5 Fix and Flip Changes That are Big Mistakes
When you’re rehabbing a property and getting it ready to flip, there’s a lot of positive changes you can make. Updating old fixtures, tearing out old carpet, and even doing some landscaping to increase curb appeal. But not every change is a positive one, and some will make it harder to sell your fixer-upper once you’re ready to put it on the market. Here’s a list of five things that will be a big turnoff to most home buyers.
Over the centuries, home builders have developed numerous techniques and methods for hiding the minor imperfections left in a plastered wall when it’s finished. You can’t just leave it as plaster, and those inconsistencies can draw the wrong kind of attention if they’re caught in the wrong light. Wallpaper was one of the solutions that was developed to solve this problem. The problem is that it went out of style several decades ago, and it shows no sign of returning to its former status (especially after that “The Yellow Wallpaper” thing).
Wallpaper designs are inherently tied to the tastes of those who choose them, and they don’t translate well to the design sensibilities of others. It’s also difficult and labor intensive to remove, something home buyers don’t usually want to deal with. So while that particular floral pattern may speak to you, you can’t expect your buyers to be as excited about it as you are.
Fancy Wall/Ceiling Textures
The more popular alternative to wallpaper these days is drywall texturing, the most common (and most neutral option) being the “orange peel” texture. There are more eccentric varieties, though, and the farther you stray from the normal, adaptable options, the more you’re going to run into problems. Acoustic “popcorn” ceilings are a perfect example of a textured pattern that most buyers will find undesirable.
Odd textures may look fine with the right design touches, but most buyers don’t want to overhaul their whole interior decorating scheme to match weird looking walls. Plus, removing and redoing textures is even worse than removing wallpaper—it’s not something buyers are going to want to commit to.
Odd Color Paint/Carpet/Tile
Sometimes when redesigning a property you plan on selling, it’s easy to get a little overzealous. You imagine what the space could be with a few personal touches, and try to make it a unique and compelling space. The problem is, as with all the items on this list, the more eclectic you make the property, the smaller your target audience will be. It’s easy for a buyer to look at white walls and think, “We could totally turn one of these into a purple accent wall”. But when you’ve already done that, then you leave them thinking, “Great; if we buy this house, the first thing we’ll have to do is repaint”.
Choosing exotic colors or patterns of carpet, tile (floor or backsplash), or paint will inevitably drive a number of buyers away. If it doesn’t fit their tastes, and they don’t want to commit to changing it, they’ll just continue their house hunting elsewhere.
Converting Bedroom Spaces
When you live in a home, it’s perfectly normal to make decisions about what each space should be used for. Don’t need an extra bedroom? Transforming it into a craft room or home office is a great idea. For you, that is. Same goes for demolishing a bedroom to make another room larger.
Presuming that future residents will want to use the space the same way you did is a dangerous gamble; they may have more kids and need the extra bedroom, for example. So if you plan on selling the property, leave the bedroom as a functional bedroom, and let the buyer decide if they want to convert the space into something else.
Converting the Garage
One of the privileges of owning a home (as opposed to all those early adulthood years you spent in apartments) is having somewhere to put your car. Garages are great. They let you protect your vehicle, give you a little extra storage space and they make you feel like an adult. That’s why converting the garage space into something else (just like with the bedroom) can be a big deal breaker for buyers.
Whether it’s extra living space, a workout room, a theater area, or whatever else, by converting the garage into another room you’re denying the buyer that safe place to put their car and their stuff. Once again, you’re making presumptions about how they should be using their home. So don’t let your imagination run too wild. Make the garage a clean, functional space, and leave the decision making up to the buyer.