I bought my house 3 years ago using an FHA 203k loan with the intent of eventually selling the house for a profit, some may call this “house hacking”. I consciously made decisions during the design, renovation, and nesting phases of the house to make sure it was a good house for a future homeowner. I lived in it for a little over two years. I’m going to talk about some of the things I did to ensure it stayed a good investment property.
1. Paint all the Walls Grey
I love a good neutral wall color, I really do but there were many times in the past three years that I was so tempted to do a wall treatment or painted stencil effect. There are so many great examples on Instagram right now of people flexing their creativity and designing beautiful wall treatments. Whether it be sharpie pens, hand painted, or wallpaper – there is seemingly endless inspiration for how to add a personal touch.
All that being said and in the end knowing someone else will be buying it, you want to stay as neutral as possible so that person can *imagine* what their life will be like walking through the house. Take a look at all the properties that developers are selling now. They all have neutral gray walls because its cheaper to use one color, gray is in style right now, and it creates a nice blank canvas for a buyer.
The color I used is Sherwin William’s Repose Gray at 50%. I kept a container of each sheen I used for any future touch ups. Future you will thank yourself for holding onto that half gallon. Most paint stores will help you move leftover paint into a smaller container and seal it for longer term storage. Just remember to ask them to reprint a label on the top with the color mix. I’d also recommend labeling the can with the room it was used in especially if you used different colors or sheens for different rooms.
2. Use 3M Tape for Hanging Photos and Decor
This stuff is the real deal my friends. Don’t buy the clear tape – buy the thick opaque tape. The clear tape stuck to my paint and peeled it right off. The thick stuff stretches out when you remove it and breaks the seal between the wall and the tape for effortless and traceless removal.
I used these to hang a gallery wall, hooks, a clock, my jewelry rack, and even as a buffer between my leaning ladder and the wall. It’s very versatile and so easy to use.
3. Keep your market comps in mind
In the image above, that room used to be a bedroom. My house was 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. When I was purchasing the property I looked at what configuration all the other houses were selling were. All that were a similar size had 3 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms. I knew in the future if this home were to be compared to these homes, I’d better make it easy for myself and offer what the market wanted.
I almost made one of the three bedrooms into a laundry room just so I could have laundry on the same floor as all the other bedrooms. When I talked to my mentor about this, he was not convinced that eliminating a bedroom for a laundry room was the way to go. This was another situation where I had to evaluate what I wanted in the moment, vs long term goals.
4. Take Advantage of Warranties
After my renovation, I had a 1 year warranty with my contractor, which meant anything that happened would be their responsibility to come back and fix. I had an issue with the second bathrooms’s tub about 10 months into the warranty and was able to call them to fix it. They showed up and fixed the issue within a couple of days free of charge. If I had called another plumber it probably would have been $100 just to get them to the door.
When houses get renovated quickly, there could be some mistakes made throughout the way and it’s easy to overlook when there are hundreds of other tasks to do. Take the time to sort out all the kinks in the home while you are there experiencing it.
I have a stack of all the material included with appliances, tools, and from the contractor in one place so I can easily reference when there is an issue.
5. Use Area Rugs
We bought area rugs for aesthetics and function. A large area in a room will protect the floors from damage. The floors in the house were brand new when I moved in, so I wanted to reduce the amount of wear and tear on them.
Before owning this house when I rented it was a requirement for the house to have an area rug in the living room. It was the most high traffic area and the owners wanted to keep them protected. Since the floors in my house were hardwood, it isn’t critical – they are durable and easy to refinish, however anything you can do to save yourself some work in the future is good.
Know that in the end, anything you put into the house will most likely be sold with it so keep that in mind when deciding to make updates along the way. Some easy things I did was repainting the stairway area, adding a hanging herb garden, and updating the front door.