Sidney Torres knows a thing or two about developing properties. After successfully flipping his first home on a salary of just $40,000 a year, Torres used the profit to buy a property next door and never looked back.
Today, Torres has developed over $250 million in commercial and residential real estate and now helps struggling property investors on CNBC's "The Deed. " On an upcoming episode, the real estate mogul helps one New Orleans-based home-flipper, James Brooks, boost the value of his property on a tight budget.
Here are three home design hacks Torres gives Brooks that anyone can use to save money when flipping a property.
1. Play it safe. The less you personalize a space, the better, says the real estate veteran. By using bright colors on the walls, or in Brooks' case, wanting to use a complex tile pattern, "you're limiting the playing field," says Torres, who likes to keep things simple and symmetrical.
And the less complex your design, chances are, the more you'll save on materials.
2. Buy cost-effective materials. When you do buy materials, be intentional with what you purchase. And shop around, like you would do with any other major purchase. That's what Brooks did for his stair spindles, which he ended up finding for $5 each at an architectural salvage place. "He had to have a little carpentry work done on them, but still, it's another value-engineering win," says Torres.
Brooks also saved big on flooring by repurposing materials he already had. "This is all original floor from multiple houses that I've owned," he tells Torres as he gives him a tour. "I've harvested the flooring so I didn't have to buy any."
3. Maximize original features. Take advantage of what you already have to work with, says Torres. In Brooks' case, he and Torres decided to keep and clean up a variety of historic features like the fireplaces, mantles and French doors, rather than replace them with newer models.
Besides saving money, keeping original, historic features can add charm and character to the property.
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