Flipping Your Starter Home

Starter homes are lovely, aren’t they? An often small, cozy space to get your feet wet in the homeownership pool. You fill them with memories and may even expand your family as the years go by. But they are called starter homes for a reason. They start you out on a path to being a successful homeowner with the intention to one day upgrade to a bigger and better home as you grow your family and career. When it’s time to leave that first little nest in favor of something more, though, you will want to consider adding value to your home to get the most bang for your buck when putting it on the market. The best way to do this is with small updates and renovations as you can afford them, while you’re still inhabiting the space. You don’t have to go all out and shoot for your big dreams. But small improvements over time that are well kept will allow you to flip your home when you need it to sell fast. What are the essentials and what can be left for the next owner? Well, if you had to pick one room only to upgrade in the interest of one day selling your starter home, it’s definitely…


It’s no secret that cooking at home both saves money and improves health and nutrition. But if you don’t enjoy cooking in your kitchen now, the chances of someone else enjoying it in the future are slim. That being said, not everyone is going to need/use/want an island and industrial oven. But updating the space and how it can be utilized, and investing in higher quality materials can affect what you’re able to realistically ask for as well as what type of offers you’ll receive.

Counter and prep space is the most coveted of elements in the kitchen. Storage is next. A two-layered spinning shelf in a corner cabinet is a great way to maximize space and efficiency as you’re provided with more space to store items and they’re easy to access. There’s nothing worse than having to pull 5 dishes out of a cabinet to get to what you need.

Stacking double ovens are another ingenious upgrade to a kitchen. Particularly fabulous for holiday and large gathering dinners, you increase what you’re able to produce in the kitchen without sacrificing as much space. The vertical stack of ovens takes up wall and cabinet space, really. But you’re not losing much cabinet space, as the areas below your stovetop (where most ovens typically sit) can be used for storage. You’ll still need a ventilation system above the stove, but that can come with either a sweet and decorative hood, or a microwave with vent fan.

If you’re able to open the kitchen to a living or dining area or add a bar where people can comfortably linger, even better. Having the open plan keeps the cook from being completely isolated and excluded when you have friends over for an impromptu dinner.

Upgrading Materials such as countertops or cabinets, even appliances from old and battered to new and energy efficient can make a world of difference. If for some reason you can’t change any structural elements – the house is a weird layout or you don’t have that cash flow just yet – opting for new/better fixtures and appliances are a simple, mid-range expense that will up the overall value and helps sell your home. We’re not talking marble and custom mahogany cabinets or top of the line Magic Dishwashers that whistle at you when they finish. But upgrading to an energy efficient appliance as soon as you’re able will not only be more appealing to the future resident with its money and energy savings, but it will save YOU energy and money. You can upgrade your cabinets in a few different ways that won’t break the bank. Refurbishing them with some light sanding and a new coat of paint, or salvaging used cabinets of better quality are very budget friendly. But there are also stock cabinets that can be ordered to fit your needs, of decent quality, and well within a budget. In some cases, upgrading the handles and knobs and replacing the facing is all that’s needed.

Never underestimate the power of good old-fashioned paint and backsplash job. You can opt for realty market-friendly neutrals, or make a bold statement that will either draw or repel buyers to your home. Either way, a fresh coat of paint and a little something extra behind the stove and prep areas can cost as little as a few hundred bucks and bring new life to a tired old home.

As a starter home, you don’t want to put everything you have into it if you plan or hope to leave within a decade’s time. But upgrades like energy efficient lighting, appliances and overall functionality of a kitchen will make your life better while also attracting future buyers when it is time to bid adieu to the home that gave you so much.