The Million Dollar Flip: Inside Our Biggest and Most Successful House Renovation

May 20, 2024

Hey Flipsters! If you've ever wanted to get an inside scoop on what a home flip renovation really entails- you’re in luck because I’m about to take you on a whirlwind tour of our most epic project yet: the "Million Dollar Flip." Buckle up- this one was full of ups and downs but I can’t wait to spill the beans on why this was such an epic project for us. 

We snagged this abandoned bungalow in a historic part of Austin for $770,000 (yes you read that right-I had sticker shock too). It had great bones but needed a total overhaul. It also came with an additional dwelling that also needed some love. The main home had been abandoned for 10 years before we bought it-yes an entire DECADE. In that time plenty of critters had made this house their home and we had to bug bomb twice before we could even film our first tour!

Image sourced from Austin Flipster's YouTube

The overhaul on this project was extensive-most of our flips are much more modest in size and profit but we think there are plenty of lessons to learn from this mega project for both experienced and new flippers. 

What Made The Million Dollar Flip Our Most Successful Project Ever?

The "Million Dollar Flip" stands out as our biggest project to date for several reasons:

 Exceptional Financial Outcome

  • First and foremost, the financials of this project were off the charts. We purchased the property (and additional dwelling) for $770,000 and after investing $520,000 in renovations on both properties our total investment reached approximately $1.29 million. However, the returns on this one were phenomenal—we sold properties for a combined $1.98 million, netting a profit of around $591,000 

Market Timing and Demographics:

  • Timing played a crucial role in the success of this flip. Completed in 2021, amid a real estate boom, we were able to leverage the market conditions for a favorable outcome. The Austin area was experiencing rapid price appreciation, and by renovating a property in the highly desirable area of Travis Heights—just south of downtown—helped us drive top dollar. We were also able to subdivide the property, update the additional dwelling and sell it as a turn key rental helping to add to the profit of the project.

Design Choices:

  • Cost-Effective Renovations:Strategically we were able to balance cost-effective renovation with high-end finishes to appeal to the luxury market. For example, we chose to install a metal roof and high-quality interior finishes which, while more expensive upfront, greatly enhanced the property's appeal and value. The house's unique design features, like the angled wood around the fireplace and a creatively positioned pantry under the stairs, showcased our ability to innovate within the space, making the property not only charming but functional for a modern buyer.
Pictured: pantry under the stairs
  • Maximizing Market Trends:
    • Trend Incorporation: Understanding the preferences of a younger, urban demographic, we incorporated current design trends such as open-plan layouts and modern, minimalist aesthetics. 
Pictured: Open floor plan of the home
  • Effective Use of Social Media
    • We featured the project on our Austin Flipsters Youtube channel and it’s been our second highest performing episode yet! With nearly 2 million views many home renovation enthusiasts  have enjoyed this transformation.  Additionally, we were able to leverage the channel to work with multiple sponsors and high-end material suppliers to offset costs and add overall revenue to the project

What Lessons Did We Learn from The Million Dollar Flip That We Apply to New Projects?

The success of the "Million Dollar Flip" provided us with invaluable lessons that we now integrate into every new project, ensuring each flip is as rewarding as the last. Reflecting on this monumental project, several key takeaways stand out, enhancing our strategy and execution in future endeavors:

  • Buyer Preferences and Demographics: When you’re designing a flip it’s always important to keep in mind what your end buyers will be looking for and make sure your project addresses their needs specifically. For this home we made sure to utilize modern materials while keeping much of the home’s original character and charm since buyers in this part of town value historical homes. We also incorporated lots of storage as well as smart-home features like the nest thermostat that ultimately contributed to the property's rapid sale.
  • Strategic Property Pricing: We initially listed the main property for sale at 1.2 million dollars. Because of the market demand we were able to ultimately sell the property for 1.5million. We like to price properties for slightly less than the market would dictate as this tends to bolster market demand and oftentimes results in a multiple offer situation which we can ultimately leverage into a higher sales price. When you price at a premium it can often result in a listing that sits on the market and ultimately sells for a lower price.

A major lesson from the Million Dollar Flip was how important it is to make the right renovation choices and maximize a home’s value by selecting materials that are high-impact but cost effective. By spending in the right areas we were able to maximize the aesthetic appeal without blowing the budget. Adding design elements such as the custom wood mantle around the fireplace gave the home a customized feel for a relatively low cost. This approach has become a cornerstone in our projects, ensuring we always strike the right balance between cost and impact to ROI.

