Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when taking on the challenge of a rehab.
10. When hiring a sheet rock installer and a painter, make sure you are using someone with whom you are familiar with the quality of work they do or someone you trust who knows the quality of work they do. Most of the time you get what you pay for and paying for it to be done twice is not fun. It costs unnecessary time and money spent on the project. To hang, tape, and float sheet rock requires skill and not everyone who tells you they can do it, actually can, and the mistakes are very evident and often hard to hide, even for a stager. The same goes for a painter. Know your painter and sheet rock installer or get a referral from someone you trust. This is crucial.
9. Speaking of paint…unless you are renting the home, never use high or semi gloss paint on walls. You want to use eggshell or satin paint. High gloss or semi gloss will show every imperfection in a wall, create an unpleasant glare, and just doesn’t look attractive. As a rule of thumb, flat paint goes on the ceiling, semi gloss goes on the doors and trims and eggshell or satin goes on the walls, except in the bathroom which is where you want semi-gloss paint. Just as a side note, more often in builder’s model homes, they will stage the home with flat paint. While this looks very attractive, it’s not very family friendly and potential buyers will appreciate the eggshell paint much more. Again, a good quality painter knows the proper type of paint to use and should make the right choices for you if he is an ethical painter.
8. Much to my surprise, another common mistake is installing cabinetry before painting, especially with a sprayer. Obviously, there is a proper order in which each trades should be brought into the rehab and going out of order can create havoc on your flip. Rest assured, no matter how hard your good-intentioned painter tries not to splatter paint from his paint sprayer all over your new cabinets, floors, carpet, tile, etc, he will still get paint everywhere. Unfortunately, most will leave it there to harden and dry for you to clean. Did I mention hiring a good quality painter?
7. Yet another paint issue…It never looks attractive to paint the baseboards and crown molding the same color as the wall. It may save a few bucks, but it is very unpleasing to the buyer’s eye. By the way, neutral wall color doesn’t always mean white or off white. A stager can suggest a great paint color. When you are covering bold colors, use a kilz primer and mix in a neutral color to save an extra step in the paint process.
6. Ok, I think I’m done with paint mistakes for now and moving on to lighting. Lighting is so very important when placing a home on the market. It affects colors, ambiance, mood, and the overall appearance of a home. Whenever budget allows, update the lighting. Dull, dim, and dated lighting can be a real deal breaker because no one wants a dark home and dark is depressing.
5. Another electrical issue is leaving the dated or multi-colored plugs and switches. When potential buyers see these sort of things they will cringe just before wondering how much it will cost to replace them (which by the way I happen to know, since my husband is a master electrician, that it is a low cost and high return cosmetic fix that is well worth the investment.) If it is not in the budget to update all the plugs and switches, at the very least, switch the cover plates to match. Aesthetically, it makes a huge difference for a little money.
4. Although it holds no appraisal value, replacing dated hardware on all the cabinets, is a low, cost effective cosmetic fix. Many times a fresh coat of paint and new hardware does wonders for kitchen cabinets or a bath vanity and it is not even necessary to install new cabinets. However, I do not recommend trying this without a color consult from someone who knows color. The wrong colors on the cabinets in relation to the back splash, counter tops, and flooring are a costly mistake you are just stuck with once its done.
3. Another very common mistake is one I refer to as “un-equivalent updates”. For example, spending big bucks for new cabinetry and granite counter tops, yet going cheap with a sink dropped in on top, .69 cent tile on the floor and outdated lighting left up above it all. If you are going to put that kind of money into cabinets and counter tops spend a few extra dollars and go all the way with the under-mount sink and a little higher quality tile. It makes a huge difference and the ROI will be there. Of course, be careful that the updates are equivalent with market area as well. It’s all wrong to put high dollar updates in a neighborhood that is not high dollar and vice versa. Product selections are another area where a stager can make valuable recommendations to save a ton of money if determined on the front end of a flip.
2. Winding down to the top 2 biggest mistakes, in the number 2 spot, is allocating a larger part of your budget to making cosmetic updates to other areas before the kitchen and master bath/bedroom. These are the two most important areas in a home. All others run 2nd in line to these two areas. Kitchens and baths sell homes especially master baths. (If ever there is any chance of enlarging a closet by knocking down a wall, big master closets sell homes too. Trust me on this one, most of the female population will not consider a home without ample closet space. )
1. Ok, the number one biggest mistake and my greatest pet peeve ever: A woman will always know (and most men too), when you paint over wallpaper. In my opinion, it is never OK and a huge mistake. Make the time to have it removed. Even the best painters can not hide the mess and ripple effect that often occurs when you paint over wall paper. Oh my goodness, it is a huge mistake and it never looks good. Unless someone is really into DIY projects, they will see this as a good reason not to buy the home because of the amount of trouble it takes to fix it and the fact that they will not want to keep it that way. It is downright ugly and right now, the market is full of choices with homes that do not have this problem. It is frustrating to see ambitious real estate investors run into these unnecessary “hiccups” that could have been avoided if only… Learning from others experiences can be a very powerful tool if you are open to learning. I hope these staging tips will help. Happy home flippin!