Published On: Wed, Aug 7th, 2019

Cosmetic Fixes That Impress Buyers

Every house flipper hopes to earn a good return with a few cosmetic fixes. Although most fix-and-flip projects will need more than a fresh coat of paint in the living room, low-cost updates and repairs that attract buyers are the foundation of profits. 

Real estate pro Christopher Graeve has built his career on identifying homes whose cosmetic issues have depressed their market values. The strategic selection of cosmetic fixes has allowed him to maintain good profit margins. 

photo/ tkoch

Practical Pays Off

The lessons that Chris Graeve has learned over the years can benefit any home rehabber. Savvy investors avoid the big-money remodeling jobs that make for dazzling television transformations. 

The goal is always to get the most bang for the buck, and many relatively affordable upgrades and repairs can inspire buyers to make offers. The following tips from Christopher Graeve will keep investors focused on maximum return on investment. 

Invest in the Exterior

Curb appeal should never be discounted. A home with a shabby appearance will repel potential buyers while they browse listings online. They won’t even bother asking for a viewing. 

Fortunately, fix-and-flip investors have many lucrative options for enhancing the exterior. They often don’t have to cost big bucks either. 

Low-Cost Curb Appeal Boosters:

Clean the siding

Wash walkways and decks

Paint exterior trim

Plant flowers or add container plants

New front door hardware

New mail box

New porch lights

When the budget allows, costlier exterior upgrades will please buyers as well. Zillow.com recently reported that new garage doors represent a good value in 2019. Garage doors with windows add the most to curb appeal. 

New siding could also do a lot to excite home shoppers. It’s the type of investment that will position the home as one that is freshly updated. Investors who don’t have to direct the majority of their budgets toward big interior repairs might do well to spend the money on the outside. 

New Gutters

For homes that still have decent roofs, an investor could freshen the look of the home with new gutters. A few repairs to gutters and downspouts might suffice. 

Spruce Up the Landscape

Investors don’t always need to spend big on new landscaping. Some relatively cheap work will get rid of the haunted mansion look. 

Low-Cost Landscape Fixes:

  • Repair broken fence parts
  • Trim trees
  • Prune or remove overgrown bushes
  • Pull or grind old stumps

Doors and Windows

These features add to both the exterior and interior appeal of a home. Buyers will definitely want to see homes with modern doors and windows. Houses with drafty old aluminum windows, broken screens, or a dented front door cannot possibly demand a price at the top of the market. 

Smart Interior Money

New paint truly goes a long way. No one wants to see dirty walls or colors that have not been in style since disco. As a rule, people should select light, neutral colors. Light colors help rooms feel bigger. They also give buyers a chance to apply their own imagination to a space. Everyone is trying to visualize their new home. 

Carpet Cleaning

Professional-quality carpet shampooing has the potential to revitalize carpeting. For a small price, an investor might avoid replacing flooring in some rooms. 

New Light Fixtures

Home rehabbers have many budget-friendly yet attractive options for lighting fixtures. They are quick to install and can immediately bring a room into the current decade. 

Stay in Control in the Kitchen

The kitchen is a crucial part of enticing people to buy. It could also turn into a money pit if people choose to go too far. Any amount of money could literally be spent on a kitchen remodel. People who want to earn a profit, however, will apply money on appropriate updates. The kitchen needs to be modern and acceptable but not life changing. 

Low-Cost Kitchen Fixes:

  • New faucet
  • New cabinet hardware
  • New lighting
  • New outlet and switch covers

Bathrooms Matter

Some fix-and-flip projects demand significant bathroom updates. Water damage, mauve toilets, rust-stained bathtubs, and plumbing issues could hog the budget. Whatever the situation in the bathrooms, money must be spent to make them appealing. Buyers will definitely be judging the condition of the bathrooms. 

Despite their importance, big investments in the bathroom don’t necessarily produce higher home prices. According to the remodeling cost versus value calculator for 2019, a bathroom remodel at a midrange home only retained 67.2% of its value. 

Like the kitchen, stretch the budget with cosmetic fixes whenever possible. Stylish new lighting, towel bars, and a new faucet could go farther than putting in marble tiles. 

Research, Research, Research

Location, location, location has long been the mantra in the world of real estate. Successful house flippers also rely on information to hit their financial goals. Many issues influence where to spend a budget. 

When planning a fix-and-flip project, people need to:

  • Understand local tastes and expectations
  • Study the features of recently sold homes in the applicable neighborhood

A home rehab budget should not aim for grandiose upgrades that the market cannot reward. A structurally sound home that makes a good impression on buyers leaves room for investments to deliver returns. 

Cosmetic fixes always play a role in fix-and-flip success. Little details should never be dismissed. A few extra dollars spent in each area of the home on small issues proves that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. 

As the founder and CEO of RE-Build Properties, Chris Graeve has assembled the resources necessary to find properties suitable for cosmetic improvements. Fix-and-flips have been his real estate specialty for a long time. He has many valuable insights to share about profitable strategies. 

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