Pictured: Custom Wood Mantle
  • Adapting Designs to Enhance Property Value: The decision to preserve and enhance certain features, such as the original architectural elements that contributed to the home’s charm proved vital. This not only appealed to the aesthetic preferences of potential buyers but also respected the historical integrity of the neighborhood, a strategy we now apply especially in heritage zones or areas with unique architectural profiles.
  • The Power of Effective Marketing and Networking: Collaborating with quality brands not only enhanced the project's marketability but also elevated the overall perception of the project and in turn of our brand in the marketplace. We selected kitchen pendants from a design firm out of Canada who we were able to feature in our episode in exchange for the light fixtures. The pendants were much nicer than we typically would have done and provided a nice halo effect to the project. For a lot of our projects we will choose a few areas to spend a little more than is expected and this can often make the whole project feel much nicer. Light fixtures are a great place to do this-countertops, tile and hardware as well.
Pictured: Pendant Lighting shown off by Lincoln.
  • Utilizing Multi-Channel Marketing Strategies: The project’s marketing strategy, which included leveraging video tours and social media buzz, significantly amplified interest and engagement. Seeing the direct impact of these efforts on the speed and price of the sale, we have integrated a robust multi-channel marketing approach into all subsequent projects, aiming to build anticipation and engagement from the outset.

We’ve taken each of these lessons to heart and used them to refine our processes and playbooks on each subsequent flip. By continuously learning from each project and implementing our insights, we aim to set the standard in the house flipping industry while delivering exceptional value to our clients.

How Can Beginners Get Started with House Flipping Using Homemade's Services?

People know us as Austin Flipsters, but now we have our own renovation company called Homemade, where we provide turnkey services to help others flip homes. Embarking on your first house flip can be daunting, but with Homemade's turnkey services, beginners are not only welcomed but nurtured through every step of the process. Our platform is designed to make the entry into real estate investing as smooth and successful as possible. Here’s how newcomers can leverage Homemade to kickstart their flipping journey:

  • Comprehensive Support from Start to Finish:
    • Expert Guidance: At Homemade, we understand the complexities that come with your first flip. That's why we offer end-to-end support, from identifying potential properties to executing the sale. Our team of experienced professionals is with you every step of the way, ensuring you have the knowledge and support needed to make confident decisions. For instance, we deliver investment-grade properties right to your inbox, tailored to meet the criteria for a profitable flip based on current market trends.
    • Design and Renovation Oversight: We assist in designing your project to maximize ROI. This includes making strategic design choices that appeal to the target demographic in a specific market. Our team manages all renovations, handling everything from permits to the final touches, ensuring the project not only meets but exceeds market standards.
Pictured: Homemade Mood Board
  • Access to a Vetted Network of Service Providers: One of the biggest hurdles for new flippers is navigating the logistics of financing and insuring their projects. Homemade simplifies this by connecting you with our vetted network of service providers. Whether you need help securing a loan, finding the right insurance, or staging your property for sale, our network ensures you get the best services at competitive rates. This network is an invaluable resource, reducing the typical stress associated with these aspects of flipping houses.
  • Strategic Exit Planning and Execution: Completing the renovations is only part of the journey; the real success lies in a profitable exit strategy. Homemade stands by your side as you prepare to sell or rent out your property. Whether your goal is to sell immediately post-flip or hold the property to generate rental income, we help you formulate and execute an exit plan that maximizes your returns.

For beginners eager to dive into the world of house flipping, Homemade offers a streamlined, supportive path to success. By providing expert guidance, essential resources, and a community of service providers, we empower new flippers to embark on their real estate ventures with confidence and clarity. Join us at Homemade and transform your flipping aspirations into lucrative investments.

Conclusion

From the initial investment to the final sale, this project was a roaring success!

But hey, it's not all about the numbers. The real magic lies in the invaluable lessons we've gleaned from this experience, lessons that we're eager to share with budding flippers like you. 

If you want even more insider tips and behind-the-scenes stories, don't forget to tune in to our podcast (Apple Podcast, Spotify, and YouTube) and our main YouTube Channel to give you stunning before and after home transformations! Cheers to flipping success, my friends!

Watch the full Before and After Transformation video on YouTube:

Lauren Ahrens
Austin Flipsters/Homemade Co-Founder

Ready to learn more?

Experience Homemade's turnkey renovation platform. Apply now, email or call us to learn more.