feb 16

Flipping Houses Flip Tip: So how do you choose your accent walls?

There are RULES, but who likes to follow rules? 

Successful Fix & Flips require creativity … which also means intuition and instinct.

I walk into a room and get a “feel” for where the accent wall should go …sort of like “Art”, it either feels good or it doesn’t.

But our designer Christy gave me a couple of professional pointers that have sharpened my intuition …and my eye!

So I’m going to share them with you and hopefully you have at least one “AHA” as I did with each one!

1. Choose a wall next to a window… that combo will look beautiful in your photos for your MLS listing.

2. In bedrooms anticipate which wall may be used to place the bed head first, that wall usually needs a focal point since the opposite wall is typically where the T.V. or dresser goes and doesn’t need more interest added.

3. This is my tip… the wall that first comes into view when you walk into the home makes for a great accent wall …unless it’s a hallway or a small room… which in that case, an accent wall may make the room appear smaller (that tip given to me by Luke)

For this master bedroom, I chose the wall with the closets because I thought the white plantation style doors would really “Pop” and they did next to the stunning dark accent color.

This is one of my favorite photos!

But accent walls should be fun to play with!

Don’t worry about following rules, just go with your instincts and try new ways of choosing when and where to use these walls which are a cheap and easy decorating technique that can add the “WOW” factor to any room.

Visit our House Flipping After Party page to see some of our accent walls!

jan 19

Flipping Houses Flip Tip: Grout…Should Be Simple Right?

Yes, a whole blog post dedicated to grout!

But you wouldn’t believe how differing grout colors can change the look of your tile.

The simple key, find a color that matches as closely to the tile as possible.  Contrasting grout colors are not fashionable anymore.

If you make the grout disappear by matching it to your tile you will be left with a cleaner more updated modern look that will help you sell your property fast!

Of course this is not always the case, there are no absolutes in design, but at least a good general rule to follow.

If you have bought a property that actually has pretty decent tile already in, replace the grout.  This should run you $200-$400 to do and it will make the tile look like it is brand new leaving you more money to impress your buyer in other areas.

Get the grout right and make your tile pop.

jan 12

House Flipping: How to Make your Flip Look Like a New Home

Should be simple right?

I was doing a final walk through with our designer Christy today going over one of our latest properties and I was amazed at how many simple things that my team and I had missed.

Now that’s what a final walk through is for, but our designer pointed out a few items that make the house look dated that I didn’t even consider.

When we flip a property the bottom line is that we have to convince a buyer to pay more money for a remodeled “updated” property.

Talking about getting inside the mind of a buyer is a whole other chapter, but for the purposes of this blog post let’s just say that buyers want an updated “modern feeling” house.

Now these buyers may not notice any one item that gives the house a dated look, but the overall impression will not be the same if some of these “dated” items are missed during your remodel.

Here are a few of those items that I commonly see people miss (or cut corners on):


Those old-fashioned windows with 6-8 small panels of glass, that you probably painted the frame white, date the house.

The best solution is to put brand new windows in which will give the house a very modern feel, but I would guess that this is not in most of your budgets.

Therefore you must put horizontal white faux wood blinds in. This will hide the windows and give the house a cozy and updated look… Which brings me to my next point.

Blinds You would be amazed how many people leave vertical blinds or plastic mini blinds in a remodel. They are already there and they are undamaged so keep them right?


These are terribly dating to a house and need to be replaced. White faux wood or real wood blinds are the only option in my opinion.

Popcorn Ceiling

This is a tough call because removing popcorn ceilings can get expensive.  However, there is no denying that a popcorn ceiling gives the house a dated look.

At the very least I would consider removing the popcorn from the main living areas.


A lot of older homes don’t have very well designed floor plans for letting light into a home so they already may have a little bit of a dark feel.

Therefore use the opportunity with your light fixtures to maximize the light.   Light fixtures with multiple lights and appropriate bulbs can really light up a room.

Pay close attention to bathrooms with small or no windows and whatever you do don’t install energy efficient bulbs that give off a very dim light.

