A whole lot can go wrong when flipping a house, particularly in today’s market—and few know this is better than PageTurnerthe star of “Fix My Flip.”
On this HGTV show, now in its second season, this Log Angeles–based real estate broker helps overwhelmed house flippers finish their projects and sell at the right price. She even invests her own money, banking that her 20 years of expertise in the industry can help save even the most hopeless of projects.
Curious to hear more about her experiences, we had a chat with Turner and learned a lot about real estate that could benefit not only flippers, but homeowners, sellers, and buyers alike.
Many may fantasize about renovating a house and selling it for a profit, but the reality is that’s much harder than people think. What are the biggest mistakes you see?
One of the biggest mistakes I see from flippers is that they don’t know the specific neighborhood and market that they’re in. They don’t know the neighborhood well enough to know what buyers want in a house. So I see a lot of flippers adding a thousand square feet to a house where, within a 2-mile radius, there are only two-bedroom cottages. So why would you build a 2,000-square-foot house?
And of course, not budgeting and not knowing how to adapt to this quickly changing housing market that we’re in. That’s where a lot of flippers are losing right now.
What do you think homeowners can take away from your show?
“Fix My Flip” is definitely a show where you can learn how to renovate spaces in your own home.
I have a she shed on the show where I put beautiful wallpaper in it. It was just this ugly old barn, but we made it so cute. Little, different ideas like that. That’s what I hope that the homeowners will be able to take away as well. Like, you know what, I’m not flipping my house but I would like to add that wood-slatted wall or peel-and-stick wallpaper.
I really feel that even homeowners who are not looking to flip will be able to have great takeaways that they can do in their homes as well.
Homeowners and flippers are always looking for beautiful yet budget-friendly design updates. Are there any trends you recommend?
You know what I’ve been doing a lot of? Wood accent walls! There’s these wood slats that you can get off really any dot com. They’re peel and stick, and they bring so much life and character to a room.
I think we’re in a time now where instead of just painting a feature wall one solid color, you can experiment with your own patterns and bringing in colorful rugs and putting a different type of textile on the wall, or removable wallpaper.
You can really get away with putting gorgeous, removable, inexpensive wallpaper in a bathroom if you can’t afford tiling. Why not?
I think anything goes as far as being creative and really loving your own space. We want people to be creative with designs and not be boring. I’m sick of white, black, and gray.
Watch: Exclusive: Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent Open Up About Their Own Struggles With Design
Do you think flippers should include trendy designs in their flips, given trends come and go?
Well, on Season 2 of “Fix My Flip,” I’m really like: We’ve got to start living a little bit in these flips. And so you will see me design with pink, or even green and purple, glass tile, and my thought process behind that is that I grew up in a generation where the tiles lasted for 30, 40, 50 years and the tiles were pink and blue and yellow and black and they were gorgeous—and those are classic colors!
So now I’m like, let’s not go for the primary pink, but let’s do a light, soft, glassy pink or lavender. And let’s re-create what a lot of generations think classic is. I’ve been wanting to do a pink bathroom on this show for two seasons now. I’ve done it in the kitchen. I haven’t done the bathroom yet.
I’m so sick of white for the tiles. I use it to complement something else, and a lot of times I have to use it because these aren’t my home. It’s not a Page Turner takeover. I have to sometimes yield to what the flipper wants, too.
What’s your take on adding high-end appliances? As a flipper, do they provide a good bang for your buck?
A lot of flippers skip it, and I think that it behooves a flipper to put in a higher-end appliance that you don’t have to pay full price for. You can go to a scratch-and-dent. You can find appliances that might even be secondhand but gently used through one of the social media platforms.
I think that you have to do that because buyers will come in. They’re going to ask for a refrigerator anyway. … Do you pay now or do you pay later? Put it all in so you can get the most for your house upfront instead of a buyer walking in and seeing where you cheated on the house.
Southern California has a notoriously pricey housing market. Should flippers aim to work in places like this?
I’ve been in real estate for two decades and licensed in three different states, so I’m very well-versed in learning markets. But I lived in Nashville, TN, for a long time and when I moved back home to LA and had to continue my business, I’ll admit the numbers scared me.
I was flipping in Nashville for $400,000. Here, the house costs one million before I even touch it. But I have to just remind myself that everything is relative, right?
If somebody is not from LA, who just jumped into this market without understanding the market, understanding how hot the numbers really are, there’s a risk of losing a lot of money. But flipping is a business. Whether you’re here or in Nebraska or Kentucky, you still have to learn how to run the flipping business. If you do that, then you can succeed in flipping anywhere.
Was there any one house that was particularly surprising this season?
I don’t know if they will show this, but I do walk into a house—and I’m highly allergic to cats. Nobody told me what I was walking into because they didn’t know I’m allergic to cats. But this house was on the news for rescuing over 130 live cats from this house. I could barely even go in the house to film. So I think there will be some very interesting takes from that because I can’t stop sneezing, coughing, gagging. I had a hairball in my throat. It was horrible.
Is there anything you’ve learned from those you’ve helped?
That you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. I’ve had to learn when walking away, and that’s OK. Because this is my business. It’s my brand, and I’m here to help. But if you reject the help, then we can shake hands and I just walk away.
Did you have to walk away from a flip this season?
A couple of times, yes. It wasn’t easy because I wanted everyone to win. I wanted them all to win, but if they call me in and reject everything I say, why am I here? The one thing about “Fix My Flip” is that it’s real life. When a flipper refuses to listen or accept the help that they called me in for, I have to walk away.