Throughout my years in real estate, before I became a full-fledged property manager, I have garnered some pretty serious experience and found some real gold mines. Here’s the main thing that I’ve found: the worse the condition of the property, the better the deals and profit will be. Most of the time, this rings true but don’t fool yourself into thinking these instances will be quick and easy money makers.
In fact, A LOT of major overhaul is necessary for an undertaking of this magnitude and these situations will find you dealing with vacated and unmaintained properties (years at a time) or have had some serious disaster occur. Fire damage, water damage, earthquake damage; the list can go on.
There is more to these projects than simply replacing the carpet or flooring and painting the walls and usually involve around 6 figure sums to repair. If you ever get yourself into something like this then you must know that it will take much, much longer to finish than a few weeks deadline. Instead, the best bet to work out your repairs is through a number of different stages. This article is aimed at helping you move through one of these projects with minimal mistakes and errors (unlike the way I had to deal with them) and help speed up the process.
Here are the 6 stages to carrying out any MAJOR rehab project from a property managers perspective.
As per any major plan that needs to be carried out, the first step to any successful endeavor is to make a plan (get organized). Use any estimates or approximations that your previous inspection checklists have given you. Look around and detail exactly what has to be done with the property, such as upgrading or replacing any housing systems (plumbing, electrical etc.), the windows, drywall, kitchens and bathrooms, floors, driveways, fencing, and all the rest. Property management services really come in handy here. Whatever the requirements are, you need to understand that to actually save time, you can’t do all of the renovations at once. This will only cause further chaos and problems. The first step is to take care of all the major systems, starting with electrical, then plumbing, then mechanical, and lastly, HVAC.
Remember to ask any contractors you hire how long it will take them to finish the tasks set out. They should also let you know what they will require, either from you or the other contractors. There needs to be a schedule implemented and kept to if you are going to stay on track and get this done! From the beginning, run through everything that is required and exactly determine what you are expecting to avoid.
After all the initial planning and system work has been updated and carried out, now you can start to focus on designing the property so that modern renters will be foaming at the mouth to rent it. At this point of the renovation, you can start to think about opening up larger areas, having some bigger bathtubs or bathrooms, laundry areas and the like. The lighting and electronics opportunities should also be carried out and take down some inconvenient walls if you must. Don’t be afraid to really think hard about it and get some great ideas flowing for the property. This step can be carried out after the first one, but sometimes it is usually better to carry them out at the same time in order to save some extra time and money.
- Systems Installation
Now that the design has been taken care of, you need to start focusing on all the other systems that need to be put in. All of your running wires, pipes, ducts and other lines you may need to repair or update. This will definitely be the most chaotic and messy part to the rehabbing process with your contractors tearing up the place. Expect to see a lot of sawing, cutting, welding, and bumping into each other throughout.
Ensure that you visit the place and are available for contact to see if things are running the way you desire or expect. Many contractors simply want to get their job done and get the hell out so you need to point out the obvious and common sense notions that they will ignore. I’m not kidding! Once I had a contractor try to put up some ducted heating right through where the toilet was going. It didn’t make sense but did he care? Not at all…
Save yourself the trouble down the road and supervise or at least periodically monitor the process.
This concerns the area of trimming everything down and smoothing out the house. Once again, this is a process that will take a while to complete properly and is something of an art form. You will need to recruit a great (experienced) team of carpenters and drywall crew and you will need to monitor the situation, especially around any corners, joins, stairs, intersections, and other such areas. Again, the contractor tries to do their job as quickly as possible so it’s up to you to keep them working right. Don’t be afraid to make them tear it off and redo it if it is not up to the agreed standard.
- Finishing Touches
We finally reach the step to the major project you took on but now this is the most important area as it will decide whether your property is renting hot, or not. Unfortunately, people only really care about what they can see not what’s lying inside the walls. Things like whether the countertops match the walls and all your other design choices will come into factor here. Take a look at some of the quick tips listed below when it comes to applying the finishing touches to your property. You are nearly at the finish line!
- What paint color should you use?
- Should the trim have the same color and should it be used in every room?
- How should the vanities, mirrors, sinks, and other items be placed?
- Should the plumbing fixtures be chrome, stainless steel, or other?
- What about the fixtures for lighting (as above)?
- What style should the cabinets and counters be?
- Do the floor stain and tiles/carpet match from one room to the other?
Take a look through some websites like Pinterest or Style and furniture magazines or articles. These will greatly assist you in figuring out what is desired and what is in fashion for the time. Obtain as many samples as you can and get opinions from everyone in order to really get an idea of what you are after. Paint can always be painted over once again so don’t be afraid to try some colors.
- Make It All Together
It may be the final stage of the process but it is one of the hardest ones to accomplish. Everyone has the ability to start a project but many people will eventually find it hard to complete them or lose the motivation along the way. Make sure that nothing has been overlooked and everything has been checked in detail, right down to the doorbell and toilet brush. Think of it as putting the final pieces of the puzzle together and understand that some things will only be learned through making your own mistakes.
There is no checklist that can prepare you for what you have to endure with major property rehabs but along the way, you will find the experience and help you receive can be a blessing.
Each property has its own unique qualities and also comes with its own unique problems but at the end, if you have supervised properly and not given in to the pressures, you will have one beautiful rehab to work with. Once you made that happen too, so sit back and relax for a little bit.
Proper property management services can help you out with all of this.