10 Items Under $20 That Can Make Your House Flip A Success

Before I dive into this post, I wanted to let you know about the House Flipping School MeetUp my team and I are hosting this Thursday, October 23rd. This Thursday will mark the 1 year anniversary of our zero-cost, zero-pitch, all education MeetUp. It would be terrific to meet you so please swing by if you are in the New England area.

Ok, so now onto the details of this post...

House flipping is not a cheap venture; you need to invest some money. Renovating a house can cost anything from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The amount of money used in a rehab can add up very fast.

I have talked time and again about flipping houses with no money but did you know that you can buy items for under $20 dollars that will make your house flip a success?

Here’s my Top 10 list of items you can purchase for under $20, which can have a big impact on your house flip.

  1. Bandit Signs

For just $2, these signs have been proven to find potential sellers. The potential returns you can get from your bandit signs are much more than expected. When you walk around your town, you can see these signs plunked into the ground and hanging from street signs or telephone poles.

Bandit signs are used to communicate to potential sellers in your area. Your sign could contain messages like “we purchase property in any condition”. This will definitely go a long way in keeping your house flip pipeline full.

Before you embark on using bandit signs, however, make sure you know your local laws and regulations regarding their use. For example, some towns in my area will only allow me to hang bandit signs on weekends.

  1. Outdoor Hose

An outdoor hose can be used to achieve the effect of a freshly painted driveway. Paving a new driveway is expensive-even though it can do wonders for curb appeal.

To achieve a similar "new driveway" effect for only $15, you can purchase an outdoor hose and use it to wash down the driveway, which can give the driveway a "fresh" look.

I recommend doing this prior to an open house. Sounds simple, and a tad ridiculous, but trust me it can work!

  1. Mailbox Decal Numbers

An old rusty mailbox does not make the front of the house look very appealing. In fact, it is the first thing that many potential home buyers see  when they come for the open house. If the mailbox is rusty, you can either replace it or slap on a new coat of paint.

From there, you can purchase mailbox deal numbers for $6. Tidying up the mailbox and slapping on some decal numbers is super cheap, but the effect can be big.

An added bonus is that the sparking decal numbers will help people driving by (aka potential buyers) locate the house more easily.

  1. New House Numbers

These will cost around $10 and potential buyers will look at them as entering the house.

When you combine new house numbers with other front door accouterments, you can really spruce up the house and sell it faster.

  1. New Door Knob

The doorknob is the first thing that the buyer will touch and secondly, it contributes to the overall welcoming feeling they will get when entering the house.

A new door knob costs $15 and by replacing the old one, you also replace the lock. So you kill two birds with one stone.

  1. LED Walkway Lights

Installing cheap $4 LED lights to line the driveway, lawn or walkway can really enhance your curb appeal.

Not only do these lights add to the safety element of the home, but they also make the entire front yard seem more calculated and uniform.

  1. Measuring Tape

When figuring out the cost of renovation, you will need to measure the exact dimensions of the rooms in the property you plan to buy. A tape-measure will come in handy and it costs $17.

Take it from me. I've walked into a house before, which I thought about buying, just to discover I left the tape measure back home. I recommend keeping one in your vehicle at all times.

These measurements are important because you can get a more accurate estimate of how much it will cost you to do a rehab once you forward them to potential contractors.

  1. Face Plates For Outlets

The best way to make all the rooms flow together when designing a house is to use a seamless hardwood floor. Unfortunately, this may not be budget friendly. But, if you are consistent with small things like wall trim, doorknobs and door hinges you can achieve a similar effect.

Face plates for electrical outlets in every room are a great way of keeping rooms unified and it shows that the house has been renovated while paying attention to detail.

Face plates cost around $3 per plate.

  1. Cookies

You need to appeal to the buyer’s sense of smell during an open house. The smell of home baked goods can make potential home buyers picture the house as their future home.

$10 cookies can achieve this effect and even if you don’t believe they are having an effect on the potential home buyers, at least you can be sure you’re giving them something to eat which is always appreciated.

