Inexpensive Wow-Factor Ideas For Rehabbed Houses

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Danny Johnson

Real Estate Investor from San Antonio, Texas

Dec 12 '11, 01:44 PM
1 vote

Days on market for houses that we are selling have been higher than I would like for them to be. The rehabs are nice and we are staging them. We are typically selling within 3-6 months which really isn't that bad in this market, but could be improved.

I was trying to think of ways for us to shrink the days on market. There are buyers and I want to make our houses stand out and be the ones they remember and want to buy because they had something extra.

Some of the things that we don't typically do that we could for relatively low cost are (keep in mind that these are houses below median price in my area - so granite counters and the like are not really necessary, but might be an option) installing fancy tile backsplashes, tile granite counter tops, under cabinet lights, recessed lighting, wainscoting/chair rails, spending more on curb appeal, outdoor living areas (large custom decks etc) and other things that can get rather expensive.

I'm not wanting to spend a lot but am willing to add something extra if it will help sell houses faster. We could spend $3,000 or more making the house stand out and it could end up saving us $10,000 or more in holding costs and price reductions.

What are your thoughts? What are some of the things that you are doing or that you plan on doing that really make a rehab stand out and get sold before the other houses that are on the market?

I really appreciate any and all input. Thanks.

Edited Dec 12 2011, 13:49 by Danny Johnson

Brad Z.

Real Estate Investor from Cincinnati, Ohio

Dec 12 '11, 01:56 PM
2 votes

In my experiences the small houses (ex 100k-120k resale) have smaller sq ft of counter tops. Call granite guys in your area and ask if they have scrap or reminate pieces that may be enough to do a smaller kitchen. In alot of cases, they will do it cheap just to use up the material and make something on the job.

Add a row of accent tile to your bath tub surrounds. It is typically just a different color of cheap tile (ex use 12 x 12 tan tiles and maybe 6x6 or 6x12 accent row around the top)

Pedestal Sinks help and in small bathrooms create more space

Chair Rail Dining/Eating room and just paint the wall white under it

These are just a few ideas I try to do and im looking forward to other responses on this thread.

Andy Collins

SFR Investor from Dallas, Texas

Dec 12 '11, 02:06 PM
1 vote

It seems like when I buy a house there are always a couple of doors missing, so I started changing out all doors except closet doors with 6 panel doors,,,it really doesn't cost that much if you have to replace some anyway, and it does make a difference,,we also use satin nickel hinges and handles,,,I figure I'm adding $300 or so to the price, but its a much more upscale look,,,

I also buy appliances from the scratch and dent area of homedepot/lowes (I'm sure most people on here do also), and buy any stainless appliances I run across at a good price,,it really dresses up the kitchen

Justin S. Donor

Real Estate Investor from Chandler, Arizona

Dec 12 '11, 02:20 PM
5 votes

I like using 4.5" base moulding, crown moulding on kitchen cabs and in dining rooms and master bedrooms. Updates doors, hinges, kitchen faucets, etc.

3-6 months selling time is way too long a move in ready rehab. If your rehab is not moving in under 30 days then something is wrong with it.

Medium_rezamp_buscard_whiteJustin S., Rezamp, LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 4806780446

Ibrahim Hughes

Real Estate Investor from Union, New Jersey

Dec 12 '11, 03:18 PM
1 vote

We do the following (extra $ amount in parenthesis):

stainless steel appliances ($500)
grid windows in front of house ($150-200)
New interior doors ($600)
Recess lighting ($100)
Backsplash ($300)
Seller pays closing costs ($10k - but we add this to the sales price of the rehab - It's a BIG seller as we're usually the only one on the market offering this)

We also do the row of accent tile in our bathrooms that Brad does. And we try our best to get a buyer before the rehab is complete.

Medium_webuynjrealestate_bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC
We Buy NJ Real Estate, LLC [email protected]

Nathan Emmert

Real Estate Investor from Byron Center, Michigan

Dec 12 '11, 04:46 PM
1 vote

Have you looked at doing shadow boxes in the dining rooms instead of simple chair railings? It was "designer" touches like that which I remembered later. Things like crown molding or faux tray ceilings in the Master might be a good idea too. Wood trim is fairly cheap and can go up real fast if you know what you're doing!

Ophelia N.

Real Estate Investor from Hyattsville , Maryland

Dec 12 '11, 05:01 PM

Hey Danny,
I've actually been on your blog quite a few times. Your wife does great staging- Outside of the granite stuff I'd say you might wanna upgrade your lighting. The rehab we sold 2 months ago- we are in the process of another- I spent about $400 on two chandiliers and weirdly enough the buyer specifically asked that both transfer with the house- That was all they asked that they remain when we took out the furniture. I had a little chuckle internally as I thought- umm they already go with the house but nice to know that the buyers wanted to make sure- And when I look at your rehabbed pictures that usually the only thing I want to change.

Will Barnard Verified Moderator Donor

Real Estate Investor from Santa Clarita, California

Dec 12 '11, 07:16 PM
4 votes

If your homes take 3-6 months just to sell, then I would suspect that the mainissue is the price, not the "extra's" that you feel are missing. Why not look to use lower price points in your numbers before you buy so that you can decrease your holding times.

Medium_be_logoWill Barnard, Barnard Enterprises, Inc.
Website: - For all Southern California House Flippers, Agents, and Wholesalers

Danny Johnson

Real Estate Investor from San Antonio, Texas

Dec 13 '11, 06:01 AM

Thanks for all of the input.

This is really a great community and I'm glad everybody is willing to share their ideas and help. Got some great ideas from your answers.

