You might have seen shows about renovating houses for house flipping and thought ‘hey, I could do that!’ The idea of a five-figure payday for several months of ‘sweat equity’ is definitely tempting, as is getting to work with your hands to build something you’re proud of.

On house flipping shows there will often be a spanner in the works that derails the renovation about three-quarters into the episode: a burst water main or asbestos discovered in the walls. They’ll typically fix the problem before the episode is done and the happy, telegenic couple doing the reno’ will come out tens of thousands of dollars ahead. What you’ll never see is a reno’ go so disastrously wrong that the house flippers end up losing money or barely breaking even, whereas in real life this happens all the time.

If you want to dive into a renovation and flipping project then there are some basic rules that you should bear in mind:

Get A Home Inspection

Unless you are an experienced home inspector yourself then you should always get the help of a professional to go over every aspect of the home, from the foundations to the wiring, looking for anything wrong. Although you’ll go in to a renovation project with a budget, it’s only when an inspector has been through the house that you’ll start to see your real budget. You might want to delay or even abandon a project if it comes out too high. Trusting your own eyes, even if you have some home reno experience, is going to leave you open to risks.

Don’t automatically accept the layout

It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll want to add (or remove!) a whole floor, but too many home renovators look at a potential investment property and assume that they can’t make radical changes to the layout. You’ll probably know that knocking down a wall to open up a family room is fairly easy, but what about changing the layout of a bathroom? Or adding a bathroom? Or adding a drain to a back room so that it can function as a utility room? This won’t cost as much or take as long as you think, and given how different people’s lives and expectations are now compared to when the older houses that you’ll be able to buy cheaply were built it can make a huge difference.

Speaking of Bathrooms

Next to the kitchen, the bathroom is the most effective place to add wow to a home- and it can be much cheaper. Re-tiling, adding his and hers mirrors, ample lighting and a deluge showerhead won’t break the bank but can add a lot of value.

Go Green

You’ve got to plan for the future because anyone buying a house is going to be looking twenty years ahead when making such a huge and permanent purchase. They also probably don’t want to be paying high energy bills or leaving a Godzilla-sized carbon footprint.

You already know to get double-glazed windows and strong insulation, but you can think bigger: why not go solar? Tesla’s solar roof tiles look identical to real roof tiles and are stronger and produce electricity. There are also rainwater collection systems that turn the rain that falls onto your roof into usable (but not drinkable) water.

Don’t Ignore The Invisible

Everything from the waterproof membranes around your foundation to the wiring inside your walls shouldn’t be taken for granted. Your initial inspection should identify serious problems, but you might want to work with a contractor to see what you can do to improve the unseen parts of your home. This might not pay off right away, but any extra protection you can give the future owners of the house you’re renovating will prevent messy legal claims.

Going for Trendy (And Expensive) Materials

Hardwood flooring and granite countertops may scream high-end home, but they’re expensive, adding to your own costs and raising the price for a would-be buyer, and have some distinct disadvantages. Hardwood floors get scratched, especially by pets, and granite countertops need to be re-sealed every two years. Be creative with materials, allow your contractor to make recommendations.

We can take a close look at a potential income of house flipping and give you a good idea of not only the price and timeline but the threats and opportunities that could make or break your project.

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