Flipping a fixer upper – Planning the renovation

You should always plan the entire renovation before you start. Ideally you should try to plan it before you buy a property but this is not always possible. Try to make a detailed plan but be aware that most projects will contain unknowns that will force you to adjust your plan. It is important that the plan specify your desired end result in detail so that you can get there even if there is unexpected work.

The area

The first thing you should consider when planning the renovation is the area the house is located in. A house in an upscale neighborhood needs to be renovated to a certain standard if you want to be able to get a good price for your house. Renovating a house in a poorer area to the same standard is a waste of time and money. You will not be able to get a higher price by renovating a house to a higher standard than the neighborhood is associated with. The buyers in one area might be looking for luxury, buyers in another area might be looking for affordability.

In some rare cases an area can go through a rapid gentrification and in this situation you might get the best return by renovating a house to a standard above the other houses on the street. This is rare. Usually you will get the best return by renovating the house to the standard expected on the street and not above.

The price

Research the comparable sales figures on the street so that you know how much money you can expect to get when you sell the house. See which features that bring extra money on the street and which doesn’t. It might also be good to talk to a broker and ask what his buyers look for in a house in the area. This will help you discover how much money you can spend on the renovation and which renovations that is going to give you the best return. In some neighborhoods it might be worth adding an extra parking space or an extra bedroom to the house. In other this will be a waste of time. Know that area and the sale prices as well as possible. The more you know, the more likely you are to succeed.

Key priorities

Make sure that you define the key priorities for the house and what needs to be done with them. This will usually be the kitchen and the bathrooms since these are the two  areas that will have a large effect on the final sales price but other areas might also be very important. A nice decking can make a huge difference if the house have a good view and extra security might be appreciated in certain areas.

Identify two or three key priorities where you allow yourself to spend a little extra money to produce a better result. Keep the cost to a minimum in all other areas.

The goal with the key areas is to make the house seem more attractive without having to spend money everywhere. The key priorities allows you to invest your extra money where they will give the best return.

Detailed plan

Go through each room and write down what needs to be done. If you see something that is cheap but that would be beneficial then you should put that on the list as well. You can do these things if there is money left in the budget at the end.

Included information about what should be painted in which color and so on. Your plan should tell you exactly what needs to be done and how it should look at the end. Once you have the detailed plan you can start ordering material and doing the work.

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