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12 House Flipping Tips From Scott McGillivray, Host of 'Vacation House Rules'

April 14, 2022

Ready for your own house flipping project? Real estate pro Scott McGillivray, host of Vacation House Rules, gave us all his best tips.

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Photo: Johnny C.Y. Lam. From: Scott McGillivray and Vacation House Rules.

Scott's Best Flipping Tips Revealed

We all love a good rags-to-riches renovation — otherwise known as house flipping. Though these renovations are fun to watch (tune into Flip or Flop, Flipping 101 or Windy City Rehab on HGTV if you're in need of a fix), they aren't always easy to pull off. So, we sat down with the host of Vacation House Rules, flipping expert, contractor and real estate pro Scott McGillivray. He gave us 12 of his best tips and tricks.

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Photo: Dennys Ilic. From: Drew Scott, Jonathan Scott and Celebrity I.O.U..

Choose Carefully

According to Scott, some homes are better suited for a flip than others. “A flip shouldn't involve a total gut job or major renovations,” he says. “You want to find the best places to add value, but try to keep it light.” To ensure you don’t get in over your head, schedule an inspection and look out for major structural issues. “These will eat up your budget and your timelines really fast,” he warns. He also stresses the importance of a good layout. “You can replace cabinets and appliances in a kitchen or all of the fixtures in a bathroom for a reasonable price, but as soon as you change the layout, the price goes way up. This is because you have to move plumbing and electrical. So look for a layout you can work with.”

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Photo: Johnny C.Y. Lam. From: Scott McGillivray and Vacation House Rules.

Pay Attention to the Bedrooms, Living Rooms and Dining Rooms

They're the easiest (and the most affordable!) to flip. Scott encourages future flippers to seek out homes with bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms that can be transformed with quick cosmetic updates. “There isn't a whole lot you can do to add significant value [to these rooms], so some new flooring, paint and maybe extra features like applied molding will do the trick,” he says.

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Photo: Johnny C.Y. Lam. From: Scott McGillivray and Vacation House Rules.

Make Small, Simple Updates

Oftentimes we think flipping a house requires fully renovating a space. In reality, simple updates like adding new flooring, swapping out light fixtures, replacing old white or black appliances with stainless steel or investing in new hardware, makes a big difference. "I always say [these easy updates] are like the jewelry of the room," Scott says. "They can make something plain look more high-end. The other thing people sometimes overlook is a serious deep clean of the entire house. Windows, appliances (inside and out), walls, baseboards, furnace rooms, laundry rooms — these things matter!"

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