You’re probably wondering what key characteristics I look for in a fixer-upper. A few weeks ago, as I was looking for new projects, I created a short video that I shared on Instagram. There were so many comments that I thought it would be helpful to share that process here, as well.
Choosing a home to flip, especially as a newbie, can feel overwhelming and like a lot of pressure. You want to avoid buying a money pit, and identify the best home with the most potential. Since I’ve had the opportunity to look at hundreds of homes, I’ve had a lot of practice and gotten the key areas to focus on down.
Before I go to look at a home, I check the comparable sales so that I know the price range of homes in the area. This process starts with online information and photos. Getting familiar with the property before dedicating the time might save you a trip.
Your detective work starts online and continues onto your drive through the neightborhood, walk up the driveway, and so on.
Each step of the process here helps to decide if a house has potential. Not only will you view the home from a flippers standpoint, you’ll want to see it from a buyers point of view at all. Think of what objections might come up for them.
Let’s get into the key areas to focus on when deciding if a house has potential. Feel free to take some notes or screenshot my recommendations!
Approaching the Home
As I’m approaching the home, here are the main things I’m assessing. The neighborhood can make or break a home, and it’s a critical piece to the potential a home has. If your home is beautiful but in an undesirable location, you’re going to have a problem.
As you approach the home, ask yourself:
- Are homes well kept?
- Are there busy roads?
- Are there commercial buildings?
- What are the conditions of sidewalks and streets?
- Are there parks or trails?
Buyers’ objections start with location and neighborhood. Some of the common objections to consider include proximity to neighbors, lot size, shared driveway, or limited parking access. These are important pieces to your puzzle, as a buyer will likely skip the home altogether for these shortcomings.
Walking up to the home
After considering the neighborhood and related factors, I go through my list when walking up to the home.
As I’m approaching the house, here are some things I’m assessing.
Exterior of the home
The home’s interior might be the fun part, but never forget to take a deep look at the exterior as well.
Here are some questions to run through when looking at the exterior of a potential fixer-upper:
- What is the condition of the exterior of the home overall?
- How is the siding?
- Does the siding need to be replaced?
- Can the siding be repaired and painted?
- How is the roof?
- Are the windows, soffit, and fascia wrapped in metal or wood?
- Are the walkway, steps, and driveway in good condition?
- How close is the home to the neighbor?
- Is there fencing?
While curb appeal can say a lot, take a thorough 360-degree look at every side of the house.
Interior of the home
When you enter the home, use your senses. What do you see, hear, and smell? Here are some questions to ask as you walk through the interior of the home.
- Is there a front closet?
- Does the entry to the home have a designated space, or is it flush with the living room?
- Is there a porch that can be converted for year-round use? (This adds immense value and square footage – You might be able to transform this space into a mudroom).
- What is the flooring material? (PS: Lift carpet if possible to see underneath).
- Is there hardwood?
- Will flooring need to be installed?
- Do you like the floor plan?
- Is the floor plan segmented or open?
- Is there potential to open walls adjacent to the kitchen?
- Does the kitchen need a total upgrade (as opposed to design upgrades)?
- Are appliances working/included?
- Is there a separate dining room?
- How many bedrooms are on the main floor? How about the other floors? Buyers want a minimum of 3!
- Will the bedrooms require updating?
- Is there a master bedroom? A master bath?
- Is there unfinished space in the home?
- Can the unfinished space be finished to add livable square footage?
- Is there a possibility to add another bedroom or bath in the unfinished space?
- Is the heating working? Is it up to date?
- Is the cooling system working? Is it up to date?
- Is the plumbing system working? Is it up to date?
You might be able to find an age or maintenance record. Look at the furnace, A/C, and water heater.
Windows and Doors
- How do you access the garage from the house?
- Is the front and back door in good shape? Could they use an update?
- Are the windows in good shape or should they be replaced?
Make the most of your walkthrough
As you can see, there are a lot of questions to ask yourself before you buy your flip. You will need to do your research, see the property closely, and weigh your options. Consider how much work you’re willing to do and how much your budget is.
Ready to take that next step when it comes to flipping?
Perfect! I’ve got additional resources to help you get the information you need to move forward on creating your flipping life.
Make sure you have the Fixer Upper Checklist so you know which areas are key to added value in a home.
There are several videos available on finding houses, renovations, and funding on the Threshold Homes YouTube Channel. Check out your favorite flipping topics and new videos weekly.
You can’t close a successful and profitable flip unless you start. What is your biggest challenge with getting started house flipping? Let me know. It may be an area I’ve also had questions about myself. I’m here to help so drop me a DM.
Want to buy a property and renovate it?
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