Flip Houses Fast With These Insider Curb Appeal Tips
Aside from home staging, what are some other techniques can you use to flip houses ultra fast?
There's a little thing called "curb appeal" you should probably know about.
And it's a small thing that makes a BIG difference.
Flip Houses...Thinking On The Outside
Most house flippers focus their efforts only on the inside of the house and have a tendency to neglect the outside. Interior changes are very important and should not be overlooked in their importance, for sure. In many cases, to further enhance the interior, we tend to use staging to make the house appear more lived in and homey.
On a number of occasions, we've sold our house flips on the first day of putting them on the market. And a lot of this had to to with the house showing really well on the interior using staging. Really good home staging is an important aspect of selling houses quickly and it has certainly played a major role in selling many of our house flips fast.
Most new house flippers focus on the inside more because that's where people spend most of their time. But what hey tend to forget us that all that won't matter unless you can actually get them in the house in the first place.
That's where curb appeal comes in.
Curb Appeal: The Magic House Flipping Technique
Curb appeal is simply how attractive a house looks "from the curb". The better it looks from the outside, the more likely a potential buyer is to explore the inside. Curb appeal is very important when you flip houses primarily because you only get one shot at a first impression.
Take a step back and imagine your buyer driving up to your house flip for the very first time.
What will they think?
If the first impression is not a favorable one, then you'll have less of a chance to get them inside and see all the beautiful interior work you've worked so hard on.
If the outside doesn't look refined and inviting then you may never get the opportunity to show the inside to some of your best potential buyers. Regardless how good of a job you did on the inside of the house, you may not have put the same detail and attention to the outside.
This is just a lost opportunity. House flippers should spend just as much time improving the overall look of the home from the outside. And best of all, it can be done fairly cheaply.
To make the house as inviting to guests and visitors as possible, it may be just as simple as adding a field stone walkway, a fresh bed of mulch or removing overgrown shrubbery. There are some very inexpensive curb appeal improvements which can make a huge difference and help make that first impression a good one.
But before we get to those, let's discuss some of the more major curb appeal improvements and whether they should be done or not.
To Paint Or Not To Paint...That Is The Question
One of the questions people newly learning how to flip houses ask is if the exterior should be painted. And if so, should they do it themselves.
If you're handy, then you can certainly paint the house yourself. However, if you don't do a quality job painting, even the untrained eye will be able to tell - and it will hurt your prospects when selling. If you do choose to go it alone, here are a few tips:
- Preparation Matters: Pay attention to the proper preparation techniques for the paint and this can be done by consulting with a qualified painting supplier. Ask questions and take notes. Get the proper scrapers, brushes and painting equipment that assures the paint will look good when it's applied.
- Dont Skimp on Quality: Always use a quality paint as well, don't skimp on a bargain brand paint. Go to the Benjamin Moore store instead of Home Depot or Lowes. If you do big box, talk to someone who knows what they're doing and listen to their advice.
- Height and You: Take into consideration the height of the house and the logistics involved. If you're selling a two-story house, you may have to use a 24 foot ladder to reach many of the high spots and safety needs to be practiced at all times. And if you're afraid of heights, take that into consideration as well - as it makes this task very difficult to do.
- Consider a Professional: I no longer paint any of my house flips myself. I recommend using a professional painter and outsourcing, but that's just me. If you decide it's not your thing, get three estimates to secure competitive pricing. Ask for recommendations from friends and family and make sure the painters are licensed and insured as well as guarantee their work.
- Go Neutral: Consider a neutral color that works with most people's tastes and fits in with the neighboring homes. If you want to add some bold colors - consider painting the trim with contrasting colors, along with shutters and the front door.
When You Flip Houses, Consider Re-siding
Re-siding the exterior can add a lot of value and enhance curb appeal. Especially if you are upgrading an older wood siding to a maintenance-free vinyl siding. In many cases, this can certainly increase a homes value, but it depends on a few things.
- Town Bylaws: If the house is in a historic district and all other houses in the neighborhood are wood sided due to town bylaws then it won't even be an option for you. If you violate the town bylaws, it could end up being a serious problem and cost you a lot of money. And say bye-bye to your house flipping profits when you're ordered to take it down.
- Vinyl vs. Wood: Most people today are looking for convenience and less maintenance. The idea of not having to ever paint their home certainly is appealing to many people. It may not add any more curb appeal than natural wood, nor will it actually add a higher price versus a quality existing wood siding or shingles, but if you're looking to sell your home quickly, it may help you sell it quicker.
