Hey Guys, are you ready for the top 12 things to look for when buying a quick flip renovator?
Rarely in renovation is anything impossible. 99.9% of the time if you have a good team of trades (and you’re not afraid of spending some cash!) you can achieve almost anything. In saying that, many people who want to flip a property are on a tight budget. So it is essential that when looking to buy you have an end goal in mind. You must look at the property and be asking in every space, is this viable and can I do the changes I want within budget?
Going into a renovation purchase blind, with no vision and no consideration of budget can end in an unfinished reno, a poor product or yourself being wildly in debt. So check out my list below, of the top 12 things to look for when buying a quick flip renovator.
1. START WITH TIMBER
You want the house to be timber, rather than brick. That’s not to say you can’t do a quick flip on a brick property (I am currently flipping one now), but as a general rule it’s quicker to cut through walls, to move windows and to install doors if it’s a timber stud wall house. All of these changes can be done on a brick home too, but unless you have identical bricks or are rendering or painting, it can be difficult to match the exiting bricks and the final result can look a little mish-mashed!
2. GET UNDER THE HOUSE
If you can’t get under it straight away that’s not the end of the world, but you do want to before you make an offer on the property. The subfloor area can tell you so much about a house. You can see what sort of space you’re working with, what work has been done previously, and also get a good feel for the overall health of the property. Knowing what additions and alterations have been completed on a property over the years can also give you a decent indication on what walls are load bearing or structural, as well as what the original flooring is like.
Furthermore, if you want to do plumbing under the house and there’s very little room, it’s going to take a plumber a lot more time (and money) versus them having 1500mm of height, where they can access everything and work quicker and more comfortably. Access is always important.
3. GETTING YOUR WATERS LOOKED AT
One of the many things I look at under the house is the plumbing. If you’re looking to renovate an old property, check to see if the piping and clays have been updated. In terms of storm water, see how it’s being taken care of. From a council perceptive it is your responsibility to get storm water off your property, however this can vary from council to council and state to state, so check your own requirements.
4. CHECK THE METER BOX
There are very strict rules and laws around electrical work and the protection we have on our properties. I’m certainly not an expert, but I can tell you from experience that my electrician usually has had to upgrade the meter box before doing any work. In many cases, properties have not had any work done in a long time and as a result the meter box won’t have any of the safety measures that current meter boxes need. It’s always good to see if the meter box has been upgraded at any time, as this is a good indication of whether the property has had any recent work.
5. ADD VALUE TO THE PROPERTY
Add value to the property. I always check if I can add substantial value to the property. For example, if by changing a floor plan I can add an extra bathroom, I can make the house more livable and add value. However, if after renovation I’m still going to have the same amount of bedrooms, bathrooms and car spaces then it’s less appealing.
6. CEILING HEIGHTS
If you want to open up a space and get rid of a wall between two rooms you need to check your levels and ceiling heights; as that could get you into some serious trouble if there’s a two foot difference between ceilings.
7. A SLAB VERSUS PIERS
This will be evident once you look under the property. But purely from a perspective of reconfiguration and changing the floor plan, a slab is much more difficult to work with.
8. THE LEVEL OF MOVING THAT’S INVOLVED
If you have the choice between renovating a house where you can leave the kitchen where it is – rather than move it to the other side of the house – you should pick the former. In many cases people move their kitchen because they think it will up the value, but if you have the choice, leave it and just present a better kitchen.
9. STREET APPEAL
If I’m looking to sell or live in a house I don’t want it to look ugly! So while the property may not have street appeal when you buy it, it has to have the potential. If you can’t on a budget give it enough street appeal that you yourself would want to live there, then it’s not worth buying.
10. STRUCTURAL ISSUES
Make sure the retaining walls are solid, as they can be a real money eater! Whether you’re renovating a property for sale or to keep, it’s horrible receiving a bill for work you’ve had to do but you or your buyer won’t be able to see or appreciate. It’s much more exciting spending the big bucks on an amazing kitchen and that’s what will capture the hearts, minds and eyes of buyers.
11. FOUNDATIONS AND PIERS
When under the house, I always have a look at the piers and subfloor foundations. Check what type of piers they are (brick, concrete, steel – the list can go on) and whether they have been pitted, damaged or eroded. When flipping a house you don’t want to go through the painstaking renovation process and get an offer accepted at sale time, to then have it fall over when a buyer gets scared after seeing a report showing some piering deterioration or questionable foundations.
Check if the windows work and are in decent condition. Windows can cost a fortune and can take up to six weeks to come in, massively impeding your timeline and budget.
If you find a property that doesn’t meet these requirements it doesn’t mean you don’t buy it. It just means you factor it in!
So there you have it, my top 12 things I check off when looking for a quick flip renovator.