Adding Value To A Property

Adding Value To A Property

Michael Corbett (Real Estate Expert) gives expert video advice on: What flooring improvements add value to a property?; What floor plan improvements add value to a property?; Should I add onto a property I'm intending to flip? and more...

What flooring improvements add value to a property?

If your fixing up a property, one of the things that you want to do is create a feeling of floor space. And one of the ways to do that is by having consistent flooring throughout. One of the worst mistakes people can do is have a tile floor here, a wood floor there, have one colour carpet in one bedroom and have another colour carpet in the next. You want to try to keep it as consistent as possible. With a lot of homes, I try to have hardwood floors throughout because it creates a much bigger sense of space. Whatever you do, keep your flooring neutral. Keep it all in the same colour pallet and try to have it flow.

What floor plan improvements add value to a property?

When you're fixing up a property, one of the biggest lifestyle upgrades you can do is by creating more flow, by changing the floor plan. You don't want to get into changing any big load bearing walls, but if you can take a wall that opens up a kitchen into a dining room area to create a great room, that's a terrific way to go. Wherever possible, find non load bearing walls that you can actually remove to go ahead and open up to create more space, because houses now are designed more with space in mind than they used to be. The older homes all have a much more cramped feeling. If there are areas where you can open the den to the living room, go ahead and open those up. Anywhere where you can create more space or a feeling of more space is money in the bank.

Should I add onto a property I'm intending to flip?

Here's my biggest tip for people who are going to go ahead and fix up a house; don't buy a house if you think you have to make money by only adding square footage. Never add square footage on a house that you're going to flip. Why? Because you never know how long the process is going to be. You're working with your city now, you're working with an architect, and you're working with plans. It adds in an element that you can't control. It ruins your timeline, and one of the biggest things that you have to keep control of when renovating a house is your timeline. And if you have no control over that, then you have no control.

What's the secret to a profitable bathroom remodel?

When I am renovating a bathroom, really a couple of rules are: try to never move the plumbing. You want to keep things where they are because that's what is the big cost. When you go ahead and start moving plumbing, putting a shower and a tub there - don't do it. Just keep the existing plumbing where it is but work around it. The other trick is you want to raise the countertop height in the bathroom to the same height as you would in a kitchen. It's actually the new hip height, and it will give your bathroom a feeling of a five star hotel because if you look at all the good hotels now, all the bathroom countertops are actually the same height as kitchen countertops. The other technique in a bathroom is you want to keep things neutral, keep things consistent. Make sure that the tile in the bathroom matches the tile and the tones of the other elements in the house. Don't have a blue bathroom, and the rest of the house is done all in tans and sand. Keep it all consistent - keep it all neutral.

What's the secret to a profitable kitchen remodel?

When renovating and flipping a house, you have to upgrade the kitchen. One of the techniques is, of course, keeping the cabinetry that already exists. That's the best way to save money if you can, if it's in good shape and if it's a good wood cabinet. And here's the technique that I always use: never have them paint it, have them spray, there's a big difference. Don't have someone come in and just hand paint or roll the cabinets. Have them professionally sprayed because they begin to look like factory cabinets and you get to keep the existing cabinets. It's a great technique! It doesn't cost that much more, but if you can keep your cabinetry and you have them sprayed, keep them. Put on new counter tops, put in some new hardware, and then that's a huge savings and big upgrade.

What kinds of appliances should I buy for a house I want to flip?

When renovating a kitchen, you want to upgrade the appliances. I'm going to give you a little technique. You don't have to have the top end appliances unless the neighborhood calls for it. One thing that you want to do, even if you're buying the low end, is buy the same brand for everything in the kitchen. Buy a Maytag stove, a Maytag refrigerator, a Maytag hood vent, a Maytag microwave or whatever brand you choose. Buy them all the same and all the same color, because it looks like they're designed that way. It actually looks like a designer kitchen even though you paid very little for the appliances.

Should I splurge on fancy appliances for a house I want to flip?

Do you need to buy top of the line appliances? Go to the other houses that are on the market and find out what they have. You want to have the nicest quality that you can, but you do not need Viking ranges in a neighborhood that supports a low-end, very inexpensive appliance. Save money. Find out what's out there, or spend the money by finding out what's out there.

What is the most overlooked improvement I can make on a house I want to flip?

I'm going to tell you one overlooked improvement that costs nothing and will get you a sale when you go to sell your house. Don't forget, when people come by to look at a house, 65 percent of those people, when they come by to buy it, will look again at night with family and friends. Buy some outdoor lighting and light up the house at night, because those buyers, when they come to buy your flipped out, beautiful house, when they come back at night, impress them, and impress their friends.

What is 'curb appeal'?

One of the biggest ways to add value to your home when you are renovating, fixed and flipped, is curb appeal. Curb appeal is like dating. A pretty face will get them in the door and first impressions count. You can have a beautiful front porch with a great looking front door, polished hardware and new numbers, flowers and a beautiful, beautiful, lush green lawn - that is curb appeal. That's what gets people in your door. It's what gets people who drive by to actually walk in.

How can I use curb appeal to add value to a house?

When you're creating curb appeal, what you want to do is create a front entrance that is warm, wonderful, colorful, and welcoming. What that means is you want to make sure that the front door looks great. You want to make sure that all the hardware is new and shiny. Go ahead and get a new mailbox. Go ahead and get brand new numbers. Have potted plants on either side of the door with flowering plants. Make sure that your front yard looks great. Have beds of lovely white or colored flowers. Make sure that the house is painted beautifully and properly. I use what's called a three color technique so that the walls of the house are one color, the trim around the windows and doors are another, and then you take a selective accent color, that is, what the color of the front door is going to be. It gives the whole house a beautiful, wonderful front and something that is warm and welcoming to buyers.