10. Cheap Wine

If you want something fancier than cookies, you can go for some wine. It doesn't have to be expensive wine either.

A $15 bottle of vino can make your open house visitors feel more comfortable. The main aim here is not to throw a party, but to simply make them feel relaxed.

A nice glass of wine can put people in a good place. Even if they don't drink or pass on the wine, it's a nice gesture and appreciated by most.

What do you think? Let me know by commenting below.

Mike LaCava

I'm a full time real estate investor, proud Dad and husband. My team and I are working to restore communities - one house at a time. House Flipping School is my way of sharing this vision with other investors who want to do good for their community, and make money flipping houses.

  • carmen king jordan says:

    Not sure with out money credit problems

  • rich says:

    Hello do you need a good listing agent in Florida? I would be happy to list any flips you do in the Trinity, Palm Harbor ,Clearwater area and surrounding areas. Thank you, Rich 727 644 5754 Realtor ,GRI , SRES RE/MAX Marketing Specialists

    • Mike LaCava says:

      Thanks Rich! I do most of my work in New England but I’m sure some readers here on the blog may flip houses in your area.

      Best of luck in building your business.

      • Janie says:

        Great article!!!!!!!! Was a pleasure to read all this good ideas, thank you very much and have a great day everybody.
        Janie Suarez from Grand Island, Nebraska

  • James says:

    Mike is right, you must use every tactic you can think of to attract that
    special buyer, leave nothing to chance.

    • Mike LaCava says:

      Thanks James.

      As you allude to, these small details are easy to disregard, but they do add up and definitely have an impact.

  • I’ve used this tip #4 new house numbers as well. Depending which way the home faces you can add an even nicer touch.https://www.google.com/shopping/product/17695258860466887728?client=ms-android-verizon&biw=360&bih=297&q=led+house+numbers&oq=led+house&ei=tvpGVOXoGsjFggSThYKAAQ&ved=0CJsBEKYrMAM
    I live in New England. MA. Have a small buyers list and few motivated sellers as well all their homes need repairs. My issue is negotiations and proper valuation.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Patrick & sharing your house # idea. Where in New England? What area’s are you working your seller leeds? Valuation is the most important thing you must get right or you can’t effectively make a purchase or control at the right price if you are trying to wholesale to another investor. I wrote many articles on this so check it out and the FREE Ebook. Let me know how you make out.

  • Yvonne says:

    Hi Mike,

    I live in East Central Florida 5 miles from Cape Canaveral. My husband and I have decided to sell our large family home of twelve years to downsize and to use some of our equity to flip homes. We are both very business savvy and handy and also have some flipping experience and had actually purchased two homes that were both for sale by owner about 13 years ago, and while living in them we updated them and then sold them for a nice profit. So we decided then that when our kids were grown and no longer living at home that we would downsize and flip once again. We are ready again. My question for you today is regarding obtaining a foreclosure property. Our neighbor is foreclosing on their home and it doesn’t need any major work, just mostly updating. Do you have any insight on the process of buying a foreclosure property and the pros and cons? Thank you!


    • Michael says:

      Nothing wrong with buying foreclosed properties. You may run into some title issues but most cases they can be worked out. My suggestion is you use a highly qualified real estate attorney that has lots of experience in these closings and things should work out. The bottom line is getting it at the right price but you can only determine that by knowing what the end value will be when your done renovating it. All the best in your venture.

  • Nigel says:

    Hi Mike,

    How do I get the Free Ebook?
    I have just gone through the immigration process from the UK and want to start flipping houses here in the USA. I have 35 years of construction project management experience and am a fully qualified carpenter.
    Have you a template for a business plan so I can show a potential investor?
    Hope you can help & thanks, I will subscribe when I can afford the $97.


  • David Bokan says:

    Just stumbled on this blog as it was listed on the Top 48 blogs for real estate investing. Love this article as its all about the little things that most people don’t think about. I’m all about the small details! Great piece!

  • Mike Prior says:

    Great post. Its amazing how a number of very small changes can so much difference to the salability of a property.

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