We Flip Flapjacks, Not Houses

House And Home, Style Enhancement


We’re all for renovators improving property for resale and putting a profit in their pockets, but sometimes they shoot themselves in the foot by making poor design choices that are too taste-specific or, as the case may be, devoid of taste at all.

Not too long ago we showed a downtown dwelling that featured my number one No-No. What’s that you ask? It’s recessed lighting overkill. Here’s a past blog on it called We Flip Houses, Not Burgers! In this latest flipper property we counted 32 recessed lights embedded in a ceiling with dimensions of approximately 14×34 feet! Worse, there was not a single dimmer switch to be had. With that amount of wattage, we’re pretty sure the interior looks like a Walmart Parking lot at night. Ugh!



However, this is not the subject of today’s rant, but other serious crimes of taste and indecency. The unifying theme of this particular residence was the ubiquitous presence of fixtures and fittings that line the aisles of a major big box building store. In fact, the engineered wood flooring, staircase, carpeting, hardware, tiles and lighting may very well have been chosen during a single visit! As we scoured this ‘total gut job’ from top to bottom, we couldn’t find any aspect of the house that was special or unique. Yes, it was all new and in move-in condition, but given you can find these materials anywhere across the country it struck us as devoid of personality. It felt like Home Depot exploded and the model kitchen from the in-store display shot through the air and landed here. Here’s a pic:



This renovator also ponied up some extra dollars to install this very taste specific ‘Urn of Grapes’ as a backsplash ‘feature’, but forgot to take into account the dimensions of the Frigidaire stove. Oops! There are a couple of lessons here. First, this house won’t sell for more money because this renovator spent extra bucks to install this ‘piece de resistance’. Second, if you’re going to try add a little bling, make sure you execute it properly. Profit is in the details!



Big Box Home Improvement stores exist because they’re easy, convenient and frequently open 24 hours. They’re also well-priced and budget friendly because they sell masses of product to the, er, masses. And for the creatively challenged it’s easy to point at an in-store model kitchen and say “I’ll take one of those!”. But it doesn’t mean you should go to one big box store for one stop shopping to renovate your one bland house. The risks are potentially too great and the rewards are potentially too small.

How so?

These flippers have hedged their financial bet that the masses who shop at big box stores will love this and their dwelling will get snapped up (it’s now 60 days on the market with two price reductions, currently offered in the mid600s), but in doing they’ve turned off all the buyers seeking a property with ‘character’, ‘style’ or a ‘designer decor’. In trying to appeal to the masses they’ve alienated every other target market which, ironically, in urbane downtown Toronto is larger, more affluent, and willing to pay a premium for a property that has been customized and well-executed. Furthermore, in using these easily identifiable materials and fittings, any well-informed or sleuthing consumer can easily attain estimates on how much all of this cost, giving them greater power to whittle down any potential profits by negotiating hard with the Sellers.

Silly Flipper!

For more on this, and how not to jettison a profit opportunity, check out this past blog called “I See Ya, Ikea”.

Are you trying to get Top Dollar for your Home? At urbaneer.com, we can guide you from start to sale as part of our sterling listing service, including FREE Style Enhancements! Want to know more? Just email Steve@urbaneer.com or call 416-322-8000!



~ Steven and the Urbaneer team


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