone. Luckily, thousands of dollars paid to a landscaper isn’t a requirement to spruce up a property, especially if the structure is already in place, like space for a garden or a deck out back. On average, DIY landscaping can cost as little as $5 to $8 per square foot, providing a great way to revitalize even a larger property.
Grass is one of the first things a buyer notices, so start here if the yard is patchy, brown, or weed-covered. A thin layer of grass seed, as cheap as $0.05 per square foot, can remedy these issues, providing buyers with a lush, green lawn. Plants are also relatively affordable, costing $2 to $20 for live flowers and greenery at garden stores. Choose basic perennial plants, like peonies, daisies, black-eyed Susans, and petunias to create a colorful dynamic your prospective buyers will love.
- Choose a Kitchen Fix
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a house, hosting everything from family dinners to special events. In fact, the kitchen is one of the rooms buyers value most, putting special focus on the available space, appliances, and even surface styles. A kitchen can be a make-or-break feature for many buyers, so if there’s room in the budget, make the kitchen a priority.
While gutting cabinets, replacing countertops, and re-tiling floors can cost thousands, small updates don’t have to. Little tweaks, like redoing a tile backsplash, repainting walls, and refinishing cabinets with a different paint or stain can cost significantly less than a full renovation while still adding the stylish upgrades that buyers like to see.
If appliances are the problem, many can also be replaced without investing a fortune. While you may not be able to afford a brand new smart fridge or a restaurant-grade oven, a new stainless steel fridge can be purchased for $500 to $700, with modern ovens and ranges costing about the same. Even small changes, like a new microwave, a wine fridge, or a dishwasher can be enough to impress a buyer. Looking to save? Gently used appliances can provide upscale looks for less.
- Clean From Top to Bottom
When you purchase a property for the sole purpose of fixing and flipping it to see a return on your investment, you may be too focused on the major changes to see the little details buyers will notice. However, cleanliness is extremely important, and a few dirty or dusty spots may leave buyers wondering what other flaws are lurking.
To impress from the very first open house, a professional deep cleaning can be invaluable. A process that goes beyond surfaces, thorough cleaning can remove mold, mildew, dirt, dust, and even stains, providing a floor to ceiling shine that can do wonders for the appearance of any home.
A professional cleaning averages around $1,000, but the effort is well worth it. Instead of renting a power washer, a wet vacuum, and a steam cleaner, a cleaning service will bring the equipment with them for a high caliber clean without missing a spot.
Cleaners can service both inside and out, steam cleaning carpets, scrubbing walls, power washing patios, decks, and sidewalks, and even cleaning furniture. While it may seem superficial, this process can make a big difference, postponing the need for a pricey carpet replacement or driveway refinishing until long after a sale is made.
- Replace the Front Door
In real estate, as in life, there are no second chances at a first impression. As soon as a real estate agent or a buyer pulls up to your property, the judgments will begin, and any detail is small enough to deter someone who may have otherwise been prepared to match your list price.
The front door, while seemingly minor, is often the first thing a buyer sees, setting the stage for the rest of your property. A tattered, worn, or aging door that looks out of place can set a poor first impression.
Luckily, a door can be a great deal, adding beauty and style to the front of any property. Wooden doors, fiberglass doors, and even ornate iron doors can be had for $1,000 or less, with high-end models coming closer to $2,000. This provides a quick and painless way to suit any house, from colonial to split level. Be sure to make a choice with security in mind; homebuyers often value safety when choosing a new property for their families.
Make the Most of Your Fix and Flip
The right fixes for an investment property can make a big difference, adding thousands of dollars to the price a buyer is willing to pay. And, best of all, you don’t need to add substantially to your investment to do so. A few quick, easy fixes can enhance virtually any space in your flip, and all in a few weeks or less.
Finding the right approach for an investment property sale isn’t easy, but experience is a benefit. With these seven property upgrades of $2,000 or less, you can find the best possible ways to amplify everything in your property to earn a sizable profit on your sale.
Scott Clift is a licensed real estate broker with Westpark Loans. He has been in the real estate industry since 1994. His team of seasoned professionals specialize in providing real estate loans for investors and other self-employed individuals. When you are ready to invest in real estate, call Westpark Loans to secure your financing at (844) 574 LOAN or by visiting westparkloans.com.