By all means, if anyone else has some more ideas, please share.

Michael Siekerka Verified

Real Estate Investor from Louisville, Kentucky

Dec 13 '11, 07:38 AM

Try adding a "fancy" shower head in all the showers. I just picked up a nice looking one at Wal-Mart for $20. I was too cheap to go with the really fancy one for $40 :)

Also, I noticed a few houses that were recently rehabbed around here had the same tile and materials in all 3 bathrooms. If you're going to tile 2 showers and 2 bathroom floors, mix it up a don't even need to spend extra $$$, just give them something else to be wowed by. Seeing the same bathroom over and over again tends to lose its lustre.

Michael Siekerka, Rinnovate LLC

Michael Siekerka Verified

Real Estate Investor from Louisville, Kentucky

Dec 13 '11, 07:40 AM

Almost forgot, do you replace all of the outlets, switches and covers? This is cheap and easy to do but makes a house feel much newer.

Same goes for door hardware, if you have that shiny gold stuff, get rid of it, it looks cheap and dated (which in turn makes the house look cheap and dated).

Michael Siekerka, Rinnovate LLC

Brad Z.

Real Estate Investor from Cincinnati, Ohio

Dec 13 '11, 08:49 AM

This is a great thread and very beneficial. I just put a flip under contract yesterday. Keep the thoughts and ideas coming!

Gene Hacker

Real Estate Investor from Wofford Heights, California

Dec 13 '11, 03:00 PM

For lower end houses I found that hot tubs sell. You can find nice working hot tubs for under $1000. I have gotten several for free over the years.

That could be a big plus over the competition for the right buyer.

Otherwise I just modernize the home as some have already suggested. White outlets/covers, stainless or brushed look hinges, knobs, lighting etc.

But more than anything the best bang for your buck is to lighten and brighten. Make sure all your light fixture have the highest wattage bulb they can handle. Pick light earthtone colors...

Nathan Emmert

Real Estate Investor from Byron Center, Michigan

Dec 13 '11, 03:49 PM

Btw Danny, you're slacking! 10 days since your last blog post, what gives? Some of us need our fix *blush*

Danny Johnson

Real Estate Investor from San Antonio, Texas

Dec 13 '11, 04:45 PM

Just getting ready for the big day. My son is due Friday. :)

Sorry to keep you waiting. Don't worry, should have one tomorrow. I've been working on it for a week.

Don't want to derail the thread though. I am still interested in some more ideas. Keep 'em comin'.

Rob Gillespie

Real Estate Investor from Fairview Park, Ohio

Dec 13 '11, 05:27 PM

Great question Danny,
In a lower middle class home, a big flatscreen will do the trick. If the home is 200k and up, I would use a projector system with a few theater chairs.
Of course landscaping helps all of the time!!

J Scott Verified Moderator Donor

Real Estate Investor from Ellicott City, Maryland

Dec 13 '11, 06:01 PM
2 votes

Agreed with Will that if your houses are sitting that long, price is most certainly a factor. That said, here are some suggestions (some are repeats of what others have already said):

- Use nicer cabinets/countertops. For just a few extra bucks, you can get nice cherry-stained cabinets and granite-looking Formica countertops. Buyers think the cabinets we put in our houses cost about 3x as much as they do (typical kitchen is under $3000)

- Use stainless appliances instead of white. For faux stainless, we pay under $1500 for frige, range, dishwasher and microwave

- Replace all the light fixtures (no fluorescents) and plumbing fixtures and make sure they all match

- Replace all the outlets, switches and cover plates with new white ones

- Put mini-blinds on all the windows

Medium_lishproplogoJ Scott, Lish Properties, LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]

Shane Woods

Real Estate Investor from Weatherford, Texas

Dec 14 '11, 10:07 AM
1 vote

Originally posted by Nathan Emmert:
Btw Danny, you're slacking! 10 days since your last blog post, what gives? Some of us need our fix *blush*

Agreed. I'm a junkie.

Will Barnard Verified Moderator Donor

Real Estate Investor from Santa Clarita, California

Dec 14 '11, 12:36 PM
1 vote

When rehabbing, the best money you can spend is in the kitchen, bathrooms, master bedroom, and curb appeal - hands down. Kitchens alone have been known to sell homes so make sure you go the extra mile in these areas.

Picking warm earthtone colors is also helpful as it attarcts the largest % of buyers. As opposed to a blue room where some buyers may not have a boy or like blue, the tans, creams, and other earthtone colors are welcomed by almost all.

One other thing I see some rehab flippers do wrong is do crappy work on certain items. For instance, I was in a home that an investor was trying to flip and it was sitting on teh market. He or she did a great job on the kitchen and tile on the floor, but then in the living room at the ceiling, you could see a large crack line and crappy looking "cut job" for the paint going from walls to ceiling. FYI: The spots where two different paint colors meet are called "cut lines"
Then in a bthroom, they did not replace the old wooden framed window and the window had a bunch of caked-on dirty spots and caulking - this is a no-no as its shows a lack of quality and when prospective buyers see items like this, their natural feeling is to suspect that other work was done poorly.

My best advice is to not leave anything in the home that looks like poor quality work. Small touch-ups only take time but are so valuable in the end.

Medium_be_logoWill Barnard, Barnard Enterprises, Inc.
Website: - For all Southern California House Flippers, Agents, and Wholesalers

Raymond B.

Real Estate Investor from Wallingford, Connecticut

Dec 14 '11, 01:07 PM
2 votes

I was at an open house that was rehabbed.
The entire house was rewired.
The closets had lighting in them.
Every female that walked through the house, said: "I wish that my closets had lights in them."


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