rental property investing

Choosing Materials for Real Estate Flips

Are you planning out your house flipping business? Are you wondering which house flipping materials are best while saving money and keeping your budget low?

You want things to look nice but at the same time you don’t want to overspend and cut into your profit margins.

Today, I’ll be sharing what renovation materials we typically use in our flips to give you an example.

Things like:

  • Which flooring material is best?
  • Which bathroom vanities, shower designs, and toilet brands?
  • Which kitchen back splash, appliances, cabinets, and counter tops?
  • Best lighting accessories and painting techniques to make rooms appear larger?

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a good idea of materials for each room in a house and their cost examples to compare to in your market.

Once you find the renovation materials you like using in your flips, you can use them over and over again for each property you purchase.

This saves costs and helps create a cookie cutter system to follow to reduce decision making and time waiting on supplies to arrive.

flipping houses tips

The Components of a House

Before you beginning flipping houses, you should understand the construction and components that make up a house.

Here is an outline to get started:

  • Asphalt Roof – $5,000 to $15,000
  • Vinyl Siding – $5,000 to $10,000
  • Vinyl Gutters – $1,000 to $2,000
  • Vinyl Double Hung/Pane Windows – $400 to $600 each
  • Front Doors – $1,500 to $2,500
  • Garage Door – $500 to $1,000
  • Interior Drywall – $10/sheet or $200 per room
  • Interior Painting – $150 to $200 per room
  • Flooring – $3 to $5 per square foot
  • Cabinets – $1,000 to $10,000
  • Countertops – $1,500 to $4,500
  • Back-splash – $30 to $40 per square foot
  • Appliances – $400 to $1,500 each
  • Ceiling Fans – $50 to $150 each
  • Lighting Fixtures – $25 to $400
  • Toilets – $100 to $150
  • Vanities – $400 to $1,000+
  • Showers – $500 to $1,500

When you’re setting up a showing with a realtor to preview a property you’re thinking of fixing and flipping, make sure to keep this checklist handy so you can inspect all areas of the home.

What Flooring Material Do We Use?

Most of the properties in our area have laid down carpet over hardwood flooring.

One of the first things we do is rip out the old carpet and see if we find any natural hardwood floors underneath. If so, we refinish it so it looks good and new again like in this photo:

real estate flipping houses materials

If there is no hardwood in the home or if it’s not able to be refinished, then we consider re-carpeting the rooms that had carpet before. We will use a cheaper carpet to save money but you can’t tell any difference because it still looks new and fresh.

For floors with hard surfaces, we use a dark grey laminate flooring that looks like fake hardwood flooring.

Laminate is more expensive than carpet so therefore it becomes option #2. We use it in areas that carpet won’t work or won’t look right (Kitchens, Bathrooms, Mud Rooms, etc.).

Flooring Jobs & Materials:

  • #1: It cost us $4,500 to refinish hardwood floors
  • #2: It cost us $5,700 to lay carpet through a 1,500 sq ft of commercial office
  • #3: It cost us $7,000 to refinish about 1,500 sq ft of hardwood flooring for two studio apartments

Which Paint Materials Do We Use?

For painting, we like to use Sherwin Williams paint that we get at a discount from a painter friend of ours. We’ve also stopped by Lowes before and grabbed Valspar paint.

1 Gallon Can of Paint might run $30, and we usually need 6 to 10 gallons of primer as well as paint.

If you’re painting the hole house, expect to spend close to $1,000 on paint and labor costs. Each room may cost roughly $200 for paint + primer + time cost.

Color scheme is typically lighter grey walls and white wood trim around doors, windows, and the floor like you see in this photo again.

real estate flipping houses materials

Which Materials Do We Use in Kitchens?

The kitchen is the wow factor when you are flipping a home. Make sure to spend a little more for nicer materials in this room and cut back on the budget in less important rooms, using cheaper materials for those.

Kitchen Components to Factor in Your Budget:

  • Flooring
  • Cabinets
  • Counters
  • Appliances
  • Sink & Faucet Fixtures

Best Flooring Materials for Flips:

As mentioned earlier, we install laminate flooring in kitchens typically unless they already have hardwood flooring.

Laminate flooring usually looks very similar to hardwood flooring making it tough to tell the difference if you pick the right material.

You can also pick out large tile flooring as well and make sure to pick out grout color that goes well with the kitchen theme and tile color.

