This article is part of Bob Vila’s Guide to House Flipping in 2022, a month-long series dedicated to showing you the best places for house flipping, crucial steps for selecting a property, must-do upgrades and repairs, and surprising ways to reduce your costs to get the most from your house flipping sales. Each week, we’ll bring you fresh insights mixed with Bob’s tried-and-true advice, our vetted shopping guides, and the inside track to the right professionals to get your flip to the finish line.
Your flip house is almost complete. Walls have been knocked down and new plumbing installed. A shimmering new kitchen and bathroom, fit for a luxury condo, have replaced their worn and dated predecessors. The living room basks in a soothing palate of new beachy wood floors and soft, muted paint colors. All that’s left to do is to list it, field multiple offers, and deposit the check, right? Wrong.
Just because you’ve done the heavy lifting of a home renovation doesn’t mean your work of art is ready to put on the market. Here are some important final touches you might have forgotten before you unveil your flip house to potential home buyers.
1. Paint the Basement
It’s easy to forget about unfinished basements. Bare concrete floors should be painted with a light gray exterior paint, such as this highly rated option available at The Home Depotand cinder block walls with white waterproof paint. Not only will it keep the basement from looking dingy, but it will add a protective membrane to prevent excess moisture within the space. similar, adding matte black paint to exposed ductwork, conduits, and joists along the ceiling will give the subterranean space a chic, sophisticated feel that looks great in photos. Just be sure to check the building codes where your flip house is located to make sure the project is acceptable.
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2 Fix the Fixtures
If you’ve got some extra cash, spend it on new fixtures. Curvy chrome is old school. Angular, square-edged faucets and shower heads in matte black or gold (or both), add an upscale, contemporary appeal that will make the rest of the room pop. Coordinating fixtures also helps to tie an entire home renovation together, and home buyers notice these eye-catching details when touring a home online or in person.
3. Use Flat Paint on Walls
You’ve probably been told that flat paint isn’t hard-wearing. That might be true. But you’re not living in the house, you’re selling it, and flat paint photographs much better than other finishes. The last thing you want to see in your listing photos are roller marks on the walls when the light hits them. By all means, though, use a semi-gloss finish on the trim and satin on the doors because they won’t be the focal point of the listing photos.
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4. Deep Clean Everywhere
It goes without saying that after a renovation everything needs to be cleaned. However, there’s clean and there’s photo-shoot-ready clean. Make sure your flip house is ready for its close up. Use a stainless steel cleaner on the appliances to remove even the merest hint of a fingerprint. Also, get those countertops, cabinets, and windows gleaming so you can see your reflection.
5. Help the Front Door Stand Out
While you might not want the exterior of your flip house to look like a paint factory exploded nearby, it’s a good idea to make your front door pop with color. After all, you want to beckon people towards it, don’t have them skip over it when scrolling through listings or driving by the property. If your home has a gray and white exterior, a Caribbean-inspired light blue or a warm red could work well. While on the subject of front doors, make sure your hardware and kick plate shines and does your new paint job proud.
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6. Update Exterior Lighting
Motion-sensing lights are relatively inexpensive these days, and installing one in front of the garage or porch gives a home a higher-end, sophisticated feel along with an added sense of security. It also sends the right first impression to a prospective buyer: “These guys have thought of everything, so the inside must be great.”
7. Power Wash the Exterior and Brighten Up the Trim
If your flip house has stains on the driveway or dirty siding, cleaning it up with a pressure washer is one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can make. Once you’ve finished that, touch up the exterior trim around the windows, gutters, and downspouts. These easy touches immediately brighten up the home’s exterior, making it look great in photos as well as boosting its curb appeal.
RELATED: So, You Want to… Paint Your Window Trim
8. Opt for Virtual Staging
Anyone who has ever bought or sold a home knows how important staging can be for capturing a buyer’s imagination. However, with more people searching for homes online now, virtual staging is becoming more popular than ever. Not only does it cost a fraction of the price of physical staging (many virtual stagers include professional photographs as part of their package), but it also prevents the wear-and-tear of moving furniture in and out of your pristine home.
9. Keep Landscaping Shipshape
You don’t have to install fountains and koi ponds, but simply replenishing flower beds with fresh mulch or adding a few new foundation plants goes a long way. If the lawn is looking ragged and it isn’t too big, you might want to consider laying down some new sod or converting the area into a low-maintenance rock garden. Either way, be sure to cut the grass and prune overgrown plants before you take any exterior photos.
10. Update the Mailbox and House Numbers
Why invest a significant amount of money in a renovation only to leave a cheap or dilapidated mailbox in the front yard? A stylish, sturdy mailbox makes a statement about what’s inside the home. Equally, spring for bold, metallic house numbers that complement the exterior.
RELATED: The Best Mailboxes of 2022
11. Hire a Pro to Write Your Property Description
Just because your listing agent is good at showing homes and negotiating with buyers doesn’t mean they’re good writers. A ho-hum listing description, cribbed from another home with poor grammar, won’t excite buyers. Hire a freelance writer (there are many on sites such as Fiverr and Upwork) whose words sparkle just like your new quartz countertops.
12. Use the Maximum Amount of Photos Allowed for the Listing
You’ve done an amazing rehab and paid a professional photographer to capture your work of art, so show it off. Always use the maximum amount of photos allowed on your listing page. You want to give potential buyers the chance to see every square foot of your home. It will encourage them to schedule a walkthrough while instilling confidence that the seller isn’t hiding anything.