Success Path: Designing for Your Neighborhood - Appeal to Any Market
As you’ve probably figured out by watching Flip or Flop, I’m a big fan of interior design. Designing new floor plans and putting in totally new and modern appliances and fixtures is a lot of fun. But when you’re flipping houses, you really have to look beyond your own house and your own front yard for your design decisions. If you design all of your house flips based only on what’s hot and new, you’re going to run into a lot of trouble.
Why the Neighborhood Style Matters
Imagine a really cute neighborhood made up of bungalow-style houses that are each unique with their own special flair, but that all have the same general style. People who want to move into a neighborhood like this are going to want that kind of style for their home. They’re not going to want to move into a mansion that takes up all of its property and crowds the houses around it.
That’s a pretty extreme example, but you get the point. When your house was built, it fit into its neighborhood perfectly. Now you have to make sure that your updates don’t make it stick out like a sore thumb.
Keeping the Neighborhood in Mind When You Buy
In fact, you should be thinking about how your house fits in the neighborhood before you even buy it. If the old owners put on a bunch of crazy additions that make it way too big and flashy, you might want to reconsider. And, of course, you don’t want to buy the foreclosed mansion in the bungalow neighborhood.
If you’re buying a higher-end flip like that, you need to make sure it’s in a higher-end neighborhood where you’ll be able to do the right rehabs and get the right price for it. There’s really nothing worse than a $500,000 house in a $350,000 neighborhood. Trust me, we’ve been there, and it wasn’t fun.
Really Take a Look at the Comps
We always tell you to pay attention to the comparable properties in the area to get a good idea of your ARV and the market values around your house, but I want you to really look at your comps when you’re thinking about design.
If there are other flips for sale in the neighborhood, get an appointment to look at them. See what other real estate investors are putting into their properties, what fits, and what doesn’t. I’ve even gotten friendly with the neighbors who aren’t selling their houses and gotten a quick tour of some of their home improvements and updates. You can’t count on people letting you into their homes to see what buyers in the area want, but when you can get inside houses around yours, you can get a much better idea of the right updates and designs to go with.
Get Help From the Pros
If you’re having trouble coming up with a good motif or style to go with for your designs, talk to a professional architect or designer. They’ll be able to tell you about the era the house was built in, which updates will actually work the best, and which ones to leave alone. You may even want to hire them to help you improve the floor plan and open the space up. The more you work with pros like these, the better you’ll get at spotting good design decisions, yourself.
When you’re flipping houses, good design matters more than you could ever imagine. The difference between a fast flip at or above market value and one that sits on the market forever could be as little as what flooring you went with or which appliances you updated. Paying attention to the neighborhood style and other house flips in the area can do wonders for your business.