If you're in the business of house flipping, it helps to know what buyers want in a home -- and what turns them off. Lombardo Homes conducted a survey earlier this year and asked buyers to identify their top deal breakers, and here's what they came up with.
1. School system
Buying a home located in a great school district isn't just important for those who have kids; it's important for anyone looking at that home as an investment. If you're searching for a house to flip, be sure to vet its school district before moving forward, because poor rankings could translate into poor resale value.
2. Size of home
Renovating can turn an outdated home into an updated one, but in many cases, there's not much that can be done to turn a small home into a larger one. (Putting on an addition isn't always feasible; some homes won't get zoning approval and some don't have large enough lots to allow for that.) If you're looking for homes to flip, don't settle for limited square footage, especially if most homes in the area are larger. While you might spend less to renovate a smaller home, you might also struggle to find a buyer.
3. Size of lot
Smaller lots mean less privacy and limited flexibility. Pay attention to what the average lot sizes are in the area you're looking to buy in. If many of the homes have enough room for backyard playsets and swimming pools, you may want to avoid a tiny lot that won't allow for these features. At the same time, be careful when buying an oversized lot, especially in an area where that's not common. Some buyers may not want an acre of land to maintain.
4. Amount of natural light
Homes with lots of windows allow for more natural light, and a lack of it could really send buyers running. If you're renovating, look at opening up walls to allow more light to get in.
These days, many buyers prefer an open floor plan to a home with too many closed-off spaces. An open floor plan is especially important if you're looking to flip a smaller home, as it gives a roomier impression. Also, you may want to steer clear of homes with quirky layouts -- for example, a property where the master suite is right off the kitchen.
6. Age of home or repairs needed
The older a home is, the more likely it is to need serious work after it's purchased. Be careful when buying a very old home. Even if you intend to restore it as part of your house flip, some buyers may be turned off by its age alone.
When it comes to house flipping, choosing the right neighborhood is key. An area that's well established or up and coming is a better choice than one that's on the decline, because even though you might score a lower home price with the latter, many buyers won't want to live there.
8. Architectural style
While homebuyers cite this as a deal-breaker, this is a tricky one, because it's really a matter of taste. What you can do as a house flipper, however, is make sure the style of the home you buy matches that of nearby homes. A Victorian home, for example, will stick out like a sore thumb in an area that's loaded with contemporary homes.
Flipping houses is no easy feat, but knowing what tends to turn buyers away can help you make smart decisions. Pay attention to the above deal breakers on your search for your next house flip to increase your chances of financial success.