Best Kitchen Cabinets for Flips

We usually try to keep existing cabinets if it’s a rental and they are in good shape. For flips we may try to paint them or replace them altogether with new cabinets.

A recent remodel we did ended up needing new cabinets so we found a cheap pre-finished set for $1,500. All we had to do was pick them up from the store and install them back at the rental property.

If you’re remodeling a nice high end home, you’re going to need to decide if custom cabinets are worth it or not. This can rack the bill up several thousand dollars but can lead to a return on investment if it helps make the kitchen blow away potential buyers.

flipping houses tips

Best Kitchen Counter Top Material

Counters are typically laminate for lower end properties or granite for higher end properties. We’ve got a friend who owns a granite business so he cuts us deals on extra material he has left over from other jobs.

Countertops are priced by the square foot. Take a tape measure with you during a showing of a potential fix and flip property to get a rough idea of square footage.

Then research countertop materials at a local business in your city.

You’ll find that they sell laminate, granite, quartz, marble, and sometimes cement countertops.

Back Splash Material

For the back-splash, we like the tile schemes that accent the paint colors in the kitchen. Sometimes we don’t use any materials for the back-splash. Instead we just paint the 18 inches of wall space between the wall hung cabinets and the counter top.

Picking Out Appliances for Fix & Flips

With rental property, you can get away with keeping the existing appliances and spending money on maintenance when they break down occasionally if you’re on a tight budget.

But with fix and flip properties, you want to upgrade to nicer, stainless steel appliances.

We use stainless steel everything (fridge, microwave, stove, etc).

Kitchen Fixtures to Remember

Fixtures like sink faucets and handles get updated. We also update lighting in the kitchen to recessed lights if possible or bring in some new modern looking light fixtures.

If you’re keeping existing cabinets in the kitchen, you can switch out the handles on them which can make a huge difference.

Which Materials Do We Use in Bathrooms?

We haven’t had to do any major renovations to bathrooms so far in all of our flips. We’ve gotten away with leaving the existing tub/shower it had as well existing vanities and toilets.

Flooring is the one area we’ve had to update and we go with laminate usually. But you can also use tile flooring for the bathroom floor and for the shower floor like the photo below.

Here is an example of a bathroom remodel you could style your design off of.

bathroom shower update

In addition to the shower, consider adding a tub if there is enough room like in the photo above.

This gives the homeowner options and can add value to the bathroom. Most properties we’ve bought still had the old 2 in 1 combo shower & tub that you stand in.

I’d also recommend installing a new vanity in most bathroom rehabs. You can find beautiful vanities with modern countertops and sink fixtures for $400 to $600 at home improvement stores.

Lastly, don’t forget to update mirrors and lighting fixtures. Most lighting fixtures get installed above the mirror but you can also update lighting to recessed so it comes from the ceiling like the photo above.

flipping houses tips

Final Words on House Flipping Materials

The 4 topics above are where your attention and money will go.

Most flips need new flooring, new paint, new kitchens, and new bathrooms to look updated. Focus on these areas with your rehab budget first as well as the roof if it needs replaced.

Make friends with different suppliers and contractors to help score deals when it comes to buying your materials and having them installed.

We’ve used the same people for years and referred them lots of business as well which has helped us get good deals and discounts for our flips to save money!

If you can build a cookie cutter system, using the same house flipping materials, you’ll find your flips stay on budget and your profits can increase as you systemize the flipping process.

Here is your checklist again with price estimates:

  • Asphalt Roof – $5,000 to $15,000
  • Vinyl Siding – $5,000 to $10,000
  • Vinyl Gutters – $1,000 to $2,000
  • Vinyl Double Hung/Pane Windows – $400 to $600 each
  • Front Doors – $1,500 to $2,500
  • Garage Door – $500 to $1,000
  • Interior Drywall – $10/sheet or $200 per room
  • Interior Painting – $150 to $200 per room
  • Flooring – $3 to $5 per square foot
  • Cabinets – $1,000 to $10,000
  • Countertops – $1,500 to $4,500
  • Back-splash – $30 to $40 per square foot
  • Appliances – $400 to $1,500 each
  • Ceiling Fans – $50 to $150 each
  • Lighting Fixtures – $25 to $400
  • Toilets – $100 to $150
  • Vanities – $400 to $1,000+
  • Showers – $500 to $1,500

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