Project management

Hi everyone!
Quick intro here since I’m a newbie to this forum.
ATM I have zero experience at rehabbing, which is
what I’m interested in, but I do know which end of a
hammer you hit the screw with.
I like to make things, and I’ve restored old furniture as well as
collector cars, and I have a pretty good idea how to plaster and
sand a wall.
What I’m wondering right now is if any of the experienced players
will share their “To Do” list for rehabbing a current house project,
and can you give us all an order in which you schedule things to
avoid conflicts and re-dos?


Great question! The wisdom I’ve heard is that you need a team of four:


Work with the Carpenter first and use him/her as the general contractor if you will not be overseeing everything yourself. The reason for working with the Carpenter first is that you want to finalize and layout/floorplan changes FIRST as the layout has implications for the plumbing and electric and maybe even the roof if your doing an add-on, etc.

Find a Carpenter who has general contracting experience so they can anticiapte problems with plumbing and electric. You can loose a lot of time by deciding on a layout that is physically impossible given the way the plumbing is routed, etc.

No timelines for you, but hope this helps.

  • Greg

My best advice is to plan, plan, plan, then plan some more. Sleep on it a couple of nights. Then plan again. Run your drawing by people who’s opinion you respect. Wives, realtors, secretaries, co-workers, etc… They might see a blunder or recognize a missed opportunity in your layout.

The general order of things is demolition, framing, rough plumbing, rough electrical, insulation, drywall, painting, cabinets, final plumbing/electrical, trim. If your changing the footprint of the building, roofing comes after framing. Timeframes all depend on the amount of work and the subcontractors you’re dealing with. IMO, specialized labor is worth the price – expert drywallers cost more, but they can finish a project in 3 days that would take a handyman and his helper 10 days. Same thing is true for framers, trim carpenters, roofers and painters.

But the most important thing is to know where you’re going before you start. Changing anything gets progressively more difficult, time-consuming and expensive the further you move along in the process. Eg., adding a light fixture is nothing when your walls are open; after drywall is up, it’s a pita.

Wow! Great anwers from both of you, GregB and DDavis.
I’m so DIY oriented it’s probably my biggest fault.
I have to wrap my head around the idea that someone else is going
to have to do some of this work to pass code inspection. I hadn’t really
even considered having one of my contractors coordinate for me.
Also, does everyone draw out plans on paper before starting?
My plans are usually in my head. It was good to see your order of
work, DDavis. Do actually write up / draw out your plans for each room?
I guess that would make estimating costs a lot more acurate.

Not an answer to your question, but…

…have you watched the show Property Ladder? Its interesting, and informative, to see the troubles newbies (like you and me!) get into in their first or early projects.

It is also interesting from the funding persepctive. (One of) your first tasks will be to estimate the cost of what needs to be done to the propery and what you want to do - remodel bath/kitchen, etc. On Property Ladder, this part is often done wrong with you guessed it - the rehabber underestimates of the cost and amount of work to be done. The underestimate creates a cash panic (gotta fund the needed work) and a time panic (takes longer) and a second cash panic (holding costs mount). Its mainly for these reasons (and having no prior construction experience myself) that I went with a contractor who offered the property with fixed-price and time rehab attached to the deal. And they got it done on time and on budget!

Not trying to discourage you, but there can be hidden ‘Gotchyas’ in these properties.

  • GregB

I just wish they would add some realism to this show! They ALWAYS do California and the idiotic appreciation rates there wind up getting the owner’s butt out of the crack! In the real world, these owners would take a bath!



I HEAR ya!!!

They run 50K over on a 50K rehab that ends up taking 6 months longer than the original 4 months planned, but the extra time works to raise the value so they end up in the black anyway.

I’m hoping to clear a few extra K on my property that has had trouble getting to closing under the same reasoning.

  • GregB

GregB, Yeah, I must sheepishly admit I watch that show with enthusiasim. As you point out there’s alway a cash panic / time panic, then ultimate success on that show. Like other reality shows, that’s the model they follow for holding viewers in their seats. I bet they have many rehabs that either go smoothly or don’t succeed at all. Those don’t have much commercial value, so they don’t make it on the air. ::slight_smile: