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A House Flipping Project

The housing market is shifting in 2023, so those interested in the “fix and flip” game will face both “challenges and opportunities.”

Opportunities exist when a potential recession leads to rising unemployment, with more people facing foreclosures. Recently, foreclosure filings are up more than 64%, and “one in every 4,580 housing units had a foreclosure in 2022” across the country.

Challenges come with mortgage rates nearly doubling in the past year, meaning more people will feel safer continuing to rent rather than the entire homebuyer’s market.

The good news seems to be that 44% of economists and housing experts predict that the “housing market will shift positively by the end of 2023.”

Fortunately for the Chicago area, house flipping is still “profitable if the entire process is thoroughly planned and executed.” Home flippers in the city and outlying areas can buy properties put up for auction, foreclosures, rentals, or inherited homes.

Currently, the average time to flip a house in our town is 162 days or 5 ½ months. But before you assume that you can afford to carry the mortgage for that amount of time while you fix up the property, some flipped houses stay on the market for more than 202 days or almost seven months.

Fit Small Business calculates that, on average, a seller spends 10% of the purchase price on the overall renovations and selling costs. And that’s if you don’t forget your budget and start adding in all the bells and whistles you’ve always wanted in a home.

The Home Flippers 70% Rule

If you are considering buying a house to fix and flip, a well-known formula helps you calculate the maximum price you should pay for an investment property. It recommends you don’t pay more than 70% of the following calculation:

After-repair value (ARV) multiplied by 0.70 less all renovation costs.

For example, if you calculate you’ll spend $125,000 on renovations and then sell the property for $1.2 million, you should not pay more than $715,000 for the home.

Calculating Costs of a House Flip

Areas that get addressed in a typical flip include:

  • Building materials:
    • Exterior cladding
    • Roofing
    • Lumber
    • Concrete
    • Drywall
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
    • Insulation
  • Finishings materials:
    • Flooring
    • Appliances
    • Light fixtures
    • Cabinets
    • Countertops
    • Hardware
  • Landscaping:
    • Asphalt
    • Hardscape
    • Soil
    • Trees
    • Garden trimmings
    • Outdoor furniture

What To Do With Leftover Junk You Inherit With The Property

Whether you’ve bought a house to fix and flip or as a family home or rental property, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll inherit some of the previous owner’s junk. Not many of us purchase a property and walk through pristinely empty rooms and outdoor areas that don’t require clearing at least some stuff.

While it may be everyone’s dream to discover a long-forgotten treasure hidden in the walls or under the floorboards, most likely, you’ll be the recipient of stuff the homeowner just couldn’t find the time or the energy to deal with before they drove away for the last time.

Piles of Leftover Junk

Before we offer suggestions on what to do with this junk, here are some helpful suggestions on how to avoid the problem in the first place:

  1. Do a complete walk-through on closing day. “Open every kitchen cabinet, closet, bathroom vanity, and medicine cabinet. Head to the basement and attic,” and look in every nook and cranny to see what may be left behind.
  2. Put your expectations in writing. As the buyer, you can stipulate “that all personal items in and on the grounds of the property not included in the sale should be removed by a specific date.”
  3. If they leave it, you own it. That may be good news if they left behind anything of value, but more often, it will cost you time and money to get rid of someone else’s junk. You are free to donate items, sell them, keep them or throw them away.

Of course, if you have been left with junk from the previous owners, your options are to:

  • Decide if anything is worth the time and energy of selling.
  • Decide if anything is valuable enough to put by your front curb with a “Free” sign attached.
  • Offer a “Free Garage Sale” to friends and family.
  • Load boxes with any items that can be donated.
  • Break down and place junk into your large supercart for garbage day removal.
  • Make a run to the dump.
  • Call us at JunkRelief!

What To Do With Leftover Junk You Create During Your House Flip

Whether you’re planning a big or a little flip, the deconstruction phase will create more dirt, garbage, and junk than you can even imagine. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that “600+ million tons of C&D debris were generated in the U.S. in 2018,” and the estimated total amount of C&D waste “will exceed an astounding 2.2 billion tons by 2025!”

House Flip Leftover Junk

The first step of any house flip is to take out any and all materials that can be salvaged before you take a sledgehammer to the rest. While it takes a bit more time and care to remove these finishes without damaging them, it’s far more environmentally friendly.

If you plan to dispose of these materials yourself, you’ll need to know where to take them in an effort to keep as much as possible out of our landfills.


Depending on how old the house is that you’re flipping, the windows may or may not be reusable. It wasn’t until the 1970s that double-paned windows became widely available for residential homes.

If your home was built before then, the windows might be single-paned and of less use in today’s home-building projects. However, there is a market for donating or even selling single-pane windows for use in a backyard greenhouse.

Disassembling a Window

Metal window frames and screens can be taken to a metal scrap yard like Elgin Recycling or JB Scrap Metal. You might like to start a metal scrap pile so you can make one trip to the scrap metal yard. Yards pay by the weight of the metal, and depending on how much you have, you’ll walk away with money for a dinner out or a chunk of change to put towards new purchases.


Metal and wood doors that are in good shape can also be sent to a re-use store. If they aren’t in good enough shape for someone else’s project, you can add metal doors to your scrap pile and wood doors to a wood pile.

Removing a Door

Complete sets of doorknobs can also be salvaged and used by someone else.

Cabinets and countertops

If you’re updating the house you plan to flip, you may want to replace the kitchen and bath cabinets and counters. Again, depending on how used and abused the cabinets are, you have several options for how to get rid of them.

