Safety Precautions to Take When Flipping a House

Flipping houses has become a popular way to get creative and make money over the last several years, due largely in part to reality television shows like Fixer Upper. Though there have been some arguments about the financial success of flipping houses, a lot of it has to do with keeping costs down when you’re purchasing a fixer-upper.

Once you have purchased a house to flip, it’s exciting to hit the ground running and start making major repairs. But getting into flipping without taking the proper precautions first can be dangerous.

About 13 million people are injured each year while doing home renovations and repairs.  Many of those injuries could likely be avoided with a few more safety precautions in place.

With that in mind, let’s cover a few things you should know to keep yourself and your crew safe while bringing an old house back to its original glory — or even better!

Avoid Common Accidents

Accidents can’t always be avoided. Things happen, and they’re not always predictable. But, that shouldn’t be an excuse to get lazy when it comes to safety. You can do things to lower your risk of accidents around the worksite.

First, familiarize yourself with what some of the most common accidents are:

  • Slips and falls
  • Overexertion
  • Pulling a muscle
  • Getting hit with falling debris
  • Collisions
  • Cuts

While again, you can’t predict every accident, having some of these potential risks in mind can help you to make smarter, safer choices not only for yourself but for the future owners. You should be renovating the house with safety and accessibility in mind for whoever might live there when you’re finished.

When working in older homes, it’s also important to think about what you might be breathing in or coming in contact with. For example, most homes built before 1978 that haven’t had any upgrades probably have lead paint all throughout the house. While it isn’t necessarily dangerous if it’s in good shape, if that paint starts to chip and get into the air, breathing it in can be hazardous and may cause lead poisoning.

Asbestos was also used in many homes built in the early 20th century, mostly found in roofing, caulking, ducts, furnaces, and boilers. If asbestos in a home starts to break down, it can get into your lungs and cause scarring, or even increase your risk of certain cancers. When working in older homes that have these risks, make sure to wear a mask and keep things well-ventilated.

So, once you know some of the most common risks, what can you do to protect yourself?

Take Proper Physical Precautions

Flipping a house takes more physical exertion than some people realize. You’re going to be doing a lot of manual work, which requires taking care of your body. Just like an athlete, you should stretch and even ‘warm up’ before your workday so you don’t accidentally pull a muscle or strain yourself. If you have an old injury and you don’t want it to flare-up, make sure you take care of it before you start working, and listen to your body throughout the day to take breaks as necessary.

Keeping safety in mind at the start of your day can help to keep you protected as you’re working. Try some of these tips to create a safer environment for yourself and the people working with you:

  • Have a first aid kit on hand
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Check the sturdiness of your tools before using

Make sure you understand your own limits, too. It’s tempting to want to be like the home renovation experts on television, but what most shows don’t show you is that they typically have a rather large crew of professionals working along with them in order to complete their projects quickly. Don’t push yourself to the point of injury, and don’t go so quickly that you make dangerous mistakes.

Putting Financial Protections in Place

Keeping yourself safe while flipping a house is about more than just the renovation itself. It typically costs about 10% of the purchase price to flip a house, but it’s important to protect yourself and your finances as you work on the project.

When you refinance a house and take out a mortgage, you’ll want to make sure that the renovations you’re doing on the house will be worth it and will actually increase the value of the home. In the end, you want to make sure you’re compensated for the work you’ve put in, the supplies you’ve purchased, and the crew you hired to help out. Keep those returns in mind as you refinance to avoid falling into a money pit.

Additionally, when you decide to sell your flipped house, do your research on market prices in the area. It’s important to protect your investment and make sure you’re getting the profit you deserve for all the work that’s been done. While you probably didn’t get into house-flipping to look over finances, it’s a crucial part of the process and can ensure your endeavors are actually a success.

The work it takes to flip a house can feel overwhelming at times, but the reward for those who are passionate about it is sweet. Keep yourself safe by using these tips, and you’ll always be ready for your next flip!


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