You’ve done it. You’ve found that diamond-in-the-rough house you are convinced you can flip in a few months, pocket some dough and move on to your next project.

But before you get too far into demolition, you need a vision of how you are going to fix up the house to make buyers swoon and want to hand over your asking price the minute they walk through the front door. Well, that’s the dream.

Here’s some advice on how to develop a vision from Center Street Lending that will make your fix and flip move so you’re not stuck with a flop on your first effort.

Listen to the House 

First and foremost, pay attention to what the house is telling you. You don’t want to turn a mid-century modern into a French colonial. Or a cute craftsman cottage into a boring ranch. Or a boring ranch into a Colonial mansion. Well actually, if you have the money to turn a boring ranch into a Colonial mansion, go for it. Generally, houses with character will sell themselves if you can retain that character and give modern buyers the amenities they love. So understand the character inherent in your house and enhance it to entice buyers.

Understand Your Market

Be aware of what homebuyers in your area are looking for. All the fix-and-flip TV shows are going to tell you granite countertops and hardwood floors are going to sell your houses. However, your flip might be in a neighborhood where laminate floors and composite countertops are all buyers can afford. You don’t want to go so far with your improvements that you price yourself out of the market.

Putting your money into an extra bedroom or turning that half bath into a full bath might be better ways to spend your money than granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

Going to open houses in your community to see what’s selling and picking real estate agents’ brains while there, gives you a good idea of how to appeal to your target audience.

Meet the Modern Basics 

For modern buyers in almost any market, opening up the floor plan as much as possible is a great selling point. Families want to be able to connect when they are in the kitchen, dining room and living/family room.

This doesn’t always mean tearing out all the walls. If you have a great craftsman with all that beautiful woodwork, find ways to create openings between the spaces without losing all the woodwork. Keep in mind, it’s not a cliché to say, “kitchens and bathrooms sell houses,” because that is the truth.

These are the two rooms where you need to put in the most “wow” to appeal to buyers. And parents love a master en suite. Incorporate as much natural light into the house as possible. Big, double-paned windows, French doors, bright patios will attract buyers and make them feel the warmth of the home.

Make the home as green and energy-efficient as possible. Many homebuyers are pushing their financial limits when they shop for their homes, so if you can point out long-term savings they gain from your flip, you can hook them into a top-end asking price.

Keep It Color Neutral

Select neutral colors throughout the house for floors, walls, cabinets. Maybe you like greens, reds, blue, oranges for your own home, but don’t bet on finding that one buyer that agrees with you.

Homebuyers are more willing to add color to their own home once they’ve settled in. They don’t want to walk through a newly remodeled house and think, “Well, we’ve got to paint that pink bedroom right away.”

You can get away with some bold designs in tiles or countertops in kitchens and baths as long as they are tastefully done and accent with the neutral color scheme.

But it’s best to keep it safe and simple if you want your home to appeal to the broadest category of buyers.

As you develop your vision for your fix and flip, contact us about affordable financial options for purchasing and rehabbing your diamond in the rough. Contact Center Street Lending on  Linkedin and Twitter for more.

Written by: Jens Schoell