This article is part of Bob Vila’s Guide to House Flipping in 2022, a month-long series that shows you the best spots for house flipping, essential steps to choosing a property, must-have upgrades and repairs, and surprising ways to reduce your expenses to make the most of your house flipping sales. Each week we bring you new insights mixed with Bob’s tried and true advice, our vetted buyer’s guides and the inside track on the right pros to get your flip across the finish line.
Your flip house is almost ready. Walls were torn down and new pipes were laid. A gleaming new kitchen and bathroom fit for a luxury apartment have replaced their worn and dated predecessors. The living room basks in a soothing palate of new beach hardwood floors and soft, muted colors. All you have to do is list it, submit multiple offers, and file the check, right? Not correct.
Just because you’ve done the heavy home renovation doesn’t mean your artwork is ready to hit the market. Here are some important finishing touches you may have forgotten before showing your flip house to potential home buyers.
1. Paint the basement
It’s easy to forget about unfinished basements. Bare concrete floors should be painted with a light gray exterior paint, like this highly rated option available at The Home Depot, and concrete block walls with white waterproof paint. Not only does it keep the basement from looking dingy, but it also adds a protective membrane to prevent excess moisture in the room. Similarly, adding matte black paint to exposed ducts, ducts, and beams along the ceiling gives the subterranean space a chic, sophisticated feel that looks great in photos. Just check the building codes where your flip house is located to make sure the project is acceptable.
RELATED: The 10 Best Colors for a Lighter Basement
2 Fix the jigs
If you have some extra cash, spend it on new equipment. Curvy Chrome is old school. Angular, angular faucets and showerheads in matte black or gold (or both) add an upscale, contemporary appeal that will make the rest of the space stand out. Coordinating fixtures also helps hold a complete home renovation together, and homebuyers notice these eye-catching details when viewing a home online or in person.
3. Use flat paint on walls
You’ve probably been told that flat paint isn’t durable. That may be true. But you do not live in the house, you sell it and paint photos much better than other finishes. The last thing you want to see in your listing photos is wheel marks on the walls when the light hits them. However, be sure to use a semi-gloss finish on the paneling and satin on the doors as they are not the focus of the listing photos.
RELATED: The best single coat paints of 2022
4. Thoroughly clean everywhere
It goes without saying that everything has to be cleaned after a renovation. However, there is clean and there is photo-ready clean. Make sure your flip house is ready for the close-up. Use a stainless steel device cleaner to remove even the smallest fingerprint. Let those countertops, cabinets and windows shine too so you can see your reflection.
5. Help the front door stand out
While you might not want the exterior of your flip house to look like a paint factory exploded nearby, popping your front door with paint is a good idea. After all, you want to lure people into it and not make them skip over it as they browse through the listings or drive by the property. If your home has a gray and white exterior, a Caribbean-inspired light blue or warm red could work well. Speaking of front doors, make sure your hardware and baseboards shine and show pride in your new paint job.
RELATED: Instant Curb Appeal: 15 Fast Facade Fix-Ups
6. Update the exterior lighting
Motion detectors are relatively cheap these days, and installing them in front of the garage or porch gives a home an upscale, sophisticated feel and an added sense of security. It also gives the right first impression to a potential buyer: “The guys have thought of everything so the inside has to be great.”
7. Power wash the exterior and lighten the trim
If your flip house has driveway stains or dirty sidewalls, one of the most inexpensive upgrades you can make is to pressure wash it. When you’re done with that, improve the siding around the windows, gutters, and downspouts. These simple touches will instantly brighten the home’s exterior, make it look great in photos, and increase its appeal.
RELATED: So you want to…paint your window trim
8. Opt for virtual staging
Anyone who has ever bought or sold a home knows how important staging can be in capturing a buyer’s imagination. However, as more and more people search for homes online, virtual staging is becoming more popular than ever. Not only does it cost a fraction of the price of a physical staging (many virtual stagers include professional photos as part of their package), but it also eliminates the wear and tear of moving furniture in and out of your immaculate home.
9. Keep the landscaping in good condition
You don’t need to install fountains and koi ponds, but topping up flower beds with fresh mulch or adding a few new foundation plants will do the trick. If the lawn looks ragged and isn’t too big, you might want to consider planting a new sod or turning the area into a low-maintenance rock garden. In any case, be sure to trim the grass and prune overgrown plants before shooting outdoors.
10. Update mailbox and house numbers
Why invest a lot of money in a renovation just to leave a cheap or dilapidated mailbox in the front yard? A stylish, sturdy mailbox makes a statement about what’s in the house. Choose equally bold metallic house numbers to complement the exterior.
RELATED: The Best Mailboxes of 2022
11. Hire a professional to write your property description
Just because your real estate agent is good at showing homes and negotiating with buyers doesn’t mean they’re good writers. A clumsy listing description copied from another property with bad grammar won’t excite buyers. Hire a freelance writer (there are plenty on sites like Fiverr and Upwork) whose words will sparkle just like your new quartz countertops.
12. Use the maximum number of photos allowed for listing
You’ve had an amazing rehab and paid a professional photographer to capture your artwork, so show it off. Always use the maximum number of photos allowed on your listing page. You want to give potential buyers a chance to see every square foot of your home. It encourages them to plan a tour while instilling confidence that the salesperson is not hiding anything.