Whenever Christina and I start looking at a flip house, we always come at it from different points of view. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, but I still have a bad tendency to underestimate what our rehab budgets are going to be. But when we start rehabbing, I’m the one with an eye toward that budget, and I’ll usually go with the less expensive rehabs that still work for the market we’re flipping in. Christina, on the other hand, has a really keen eye for everything that a property’s going to need to get it on the market, but then she’ll fall in love with a claw-foot tub or get her heart set on a slightly more expensive flooring material.
By working together, the two of us always manage to find the compromises we need to get the best materials and do the right rehabs without going over-budget, over-rehabbing the property, or making any other big mistakes. One of the biggest places we’ve differed over the years is exterior paint.
When I see a house that has decent paint that might just need a touch-up, I’m all about it. When Christina sees the same house, she sees an exterior that needs to be completely repainted. And it’s not that she’s ready to spend more of our budget on paint—she’s really good at spending our rehab money where it counts. It’s just a difference in perspective that could really work either way.
The Case for Touch-Ups
I’ll be honest—in most cases, our rehabs need to be repainted. Most of them have peeling, faded paint, and the trim just looks sad. Every now and then, though, we come across one that actually looks pretty good and just needs a little bit of touch-up work here and there.
When I see these, I see an opportunity to redo the trim and have one of our contractors’ expert painters go to work on the places where the paint needs to be matched and redone. In my head I’m already reallocating funds to the kitchen, the master bath, or the floors. I’m seeing a little more profit or some wiggle room if we run into another issue that we need to deal with in the rehab process. All of these are good reasons to just touch-up and move on.
The Case for Repainting the Whole Exterior
However, Christina has a really good point that’s hard to argue against. The people who live in the area are used to seeing this tired, old house that’s been sitting vacant. If you don’t make a big, noticeable change, they’re going to wonder if you’ve done anything at all to the house or if you’re just doing the minimum for rehabs to rent the place out instead of selling it.
When you repaint, you put a little bit of money into showing people that you’re really putting effort into this renovation. Anyone watching your work as you prepare to put the house on the market is going to notice that, and they’ll be more interested in buying than if it looks like you’re just putting renovation band-aids on bigger structural and aesthetic problems.
That’s why, in most cases, even when I know that we could get away with a few touch-ups, I’ll usually go with Christina’s perspective on this one. Repainting the exterior and giving it a fresh new look can really make it stand out from the way it looked before. It’s impressive to buyers, and the neighbors will appreciate it, too.