what home buyers want

7 Replies

Hi Everyone,

When you are flipping a house which things do you spend on that give you a good ROI and what things should be avoided. I'm in the st. louis area and the market I'm targeting middle class areas where a 3 bed 1500 sqft house will sell for $180k. Also what features do people really want. Below are some things that i thought about.

1. Kitchen countertops. I love granite but will others pay you what you paid for it? What do you think about granite tiles? I seen pictures online and they look really good. I was also thinking about concrete counter-top but I read they require a lot of maintenance and that they are hard to keep clean.

2. I like alot of countertop space because it makes cooking alot easier. 

3. Is it worth it to install a kitchen island or is it for high end homes. I personally don't like kitchen islands. I think regular tables are better since you can move then.

3. Is it worth it to add a bathroom in the basement for a house with only one bathroom? What about renovating the entire basement.

Also where do you get your material from. I seen some nice RTA cabinets online, has anyone had issues. I also seen nice tiles for the bathroom online, or is it just easier to go to home depot. 


@Laith Ali , most of those questions are purely subjective. Watch the pros on "Flip or flop" or "Masters of Flip" et al and you'll see all these questions are answered differently and controversially on every project.

It always comes back to: did they/you do your homework correctly, before bidding?

Or, did they/you end up paying too much - before they/you even started the project?... 

@Laith Ali , all your answers as far as finishes should be found in your neighborhood comps. It wont matter what level of trim you use if the area is all low end, you will never get a return. Look at your comps, see what sold fastest and highest and replicate. 

I would not use granite tiles. No one likes them and like you said, they have grout lines to keep clean.

Kitchens and baths, that is where alot of attention needs to go. If you can get more counter space, great, everyone will love that. Islands can be great if they fit with the overall scheme and comps. Nowadays, people want an area to eat at the bar in the kitchen, especially family type homes. 

I don't see the value of adding a bathroom to a basement if you are not doing anything else to the basement. Who is going to go down to the basement to use it? It is not functional. If you were to add some bedrooms in the basement, then yes, buy all means. Converting a 2/1 to a 3/2 can add value. Again, verify that the comps support it. 

I get my cabinets from an RTA vendor. They come with soft close hinges and drawers, I can have the vendor assemble and deliver, they come in 15 different styles, doors made of solid maple, sides 3/4 inch maple plywood, cheaper than Ikea and Home Depot. 

Best of luck!


@Laith Ali I flip in similar priced markets, $150-300K or so. Here is my take:

1. I have done granite in every house, even my smallest/cheapest. Laminate is acceptable at lower price points, however for the price difference, I always see myself going granite, unless a cheap house with a TON of counter space. 

2. I like to lay out kitchens how they flow/work best. With that said there will be challenges and there will be times you simply cant put in the optimal kitchen. On a flip I found that as much as you want to add all the features and go with large expanses of counter space, it isn't always the best bet. Create a nice looking, functional kitchen but don't overdo it (I know that is a vague answer, but each house presents its own challenges). I like to add "touches" where possible. Wine racks, stem glass holders, pantrys, wine fridge, etc... Things you can do fairly cheap, but buyers love.

3. I have done islands in most of my kitchens. Most of my islands double as eating space as well, and I stage with stools. This only works when the size allows, and each house I have done this in, the dining and kitchen were open together.

4. I have never added a bath to a 1 bath house. I have also never finished an unfinished basement. The ROI wouldn't be there based on my numbers.

I have done RTA cabinets in my houses. LilyAnn Cabinets and JSI brand which I got from local kitchen companies. They look nice, plywood, soft close doors and drawers and seem to be decent quality. Plus you cant beat the price verse the look.

Generally speaking granite countertops are a good idea if you can find them cheap (assuming you are in a decent area). It adds value to your home that is quantifiable for an appraiser. And if you decide to rent it’s more durable.

Kitchen island question is entirely dependent on the layout of the kitchen. Your kitchen needs plenty of counter space and generally enough room for notional “stations” (food prep, cooking, storage). The island could be used for eating in place of a table or for one of the above mentioned countertop functions. But you also don’t want a crowded kitchen either so hard to say without seeing it. Agree though that these days a “bar” or “counter seats” are more modern than a kitchen table. My island is mainly for seating in the kitchen for example.

Add a bathroom *for sure* nobody wants a 3 bed 1 bath if they can get a 3 bed 2 bath. If you can add it anywhere other than the basement do that but if it is cheapest in the basement then add it there and check with your real estate agent on whether or not finishing the basement allows you to count that square footage . Anything you can do to bump your square footage is good.

Good luck!

Thanks everyone for your feedback.

Chris you have a good point  about checking the comps. It looks like my area won't give you the money you want if you put high end material. It's too bad because I seen some really great kitchen layouts that I wanted I try. It's easy to forget that I'm designing this house for someone else. 

@Donald S. , they are a local Atlanta company.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here