  • Excellent shape:
    • Sell them on a site like Craigslist.
  • Decent shape:
    • Sell them on a site like Craigslist for someone’s garage or basement.
    • Take them to a re-use store like the Rebuilding Exchange.
    • Put them curbside with a “Free” sign.
  • Bad shape:
    • Have fun deconstructing them like they show on HGTV home renovation shows, and put the flat pieces outside on your wood pile.

Cabinet counters are harder to salvage as each is cut to specific dimensions, often with an opening for the sink or stove.

Removing a Cabinet

If you’re reconfiguring the footprint of the kitchen and need new counters or just want to replace the ones that are there, you’ll have a better chance of getting more for counters that are:

  • Straight runs (without cut-outs or corner cuts)
  • Solid surfaces (granite, Corian, Silestone, etc.)

Laminate counters may be harder to dispose of unless they are included along with the cabinets. It’s not often that you can sell or give away cabinets that will then be used in the same configuration, but it’s always worth a try. If they can’t be sold or donated, any laminate counters may end up in a landfill.


It’s quite common for house flippers to replace appliances in the home they are fixing up to flip. Unless the current appliances are in great shape and only a few years old, replacing them is often worth the investment.

According to Consumer Reports, the “kitchen is still king” when selling a home. Last year Forbes reported that “in general, the average cost to upgrade all major kitchen appliances is about $3,750.” Well-worth the investment when you consider the potential three to seven percent bump in the house’s sale price.

Man Examining an Appliance

Again, depending on the age and condition of the current appliances, you can sell or donate the stove, fridge, dishwasher and washer, and dryer combination as a way to offset the cost of replacing them.

Anything that either puts money in your pocket or saves you from paying to get rid of junk is worth the extra time and effort.

Plumbing and lighting fixtures

Plumbing fixtures include sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and all-in-one shower stalls. If they are rust-free and don’t show any signs of damage, it’s easy to sell or donate them to a worthy cause. Don’t forget to sell or donate the taps and the porcelain fixtures.

Disassembling Plumbing Fixtures

The same goes for lighting fixtures. When you’re upgrading a house to flip it, you would be amazed at how your house flip’s old lighting can still find a market. Creative homeowners armed with a vision, a can of spray paint, and new lighting globes are on the hunt for repurposed lighting fixtures.

Building materials

While the building materials that get ripped out in a home reno and flip are rarely worth anything, there are exceptions to the rule.

Leftover Electrical Wiring

Items that can be sold or donated must be in good shape and include:

  • Terra cotta and slate roof tiles
  • Copper plumbing pipes
  • Electrical wiring
  • Gas fireplaces
  • Salvaged bricks and blocks

Items that can be recycled include:

  • Concrete and asphalt
  • Asphalt shingles and untreated cedar shingles
  • Metal shingles and flashing
  • Clean, unpainted wood
  • Ceramic tiles

Construction waste that typically goes to a landfill includes:

  • Drywall
  • Insulation
  • Painted wood
  • Carpeting and vinyl flooring

How JunkRelief Deals With Your Junk

We have a process for how we deal with junk. We make a conscious decision to donate and recycle as much as possible.

That’s why we moved into a 10,000-square-foot warehouse. The space lets us efficiently separate and sort all the materials we pick up before taking them to their final destination.

Once you’ve ripped out the finishes (cabinets, counters, appliances, sinks, taps, doors, windows, flooring, bath fixtures, lighting, etc.), we’ll send a truck and crew to collect it all for sorting and disposal.

Any finishes and fixtures that are in good enough shape will be donated to Rebuilding Exchange. We’re big fans of this local non-profit that continues its mission towards sustainability by diverting material from landfills, donating materials to partnered non-profit organizations that are working to rebuild their communities, and promoting sustainable deconstruction practices.

They also provide education and job training programs in the fields of deconstruction, materials management, warehousing, retail, and carpentry. Since 2009, the organization has diverted over 9,668.84 tons of building materials from landfills while simultaneously creating over $2 million worth of quality reusable materials available to the public.

When it comes to construction materials like plaster, drywall, or scrap wood, we take these items straight to Lakeshore Recycling Systems. Our partners at LRS are able to repurpose discarded material and provide employment and job training opportunities to the disadvantaged.

As always, if you live in the Chicago area or the Chicagoland suburbs and have junk to get rid of, we hope you’ll give us a call or text us at 312-800-1940.

Company Workers Removing Junk

You can also fill out our online form, which starts by indicating which type of junk you want to be removed from your property:

  • Furniture
  • Home or unit cleanout
  • Construction debris
  • Outdoor projects
  • Other junk

The more details you give us for your junk removal project, the more accurate our estimate will be. And, as a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ve made a place for you to select your digital photos and drop them on our estimate sheet.

You’ll then be able to let us know the date you’d like us to come to pick up your load of junk and debris and your preferred window of arrival. We’ll take $10 off the quoted amount if we come anytime between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Once we have this information, we’ll need your contact info:

  • First and last name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Street address, city, and zip code of pick-up location

That’s it! We’ll reach out to you before confirming your appointment with a guaranteed quote. We may also call to get a few more details to make sure the quote is right.

We guarantee that the costs will never be more than our given estimate, as long as it’s the same items as your booking.

Last-minute adjustments are no problem, and we will discuss price changes with you prior to beginning to work. Learn more about our junk removal pricing structure and how we charge by volume.


Joe Weidman

Joe is a Chicago native, born and raised in Elmhurst. He founded Junk Relief more than 10 years ago and has worked with more than 20,000 homeowners and businesses throughout Chicagoland. His passion for starting a business in junk removal stemmed from seeing the need to do things differently. He prides himself on his company's model to provide unexpectedly professional service.


If you’ve got junk in Chicago or the Chicagoland Suburbs, we can help. CALL US or TEXT US at (312) 800-1940.


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