Here’s a quick list of things I’ve learned over the years buying and selling homes…
NEVER give advance money to a contractor. Buy the materials yourself. Have them delivered to the job site and explain to your contractor that if he misses ONE DAY without calling you, don’t come back because there will be another guy here finishing his job. It sounds tough but let me assure you, these guys know who they can push around and who they can’t. I don’t get pushed around.
Never pay a contractor until the job is COMPLETELY FINISHED. Once they have their money you become a very low priority. If you still have $3000 of their money it’s AMAZING how fast they return to your job to fix things.
Once the job is complete always PAY your contractors QUICKLY. They will LOVE you for this. You will become a preferred customer and will be treated as such.
It is FAR cheaper to pay 4 guy’s to work on your home at once than YOU trying to do each of these jobs yourself. My days of painting, laying hardwood floors, and tile are OVER. 4 Guys can blow those jobs out in less than 1 week, vs. my 5 weeks.
New cabinet doors can make a crappy looking kitchen look like a $20,000 kitchen for $500.
Paint is GOLD, but make sure you have someone who can pick colors for you. We all like to think we have good taste, WE DON’T. Don’t believe me? Break out your year book. You actually tought that green tux looked good! Pay people to pick out your colors who know what the hell they’re going. IT IS THE BEST MONEY I SPEND ON REHABS. PERIOD. Make sure they pick the tile and carpet colors too.
NEVER sign a listing agreement over 90 days!!! NEVER EVER!! Agents will bitch about this, but I tell them it’s a deal breaker. You need more than 90 days, I need a new realtor. Remember, you should be pricing your homes VERY aggressively in this market. If it looks great, is priced great, a 6 year old should be able to sell it. NEVER VIOLATE THIS RULE!
Details sell homes. I put built in book shelves and hardwood floors in all my rehabs. There is nothing that gets a buyer excited like a nicely built set of book/TV shelves with cabinets below them and a window seat in the middle. It costs me $500 and about 2 days to build and paint them gloss white. When the buyer see’s them with the new hardwoods it’s a knock out punch. I know for a fact it has sold my last 5 homes. People LOVE them because NO ONE does them anymore.
Don’t buy homes that need to be completely rebuilt. There are much easier projects out there. And always remember, you can only see about HALF the problems in a home that needs MAJOR work. The other half will present themselves as you try and fix the stuff you can see.
DO NOT rehab a home to YOUR standards. You want to sell it and MAKE MONEY. Putting in Brazilian Cherry floors at $8/sq. ft is not going to get you one dime more for that house over $2.50/ sq. ft. oak. You also don’t need to make the home new. If you leave some money on the table most buyers can live with a blue tub. Or better yet have in resurfaced (painted) for a quarter of the rip out price.
Bring your finished home to market cheaper than anything comparable in the area.