“Flipping Across America” is back for Season 2! With “Windy City Rehab” star Alison Victoria hosting, viewers get to watch two flips unfold and learn which renovation reaps the best return on investment.
In the season premiere, “Desert Oasis,” Victoria introduces the two flipping teams. “Boise Boys” stars Clint Robertson and Luke Caldwell will renovate a house in Boise, ID, while “Desert Flippers” hosts Lindsey and Eric Bennet will update a residence in Palm Springs, CA.
Whichever flip sells for the highest profit wins, so these teams must spend their renovation budget wisely. Here are the upgrades they do in an effort to bring the highest ROI. These examples might help steer you to some smart changes to make around your own abode, too—whether you’re selling now or in the years to come.
1. Add a slat wall for midcentury charm on the cheap
Caldwell and Robertson know this renovation will be on a tight budget, so right away they seek out inexpensive updates that will help the house stand out. One of their first ideas is to add a low wall to the front yard.
“At the entrance to the house, we’re adding a small fence with horizontal slats to add more interest,” Caldwell explains. Not only is this wall inexpensive, but it also adds to the midcentury look Caldwell and Robertson want.
Plus, as Victoria points out, putting time and effort into the exterior of a house reaps good returns, since many more people see it than what’s inside—especially with a flip.
“When you’re renovating a house, people are going to be watching. Make the outside look great, and maybe potential buyers will come around sooner rather than later,” Victoria says.
2. Glam up a garage with frosted glass doors
To give the exterior more of that fun midcentury modern look, Caldwell and Robertson replace the old garage door with a frosted-glass door. The retro garage looks great, and it inspires Caldwell and Robertson to add more glass features to the exterior.
They end up adding windows on either side of the door and even install a submarine door, which has a fun glass window.
“Nothing modernizes a home like more windows and glass,” Robertson says.
3. Inject personality with a creative accent wall
With the exterior looking like a midcentury masterpiece, Caldwell and Robertson turn their attention inside. But even then, it seems Caldwell is still thinking about the yard.
He buys some breezeway bricks, a type of decorative brick used for architectural screens and fences in the 1950s.
“I know that they’re outside bricks, but I was kind of thinking it might be cool to use them as a feature wall,” Caldwell says.
He plans to stack these up as a feature wall in the dining room, but learns that stacks of these bricks would be too heavy for the foundation. So Robertson comes up with the idea to cut the bricks and put up only thin slices of the material. This would achieve the same look while weighing less.
After the wall is installed and painted black, it looks amazing.
“Before, this was a featureless, boring room with no personality. Now this wall is a stunning focal point, not to mention an amazing conversation piece,” Caldwell says.
4. Go for real grass in front, artificial turf out back
Lindsey and Eric want to make sure their house has a great yard, and with lots of space in the front and a pool in the back, they’re off to a great start.
Still, they know that in order to make this exterior perfect, they’d like to brighten it up with some green grass. While grass typically does not grow well in the desert, they decide to add some anyway.
“We’ve decided to do sod in the front yard, because it conforms to the neighborhood. A lot of front yards are green grass,” Lindsey says.
But in the backyard, they take a different route. Since this patch of land doesn’t have irrigation, they use artificial turf.
“It’s very low-maintenance,” Lindsey says of the faux grass.
In the end, they have two spots of green space that make sense, and will be easy to maintain.
5. Add a door straight to the pool for a huge plus
With such great yards, Lindsey and Eric know their future buyers will spend a lot of time outside. So they want to make sure it’s convenient to go from inside to outside, and vice versa.
Toward the end of renovation, Lindsey comes up with an idea.
“We’ve got this whole outdoor lifestyle, and there’s no place to go to the bathroom when you’re out there,” she says, standing in one of the restrooms, “when you could have a bathroom just by putting a door right here.”
So these renovators spend an extra $750 on a door that opens from the bathroom to the backyard—and it makes a world of difference. It’s convenient, and buyers are sure to love the feature.
Which house flipper ends up with the highest profit?
Both of these flips are impressive, but by the end of the episode, it’s clear who got to take home a bigger profit.
“Boise Boys” stars Caldwell and Robertson bought their house for $190,000, renovated it for $80,000, and sold it for an even $300,000. That means they go home with a cool $30,000 profit.
Meanwhile, Lindsey and Eric of “Desert Flippers” bought their Palm Springs house for $200,000, spent $65,000 on renovation, and sold it for $340,000, which means they make a more impressive profit of $75,000.
It’s clear that you don’t always have to spend more to make more!
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