It takes a certain kind of creativity to see a “broken” home’s potential, but it takes a whole lot of real people working long hours and under less than ideal conditions to put those sticks and bricks back together. If you dream of flipping houses for fun and profit, building your contractor team is a vital part of the recipe for success.
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Building a system
If you’re a “big picture” person, there are lots of tools that can help you with the flipping process. You can use software to develop a timeline, prepare a cost estimate, manage expenses, track orders and deliveries, and even to list your property once it’s ready for sale. But when it comes to hiring contractors, you’ll have to rely on gut instinct, reviews, recommendations, and your ability to judge people.
Dealing with the variety of trades, subcontractors and suppliers, building inspectors and officials requires the concentration of a juggler and the patience of a parent with teenagers.
1. What is your experience and how much remodeling have you done?
“Re-building” or remodeling, regardless of the scope of the project, is totally different from “ground-up” construction. Anyone you choose should be familiar with general construction principles, but must have remodel experience.
The first rule of renovation is to expect the unexpected. It’s especially nice if your plumber’s best friend is an electrician, or if your framer has a brother who can set tile.
When interviewing a contractor, ask about their secondary skills, experience with renovations, and recommendations from other tradespeople.
2. Tell me a construction story about the worst job you have done
There’s a purpose in this. You’re looking for honesty and willingness to admit fault. You don’t want to hear that there hasn’t been a bad job. Having something go wrong in a renovation project is normal — every contractor will have a horror story.
You want to work with people who have learned from those experiences and can tell you how they will avoid those issues in the future. You also want people who will be honest about their work and give it to you straight.
3. Final questions
Ask about their insurance, general liability, theft and hazard, and workers compensation. The answers are important. You need to know you’re working with a professional who knows the ins and outs of their business and is covered for losses or accidents.
Flipping homes for profit takes vision, persistence, cash, and a reliable system. But making a better home for a real person or family is a very rewarding achievement. Use this guidance to make sure you have the right team on your side before you tackle your next flip.
Ready to sell?
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