Posted over 2 years ago

The Cheapskate’s Guide to Rehabbing a Flip

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They say you make your money when you buy. Even so, you can really wreck your profits if you don’t watch your wallet when you rehab. If you’re doing a rehab for the sole purpose of flipping, you don’t need to vie for an interior designer award. Just get in and get out with as much cash left in your pocket as possible. If you’ve done a decent job, prospective buyers will see the potential and be eager to put the finishing touches on it themselves. Here are some practical, real life ways to redo a flip on the cheap without actually looking like a cheapskate:

Source Inexpensive Materials

The Home Depot doesn’t need as many of your hard-earned dollars as you’ve been handing over recently. Buy as much of your materials used as you possibly can.

Habitat For Humanity Restores 

Habitat for Humanity Restores are overflowing with flooring, sinks, cabinets, doors, windows, and buckets of hardware to go with them. This should be your first stop after assessing your rehab needs. You’ll also find low-priced decorative items that will be useful should you decide to do a bit of staging.

Craigslist is the cheapskate’s shopping mall. Set up alerts for items you need like paint, primer, tile, laminate, appliances and anything else you can think of that might be useful. You could also score free or cheap tools to do the rehab work.

Used/Damaged Appliance Stores

If you plan to put appliances in your flips, you certainly don’t need to buy new. Find out where the used or dinged appliance stores are near you. There’s one in almost every town. These appliances are often fully functional; they’ve just got a few cosmetic mars that mean you can save bundles of moolah. Barring that, shop floor models. Stores like Best Buy and similar places usually have some cheap floor models they’re eager to sell at heavily discounted prices.

Estate Sales

Hold on. I’m not suggesting you wait for summer and spend every weekend trolling yard sales. Estate sales are different. They include everything; sometimes even the house! But the best thing is they take place year round andthey come with pictures of almost everything that’s being sold. Sign up for notifications of upcoming estate sales within a specified radius of your location. Then browse pictures to see if you can score something of value for your rehab, like appliances, curtains, paint, etc.

Avoid the Trappings of Trends

Plenty of trends have caught the public eye. Granite countertops, once a luxury, are almost considered standard now. Everyone thinks they need double sinks and double showerheads in the bathroom and a 6-inch mosaic tile backsplash in the kitchen. Apart from my personal opinion about the impracticalities of these design trends, they will cost you more than you should pay for your rehab. Here’s what I suggest instead:

Get some quality adhesive wallpaper to serve as a “backsplash.” Choose something that looks a lot like tile or stone. Cut it to the preferred six inches, or heck, go nuts and make it eight inches high. Trim it out with some painted narrow molding. Trust me, it will look fine. Toss the rest of the roll under the sink. When the new owner feels like the wallpaper has seen better days, they can replace it with the same or a different pattern.

Skip the sink sprayer, which is added money and time on your part. Instead, install a cobra faucet. It’s adjustable and just clever enough that prospective buyers might assume it’s an upgrade. In reality, it’s a very inexpensive alternative to fancier faucet fixtures.

Spray Paint Everything

When I say spray paint everything I mean instead of hand painting. Hand painting takes a lot longer than spray painting, which costs you time. There’s an argument that you might use a little less paint with spray painting, but it’s negligible. Before installing shutters and cabinets, lay them out on the lawn or in your workshop and spray paint them. It could turn four days’ work into two, including priming and drying time.

Paint Instead of Refinish

Speaking of painting, are you dealing with wood that’s in need of refinishing? Instead of spending a lot of time stripping, sanding and varnishing floors, decks and cabinets, get the spray paint out again. Painting is cheaper, faster and easier than refinishing almost anything.

Metallic Coat Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are crazy expensive, especially if they are remotely attractive or interesting looking. Instead of replacing old light fixtures, remove them and spray paint them with metallic paint. The paint will hide tarnish and rust and just give the fixtures a little longer lifespan. You can do this with overhead lights as well as porch light fixtures and outdoor lamp poles.

Use Textured Paint Outside

If the exterior of the flip leaves a lot to be desired, consider using stone textured paint. You’ll go through a lot of paint cans, so look for it in bulk sizes you can use with your sprayer. This would be appropriate for areas where the foundation wall shows, or anywhere you want to add a little pizzazz on the cheap.

These are practical ways to save money on your flip. Just remember, never cut corners on professional services like certified electricians and plumbers. The idea is to save money on cosmetics, not jeopardize the safety of the property. I’d love to read any comments you have about additional ways you save money on your flips. Thanks for reading.