By Mike Baird
If you’re new to house flipping, you might not have given a whole lot of thought to flooring yet. In fact, you might think that you can get away with leaving the old flooring if it isn’t too bad or putting in some new carpet and forgetting about it. Wrong. Remember, you’re not fixing these properties up to rent them to people who just want a decent place to live for the next few months or years. You’re fixing them to bring them up to market value and impress buyers who are looking for the home they’ll want to live in for the next few years or decades.
So, yes, flooring is important. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on it and blow your whole rehab budget. In fact, if you follow a few helpful tips, you can really wow your buyers without dipping into your profit margins or skimping on other rehabs.
Consider Your Floor Plan
If you’re working with an open floor plan, you should use as much of the same flooring material throughout the house as possible. In most cases, there’s no reason to change from a faux-wood laminate to tile when you cross over the imaginary line from the living room to the kitchen. In fact, going with a warm-colored tile, hardwood, or laminate throughout can give the whole space a cohesive and spacious look.
Sometimes you do want to define different areas, though, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just use your imagination and really think about whether or not you need to go with multiple types of flooring. More often than not, if you go with a single material, you can get a better price and save money on labor, too.
Compare With the Neighbors
I’m not saying you should invite yourself over for tea with the next-door neighbors, but you should definitely find out what kind of flooring the comps in your area have. Take a tour or peek at their MLS listings to find out if they’re using carpet, tile, laminate, or wood. You don’t want to opt for cheaper flooring if other houses in your price range have hardwood floors.
Work With What You Have
Though you usually can’t just throw down some new carpeting or go with what you have, before you rip out the current floors, take a look at them. If you have hardwood floors throughout the house, you may be able to buff and refinish them, which won’t cost you nearly as much as tearing them out and putting in new flooring.
Prioritize Your Flooring
Finally, if you have a limited budget for flooring materials, you can sometimes get away with using nicer flooring in the common areas and the master bedroom and putting carpet in the other bedrooms. This isn’t a new solution, and it works for a lot of properties. Before you do it, though, make sure that it’s something other sellers have done with their houses in the area.
When you look at your flooring options, you need to think about what you can afford on your rehab budget, what kinds of materials the comps have, and where you can afford to use less expensive materials. Then you’ll be able to choose the best flooring throughout the house to help you sell faster and get full market value for your property.