The 10 Stages of Flipping a House

Flipping a house is an emotional roller coaster. If you’re thinking about following the lead of DIY’s First Time Flippers, here’s what you can expect to experience, from first purchase to final sale.

By: Kelly Connolly

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You bought a house! You got a great deal on it, and you can see the structure's promise. Flipping it is going to be easy, because you’ve got plenty of relevant skills and lots of energy, so you’ll absolutely get this project done in no time. Buyers will be lining up to pay the asking price. You’re going to make a cool profit! Nothing can stop you.

Smash everything

Grab a mallet and get ready to work out all of your issues, because it’s time to gut the house. This is the fun part. But it can also be dangerous, especially if you’re new to renovation. You might be tempted to think that you don’t really need all of that safety gear. You do.   

Your first roadblock

For a lot of flippers, gutting is all fun and games until you run into your first big problem. Maybe a wall that you wanted to tear down is load bearing. Maybe the pipes are corroded or the house has termites. Whatever the setback, this is where it hits you: Your flip isn’t going to be all smooth sailing.

Call in backup

You’ve got a deadline to meet, and nothing goes exactly as planned. At some point in the process, you might need to bring in a few extra hands. You’ll get by with a little help from your friends and family—or subcontractors.

The never-ending cabinet story

There’s no way around it: You have to install the cabinets. Unless you’ve called in an expert, there’s a good chance you’re going to be dreaming about cabinets for a couple of days—but when you’re through, you’ll be glad you didn’t just sand and refinish the old ones after all. If you squint, you can even see a livable house in there somewhere. You’ve got this.

Embrace the outdoors

You’ve spent so much time within the same four walls lately that you almost forgot to think about the exterior. Never underestimate the importance of curb appeal. Now’s the time to repaint the door, tear down any old fences, and pressure wash that front walkway. Mowing the lawn has never seemed easier.

One last problem

Don’t let down your guard—just when you think you’re in the clear, something is going to set you back. Maybe you can’t use that tile in the bathroom after all. Whatever it is, you’ll need compromise and creativity to work around it.

Get it decorated

The house looks like a house; now you just have to make it look like a home. Hang some mirrors, light some candles, and live out all of your interior design fantasies. You’re getting this place ready for its close-up.


There were times when it seemed like you’d never get here, but it’s the day of the Open House, and the place looks great. Your hard work paid off: Potential buyers can’t stop talking about the new granite countertops in the kitchen. Give your team a high five, and go take a nap.

Let’s make a deal

You played the waiting game, and someone made an offer you couldn’t refuse. Now, you just have to say goodbye to the house you poured so much time into fixing—and put that profit to good use. How soon is too soon to flip another house? Go back to step 1, and do it all again.

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