Finally don’t be afraid to throw a few can lights in the kitchen if you have the opportunity. These are not very expensive and really give the kitchen an updated feel.

Switches and Receptacles…

Just change them. I know you think they might look ok, and that is if you haven’t got paint all over them during the remodel, but just change them.

The materials are less than $100 for the entire house and they are very quick and easy to change. Having new receptacles and switches (in white) throughout the house really gives a clean and fresh “new house” feel that goes a long way.

There are many more important and obvious things to do in order to avoid that “dated” feel to your flip but these are some of the most common I see that are missed everyday.

Make these few simple changes to your next Flip and it will be well on its way to looking like new.

dec 29

Flipping Houses: Are you Planning to Succeed in 2012? 3 Simple Words May Get You There!

What do you do to start the New Year off right?  Do you make New Year’s Resolutions or are you a goal setter?

(I hope you do something new to make the New Year better than the previous one!)

…I think most people are goal setters. I, for one, am not.

The thought of setting goals and making them “SMART” (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), and setting deadlines and dates bores the hell out me…feels like drudgery and um… math.

Just the thought alone makes my brain hurt (I’m right-brain dominant).

What I do instead is set “INTENTIONS” for the New Year and then work my ass off until they come to fruition.

I set intentions in the 3 major areas of my life: Health, Wealth, and Relationships.

One of the tools I use to help me fulfill my intentions is choosing 3 words (thanks Chris Brogan) that will drive my actions and make decision-making simple and quick.

These 3 words keep me inspired, motivated, and CLEAR.  

…what are they for 2012?  MOMENTUM. FOCUS. FUN.

(This idea could be your “something new” to try!)

So whenever I am faced with a choice, decision, or opportunity …I run it through the filter of my 3 words and choose in favor of one or all three of them. Ex:

…I get invited to a lot of networking events. Most of them would be a waste of my time, but to know for sure I’ll simply ask, “Will saying yes to this event help build MOMENTUM for my REI biz?  If the answer is YES…decision made…I’m going!

…Will taking one personal day a week to do nice things for myself help renew my energy and rejuvenate my spirit so I can better FOCUS on helping our IFS clients during the remaining week? (That’s an easy YES! Fridays)

…Will saying YES to 1-2 dates a week be FUN for meand get me closer to finding a boyfriend by the summer? :)

You get the picture…

I shared this idea with a dear friend of mine who is also a real estate investor; the 3 words he chose were INTEGRITY, PASSION, and FIRM.  Only he knows the meaning of these words to reaching his goals in 2012 but he’s pretty excited about them.  And I have to say; he’s already ON FIRE!

Whatever you do …don’t get stuck in your fear of making moves that can grow your business. Plan to succeed in 2012.

Step out of your comfort zone. Try something new.  If you only wholesale to your buyers list, try flipping a house in 2012…

… if you only flip houses, try wholesaling to other investors in 2012…

…if you only flip the EASY houses, try flipping the ugliest one you can find in 2012…

…the new perspectives from either angles will only help you grow and finesse your experience as a business owner.

We know that Fear and Faith are both created in the mind. They’re make-believe, so why not always choose to replace your fearful thoughts with faith (which feels sooo much better) …you GET to do that so do it!

Napoleon Hill, author of Think & Grow Rich (every entrepreneur’s bible and best selling success book of all time) stated in his new book Outwitting The Devil, The Secret to Freedom and Success:

“Your only limitation is the one which you set up in your own mind!”

Take action.

Possibilities are endless.

Don’t look now…your potential is showing…I see you!

Dreaming big is okay…do it!

“You were born to be rich…there is no virtue whatsoever in poverty…you are here to find your true place in life, and to give of your talents to the world…you are not here to earn a mere living…you are one with the Infinite, and you can’t fail.” Joseph Murphy

Let us know how you plan for the New Year, share your tips and comments below!

