On "Flipping Across America," host Alison Victoria highlights just how hard it can be to flip a house—even for veteran flippers who host their own HGTV shows. In the latest episode, the run-down homes the two teams pick have a long ways to go!
In the "Ratty Flips" episode, Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen Laine of "Good Bones" have bought a run-down house in Indianapolis. But these flippers seem no worse off than Ashley and Andy Williams of "Flip or Flop: Fort Worth," who have bought a similarly decrepit home in Fort Worth, TX.
Both teams were able to buy their homes for less than $60,000. Still, they'll have to pay hefty sums to make these homes presentable again. Here's how they pull it off, including some smart ideas for anyone hoping to add value to their house.
When Starsiak Hawk and Laine buy their Indianapolis home, they know that the exterior needs a lot of work. They add board and batten siding and give the house a lovely coat of blue paint. The biggest change they make, however, is to the landscaping. They rip out the tenacious plants growing up the side of the house, mow the grass, and remove an overgrown bush hiding the house.
When the greenery is cleaned up, Starsiak Hawk is thrilled with the transformation.
"I feel like the house had, like, a Pinocchio moment," she says. "Like, when Pinocchio became a real boy. As the trees came down, it was kind of like ‘Oh, you’re a real house!’”
To finish the look, this mother-daughter team plants some sophisticated new shrubs that add a natural look to the house without overwhelming the property. Starsiak Hawk and Laine prove that sometimes a little landscaping can go a very long way!
Place tile in a unique pattern
With the outside of the house looking great, Starsiak Hawk and Laine set out to make the interiors look just as good.
Luckily, Laine gets a fun idea for the bathroom. She loves the hexagonal tile Starsiak Hawk chooses for the space, and decides it could look even better if they fade the tiles out at the ceiling.
"We’re installing tile behind the vanity in a funky pattern at the top that I think will make the bathroom really unique,” Starsiak Hawk says when construction is underway.
When the project is finished, the tile looks great. It's a creative way to make this bathroom stand out, and best of all, it didn't cost this team any extra money.
Built-ins can add extra seating in a kitchen
In the kitchen, Starsiak Hawk and Laine want to create a vintage vibe with classic cabinets and bright colors. To add to this old-fashioned look, they get creative with lower cabinets.
"Keeping with our vintage modern theme, we’re taking some of our lower cabinets and turning them into window seating," Starsiak Hawk says.
It's a creative way to install storage while also adding some character to this kitchen.
A creepy front porch can actually drive buyers away
Meanwhile, Ashley and Andy also start by struggling with their home's exterior. After all, curb appeal is what immediately draws home buyers in—or drives them away. But their home's problems go beyond poor landscaping and involve the run-down front porch.
Ashley is adamant that the front porch gets the makeover it deserves.
"It’s worth $1,000 to walk up to a porch and not just walk up to a place you may think is abandoned, 'cause first impressions are where you make or break yourself,” she explains.
So they create a charming little sitting area that takes this home's exterior from spooky to sweet, amping up its curb appeal.
Use light colors to open up a space
Ashley and Andy's house is pretty small, but they know that they can make it seem larger with the right finishes.
In the kitchen, they use two different cabinet colors: white to keep the kitchen feeling light and open, and gray to ground the space and bring some dimension. They do the same thing with the backsplash, using white balanced with gray tiles.
"Since this house is small, our goal is to make it light and airy with lots of grays, whites, things that bring light and movement into the house,” Ashley explains.
Goal achieved! It's clear that this simple color palette was the right choice for this home.
Which 'Flipping Across America' team nets a higher profit?
When both teams are finished, they have two beautiful houses that will make great homes for any buyer. But which flip makes more money?
Starsiak Hawk and Laine had bought their home for $40,000 and spend a hefty $170,000 on the renovation. They list the house for $268,000 and get a full-price offer—which means this mother-daughter team takes home a substantial $58,000 in profit.
Meanwhile, Andy and Ashley had bought their house for $58,000 and spend only $54,000 fixing it up. They list the house for $169,000 and are surprised to get an offer for $171,000. After closing costs and commission, these two net a respectable $51,000.
So while both teams do an amazing job on their flip, Starsiak Hawk and Laine prove that sometimes, spending more on renovations pays off down the road.