The 5 Things You Will Probably Forget When Rehabbing a House Flip

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When rehabbing, we often hear about what we should do and what we shouldn’t do…but rarely do people talk about the things we are likely to forget.

Admittedly, one of the most difficult part of house flipping is rehabbing.

Every house you come across is different since there are so many variables to consider. As a matter of fact you can lose track of the whole purpose of rehabbing, which is making the house a whole lot more appealing to potential buyers.

The 5 Things You Don’t Want To Forget When Flipping Houses

I have five things that many flippers tend to forget when they go about the rehab process. If you read through, you’ll probably realize that you might have overlooked one of them.

1. Protecting Your Property Against Vandals

Rehabbing property is not a one day job; it can take several months to finish. An empty piece of property is vulnerable to vandalism. Most vandals can do anything to an empty abandoned house from spray painting it, stealing to punching holes in walls just for the sake of it.

Related: Copper Theft: How to Protect Your Property from Vandalism

Insurance will cover vandalism only during the first month that your property is unoccupied, after that you are on your own. So here are a few ways you can protect your house from vandalism:

  1. Cover windows with sheets or drapes
  2. Request the police for extra patrol and also explain to them that you are rehabbing
  3. Barricade all windows and doors that do not lock
  4. Change the locks
  5. Keep the lights on throughout

2. Forgetting To Light Up The House

If you were a buyer, would you buy a house that is full of shadows and dullness or one that is adequately lit and looks like it has some life in it? A well lit house looks less depressing and livelier.

Yellow lights are a no no. You can easily establish an upbeat mood with a bright set of lights so it’s a good idea to go for those. Another thing that you should never forget to replace is flickering lights. I associate flickering lights with horror films with gory murder scenes.

Overall, proper lighting is a cheap way of showing off what you have done with the property.

3. Forgetting To Conform Your House

If you are going to install new fixtures in the house at least ensure that they match. For starters, door knobs and hinges should match and so should shower heads, faucets and towel racks.

If you are going to purchase new appliances ensure they are all from the same brand or at least have the same style. It’s also a bad idea to install an expensive kitchen counter only to cheap out on the dishwasher.

4. Forgetting To Put On A “For sale Sign” Only When The Rehab Is Almost Done

Curb appeal is one way of attracting potential buyers but if a buyer sees a “for sale” sign outside a house that looks like it survived a storm, they might make a mental note never to return.

Another mistake that people make is to list a house with a picture before the renovating the front of the house. If the front of the house is dilapidated, that is what buyers will see on the picture. If you want to sell your house as soon as possible, this would be a less than ideal way to begin.

Related: House Won’t Sell? Here Are 19 Unique Remodeling Ideas GUARANTEED to Get Your House Noticed

The exterior of the house is normally the last part of rehabbing so it isn’t going to be as appealing before the rehab is almost done. I always advice house flippers to list the property only when they are almost done with the rehab rather than when they are beginning.

5. Forgetting To Buy A New Mailbox

What’s the first thing you notice when you pull up to a house that you are interested in buying? Most people notice the mailbox.

An old rusty mailbox tells you that the inside of the house is probably just as rusty. After all, if you didn’t bother to take care of it, what other thing did you also forget to take care of inside the house?

Mailboxes are not that expensive. You can get custom mailboxes from any of the local shops in your area for a few dollars.

What other things do you think house flippers forget when doing their rehabs?

Be sure to leave your comments below!

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About Author

Michael LaCava is a full time real estate investor, house flipping coach and the President of Hold Em Realty located in Wareham, MA. He runs the website House Flipping School to teach new real estate investors how to flip houses and is the author of "How to Flip a House in 5 Simple Steps".

6 Comments

  1. There are often many small things that lead to a sub-par look, even on a almost completely renovated unit. Have someone else, that has not seen the property give an assessment. Often, the small tings stand out to them, as that now is the largest detractor.

    If you have been involved in the remodel, it looks so much better, you sometimes miss the small things.

  2. Sharon Vornholt

    Mike –

    Those are great reminders for every rehabber. I especially like the part about matching your fixtures. it drives me crazy when you walk into a newly renovated house and see what appears to be “left-overs” from other rehabs installed in the property. Not to mention that it just looks unprofessional. Nice post.

    Sharon

    • So true Sharon. I just had my contractor remove to installed vanities because they were just ugly.
      We won’t make that mistake anymore now that our Scopes have sku’s of vanity selections.
      We are growing quickly so lost a little control on details but I always do a final-final walk through after my GC has done one and then my project manager and acquisition manager.
      we never stop improving our business like you.

  3. “Barricade all windows and doors that do not lock”

    Wouldn’t you just put locks on them???

    BTW I made the mailbox mistake a couple times early on. Maybe if it is not prominent (like if it is on the other side of the street or something) might not be a big deal but if it is right there when you drive up it is a big curb appeal item.

    • That is a bit of a stretch but we recently had a house with busted windows and the door was already busted into.
      Don’t feel bad I forgot to put a mail box in on a house and didn’t find out until the closing.
      They never said anything until then. I guess no mail box is better than an ugly one. LOL

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