Cheers to your success in 2012 and Happy New Year!

dec 12

House Flipping: Why Flips Go Over Budget

I flipped my first property in Phoenix in 2003 and yes I went over my budget. Over 1,000 properties later, and yet again on a property I did last week, I went over my budget!

Now you may be thinking I am not learning my lessons very quickly, but in fact it has been just the opposite.

I would love to tell you I have the process of flipping a house down to an art form, and in many respects I do, but every single house that I flip I learn something new.

I have learnt a thousand lessons and will probably learn thousands more. But here is what I have learnt about budgets:


Almost everyone I have seen flipping real estate anywhere in the world thinks they can fix it up cheaper than they actually can. My opinion is that it is a matter of misguided pride.

I have admittedly been known to boast about the fact that I have fully renovated and remodeled homes for under $15,000.00, so I can easily see how others have the same influences.

However, it is not helpful, and if you buy the wrong property convinced of your ability to fix it up for $27.59 you are going to run into trouble.
I say take pride in the fact that you spend a lot of money, that you know how to set a realistic budget and the finished product is better because of it!

The World Of Residential Contractors

I had the pleasure of working in the commercial real estate world back in London from 1999-2003. Now of course you often get what you pay for and we weren’t cheap, but what we did do was sign a contract with the client saying how much the job would cost and how long it would take us to complete it.

That contract contained a penalty often as much as $2,000 per day for everyday the project ran over the completion deadline. Not only that, but if we had extra costs we couldn’t pass them on to the client, we had to eat them.

Compare that to the world of residential contractors in Phoenix…

Have you ever heard of a contractor that quoted one price for a job and then asked for more money at the end listing a whole host of reasons why he went over budget?
How about a contractor that took longer than he said to complete a project?

My guess is that you have…

…and if you have been around the world of contractors as much as I have you will have seen and heard about that on an almost weekly basis.
The truth is the level of professionalism here is exceptionally low. Letting a contractor get the best of you is a sure fire way to blow your budget!!

Falling for your Flip

If you have flipped houses before you will know all about falling in love with your flip. I just fell in love with yet another one I did 2 weeks ago…

It is such a beautiful home and I put in so much time effort and energy into it that I put it on the market for $20,000.00 more than I originally intended!
Sound familiar?

Falling in love with your remodel has many implications (most of them bad). But as far as budgeting goes one of the classic mistakes I see is people over improving their flips.

They do this because they think a particular tile, or cabinet, or light fixture will go so well with the house that it is worth the extra expense.
This can be okay in very isolated doses, but one over improvement often leads to another and that is where things get dangerous!!

Putting Your Head In The Sand

This is the most common reason for going over budget.

When you start feeling that you are spending too much money the sensible thing is to immediately add up your expenses and evaluate exactly where you are.
However, that emotional side of you finds that you just don’t want to know…

…and so you blindly continue paying …

…and paying for the remodel with an increasing sense of dread in the pit of your stomach and clinging on to the belief that you couldn’t have spent that much….
You will be amazed at how often people fall into this trap and trust me it rarely turns out well.

Being Reactive Not Proactive

I drove around with 2 of my clients this week giving them some input on their flips and their main issue was going over budget (surprise, surprise).

After speaking to them for a few minutes I quickly realized that they only had a very vague idea of what their finished product was going to look like.
They were therefore remodeling in stages and then assessing what to do next.

Whilst this doesn’t sound like a bad idea it can be disastrous. When you are remodeling a home there is a very definite order in which to do things.
If for example you decide to replace the kitchen cabinets after you have laid your floor tile, you are stuck with the choice of trying to match a pre-existing kitchen design probably from 1970 or ripping up a bunch of floor tiles.

If you want to stay on budget you need to know exactly what you are going to do to the house before you start and you should know what materials you are going to use and how much they cost.

I am sure there are many other reasons for going over budget. For me, I set myself incredibly tight budgets and try to stick to them, so when I go over it is no big deal, but for those people who are newer to the flipping arena, beware the dangers, give yourself a realistic budget with some wiggle room then stick to it!!!!!!

Share your tips for staying on budget by leaving your comments below!