How to Flip a House on a Budget with Ben and Steph Haywood

We all have our after-work hobbies and passions that keep us inspired and grounded. And while most of us aren’t fighting crime at night like Mr. Incredible, there’s something inside each one of us that’s hungry to give, serve, build and accomplish things. For Steph and Ben Haywood of Pella, Iowa, that something is house flipping.

“We love dreaming about how we can take homes with good bones and memories, and turn them into more functional, beautiful spaces for new memories,” says Steph, who during the day works at Pella® Windows and Doors as a marketing communications specialist. “Ben has an insane sense of vision, and I love making the spaces he envisions even more beautiful through design. There typically isn’t a nook or cranny that goes untouched – it’s all about detail!”

We sat down with Steph to learn more about she and Ben’s passion for house flipping, and get some tips on how to flip a house on a budget.

Backyard patio space with chairs surrounding a fire pit

What does your business specialize in?
Ben started The Haywood Company back in March 2015. We specialize in remodeling, new construction and handyman services.  

How many houses have you flipped since you both started doing this?
We have built one home from scratch and are currently working on a third flip house of our own. Ben has also remodeled countless other homes.

Small bathroom sink with walls decorated with gray and white tile

Tell me a little bit about a recent project you flipped.
We are currently in the middle of a major home renovation project right now, but let me tell you about our last project. This was a home that we owned and lived in throughout the flip – this is the method of operation for our projects – yes, we are crazy! If you look at any of the projects we’ve completed, you’ll see that we love moving things. Every house we’ve touched has a completely repositioned kitchen and sometimes bathrooms, too. We like to find opportunities to open up spaces, make them more conducive to family living and give them a better flow. 

In this specific project we moved the kitchen, created a master suite with bathroom and walk-in closet, updated the spare bath (tile tub and all), added fresh paint, new siding, landscaping, and of course trim. The budget was $20,000 with us providing the labor – a labor of love, of course.

Small kitchen with white cabinets and barstools around the countertop

If a homeowner is interested in flipping a house, where should they get started?
Make sure you do your homework – a flip shouldn’t be a complete rebuild. You want good bones and a solid structure. It’s also important to have a vision, project plan, budget and location. Always plan for unexpected expenses! We always build in a contingency.

How you guys go about shopping for windows when you are remodeling and what prospective flippers should consider? 

Windows and doors can be considered more of an investment than other cosmetic items when flipping a house – however you need to assess the situation. If the windows and doors are still in good shape and performing efficiently, a coat of paint or other maintenance items may be the best bet. However, if they are beyond repair, replacement should be considered. If replacement isn’t visually obvious, you may want to consult with a contractor or have an energy audit of the home conducted to understand if new windows and doors are necessary. (And if you replace them, this is an excellent item to note when marketing the home.)

Bedroom with a gray and white color palette

What are some ways a homeowner can flip a house on a budget?
Know how to leverage your talents and strengths. This can come in handy and keep you on budget. We benefit from Ben’s vision and ability to achieve it through his experience and talents. He helps with his design expertise, construction know-how and labor.

My strengths are on the design and marketing side of things. I make all the selections for finishes, and to stay on trend, I am constantly on Pinterest and Houzz. I also sell the houses we flip – this is a major benefit for us as well! The bottom line is it’s important to know where you play and where you don’t. Sometimes mistakes can lead to big expenses! 

Some other items to keep in mind as you work to stay on budget: paint, flooring and fixtures are lower cost items that can go a long way. The same goes for curb appeal. Freshen up that front door, clean up the landscaping and add a little character – whether it be through custom shutters or unique street numbers.

Living room with plenty of seating and open space

Is house flipping a trend or do you think it’s here to stay?
Almost anything can be considered a trend. The difference is those who jump into the game to make a quick buck as opposed to those who do it for the love of the trade. We love seeing families get excited and fall in love with our projects – the place that they will make memories and call home. Ben and I are in this for the long haul.

Interested in flipping your own house? Contact your local Pella sales representative to learn more about how windows and doors can increase the value of your home.

This article was written by

A self-proclaimed Social Media Geek and DIY aficionado, Nicolle is a member of the Pella Marketing team, focused on content creation and curation. In her free time she can be found pillaging thrift shops for furniture projects, attempting to rationalize with her 4 year old daughter, and editing her husband’s honey-do list.