HGTV’s Mina Starsiak Hawk Talks Risky Business And Home Renovation Tips

Freeman

What are some must-haves that a home should possess when someone is looking for one that can be renovated for a profit? I think that’s such a broad answer depending on what you’re looking for. I think the easy answer that most people want is that the home has good […]

What are some must-haves that a home should possess when someone is looking for one that can be renovated for a profit?

I think that’s such a broad answer depending on what you’re looking for. I think the easy answer that most people want is that the home has good bones. The foundation’s stable, the roof is good, the framing’s good. It just needs new flooring, new paint, and maybe an update in the kitchen and bath.

That’s obviously ideal because it really is all just the aesthetic items, but those are the ones that everyone’s competing for. So, depending on your openness to risk in a bigger project, you might have more success getting a property that has some of those bigger things that you’ll need to fix.

What advice, if any, can you give homebuyers who are looking to purchase a fixer-upper in an up-and-coming neighborhood?

Oh gosh, a very, very in-depth home inspection, but even with that, there’s things that they can’t check. I had someone in our neighborhood buy a house, and the first winter, they discovered that there was no insulation in the walls, because your inspector isn’t going to drill a hole in your exterior wall to check for insulation. They can’t do that. So, things like that.

I always think it’s worth checking the big ticket items. So, have a foundation specialist, a roofer. And, I always suggest that people pay that $250 and scope the sewer line, because it’s $250 for peace of mind. Because if it’s not okay, usually once you start poking at things that are old, they start falling apart. So if you’re digging around in the yard, if you’re doing landscaping, it’s very possible that your sewer line, if it’s original, could collapse or it could split, if you’re grinding up tree roots that are going into it. So, if there’s any damage already existing, you’ll know that and ideally be able to negotiate that into the purchase instead of spending anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 to replace your sewer line.

When renovating homes in less prominent neighborhoods, it’s only natural that you’ll need to keep costs down in order to turn a profit. What are some ways in which you can do this while still achieving unforgettable results?

We do a lot of mixing of materials, so a lot of the lots in the areas we work in are very long and skinny, which means the homes are very long and skinny, and they’re also set very close to each other. So, the sides of the homes we don’t really see. The front, obviously, is everything.

The curb appeal is the first impact, so a lot of the times we’ll do a Dutch lap vinyl siding on the side and then mix up our materials on the front and do a combination of shake or board and batten and really get a lot of visual interest there and spend a little more money, while saving a little bit on the siding on the sides of the house since it’s not something that is going to be part of the façade of the house really, just purely by where they sit on the lot.

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