Choosing the Right Cabinets for your Flip


replace or refaceOne of biggest questions for a flip is whether to replace or reface the cabinets in the kitchen. Replacing of course is removing the entire cabinet boxes and installing new ones. Refacing involves replacing only the doors of your cabinets instead of the entire cabinet box. Here we discuss the difference and how to tell which option is best for your flip.




What Lies Beneath

If your budget doesn’t allow for new cabinets look into refacing. But make sure your current cabinets are up to snuff first by checking old cabinets thoroughly. A lot of times in older homes, the actual workmanship on the cabinets is really good. We’ve had many flips that have very ugly paint or stain on the cabinets that are dated. But a good inspection has saved us thousands of dollars because we find really nice cabinets under all that paint. For example, in our Flipping House Series “The Junk House” had very dark stained cabinets but they are really good quality so can reface them.

"The Junk House" Cabinets

“The Junk House” Cabinets



There are three primary ways to reface cabinets:

1. Refinish or paint existing cabinet and drawer fronts.
2. Install new wood or laminate veneer over existing cabinet and drawer fronts.
3. Install completely new cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

In all three cases, new hardware such as hinges and pulls helps to complete the update.




We have had homes where the cabinets are really just not worth saving. If there was a roof leak, for example, like in The Waterfall House where we had to completely rip out the cabinets due to water damage.  Or if we are remodeling the kitchen so that the original lay out of the cabinets doesn’t fit the newly designed kitchen so we have to order new ones.replacing cabinets

Be Sure not to Over Improve

You want to make sure to know your market. Do other homes in your farm area have just builder grade cabinets? Then try to reface them and add some nice hardware. you would be surprised how much new hardware can change the look of a kitchen. But if you are in a more posh area you better make sure your kitchen upgrades keep up with the Jones’ so to speak.

The Cost Difference

According to Consumer Reports, the average budget for a kitchen remodel in 2012 was $30,325. And replacing cabinets is typically the priciest part of a kitchen remodel. But when you reface, you’re only buying new doors and drawers instead of the entire cabinet. Let’s be honest, that’s the only part you see right?

Refacing will set you back about $150 to $300 per door opening, according to Consumer Reports. In regards to how much money you’ll save by refacing vs. replacing, that will depend on the size of your kitchen, the style of doors you choose, and the materials.

Most people will want to hire a professional to replace or reface cabinets. This goes back to one of our lessons about leverage. You want to make sure you have the right contractors under you to get the job done right the first time and not take up your precious time.

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Erik Hitzelberger has been Real Estate Investor since 2007. While learning the ropes in the market down-cycle, he now teaches others how to use his systems and leverage other people’s expertise to achieve their own goals.

Erik Hitzelberger – who has written posts on Part Time REI.

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About Erik Hitzelberger

Erik Hitzelberger has been Real Estate Investor since 2007. While learning the ropes in the market down-cycle, he now teaches others how to use his systems and leverage other people's expertise to achieve their own goals.

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