On “Flipping Across America,” we see houses large and small morph from run-down hovels into gorgeous homes. So which flip fetches the highest profit?
In the episode “Renovations Big and Small,” host Alison Victoria highlights two very different houses that were purchased for around the same price.
Anita and Ken Corsini of “Flip or Flop Atlanta” are renovating a tiny, 900-square-foot house in Georgia, while Mina Starsiak and her mother, Karen Laine, of “Good Bones” are tackling a massive renovation on a three-story mansion in Indianapolis.
Here’s a look at the smart upgrades they do, and which house ends up selling for a fatter return. The answer might surprise you—and inspire you to view properties in a whole new way!
Ditch the pond in favor of a large front yard
Anita and Ken have big plans for their little flip, which even includes an addition! Still, before they can impress buyers with a new kitchen and master suite, they need to focus their attention on curb appeal.
The front of this house is an absolute mess, with overgrown trees and patchy grass. However, the biggest problem is an outdated pond that’s located in an awkward spot. After consulting their landscaper, these flippers have two good reasons for ditching the pond.
“One is the fact that it’s right in front of the front porch, I mean, where it’s located, it’s not ideal,” Ken says. “It sort of blocks your flow into the house. But two, it’s a safety issue.”
They end up removing the pond altogether and filling it in, and the clean, open front yard is a much better look for buyers.
Pricey accents make the whole house look luxe
Anita and Ken want to make their small house stand out, so they build an addition, which includes expanding the kitchen.
This new kitchen has plenty of space for a big island and lots of cabinetry, but the added space isn’t enough for these flippers. Anita gets the idea to splurge on an expensive backsplash costing $30 per square foot, giving the new kitchen an elegant look.
“I realize this is a little bit of an investment,” Anita tells Ken, “but I think this is an investment that will pay off. I would love to sell this house at top dollar. I think this will help.”
Indeed, the backsplash looks beautiful. The soft green tone brings some color to the kitchen without overwhelming the space.
A sink can make for a unique upgrade
While Anita and Ken are putting high-end tile into their kitchen, Starsiak and Laine are upgrading their own kitchen with a different pricy feature: a sink.
“Mina and I decided on a copper farm sink in the kitchen,” Laine says. “I love that it has a sort of weathered patina that makes it look like it’s been part of this old house for years.”
While Starsiak points out that this sink is expensive, she and Laine agree that their classic home deserves some good upgrades. Plus, this fun sink might attract buyers’ attention.
“It’s a bit of a risk to add an expensive sink to a budget that’s already so big,” Victoria says. “But it’s a good one. Buyers love high-end kitchen finishes, and it should help sell this house.”
Use wallpaper in an old house for a classic feel
While people may not use wallpaper as much as they once did, it’s still a good option. Starsiak and Laine know that a wallpaper accent wall will look great in their old fixer-upper, so they select an intricate blue and white paper for the dining room that will brighten the space and add character.
“It’s so totally appropriate for this old house,” Starsiak says of the wallpaper. “It makes it feel just as dignified and elegant as it once was, and I think it’s something special that the buyers are really going to be drawn to.”
While she explains that the wallpaper isn’t cheap, and that installing it herself isn’t easy, the end result is certainly worth it. The blue and white design looks great in this room, and it helps give this home that touch of classic charm.
Decorate with furniture that matches the home’s design
When Starsiak and Laine’s renovation is finally done, it’s time to stage the house. Since this is an older place, they bring in some furniture that they know will complement the design.
“The wood paneling in the entryway has an antique feel to it, so we wanted to mimic that in some of the furnishings,” Starsiak says. They include vintage rugs and classic wood tables.
Victoria approves of their choice for staging.
“It’s important that all the decor in a house is cohesive so the buyers can see themselves living in the space,” she says. “The wallpaper and antique-style furniture are great complements to this vintage, stately house.”
Which flip sells for a bigger profit?
Starsiak and Laine buy their four-bedroom house for the low price of $65,000, but they spend a whopping $300,000 on the renovation. They end up listing their home for $409,000 and accepting a full-price offer. That means that after closing costs, this mother-daughter duo makes a profit of about $40,000.
Meanwhile, Anita and Ken buy their tiny home for $77,000 and spend $133,000 on the renovation. While they list the house for $328,900, they get an offer for $346,000, which means that after closing costs, they make a surprisingly huge profit in the range of $126,000—more than three times what is netted on the larger home!
Let this serve as a lesson that a bigger home isn’t always the better investment.
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