- Cost Considerations: Consider the cost to restore and paint versus the cost to re-side. It could be a significant cost and if you have cost over runs on other parts of the flip, even while using the 70% Rule, the cost could slim your profit margins or vanish them completely.
- Consult Your House Flipping Team: Lean on your local real estate agent, the one who's an expert in their market. Ask them what customers are demanding in your market. This will give you some good insights into what you should do and you can make a decision based on the information you compile.
- Consider The Neighborhood: Depending on the value of your home, choose the quality of products commensurate with that price range. In some affluent neighborhoods, wood siding is far more appropriate, whereas in some less affluent communities, vinyl is more appropriate. Your local Realtor should be able to help you here as well as just observing other neighborhood houses in your general price range.
- Your Timeline and Goals: Although the majority of houses we flip, some we do keep for longer term passive income. So if you are not selling right away, then you may want to consider vinyl siding, as it will save you money over multiple paint jobs in the long run.
11 Sure-fire House Flip Tips That Will Enhance Curb Appeal
You can enhance curb appeal without spending a ton of money. Most people think of curb appeal as spending major money on replacing roofs or windows, painting the house, replacing the siding or updating garage doors.
Consult with your general contractor on any of these major decisions, of course. But keep in mind the more he does, the more that goes into his pocket. Unless those things absolutely need to be replaced, don't do it.
One of the best ways to increase curb appeal that you can do yourself (without putting yourself in danger by getting on a ladder to paint your house) is improving the look of the house with a few minor improvements and many of them involve your landscaping at the front of the house.
Here are 11 things you can easily do that won't cost you much:
1. Trimming Bushes: Trimming back overgrown bushes or taking them out completely if they're too big will oftentimes dramatically improve the curb appeal of a home. We did this on our Onset house flip($56k post) and it made a huge difference.
2. Get New Plantings: Planting new bushes and flower beds to bring some color in play oftentimes makes a huge difference as well. Of course, time of year and location will determine where and if you do this as well. If you're selling in the dead of winter in Minnesota, then scratch this he off the list.
3. Spiff Up The Beds: A super easy and quick way to increase curb appeal is to define all beds with sharp edges. When you apply new natural mulch to make the beds look crisp, clean and defined, the difference is amazing. This is an easy one to do yourself too.
4. Kill The Weeds: Make sure you remove all weeds as well and apply a weed killer to the lawn and the beds. They may grow back, but a good weed removal spray will take care of these pests for months.
5. Mow The Grass: Keeping the grass cut and watered for a healthy looking lawn dramatically increases curb appeal. Make sure you fertilizer to feed your lawn. Also, if there are bare spots, add loom where needed to fill in any bare areas in the grass.
6. Leverage Your Local Nursery: If you're no landscape designer, one great tip we've used is to take some pictures of other nicely landscaped houses in the area and take those pictures to the local nursery. The staff at these places love to help and you can get some free design assistance on what you should plant and where. Most nurseries will provide this kind of guidance for free as long as you buy your plants there.
7. Consider a Professional Designer: Depending on your budget and the price of your home, you can determine the right investment amount. If you're doing all the work yourself, you could spend as little as a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Either way, this would be a considerable savings over hiring a landscaper and or a professional landscape designer, which can run you in the many thousands of dollars depending on the extent of the work being done. However, these professionals can still get the job done at a reasonable price and add a lot of value if your pocketbook allows it.
8. Apply Driveway Sealer: When you apply a driveway sealer to the driveway, the difference is dramatic. This simple step will give the whole exterior a fresh new look without spending a lot of money.
9. Get a New Mailbox: Simply installing a new mail box if your existing one is beat up is another good way to enhance curb appeal. Talk about a simple thing to do, but it works.
10. Improve Walkways: By cheaply repairing your walkway to your front door, you can really make a quick change that immediately adds to curb appeal. Or if you don't have a walkway, consider adding a flagstone walkway over the existing grass. Flagstone walkways can add a nice look to the front of the house, especially when on a small budget.
11. Sweep Up: Simply sweeping the sidewalks and picking up any loose debris around your home are two other simple, yet very effective things you can do on your own to further enhance curb appeal. You can do this yourself and it only takes a few minutes.
If you do any of the steps above, you'll quickly add value to your house flips. And when you flip houses, selling the property fast can be the difference between a small profit and a big profit. Not only will you save on soft costs like financing and carrying costs, but you can also fetch a higher price.
And when you flip houses, who doesn't want that?
What kinds of curb appeal tactics have you used when flipping houses? Leave a comment below and let me know!