Flipping a house is a lot of work, and can yield a big profit. But not every project is guaranteed to be lucrative. So what’s the key to successfully making over a fixer-upper and selling it for a gain? Our new series, “What the Flip?” presents before and after photos to identify the smart construction and design decisions that ultimately helped to make a house desirable to buyers.
For years, the city of Asheville, NC, has been a popular place to live. It’s earned a reputation both as a cultural hub and as an outdoor lover’s dream, with easy access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Trail.
Those facts—coupled with the notion that the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted people to re-evaluate where they really want to live—made Asheville and the surrounding area especially hot in 2020.
“The market in Asheville has significantly increased over the last year. We are experiencing record demand from buyers who are coming from major metro areas,” says the real estate agent Mike Figura, broker and owner of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty in Asheville.
“At the same time, fewer people are listing their homes, causing low supply, tight inventory, rising prices, and frequent bidding wars.”
Any seasoned house flipper can see the opportunity in a city like Asheville, especially if it’s a seller’s market. That’s why we were excited to find this fixer-upper turned polished property in the heart of the West Asheville neighborhood.
The six-bedroom, four-bathroom home was purchased for $276,000 in January 2020. After a top-to-bottom renovation, it was listed just six months later for $500,000. It sold in a little less than a month, for $525,000.
Of course, it wasn’t just the hot market that brought such an amazing profit, although the flip was pretty impressive, so we’re guessing that did help a lot, too.
We went straight to our experts to find out which changes are likely to have lured in buyers, and to discover how you can make that happen with your home, too.
The old front porch lacked curb appeal. All the windows and doors made it difficult to determine where you were supposed to enter the house. That’s not the kind of impression you want to make on potential buyers.
“By removing the existing doors and creating a new front door, the entry feels like it has a sense of arrival now,” explains Adrienne Valenza, an interior designer at Adrienne Valenza Design. “Replacing the windows with new, Craftsman-style windows also added to the charm.”
The dirty and dingy feel of the old porch was also a big negative. Thankfully, the flippers didn’t stop at changing out doors and windows; they also went to work with scrub brushes and buckets of paint.
“By cleaning up, and painting light, beachy colors on this porch renovation, it helps create a welcoming feeling, while adding tremendous curb appeal,” says Mike Syms, of Full Scale Renovations.
Talk about fresh and clean! This living room got a major glow-up, and our experts are feeling it.
“By removing the carpet and refinishing the wood floors, it gives the room much more of a sophisticated look, which is further echoed in the color palette,” says Valenza.
It also doesn’t hurt that the furniture, fixtures, and fireplace are no longer reminiscent of something you’d find at grandma’s house. Modern buyers want a modern home, and the outdated look of this living room gave buyers the impression that they were looking at a major project.
In the end, the most subtle new feature of this living room is the ceiling.
“The addition of the ceiling bulkheads on this living room remodel adds a lot of interest and provides a feeling reminiscent of a modern hotel,” says Syms. “This detail will make potential buyers remember this house as something unique and different from all the others on the market.”
The previous kitchen in this house was outdated, with a layout that just didn’t work. Its foldable table just screamed that the room didn’t have enough workable space. But the renovated kitchen is now a place for cooking, entertaining, and feeling at home.
“Changing the layout of this kitchen and opening it up to the living room was a fantastic use of the space. It’s so much more functional and open now,” says Valenza. “Continuing the color palette from the new living room was also a smart decision; it makes everything feel more spacious.”
And at a time when people are taking up home cooking instead of dining out, spacious kitchens are definitely a selling point.
“This kitchen remodel will add a ton of resale value to this home,” says Syms, “by getting rid of the textured ceiling and outdated yellow paint and adding the large island with quartz countertops. The new finishes provide a clean and contemporary look that homeowners love.”
Other touches to the kitchen, like the “dramatic, scalloped backsplash tile and the free-floating range hood,” add a touch of class, Syms says. All that goes a long way toward helping the home to stand out in the minds of potential buyers.
The bathroom in this home is small, which is a tough sell, now that buyers are looking for bathrooms that look more like spas.
While the flippers didn’t have the space to make the bathroom larger, they did know how to make the most of what they were working with.
“They did a great job with the new layout. It’s a functional bathroom that feels much larger than it did before,” says Valenza.
The new vanity gives the bathroom “much-needed additional storage space,” Syms points out. No one wants a bathroom that can’t hold their essentials.
“The details are simple without being boring,” says Valenza. “Using the monochromatic patterned floor tile as a border in the shower is a great way to add visual interest without overwhelming the space.”
“It adds a high-end custom look that potential buyers would love,” says Syms of the patterned tile in the shower. And that’s the goal when flipping a house, right?
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